Prop bets for Super Bowl XLVIII are a quick way to make cash for hardcore and causal bettors alike, but more often than not, the payoff is not staggering—unless one is willing to be brave and throw down on some eyebrow-raising lines.
There is plenty of money to be made when the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos, but silly things like a bet on the coin flip, what hat Bruno Mars will wear and whether or not Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno will cry during the national anthem only yield so much for the correct bet.
No, the big money is in the big risk. Through careful analysis of trends and various other factors, bettors can narrow down which risky picks to bank on in order to maximize their chance at massive returns.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Betting Lines (via Bovada)
- Over/Under: 48
- Spread: Denver (-3)
Note: A full list of prop bets can be found at Bovada.
Total Number of Penalties Made by Both Teams
Odds: Over (EVEN), Under (10-13)
This is a fairly large number as far as penalties go, and one would think that the NFL's two best teams would play a clean game and fail to surpass it—hence why the oddsmakers settled where they did.
But a deeper dive says to bet the over. The Seahawks and Broncos have both played two postseason games to date this year. Seattle has been hit with 14 penalties; Denver has 10.
The Seahawks are an especially penalty-prone team thanks to the aggressiveness of their cornerbacks, led by Richard Sherman. ESPN's David Fleming has details as to why the Seahawks, who may spur rule changes this offseason, are sure to rack up a few flags in the big game:
A pass interference call once shamed DBs into compliance. Now it emboldens them to harass receivers even more. More than likely, the investigation will start with the Seahawks, who led the league in both penalties (1,183 total yards) and total defense (273.6 ypg). The connection is no coincidence.
Oh, and do not forget that Manning is prone to drawing two or three offside penalties per game, which will especially be the case against an aggressive Seattle defense. Bet the over.
The Largest Points Lead of the Game by Either Team Will Be 13.5
Odds: Over (2-3), Under (6-5)
As evenly matched as they two sides are, much can change on short notice and blow a game wide open.
The 13.5 number here is perfect, as it is truly hard to see one team go up by two touchdowns, but that is what makes this bet so attractive.
Specifically, it is rational to believe that Manning and the Broncos can jump out to a big lead at some point in the game. The Seattle offense takes a run-first approach and will clearly ride running back Marshawn Lynch in order to keep Manning off the field.
This approach will make it hard for the Seahawks to keep up, should they fall behind. Sherman especially has a respect for what Manning can do, as captured by Fox Sports:
It is not unreasonable to think Manning can find someone like Demaryius Thomas with a short pass, who in turn takes it for a score. Another methodical drive by Manning after say, a Seattle turnover, and this is easy cash.
This does not mean the final score will be such a wide margin, but either team coming out early and punching the other in the mouth is not so outlandish. Take the risky over.
If the Broncos Win Will Peyton Manning Retire Before Game 1 of the 2014 Regular Season?
Odds: Yes (7-1), No (1-15)
This largely hinges on the odds of the Broncos winning the game, but Manning hanging up the cleats at some point this offseason is not a horrible bet.
Manning has been hounded with questions about his NFL future during the weeks leading up to the game, and he explained that the topic is not on his mind yet, via Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News:
When you still enjoy the preparation and the work part of it, I think you ought to be still doing that. I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help a team, that’s when I will stop playing. If that’s next year, then maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing.
Of course Manning is going to dodge this question like the pro that he is. Think about it—Manning is often hailed as the smartest quarterback of all time. This extends to his interactions with the media and how what he says may impact his team.
Does anyone believe that if Manning intends to retire, he would say it now, which would place an unheard of amount of pressure on his teammates?
Bank on Manning calling it quits. His team will be able to pull out the win, which will in turn finally lead to the 37-year-old legend hanging up the cleats.
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