The Super Bowl is, for a lot of people, all about the prop bets. There are certainly a whole lot of them to choose from. We'll look at some of the odd and crazy ones later on, but for now let's focus on the Super Bowl prop bets that stand out as interesting —ones that could even offer a bit of value.
Value is, after all, extremely rare on Super Bowl day. Here are some Super Bowl XLV free props predictions and betting picks:
Result of Ben Roethlisberger's first pass - The heavy favorite here is that it will be a completion. That makes sense—the offense will likely go for a simple, low risk pass to get into a zone early on. Given that you can get +175 on an incompletion, though, I'm more than willing to go that way. There will be nerves early on—even for a QB that has won two of these things in the last five years.
Receivers will be on edge, too, and the crowd will be incredibly loud—especially if the Steelers get the ball first. That all means that there is a decent chance that this bet pays off.
Aaron Rodgers TD passes – 'over/under' 2 - I'll happily take the 'over' here since it pays off at +125. If the total was at 2.5 I wouldn't like it as much here, but I like the price. Rodgers played 17 complete games this year—14 regular season and three in the playoffs. In seven of those 17 games he threw for three or more scores, and in three more he passed for two.
That means that this prop would have been nicely profitable on the season. He's gone 'over' this total in three of his last five games as well. Rodgers isn't likely to be able to rely on the run in this game much, so he'll likely be looking to pass a lot. That only helps the case here.
Clay Matthews sacks – 'over/under' 0.5 - The 'under' is paying +160, so I'll happily take it. Matthews has impressive sack numbers this year, but they are skewed by the fact that he had six in his first two games. He has still been pretty solid all year, but in his last nine games the 'over' is just 4-4-1 against this total.
There are some questions about his shin, and he's up against a QB that is harder than average to take down. The public loves sacks, and knows that Matthews is the biggest-name sack artist in the game, so they will be all over the 'over'. That means that there is plenty of value in the 'under'.
Will Mason Crosby miss a field goal? - The 'yes' side pays a very sweet +400, so I'd love to be able to justify that. It turns out I can. He hit 22 of 28 on the season, and two of three in the playoffs, so he is far from perfect. He missed kicks in six of 19 games, so betting at this price on each game would have been nicely profitable.
On top of that, he only attempted a field goal in one of the three playoff games—the divisional round at Atlanta—and he missed one then, so he's quite possibly going to be rusty. All in all, this price makes a lot of sense.
Will B.J. Raji be on the field for at least one Green Bay offensive play? - Raji has been featured a couple of times recently, including a nice fake last game. You don't use a guy like that a couple of times in a row unless you are trying to set something up. Now Pittsburgh will be guessing over whether he is for real or a decoy, so he'll be effective. He'll be used. The price is steep at -175, but that price isn't far off.
Will there be a score in the first seven and a half minutes of the game? - The 'no' pays +145. Given the nerves, the noise, and the quality of these defenses, it seems to me like this game could be slow to get started. That makes that price pretty nice in my eyes.
Will either team score three unanswered times in the game? - The Steelers burned me on this same prop last time, but I'm not going to be bothered by that. I like both offenses well enough, and I trust both defenses. The 'no' pays +140, so at that price I am willing to bet that one side isn't going to let the other side run away with things.
I expect a reasonably close game, so it's reasonable that there won't be a runaway streak.