Super Bowl Propositions and Wagers
I believe Super Bowl 52 is unplayable — both from a side and total standpoint.
For serious gamblers, this is just another football game. One game. That’s it. In fact, I think it’s one of the worst games of the year to bet on because there are way too many intangibles. There’s no value based on the current line at New England -5 to -5.5 and the total at 48. If you bet these numbers, you might as well be shooting craps. Nothing wrong with shooting craps. But, just know you’re gambling and not getting the best of it.
That said, I would bet New England at -4 if that price was still available. The pointspread did hit NWE -4 for a short time at some sportsbooks. However, I would also like Philadelphia at +6 if that number was available. Perhaps the line will close at PHILA +6 in a few places as late New England Patriots money enters the market. I would like both of these (contrary) sides for a very small amount. I also think the total is right where it should be (O/U 48).
Forget the reported million dollar bettors who wagered on Philadelphia — both plus the points and on the money line. Don’t be swayed by that. Those are amateurs. Real professional bettors don’t get caught up in the frenzy. Pros don’t bet a sizable percentage of their bankrolls on over hyped games, especially on bad numbers with no ascertainable value. There are plenty of idiots with money out there. Don’t be fooled by the size of a wager.
[If you can’t tell, this is a pet peeve of mine — reporting on huge wagers and some confusion about these wagers being “smart money.” It’s not smart money. It’s tourist money. I’d much rather know who the $500 bettor who is picking 55 percent winners in the NFL is wagering on, rather than the pick of some anonymous “million-dollar bettor.”]
What makes the Super Bowl attractive to serious gamblers are the propositions. That’s where I’m focusing most of my attention. I’ve made several wagers on props, which can be read below.
2017 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $12,070. (+$2,070.)
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 59 wins / 46 loses / 3 pushes
Week #1 — 3 wins, 4 losses = net -$250
Week #2 — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$350
Week #3 — 7 wins, 2 losses = net +$1,070
Week #4 — 1 win, 1 loss = net -$20
Week #5 — 7 wins, 3 losses = net +$740
Week #6 — 2 wins, 2 losses = net -$40
Week #7 — 3 wins, 4 losses, 1 push = net -$280
Week #8 — 4 wins, 2 losses = net +$360
Week #9 — 2 wins, 2 losses = net -$270
Week #10 — 9 wins, 6 losses = net +$480
Week #11 — 3 wins, 4 losses = net -$280
Week #12 — 2 wins, 4 losses = net -$480
Week #13 — 4 wins, 2 losses = net +$360
Week #14 — 4 wins, 4 losses = net -80
Week #15 — 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 push = net +$60
Week #16 — 2 wins, 3 losses = net -$370
Week #17 — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$300
Wild Card Week — 1 win, 1 loss = net -$30
Divisional Playoffs Week — 1 win, 1 loss = net -$60
Conference Championship Week — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$300
Super Bowl — TBD
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: Last week, I posted 1 win and o losses — for a net win of +$300. This puts me at +13 games over .500 heading into the Super Bowl. “Leans” did not fare so well, They went 1-4 . Playoff results are now 3-2 on five wagers. My playoff leans (wagering on every side and total) are 13-9-1.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: On to the Super Bowl.
MORE POINTS SCORED IN FIRST HALF OR SECOND HALF?
Wagering $300 to win $200
This has been a staple wager of many pro bettors for years. The value has diminished somewhat (it used to be closer to even money). Even laying 3-2, I think this matchup sets up well for a higher-scoring second half than first half. New England has started Super Bowls notoriously slowly (no touchdowns in the first quarter in any of the six Belichick era Super Bowls). Yet the Patriots have more often than not made solid adjustments at halftime, especially on offense. Patriots were sluggish again in AFC Championship game, closing with yet another dramatic comeback. Hence, New England seems solidly in the camp of a more explosive team later in the game. Meanwhile, I don’t expect Philadelphia to take many risks early in the game. Keep in mind, there’s still some concern about Nick Foles playing in a game of this magnitude for the first time. I can’t see head coach Pederson putting Foles in any position where he loses confidence early. Look for a chess match early on, and a game that gets progressively more unpredictable, especially in the second half. I’m also inclined to believe if the Eagles are trailing in the second half, especially by double digits, this game could get very ugly and get out of hand. Patriots are well known for throwing the ball and being aggressive, even with a sizable lead. First Half UNDER 24 has also been juiced up to laying -125 (on the UNDER) which tells me smart money thinks this game starts off slow and finishes with more scoring (second-half line will be at least 24+). Not as great a wager as years ago when we didn’t have to lay a price, but I’ll still lay the vig and hope for a sluggish low-scoring first half, followed by a higher scoring second half.
