Proposition bets on the Super Bowl, similar to the game itself, generate a lot of hype. It’s always entertaining to talk about props involving players in other sports, such as NBA stars Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
Each year, oddsmakers are thinking outside the box and looking to create something new. National media members are searching for unique story angles, and Las Vegas bookmakers welcome the phone calls and free publicity.
But the truth is the most exotic props produce more talk than action. When the Average Joe walks up to the betting window, he prefers simplicity.
“Everybody likes to talk about the crossover-sport props, and it kind of makes your mind wander as you think about those props, but it’s still the simple ones that draw the majority of the action,” said Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay, who has been making props for more than two decades.
Will there be a safety scored in the game? Will there be a successful 2-point conversion? Will the game go into overtime? Which player will score the first touchdown? Will the opening coin toss be heads or tails? Those are the most popular props with the betting public year after year.
Typically, props in the state are restricted to what is decided on the field of play and what can be graded in a box score. That’s why offshore books offer more variety. But for the first time this year, the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved wagering on the game’s Most Valuable Player.
William Hill sports books posted MVP odds on 31 players in Super Bowl 50, with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton installed as the favorite at minus-130. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the second choice at 3-1 odds.
All props considered, there are around 1,000 ways to bet on one NFL game. Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing props posted at Las Vegas and offshore books:
* Will a quarterback pass for 300 or more yards? (Yes plus-140; No minus-170).
* Distance of the first Manning touchdown pass: 10½ yards (Over/Under minus-115); if no touchdown pass, wager is refunded.
* Will the score be tied at halftime? (Yes plus-550; No minus-850).
* Will there be a missed point-after kick? (Yes plus-300; No minus-380).
* Will Manning announce his retirement in the live televised postgame interview? (Yes plus-500; No minus-1,000).
* Will there be an earthquake during the game? (Yes plus-1,000).
* How many times will John Elway be shown on TV during the broadcast? 2½ (Under minus-140; Over plus-100).
* Odds of Beyonce’s belly button being visible during her halftime performance: 6-5.
* Odds that CBS’ Jim Nantz says the phrase “last rodeo” in regards to Manning: 2-7.
* Odds on each backup quarterback attempting a pass: Brock Osweiler (Broncos) 9-1; Derek Anderson (Panthers): 11-1.
* Will Manning take the Broncos’ last offensive snap? (Yes minus-450; No plus-375); excludes point-after try, field goal or punt.
* Will there be a roughing-the-passer penalty called in the game? (Yes plus-120; No minus-140).
* Which will be higher: Total strokes by 2016 Masters winner or Newton total combined passing and rushing yards? (Newton minus-170; Masters winner plus-140).
* Which will be higher: Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals) and Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs) combined home runs in the 2016 regular season or Panthers’ Greg Olsen receiving yards? (Olsen minus-1½).
* Which will be higher: UNLV basketball points scored at Fresno State on Saturday or Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas receiving yards? (Thomas minus-1½).
* Who will have more: Curry points for Golden State Warriors on Saturday or Panthers points in Super Bowl? (Curry minus-4½).
* Who will have more: James points for Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday or shortest made field goal of the Super Bowl? (James plus-1½).
* Will the opening kickoff be a touchback? (Yes minus-170; No plus-150).
* First accepted penalty of the game: False start (3-1); Offsides/encroachment/neutral zone infraction (5-2); Offensive or defensive holding (7-2); Pass interference (8-1); Delay of game (15-1); Any other penalty (8-5); No penalty in the game (100-1).
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247