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Sharp bettors fire away on 1st day to play Super Bowl props

Updated February 4, 2022 - 6:29 am

Sharp bettors showed up at the Westgate SuperBook on Thursday night to fire wagers on the ever-popular Super Bowl props.

The video wall at the Westgate lit up at 7 p.m. sharp with more than 1,000 wagering options on the Feb. 13 NFL title game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.

About 25 bettors lined up and were allowed to place two maximum wagers to win up to $2,000 each before heading to the back of the line to do it again.

“They’re really some of the sharpest sports bettors in the country,” SuperBook director John Murray said. “It’s almost exclusively wiseguys in that line.”

Some professional sports bettors, such as Las Vegas resident Jeff Whitelaw, made their own props and wagered on the biggest differences.

“I just try to make my own numbers for everybody and play off of those,” said Whitelaw, who has been coming to the SuperBook to bet Super Bowl props for the past 20 years. “I try to figure out how the game’s going to go and what the coaches are going to do in their game plans, whether they’ll run a lot or pass a lot.”

On Thursday afternoon, Caesars Sportsbook posted its massive menu of props, which offer more than 2,000 ways to wager on the game. Some bettors at the SuperBook wagered on the differences between the Westgate’s numbers and other Las Vegas books.

For example, bettor Frank Carulli locked in a profit by betting plus money on over and under 2½ receptions for Rams receiver Van Jefferson.

‘Favorite night’

Carulli also wagered on a few yardage differences on players in hopes of hitting a middle and winning both bets. For example, he bet Rams running back Sony Michel over 16½ rushing yards at the Westgate and under 20½ yards at another book. If Michel rushes for 17-20 yards, Carulli will win both bets.

“That’s a huge advantage at that low of a number, whereas if that’s Cooper Kupp or Ja’Marr Chase, that’s not a big middle because it’s a much higher number,” he said.

This is the 10th year Carulli has gone to the SuperBook on opening night of the props.

“It’s probably my favorite night of the year other than the first couple days of March Madness,” he said. “It’s fun. I love it. It’s the ultimate action, trying to sift it out and beat the odds for once and get a little bit of an edge.”

Books, sharps on same sides

In general, sharp bettors wager on “no” and “under” on props, while the betting public wagers on “yes” and “over.”

“The general public is more inclined to bet on something they want to root for to happen,” Murray said. “Usually, if the guys betting (Thursday night) do well, we do well. They’re betting a lot of sides we’re going to be rooting for next Sunday.

“These guys have been winning money at this a long time. Some of them are so good, we’ll try to position ourselves to win if and when they do win.”

Popular props

Thirty-seven years after the public won big on a prop that Chicago Bears defensive lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown in Super Bowl XX, Murray said props account for about 55 to 60 percent of the betting handle on the Super Bowl.

Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow estimates props account for almost half of its Super Bowl handle.

“Ours would be slightly less given the size of the bets we take on the game itself,” he said.

Murray said some of the most popular props are the coin toss (heads and tails are each +100 at Caesars); Super Bowl MVP (Matthew Stafford is the +120 favorite at the SuperBook, and Joe Burrow is the +250 second choice); player to score the first touchdown (Cooper Kupp is the +450 favorite at the SuperBook); game to go into overtime (+750 at Caesars); there will be a safety (8-1 at Caesars); there will be a missed extra point (+275 at SuperBook); and there will be a successful 2-point conversion (+240 at Caesars).

“One that’s become really popular is ‘Will there be a successful 2-point conversion?’” Murray said. “They love that one.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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