WHICH TEAM WILL HAVE THE MOST PENALTY YARDS
Laying $150 to win $100
I’m convinced officiating crews give New England breaks on penalties that no other team would receive. No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Perhaps it’s the aura of a legendary team. Perhaps is respect for Tom Brady in the way NBA officials give breaks to superstars. It’s unfathomable that New England wasn’t called for a single offensive holding penalty last week against a very solid Jacksonville defense (Patriots were whistled for a grand total of 10 yards in that game). But they also got two ridiculous pass interference calls (one was absurd and probably changed the outcome of the game). There’s clearly some bias in play here in favor of the Patriots and rather than bitch and moan about it, I’ll take advantage by wagering the Eagles are the more penalized team. Moreover, Tom Brady tends to throw more deep passes, increasing the likelihood of padding pass interference yardage. There’s just too much evidence to dismiss the theory that New England gets officiating breaks. The stats also bear this out, as Philadelphia was penalized for 9 yards more per game than New England over the course of the season. In the last three games, Philadelphia was penalized for 10 more yards per game than New England. Dating back to last season, Philadelphia (in year 2016) was penalized for 12 more yards per game than New England. I’m willing to lay -150 on some pretty compelling evidence. I also suspect the Patriots as the far more experienced big game team with a veteran quarterback will commit fewer false starts and other so-called “stupid penalties.”
WILL NICK FOLES THROW AND INTERCEPTION?
Laying $130 to win $100
We must presume Nick Foles will play from a position of the underdog (based on the game line). Historically, dog quarterbacks tend to throw at least one interception. The question is — is the nearly 4-3 lay price an accurate reflection of Foles tossing a pick? I think given this is his first Super Bowl appearance, and not within the cozy confines of home, the Eagle quarterback is a bit more likely to be intercepted than this line suggests. Some concern that New England doesn’t intercept opposing QBs as much as one might think (just 12 ints. in 16 regular season games). What I’m counting on is a tipped ball or a Hail Mary pass (end of half or late in game) that gets picked off. If Eagles fall behind (and I think they will), this wager goes up in value.
WILL THE FIRST KICKOFF BY JAKE ELLIOT (PHILA) RESULT IN A TOUCHBACK?
Laying $520 to win $200
Ideal kicking conditions for the strong-legged Eagles placekicker. Inside a dome. 72 degree weather. No wind. Rubber grass. Look for first kickoff to sail way beyond the end zone, or if it lands on the field, the ball most likely will be downed for a touchback. This is a hefty lay price, but is perhaps the best chalk wager on the board. Elliot was routinely blasting kicks out of the end zone in Philadelphia, where it tends to be windy and less predictable. Pumped and ready for the first kick (either the kick off, after an Eagles’ score, or the second half), I expect Elliot to put the ball (close to) in the seats.
TOTAL NUMBER OF DIFFERENT EAGLES TO SCORE
UNDER 3.5 (-130)
Laying $260 to win $200
[This wager is predicated on a contradictory wager — see below]
TOTAL POINTS BY PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
OVER 21.5 (-110)
Laying $220 to win $200
It would be highly unlikely to lose both of these wagers. However, there’s some chance we could cash them both, especially if one of the Philadelphia receivers enjoys a big game. Wagering on UNDER the total number of Eagles players (3.5) to score points means we hope at least one player scores multiple touchdowns. That’s certainly a possibility given the talented receiving trio of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey, and Nelson Agholor (25 combined TDs this season). By also wagering OVER 21.5 on the Eagles team total, we hope the Eagles will crack the 24 mark (this is virtual must — unless there’s a safety). 24 or more points likely means three players will score — the kicker and two ball carriers. The only nightmare scenarios (losing both wagers) come into play if Philadelphia scores exactly 21 points (three TDs by three different players — plus the extra points) or there’s a successful two-point conversion but the Eagles fail to reach the OVER 21.5 threshold. I’m willing to laying some vig here and hopefully end up with the Eagles landing on 24 or 27, with one player scoring twice.
LEANS: Here are my leans on the major wagering options (I don’t like any of these wagers but will post them here since I’ve done this on every playoff game).
Game: New England -5.5 (this is a bad line, -4 is far more preferable). Still, I’d rather bet on a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady than Nick Foles. It’s that simple. Yes, the Patriots have historically been a disappointing Super Bowl favorite. Just a feeling they might roll to an easier victory than is being predicted by the line.
First Half: New England -2.5 because if I like New England for the game, then they should be able to cover less than a field goal in the first half.
Total: Over 48 — because Super Bowls tend to be wacky and produce additional points from unexpected sources (defensive scores, late heroics, etc.).
Good luck. And thanks to everyone for visiting my page each week. This wraps up six full seasons of weekly picks at my site, which will hopefully end on a winning note.