Ever since the Chicago Bears found a way for William “Refrigerator” Perry to score a touchdown in the 1985-86 Super Bowl, so-called “prop bets” have been a significant focus among casual gamblers.
From how the opening coin toss turns out to how many passing, receiving, or rushing yards the star players achieve, it may seem as if dozens of options are available.
Dozens? Hardly. Australian bookmaker PointsBet, which has an online/mobile sports betting partnership with the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, boasts it has more than 500 prop bets for Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. (DraftKings, as of Tuesday morning, was touting more than 400, and rivals likely will boast something similar by week’s end.)
Before we dive into the props, we should note that the sportsbooks all offer the standard betting options too. PointsBet opened the Chiefs as 2.5-point favorites, and heavy money quickly dropped that to 1.5 points in New Jersey (and 1 point in some markets).
About three-quarters of the PointsBet money has been on the Chiefs either to cover the narrow spread or to win outright, which is a phenomenon showing up among other operators as well.
The “over,” of course, has been dominant in the early going, as 96% of bettors backed it on DraftKings in the first days after the conference championship games.
PointsBet opened its points total at 52.5, raised it to 54.5, and has come back down to 54, but three-quarters of the money is still going over.
“As of today, the book will be cheering for the 49ers to cover the spread and for the total to stay under whatever the closing line is,” a PointsBet spokesman said Tuesday.
An assortment of props
It’s incredibly unlikely that the opening kickoff will be returned for a touchdown, which is why the “significant amount of bets” on that occurrence at 80/1 odds might have PointsBet accountants nearly counting that money already. (FanDuel offers those same odds.)
Convinced the game will be a blowout? PointsBet and other operators allow you to “set your own market”: If you believe the Chiefs can cover a 15-point spread, for example, you can get nice long odds on it happening, such as +510 on DraftKings in New Jersey.
DraftKings also is taking wagers on the color of the “Gatorade bath” the winning coach will endure. Red is the chalk at +150, but right-thinking fans who have been bored to death by this cliche for years will be tempted to take “none” at +900 in hopes that this silly gimmick finally will be retired.
Speaking of “retired,” DraftKings has the odds of a post-game Terrell Suggs retirement at just +150, while LeSean “Shady” McCoy checks in at +300 and Emmanuel Sanders is at +700.
And speaking of “last plays,” will it be a “take a knee” by a quarterback to run out the last seconds of the game? You can get “yes” for -170 at FanDuel, or “no” for +135.
Maybe a successful onside kick recovery occurs. If so, that pays out at 23/1 with FanDuel.
As for the 2020-21 season — yes, wagers are available long past the Super Bowl — the Chiefs are the favorites at 6/1 to win next year’s championship in the early line on DraftKings. The Washington Redskins have the longest odds at 150/1; apparently the Ohio State connection of quarterback Dwayne Haskins and defensive line stud Chase Young (the likely No. 2 pick in April) has not impressed oddsmakers and/or bettors.
New Jersey-area fans may like the Giants at 66/1 or the Jets at 70/1.
Photo by Jason Vinlove / USA Today Sports
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