Finding Value in This Year’s Super Bowl Props

Prop bets are an extremely fickle mistress. Bettors can find legitimate value in some props, but it is also easy to become undisciplined and make too many wagers.

Just like any other bet you make, whether the prop is “fun” or not, the goal is to win. Whittling down your total number of bets, and finding the props you have the most confidence in, takes time. If you really want to come out ahead on Monday, look at all of your options and be disciplined.

To help you in that respect, we have compiled our three favorite props for Super Bowl XLIX.

#1: Luke Willson Catches – 2.5 o/u

There has been a lot of talk about how the Seahawks will defend Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is perhaps the most dangerous offensive weapon for New England. Far fewer people are talking about Seattle tight end Luke Willson.

During the first three weeks of the season, Willson was targeted just one time (as a healthy Zach Miller saw most of the tight end targets). Willson never had a two week span where he caught more than five passes during the entire regular season.

However, Willson snagged four balls in the Divisional Playoff win against Carolina, and was targeted five more times against the Packers. Interestingly, according to footballoutsiders.com, New England ranked 30th in the league this year defending tight ends, allowing eight catches and over 65 yards per game to tight ends. Against the backdrop, the over (2.5) on catches for Luke Willson is a solid play.

Our pick: OVER

#2: Shane Vereen Catches – 3.5 o/u

It is not nice to call a future Hall of Fame quarterback a game manager. However, Tom Brady prefers to pick his way down the field at this point in his career rather than throw the long ball. Seattle defends wide receivers very well, and tight ends adequately. However, only the Jaguars allowed more receptions to running backs this year than the Seahawks.

Shane Vereen ended the regular season a bit sluggishly. He caught only five passes during the last three weeks. Those games weren’t crucial for the team, though, as New England was waltzing to the top seed in the AFC.

In the playoffs, Vereen has seven catches for 80 yards in two games. During the Pats’ last two Super Bowls, their primary receiving back has collected 11 total catches. Vereen seems likely to be a check-down target that sees more than 3.5 catches.

Our pick: OVER

#3: Will the TV broadcast mention that Pete Carroll was replaced by Bill Belichick in New England?

  • YES (+110)
  • NO (-150)

Finally, there is a prop that asks whether the television broadcast of the Super Bowl will mention that Pete Carroll was the coach of the Patriots immediately before Bill Belichick. At one point YES was +110 and NO was -150.

How could that not be brought up? Television shows are about telling stories and bringing in the casual viewer. The Super Bowl, in particular, has a lot of airtime to fill. This is an interesting and relevant detail; we think it’ll get mentioned. If you can still get YES at +110, give it some thought.

Our pick: YES

(Photo credit: Mike Morris (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)