The Expert's Guide to Super Bowl LIV Prop Bets

Don't bet the coin flip. Do bet on Alex Rodriguez and Tom Brady making appearances.

VSiN reporter Josh Applebaum offers his insights on Sunday's best prop bets
Signage near the FOX Sports studio prior to Super Bowl LIV. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
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With more legal avenues available to Americans than ever before, Super Bowl LIV is expected to draw a record number of bets.

Via a combination of legal-betting websites, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, illegal bookies and office squares, some 26 million Americans are expected to have some skin in the game when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Miami on Sunday.

That number is about a 15 percent increase from the estimated 22.7 million Americans who bet on last year’s game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, according to the American Gaming Association. All told, this year’s bets are expected to be worth an estimated $6.8 billion, up from $6 billion last year.

While it’s a good bet that the majority of wagers will be on the game itself — 52 percent of people say they plan to back the Chiefs while 48 percent plan to go with the 49ers — a sizable portion of wagers will be made on a Super Bowl special: prop bets.

“Prop bets have really skyrocketed in interest over the last couple of years,” VSiN sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum tells InsideHook. “The sportsbooks love this. They love promoting it. It’s a way to bring in new fans, make the game more exciting and bring in recreational betters.”

If you’re curious about dipping your toe in the prop-bet waters — which can be done at some state sportsbooks as well as off-shore sites like BookMaker, BetOnline, Bovada and MyBookie — but aren’t too sure of the best way to go about it, we’ve got you covered.

Here, courtesy of Applebaum, are seven rules to abide if you don’t want to look like a sucker, along with five expert tips about what to wager on.

1. Be Disciplined: “If you can think of it, the oddsmakers have a line for it,” Appelbaum says. “There are so many props to choose from it can be overwhelming. You can get down a rabbit hole where you’re betting dozens of them and it becomes crazy. I would suggest bettors try to be disciplined and limit their prop bets. If you spend a lot of time handicapping the game and you win your bet but go 3-10 on your props, you’ve given away all that hard work. Being disciplined is important.”

2. Don’t Go With Your Gut: “A lot of recreational bettors are going to bet a lot of ‘yeses’ and a lot of overs,” Appelbaum says. “If you’re betting a prop, you want a plus payout and to turn 10 bucks into a hundred. You want to make the game interesting and you want to root for a lot of action, not less action. So, there’s kind of a psychological bias toward overs and ‘yes’ prop bets with big payouts for recreational betters. Oddsmakers will set these props with the public bias in mind. If you look at the sharps and wise guys, they lean on a lot of ‘nos’ and a lot of unders, just in general.”

3. Don’t Bet the Coin Flip: “I know a lot of people bet this. It’s fun,” Appelbaum says. “The key of the coin flip is you think it’s 50-50 because it’s either going to be heads or tails, but all these books are making you pay the juice on both sides. So it’s -105 or -110 on both sides. No matter what happens in the coin flip, the books are going to make a ton of money off that prop because they’re just going to take the juice. So really, when you talk about expected value, it’s not a 50-50 type thing. You have to win closer to 52 percent of the time just to make that prop worth it.”

4. Do Bet on OT or a Safety: “Two props that wiseguys really, really lean on are no overtime and no safety,” Appelbaum says. “You did see Brady take a safety against the Giants in 2011 and the Pats-Falcons game did go to overtime. It has happened here and there. But historically, it’s very, very rare that you have overtime or a safety. So, a lot of pros immediately bet that no right off the bat.”

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Double Up: “For example, you can get on who the Super Bowl MVP is going to thank first in their postgame speech,” Appelbaum says. “The options this year are teammates (+135), God/religion (+264), coach/coaches (+515), winning city (+515), family (+674) and owner (+1,959). You can cross owner out because they’re not going to say that. If you’re going to say coaches, you’re first going to say teammates. God’s always the outlier. So, to me, it’d be either teammates or God/religion. The thing is, you could put 10 bucks on each. If you get one of the two, you’re going to make a lot of money.”

6. Read the Fine Print: “This year, there’s a prop for the number of Donald Trump tweets on Sunday. The thing for that prop which I’m not totally aware of is if in includes retweets,” Appelbaum says. “Make sure to read the fine print with props. You may think on the surface that it’s very easy and makes a lot of sense, but there is a lot of fine print. There are stipulations. So, be really clear what the rules are for some of these props because they can kind of catch you on a technicality.”

7. Don’t Try to Be Howard Ratner: “A lot of people saw Uncut Gems and think you can parlay prop bets. You can’t,” Appelbaum says. “[Sandler’s character] was parlaying Kevin Garnett’s points going over with winning the tip — all that stuff. You can’t parlay the prop. So just keep that in mind.”

And as for what to wager on …

1. Will Alex Rodriguez be shown during halftime? Yes +200, No -300: “He’s from Miami. He went to Miami. He’s dating J.Lo,” Appelbaum says. “You got to think he’s going to be there. I think that’s a ton of value.”

2. Will Pitbull make an appearance at halftime? Yes -165, No +130: “He’s a big Miami guy,” Appelbaum says. “The yes is only -165, so I think that’s a sneaky one that he will appear. So, not a bad shot on that one.”

3. Will Tom Brady be mentioned during the game? Yes -390, No +285: “Brady continues to be the biggest offseason question mark,” Appelbaum says. “It’s the first time in three years the Patriots aren’t in it, so you know they’re going to talk about the Pats. Brady’s a free agent. Where is he going to go? It’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on Sunday. If it was Tony Romo, he would definitely mention it.”

4. First Anheuser-Busch commercial to air — Bud light seltzer (-148), Budweiser (+278), Michelob Ultra (+278), Michelob Pure Gold (+368): “I like Bud Light Seltzer being the first one just because that’s kind of a new product and it’s the biggest audience they’re ever going to get,” Appelbaum says. “They have been trying to promote that and catch the white-collar Truly.”

5. Team to score first — Chiefs (-120), 49ers (-110): “It’s about even money, but some pros did take the 49ers,” Appelbaum says. “The Chiefs have started out really slow in the first quarter. The Niners have raced out to a good start in a lot of these games. The Chiefs are more of a second-half team. The Niners are great overall and they start off pretty good.”

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