But it’s tradition in our household to do it anyway. Each year, me, the Mrs. and my teenage son – my teenage daughter wants nothing to do with this, save for partaking in the winnings if there are any – set aside $100 to lay down a bunch of prop bets on the Super Bowl.
I’ll be completely honest: Super Sunday constitutes the bulk of my annual betting activity. I just don’t bet much. I’ve lived in Las Vegas for 20 years, and been around sports all my life. I understand sports betting, and I know a lot of people on both sides of the counter. I just don’t wager much.
So when I do – or in this case, when the family does – we want to make it pay. Those who make a living as professional bettors would laugh their asses off at most of the wagers we’ve got lined up for Sunday’s Big Game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Look, we’re first just hoping to get our original $100 back. From there, we’re shooting for the moon – with our sling-shot budget, as that’s what teenagers do to your bank account – and hoping that $100 turns into $200 or maybe $300.
Every single bet we’re making is plus money. Some of them are ridiculous plus money – there’s a better chance I’ll get hit by lightning at the instant I record a hole-in-one than of us hitting some of these props. But WTH and YOLO, as the kids say (or tweet, or whatever). So with that, courtesy of the fabulous Green Valley Ranch Resort sportsbook, I give you the Kelly Clan’s 15 Super Bowl prop bets, with some short explainers.
$5 PROP BETS
We put three wagers on who will score the first touchdown of the game: Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch at +500, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at +600, and a flier on Seattle tight end Luke Willson at +1500.
Lynch and Gronkowski are reasonable bets, but with a pretty nice return. Willson? It seems off-kilter, but my high school senior son actually came up with a little research gem: He had three TD catches in the regular season, tied with Doug Baldwin for the team lead. So why not?
We also put three wagers down on props we bet every year: Over 2.5 on the number of players who will throw a pass (+260), a successful 2-point conversion by either team (+325), and a successful fourth-down conversion (Seattle +140).
Again, it’s not professional bettor logic here, but think about it: One trick play, and you hit that first bet, or if Russell Wilson or Tom Brady tweak an ankle and have to sit out a few plays. The 2-pointer, well, again, why not. It’s a nice little payout. And Seahawks coach Pete Carroll isn’t the type to shy away on fourth-and-short.
Two more $5 bets: The Patriots’ Shane Vereen to score a touchdown (+300), just on the premise that Seattle’s defensive backs will be all over everybody else for the Patriots, so a Vereen TD doesn’t seem illogical. And Seattle to record the first QB sack. At +125, that’s the bet with the least return for us. But it’s the Seattle defense, and Brady – while not a statue – doesn’t move that well.
Our last two $5 bets are ostensibly the same, with the double-result prop. This prop is set up with a variety of options, but generally speaking reads: Who will win the first half/who will win the game?
So high school son noticed that if you pick a tie at halftime, and either team to win the second half, the odds are 12/1 for the Patriots and 10/1 for the Seahawks. Therefore, he deduced, if you make that bet on each team – one $5 wager for halftime tie and Seattle winning, the other $5 wager for halftime tie and New England winning – and you get a halftime tie, the worst-case scenario is turning the $10 total into fifty bucks. Dad likes the sound of that. Wiseguys are rolling their eyes.
$10 PROP BETS
The remaining $50 was placed on five $10 prop bets. We’ll go in increasing plus-money order.
The first two are similar: Lynch to score two or more TDs at +325, and Gronkowski to score two or more TDs at +500. Simple enough: These two are the game-changers for both teams. And as far as Gronk goes, with Seattle’s ridiculous defensive backfield shuttering the Pats’ wideouts, perhaps the tight end gets more scoring opportunities.
The next two are also ones we put $10 on every year: “Will there be a safety” at +525, and “Will there be overtime” at +550. OK, so the value on the safety has dropped significantly over the past few years, since that prop has hit the last three Super Bowls in a row and four of the last six. But it’s still a fun bet with a nice payoff. As for overtime, consider that in 48 previous Super Bowls, none have gone beyond regulation. It’s just time. And I’ll say the same thing next year when it doesn’t hit this year.
Finally, the longest of our long shots, on the player to score the last touchdown of the game. We took Tom Brady, at +2,800. Come on, can’t you just see it?
Pats down four in the final minute, at the Seahawks’ 5-yard line. Everybody’s covered. The pocket starts to collapse, but the middle of the field in front of Brady parts like the Red Sea. He awkwardly ambles into the end zone, then spikes it with Eric Cartman-like authori-tie.
What’s that? You can’t see it? Because all I can see are 280 one-dollar bills raining all over our family room.
Colin Kelly is a Las Vegas-based contributor for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinPKelly29.