By Matt Ginn
While the spectacle and majesty of sport in general is of course my primary reason for following along with my favorite teams, life is always a little more interesting when you have money on the line. It is in that spirit that I’ve selected Super Bowl Prop bets to be my initial foray into The Couchletes.
I’d love to be able to adapt in-depth game analysis to search for value comparing odds on various bets, but I suck at in-depth pregame analysis and analysis done after the fact isn’t very helpful when you have to place the bets ahead of time. So I’ll just take a look at a sampling of the props compelling to me.
SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Highest Scoring Quarter
1st Quarter 4/1
2nd Quarter 8/5
3rd Quarter 3/1
4th Quarter 2/1
My initial thought on seeing this bet was to bet the 3rd quarter. Being a 49ers fan I’ve seen most of their games and feel that they’ve been an occasionally slow starting team that likes deferring when they win the opening kick, are great at in-game adjustments and possess an explosive offense. After minimal research I found that the 3rd quarter hasn’t been significantly higher scoring for either the 49ers or their opponents for the majority of the season and that this is just a narrative I created, probably due to being more intoxicated as the game went on. However, I did notice a few high scoring 4th quarters while digging through this season’s box scores and started leaning towards betting the 4th even though the odds are fairly low. The flip side to that argument (that I had with myself in my head) is that the Ravens have been a successful team going deep, the 49ers’ safeties have been susceptible to being beat by the deep ball in recent weeks and that both teams are going to want to get out to a fast start. So, I’m leaning towards the 1st quarter for those reasons and because the payout is the best. I’m nothing if not a sucker for an underdog. $40 on 1st.
SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Who will the Super Bowl MVP of the Game thank first?
Does Not Thank Anyone 9/4
A couple of interesting plays here. If the Ravens win, barring a huge game by either of the Rays (Lewis or Rice), we’re probably looking at an MVP for Flacco. I don’t know Flacco’s personal religious beliefs but he seems cut from the same no-nonsense, no-interesting-quote cloth as Brady, Rodgers and the Manning boys, Eli’s love of pranks aside, and would most likely thank his teammates, coach, owner and then God for “really putting it all on the line” and “winning one for Ray (Lewis)”. Pretty much any Raven will feel inclined to mention Ray Lewis first if they win the MVP, so teammates seems like a fairly safe bet if you’re counting on a Ravens win and don’t have much confidence in a washed-up alleged murderer who hasn’t played his best football in 3+ years stealing the MVP trophy based on sentimentality. If Lewis wins the MVP he’ll thank God, and wouldn’t we all if we beat a murder rap without serving any jail time?
But if you like the 49ers, and I do, then you have to assume it’ll be Kaepernick taking home the trophy. Kaep has also come across as a professional, handling the media well and not making waves for anything out of the ordinary, but he’s also an outspoken Christian who has multiple tattoos referencing bible passages and seems inclined to praise God first in any hypothetical MVP speech he’s giving. I’m putting $50 on teammates and $40 on God, hoping one of them comes through for a small profit.
SUPER BOWL XLVII – The largest points lead of the game by either team will be
Over/Under 13 (-115)
I’m taking the over. 49ers have been behind by 17 and been ahead by 21 in their two playoff games this year, but just look at the scoring progression in the SF – Falcons game and you’ll see my rationale. 17-0 Falcons, 14 straight by SF, another TD for the falcons on a two minute drill and then 14 straight for the 49ers again. Granted, the only time the lead was greater than the 13 points we’re looking for here was the 17-0 start, but the 49ers have shown a tendency in the last few weeks to both score in bunches and allow scoring in bunches. Largest leads (for either side) going back to week 15 from the NFC Championship game, 17 Falcons, 21 GB (Hi Kevin!), 21 Arizona, 36 Seattle (I don’t want to talk about it) and 28 New England (Hi Amy!).
What about Baltimore though, how did the scoring progress in their games? I’ll use their last 6 games, though I think the team has changed a bit since being blown out by Denver in week 15, I want to use the same length of time that I did for the 49ers. Largest lead (for either side) going back to week 15 from the AFC Championship game, 15 New England, 7 Denver, 15 Indianapolis, 9 Cincinnati, 26 NYG and 28 Denver.
In games played by either of these teams over the past 6 weeks the 13 number has been surpassed in 9 of the 11 games competed. I could easily see this game starting out 14-0 or 21-7 before turning into the hair-pulling, nail-biting tight game it’s destined to be. $115 on the over.
SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – SF -4 BAL
For my last Super Bowl bet, I’m just betting the spread. After opening at SF -4.5 in most places the number has started creeping toward the Ravens. At the time of this writing (one week before the Super Bowl) the current line is SF -4 (-105). If you aren’t familiar with point spreads this means the 49ers would have to win by four or more points to payoff a bet on them, the -105 accounts for the casino’s portion of your bet, or the vig. A $105 bet on the 49ers to cover would only pay $100 if you won in addition to the stake (amount bet). If you were to bet on Baltimore you would need them to win outright or to lose by less than four. A four point 49ers win would result in a push and no bets winning or losing. As I’ve said (repeatedly) I’m a 49ers fan and I would rather get the apocalypse inducing super-flu for a month than bet against my team in the Super Bowl. $105 on the 49ers to win and cover 31-24.
A small caveat on this post – Don’t actually trust me for betting advice. For one, betting is illegal in most places in the United States and on top of that I’m not a professional gambler. As I said at the top life is just a little more interesting when you have some money on the line.
By Matt Ginn
Follow Matt on Twitter at @mattginn