Super Bowl 50 Prop Bets: Over/Unders, Player Projections, and More
If you’re in Las Vegas and it’s 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday, you’re generally either still gambling, still drinking, both, or completely passed out.
But for me last year, the day before Super Bowl XLIX, I was just waking up and preparing for a long day of Super Bowl prop action. It’s been a yearly tradition for the past four seasons -- fly into Vegas the Thursday before the Super Bowl, gather the lines from the various sportsbooks on Friday, and spend all day Saturday putting in the appropriate prop bets.
You know the public perception: prop bets are sucker bets. They’re gimmicks, you can’t beat them. At their best, they’re considered fun ways to keep the Super Bowl interesting. You probably won’t win but, hey, at least you could cheer for something if your team isn’t in the big game!
In reality, though, Super Bowl prop bets provide the highest return on investment in the sports betting world. But this is only true if you do your research and go in with a gameplan. If you’ve ever stood in line to make a bet during Super Bowl week in Vegas, you’ll understand why the sportsbooks offer so many props.
It’s a gold mine for the books.
Suckers pile in, grab the 20-page prop booklets without looking at an ounce of data, and make picks based on gut feel and “what should happen.”
Here’s a list of the hundreds of Super Bowl 50 prop bets being offered by the famous Superbook at the Westgate in Las Vegas. Go ahead -- take 10 minutes, read through them, and come back. I’ll wait.
Now imagine the overwhelming feeling you’d get walking into a sportsbook with zero research under your belt, trying to make an educated prop bet. It’s nearly impossible.
Don’t fret! We've got the numbers to help you succeed with your Super Bowl prop betting. If you want to make your own selections, be sure to check out projections here at numberFire for the big game.
Super Bowl 50 Plays
No Defensive or Special Teams Touchdown (-175)
Here’s one that the public loves annually. The thought is that anything can happen in the Super Bowl, and when you can get plus-odds for a defensive or special teams touchdown, you have to take it. When you take this belief and combine it with Luke Kuechly’s two interception returns for touchdowns in the playoffs and Peyton Manning’s early-season giveaways, the public will be all over this bet. Don't bet with the public on it, though: one-third of Panthers and Broncos games this season have seen a defensive or special teams touchdown in the box score.
Will Either Team Score Three Unanswered Times? Yes. (-160)
I’ll be curious to see how the public action pans out with this prop. Normally, casual fans don’t realize the frequency with which this happens over the course of an NFL season. It may seem unlikely, but it happens often, even in tightly contested matchups.
Despite playing in 14 one-score games this season, a team has scored three unanswered times in 67 percent of the Broncos' games. And 67 percent of Panthers games also witnessed three unanswered scores.
No Safety (-700)
People go nuts over this bet. A safety has been recorded in three of the last four Super Bowls, and when the public sees +500, there’s no chance they’re turning it down.
One word of caution here, though. No matter what line you’re able to get, it will be great value -- there were only 16 safeties in 512 regular season games this year. However, if you only bet the Super Bowl (a once per year event), do you really want to risk most of your profit if a safety does happen? There's plenty of value throughout the game, and I’ve grown into the thought that it’s not worth the risk of wiping out all of your profits with one bet.
Any Specific Player Not to Score a Touchdown
Both Cam Newton and Peyton Manning have passing touchdown props of 1.5, with Newton implied to have a greater chance of throwing two-plus touchdowns. If this holds true, then likely only two or three receivers will score touchdowns in Super Bowl 50. Yet, the public will bet "yes touchdown" for every offensive player involved. The public will look at Philly Brown’s score in the conference championship game and think, “Whoa! I can get 3-to-1 on a Brown touchdown in the Super Bowl!” It happens every year.
In most cases, it’s wise to bet "no touchdown" for offensive players. Our touchdown projections for each offensive player help illustrate the fact that no player has better than a coin flip shot at scoring.
Longest Field Goal Over 44.5 Yards (-130)
Many game props are generated based on the total of the game without taking into account either team's tendencies, strengths, or weaknesses. This prop is one of those but, to be honest, it doesn’t change much from year to year.
Generally, we’ll see the longest field goal prop anywhere from 44 to 46 yards. But when you look at the two kickers in this game, it will be a major surprise if there isn't a 45-plus yard field goal kicked. In Carolina’s 18 games, we’ve seen a 45-plus yard field goal game 12 times. In Denver’s 18 games, we’ve seen a 45-plus yard field goal game 15 times (yes, the altitude helps a bit here). With two strong defenses and two strong-legged kickers, this is one of the best plays on the board.
First Touchdown of the Game Is Not a Passing Touchdown (+145)
Here’s another prop that is spit out from a computer based on the total. The tendencies of the two involved teams aren't built into the line, so we can find some value. In Denver’s 18 games, the first touchdown was not a pass 10 times. In Carolina’s 18 games, that number was 12. My personal props are 99 percent data-driven, but let’s look at a narrative for a second: If Carolina gets a goal-to-go situation in the first quarter, do you really think it won’t result in Cam Newton diving over the top en route to dabbing for millions of fans?
Cam Newton First Rushing Attempt Under 5.5 Yards (-130)
I’m still scratching my head at this line (which means it will probably lose). I can only guess the oddsmakers took some combination of Newton’s season-long yard-per-carry average (4.9) and his season-long first rush average (6.38). However, Newton’s first-rush average is skewed by two huge runs of 30 and 47 yards. This season, Newton’s first rush has gone for six-plus yards in only 4 of 18 games. With many of his early game rushing opportunities coming in short yardage situations, the under is a great play.
Peyton Manning No First Quarter Passing Touchdown (-300)
Until the conference championship, Peyton Manning had not thrown a first quarter touchdown pass over the entire season. The Panthers’ defense is equally impressive in this category, allowing first-quarter touchdown passes in just four games this season, including the playoffs. Manning is projected to throw only one touchdown pass and, given the data, this is one of the strongest plays in the game.