Covers talks about where the Super Bowl prop bet action is with Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook; oddsmaker Ed Salmons at the Superbook; and Mike Jerome, lines manager for offshore sportsbook TopBet.eu.
New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons – Open: +3; Move: +3 (even); Move: +3 (-105); Move: +3 (-110)
Other than adjustments to the price, the Super Bowl line hasn’t moved this week at the Superbook, sticking firm at Patriots -3. That might not be the case with the proposition offerings, with so many options – Kornegay posted a record of more than 400 – that bettors just might be able to find some advantageous lines.
It’s a long way from when prop bets first came into Super Bowl betting lore.
“When I first entered the industry back in ’87, ’88, there were only maybe about 10-12, maybe 20 propositions for the Super bowl,” Kornegay said. “Now we’re looking at around 400. It really took off in the early ‘90s, mid-‘90s, as the games were really boring, we expanded the menu and it really took off. Now it’s just a huge part of the experience of being in Las Vegas.”
Sharp money was the order of the night on Thursday, with bettors aiming to find props where they might have an early edge.
“The people betting last night are professionals,” Salmons said, noting a general pattern to their wagers. “Ninety-five percent of the bets were on ‘No’ and ‘Under.’ We fully expected that.”
Salmons pointed specifically to betters liking “No” on Pats tight end Martellus Bennett to score a touchdown and the same with teammate Julian Edelman.
“We will write a ton of ‘Yes’ next weekend” on both those props, Salmons said.
That’s because public bettors, on the other hand, love betting on “Yes” and “Over” with many of the props. And year-to-year, they’ll hit some of the standard ones that offer potentially nice little payouts at plus-money.
“We usually have the same propositions that are the most popular with the general public,” Kornegay said. “The one that I believe is the most popular and gets the most tickets on it, it’s a very generic one and it’s been around for a very long time, is the player to score the first touchdown. That always seems to get a lot of attention from the general public. And then we just go into the overtime proposition and the safety.”
Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman is the favorite to score the first TD, at 7/1, followed by teammate Julio Jones and New England’s LeGarette Blount and Edelman at 8/1. The prop of overtime opened Yes +700/No -1100, and the prop on a safety at any point in the game opened Yes +600/No -900.
The safety went on a three-year streak recently, in the New York Giants’ win over New England in 2011-12, Baltimore’s win over San Francisco in 2012-13, and Seattle’s win over Denver in 2013-14 – the latter coming on the first play from scrimmage, making it a huge hit among those who took “safety” as the game’s first score.
“The safety hasn’t really been a friend of the bookmakers in recent years,” Kornegay said. “We had three safeties in a row. To think of the odds of that happening, just incredible.”
Meanwhile, TopBet.eu has a little more than 100 prop offerings, with one of the more active plays coming on whether Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will throw for more than 300 yards.
“We opened that prop ‘Yes’ -300 and got sharp action on ‘No’ +200, so we moved to the current number of Yes -240/No +180,” Jerome said.
As is the case at all books, both in Vegas and offshore, fun is being had with some of these prop bets, and even sharp customers are interested in the more unique offerings. At TopBet.eu, that includes whether President Trump will tweet three or more times during the Super Bowl, from kickoff to final play.
“We opened ‘Yes’ -150 and got sharp action there and at ‘Yes’ -180, so we moved to the current number of -220,” Jerome said.
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.