The line for the Super Bowl is always tight, but sharp bettors in all corners of the world are able to find value on game props. Adam Markowitz did a great breakdown of some of the exotic props that people like to have fun with earlier this week. Adam Burke wrote up a list of player props as well. This article will cover some of the game props available for Super Bowl XLVIII. You will want to shop around for the best odds on these props and, in some cases, you can even find both sides of a prop at plus-money to guarantee a profit or find a line that moved to give you a nice middle opportunity.
Here are five game props that may have some good value:
1. First team to call timeout: Seattle (-110, DSI)
By no means would it be a surprise to see Russell Wilson get caught up in the moment early in the game. By the same token, Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will have to make sure that the right scheme is in place against Peyton Manning, who will be plenty relaxed and loves to audible at the line. While a lot of players from both teams have never been in a game of this magnitude, the offenses will take cues from its quarterback and Manning should be the more composed of the two.
In the first half of games, the Broncos have tried to push the tempo, averaging 23.8 second per play, which ranks second among the 32 teams. The Seahawks rank 28th in that category. The hurry-up style that Denver employs with great success in the first half could definitely lead to confusion for the Seahawks defense. The Seahawks have faced most of the slowest teams in the NFL, so the up-tempo Broncos will provide a pace that they are less accustomed to.
Between the composure differences of Manning and Wilson and the differences in pace, this prop would seem to have a good bit of value.
2. Team First Downs: Broncos Over 22 (-105, BetOnline)
The Seahawks have the best defense that the Broncos have faced, however the Broncos have managed 22 or more first downs in 17 of the 18 games that they have played this season. With big plays unlikely, as the Seahawks allow just 26.14 yards per drive, the Broncos will have to move the ball methodically down the field. What helps Seattle limit yardage is forcing turnovers, ranking first in the league in turnovers per drive, and first overall with 46 takeaways. As long as Peyton Manning takes care of the football, the Broncos should be able to their share of first downs.
The Broncos were second in the league in third down conversion rate at 45.6 percent. Depending on how tightly the game is called, the Broncos may also get some gift first downs as a result of penalties, since Manning will have the respect of the officials on questionable plays from the Seattle secondary. That will extend drives and give Denver more chances to go over this total.
3. Will a field goal be missed in the Super Bowl? No (+125, DSI)
Keep an eye on the weather reports before locking in this prop, but both Steven Hauschka and Matt Prater kick in environments that can be very difficult. The two combined to miss just three field goals this season, as Hauschka was 33-for-35 and Prater was 25-for-26, with his lone miss from 50+. Early Weather Channel and National Weather Service forecasts put winds below 10 miles per hour, so as of now, weather should not be a factor for either kicker.
The concern with this prop is a try of 55-plus yards to end the half. These were two of the best kickers in all of football this season and going a combined 58-for-61 should breed confidence in this prop bet.
4. Jersey number to score first touchdown: Under 79.5 (Even, BetOnline)
If either team scores a rushing touchdown first, this play is almost a lock. In the unlikely event of a pick-six from a linebacker or a defensive back, this play also wins. The Seahawks have two receivers, Percy Harvin and Jermaine Kearse, with numbers in the teens. The Broncos have two, Andre Caldwell and Trindon Holliday, though Holliday has not caught a pass this season. With the Broncos likely to use Knowshon Moreno in a receiving role as well, that adds another element to this prop. Many people are speculating that Russell Wilson will be using his scrambling ability a lot in this game, so there’s always the possibility that he could run in the first score.
Maybe the first score will be Peyton Manning on a naked bootleg!
5. Will there be a two-point conversion attempt? No (-250, DSI)
The Broncos and Seahawks each attempted one two-point conversion during the 2013 season. It’s really hard to see a situation where a two-point try would be needed in this game. The kickers combined to make all 119 extra points they attempted this season, so it’s highly unlikely that either guy misses one in this game. The odds of a safety are extremely slim, as they are in every Super Bowl. Perhaps an odd distribution of field goals to touchdowns leads to a score that would necessitate going for two, but it’s smart to assume that scoring will be done by the standard threes and sevens and that nobody will go for two.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.