What are prop bets?
I just bet the dog that you would read this Super Bowl article through to the end.
That’s a prop bet. It’s not based on who wins and who loses a game, which would be a regular sports bet.
“Prop” when used in “prop bets” regarding sports competitions stands for proposition bets. Not to be confused with “props” as in “propers” — slang for the respect that’s earned and due, like in the Aretha Franklin classic tune. Nor like props in the theater and movies.
Prop bets generally involve small stakes and small bets. They can happen while a game is going on. Skilled prop bets rely on knowledge of things like player abilities and statistics. Fun prop bets are…fun. And sometimes downright silly.
Now Louisiana sports-betting fans can prop bet
This year marks the first Super Bowl in which Louisiana sports bettors can place a bet in-state. Those interested in sports betting in person can go to any of the commercial and tribal casinos currently offering it.
And mobile sports betting has arrived in Louisiana just in time for the Super Bowl! Fifty-five parishes are good to go, but geofencing technology blocks sports betting in the other nine parishes. Current providers include:
Prop bets and the Super Bowl
One of the most popular Super Bowl prop bets is “Who will be MVP?”
Now obviously, if it were a year when Tom Brady was playing in the Big Game, almost everyone would likely put their money on him. After all, he was named MVP five times.
But Tom Brady has announced his retirement. Yes, it’s true. And there is no Santa Claus. Sorry.
Quarterbacks have taken the MVP title more than any other position in the Big Game’s history — 31 times in total. And it may be counterintuitive, but the MVP doesn’t even have to come from the winning team.
That only happened once, though, in 1971’s Super Bowl V (AKA the “Blunder Bowl”), when Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley took the award even though his team had lost to the Baltimore Colts.
And in Super Bowl XII, Harvey Martin and Randy White shared the MVP title.
According to NBCsports.com on Jan. 31, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford ranked on that date as the favorite to be named MVP this year, with the Bengals’ Joe Burrow coming in second.
Brobible.com concurred on Feb. 1, with odds at:
- Matthew Stafford (-110)
- Joe Burrow (+210)
Flipping for it
Another very popular Super Bowl prop bet is “Who will win the coin toss?”
The Super Bowl coin toss decides which team gets the ball in each half.
With the coin toss, everyone, including the dog, has— arguably it seems— a random 50-50 chance of guessing correctly. Taking that as true, though, for our purposes here, even if the NFC has won the coin toss the last three years, that in no way guarantees or even slightly suggests the AFC will win or not win it this year.
To think otherwise is known as “the gambler’s fallacy.” Statistics won’t give anyone an edge in deciding whether to bet heads or tails; nor will a Magic 8-Ball.
That’s why you might see the coin toss odds listed like this in sportsbooks:
Foxsports.com calls the pregame coin-toss wager “the purest of all sports bets.”
The color of the Gatorade bath/shower received by the winning coach has proved a consistently popular Super Bowl prop bet, too.
Props for props
Other Super Bowl prop bets may currently include:
- Who will lead at halftime?
- Will the game go into overtime?
- Who will score the first touchdown?
- Will any player other than a quarterback throw a touchdown pass?
- Will there be a safety?
Bettors can even place prop bets on the halftime show, including:
- Who will perform first?
- How many songs will be performed?
And some of the Super Bowl prop bets currently out there do really qualify as “out there,” including…
- How many commercials will feature a dog?
- Will any player propose to his significant other on the field after the game?
- How many commercials will feature a baby?
- Who will the MVP mention first? (Teammates, faith, family, coach, etc.)