(CBS Boston) — The Super Bowl draws as much action to the sports books as any sporting event during the course of the year. Super Bowl LV, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, promises to be no different. But the actual football game isn’t the only thing attracting the attention of bettors. Prop bets, the game within game, are also an attractive betting option.
Prop bet is short for proposition bet. It is a wager on something happening or not happening during a game. And that’s a pretty wide range of events. “Most sports books now have over 400 different prop bets,” says Kenny White, SportsLine‘s the Wizard of Odds. “Each individual player has player props, receptions, rushing yards, passing yards, touchdowns, first touchdown of the game, player to score the first touchdown, anytime touchdown. And then there are also props that they’ll take aspects of the game and compare it to another sport and put those head to head. So you make one bet, you got really a bet on two different games, a bet on the Super Bowl and maybe a bet on a basketball game. Could be a soccer game, could be a hockey game. They find so many ingenious props, and it’s amazing and a lot of fun.”
Some prop bets are on events don’t happen in the field of play and have no relevance to the game’s outcome. Examples include the length of time it takes to sing the national anthem, the songs performed during the halftime show, and the color of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach. Adventurous bettors can even wager on who the Super Bowl MVP will thank first.
“This all started back in the mid 80s, with the Chicago Bears and Refrigerator Perry,” according to White. “One of the sports books here in Las Vegas, Nevada put up a prop. Will the refrigerator Perry score a touchdown? And they were giving 75-1 odds. It was actually bet down to about 5-1. And Refrigerator Perry scored a touchdown. I think the sports books got beat so badly on that one prop they said we need to start coming up with more props to get our money back from our loss last year.”
Football — and sports betting — has come a long way since the days of the “Super Bowl Shuffle.” But even then quarterbacks tended to win Super Bowl MVP. While defensive end Richard Dent took home the award for the Bears in Super Bowl XX in 1986, six quarterbacks won the award that decade.
White was seen a similar trend in recent Super Bowls and will be wagering accordingly. “I’m going with a quarterback in this game to be the MVP,” says White. “That isn’t rocket science. The quarterbacks have won the MVP eight of the last 11 years. Last year, the running back for the Kansas City Chiefs Damien Williams had a great game, 133 total yards and two touchdowns. If there was ever a chance for a running back to win the award, it would have been last year. So I’ve got to go with a quarterback. I’m going to go with Tom Brady, because he’s getting such high odds, plus $1.90 for the GOAT to win the MVP of the Super Bowl.”
Quarterback play has become more dynamic over the decades. And this Super Bowl features two greats — Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes — at different points in their careers. Their play has obviously changed the game on the field and how points add up on the scoreboard. Narrowed down to a prop bet, that means that the first score of the game is likely to be a touchdown.
“If you just look at the season stats, touchdowns [have] become more prominent than ever,” says White. “We could go back 30 years ago, and it was about a 50-50 chance that teams kicked as many field goals as they had touchdowns. In this day and age, 65 percent of the time, a score is a touchdown. And the most field goals you’re going to get are at the end of the first half. That’s where teams… at the two-minute warning, a lot of teams kick field goals in that situation. So the first score of the game should be weighted heavily to a touchdown. Right now, in Vegas books, you can get the first score a touchdown around $1.60, which I think is great value. Because I think the odds of a touchdown being scored in the first place is about 70 percent, because that’s what the Chiefs do, they score 70 percent of those scores are touchdowns. That equals about a 233 favorite. So I’m betting the first score will be a touchdown.”
Which Super Bowl prop is a must-back and pays almost 7-1? And which other prop bets do you need to jump on for the big game? Visit SportsLine now to see the top Super Bowl prop bets, all from the model that’s up almost $3,200 on prop picks this season.