Super Bowl XLV: Props Bets for Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2011

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 30:  Football fans gather around a large Super Bowl XLV display on January 30, 2011 in downtown Dallas, Texas.  Cowboys Stadium will host Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in Arlington, Texas  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Betting on the big game has to include all of the Super Bowl prop bets that are available. The fun props wagers range from the typical we see every week to some truly crazy wagers that we’ve never even dreamed of. Each year the betting volume on these props grows, and with it goes the creativity of the oddsmakers.

The bulk of the props that are available are good old typical sucker bets: offers that the books are more than happy to make because over the long term they absolutely can’t lose. Some of the bets, though, actually offer real value and a chance for bettors to get a nice return on their investment. The trick for bettors is to differentiate between the two and to secede where they should invest their time and money.

Here are six tips for betting Super Bowl props:

Know why you are betting the props

This is a crucial first step. Before you even look at the props that are offered for the first time you need to think about why you are looking to bet them. Are you trying to make a serious profit—to find the best way to maximize your opinion about the game? Are you just looking to have something to cheer for during the game? Are you out for bragging rights? Are you just looking for a shot at a big payday?

There is really no wrong reason to bet the props. You just have to know what your reason is so that you can attack them accordingly and make decisions that make sense for your goals. Going forward I’ll assume you are here to try to make some money.

Look to the past

People think about the Super Bowl as being totally unique. While it is unlike the other games played every year, there is still a lot to learn from history.

The key to a lot of successful prop bets lies in looking back on what has happened before—in past Super Bowls, and in past games played during the year by both teams. A lot of props are designed so that they cause most people to have a reaction that isn’t necessarily backed up by the stats and by history.

Paint your picture

The best way to approach the props is to start by thinking about how the game is going to play out. How will the offenses perform against the defenses? Will the teams be able to run the ball? How good are the secondaries?

Which team has edges in different areas, and how will those edges play out? Who is going to win and by how much? Once you have a sense of what is going to happen you are ready to go shopping.

Exploit that vision as many ways as you can

You need to take your picture of how the game is going to go and find every prop you can that relates directly to it.

For example, let’s say you think that one team is going to be able to run wild against the other team. You could bet that that team’s running back is going to have a very big day—taking the "over" in NFL spreads on his yardage and the number of points he scores. You might want to bet him to win the MVP as well.

You also might be optimistic about that team’s quarterback because the success of the run will force the defense onto their heels. You also might look at taking the "under" on the other team’s total and passing stats because the passing domination means that the other team won’t get as much time with the ball as they might hope.

Consider the public action

Because the public bets so heavily on the Super Bowl and is drawn to the props, you really need to be aware of where they are likely to place their action. There are some props that are going to be like magnets to public money—especially those that suggest that a strong offense will have a big day.

If the public is likely to be heavily drawn to a prop then you can be sure that the juice on that bet will be ugly. When you are betting props you really need to be sure you are getting top value, and you certainly won’t be getting value if you are on the same side as the public on popular props.

Show restraint

If you pick the right side and win that bet but lose money overall because of the props, you are going to look like an idiot. You can bet as many props as you want, but make sure that you have a good reason for each bet that you are making before you make it. If you are desperate to throw your money away on Super Bowl Sunday, throw it at beer and wings instead of hopeless bets designed to steal money from idiots.