The game preview and picks are here for Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles but there is much more work to be done and action to be had. Oh, yes. Menus of proposition bets (props) offerings have grown exponentially in the past decade-plus thanks to sportsbooks’ creativity and bettors’ appetites to exploit different angles. And some the swelled interest comes from entertaining dart throwing in the last NFL game of the year.
The prop selections below are guided mostly by my “theory of the game,” which generally is a narrow Patriots victory in which Tom Brady throws a ton of passes, the Eagles pound the football and work the run-pass option quite a bit, and a slow start for both teams. Many of those props flow from that idea, but others are just based on math. Last, I don’t really care for the novelty props like coin flip (come on) or National Anthem length. At around 6:32 pm ET I will be busy monitoring my friend Matt. Before kickoff he typically finishes his tequila station dubbed “Margaritaville” at a stand behind the couch while wearing a Sombrero and fake moustache.
Note: These props come from about six different sportsbooks, most of them in Las Vegas and a couple overseas. Your mileage may vary but you should be able to find most or close, and of course if the prices you see are inferior or better, adjust accordingly (or stay away), regardless of whether you’re riding alongside or fading me. As always: only wager within your means. Let’s roll.
Super Bowl LII Prop Bet Picks: Underdog Philadelphia Eagles Battle New England Patriots: Player Props, Game Props and Specials — But Nothing on Pink or Justin Timberlake
1. Points scored in third quarter > Points scored in first quarter (-155): The Patriots as you may have heard have never scored a point in the first quarter in any of the seven Super Bowls in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. Ever. And they’re great at halftime adjustments.
2. Second half scoring (-0.5) > First half scoring (-110): To be sure, there must be more points scored in the second half; it’s a loss if there’s an equal number. Same idea as the in the first one. Early game jitters, sizing up, adjustments. In the second half, things ought to open up, maybe with the Patriots going to hurry-up.
3. No score in the first 6:30 (-115): Same idea. The Patriots will defer if they win the toss and figure the Eagles don’t score on their opening drive and/or the Patriots, too.
4. Total players to attempt a pass o/u 2.5 players: Under (-180). This is very popular prop and in a year without Julian Edelman, I don’t think there’s anyone on either side that either coordinator would want to roll the dice on. There will be another trick play or two, most likely a flea flicker, but I don’t think we’re getting a halfback pass or anything this time around. For those on the Over, you’ve also got the possibility of a QB getting knocked out for a play or (gasp) more.
5. Accepted penalties against Patriots under 5.5 (-130): Conspiracy theories of home cookin’ about as the Patriots didn’t have a single penalty called against them in the AFC Championship game. They also just don’t commit a lot of penalties (like false start or encroachment) and were second-best this season with 5.6 per game (only Carolina committed fewer at 5.0). Also, officials (and league) don’t want the game turning on a penalty and generally allow a little bit more leeway in playoffs games.
6. Shortest TD of game under 1½ yards (-140): It might feel a bit weird — will there really be a one-yard touchdown? — but yes, there usually is, which is why it’s priced this way. Down at the goal line I can’t fathom the Eagles throw (LIKE THE SEAHAWKS!!) with Nick Foles at QB and a great offensive line; and I don’t care what the Patriots do as long as the Eagles stop them just shy of the goal line before allowing a score.
7. Kyle Van Noy solo + assisted tackles o5.5 (-110): Van Noy had nine combined against the Jaguars an in full regular season games (he missed some time with a calf injury) he averaged 6.4. I think the Eagles are going to attack the Patriots’ linebackers in the rushing and passing game, and with a target on him he should have plenty of tackling opportunities.
1. Danny Amendola receptions o4.5 (-120): After watching episode three of Tom vs. Time and seeing the background for Brady and Danny Amendola’s chemistry, I hammered this one and the next. Danny is the new Edelman, who was the new Welker. I’m not sure which version of Brady’s quick-strike timing, sure-handed (most of the time) and chemistry guy is best but it’s going to be Amendola in this game for six or more catches and…
2. Danny Amendola receptions o52.5 (-120): 70-plus yards. But as long is it goes over.
3. Corey Clement receiving yards o13.5 (-110): The Patriots have struggled in pass protection against running backs this year. Their linebacker corps is mediocre at best and I think the Eagles are going to try to make this powerful rookie rusher one of their X factors with a few passes in space.
4. Tom Brady completions o26.5 (-135) and o40.5 attempts (-120): I think he gets to 30 and about 47-48 pass attempts range. In the full game preview, there’s a note from the Bet The Board podcast that Brady, in the Pats’ last 10 playoffs games, Brady is averaging 47 pass attempts and over 30 completions.
5. Jay Ajayi longest rush vs. Dion Lewis (-110): Also noted in the full preview, Ajayi averaged 5.8 yards per carry in seven games (regular season) after coming over from Miami; he’s ranked 10th broken 59 tackles (25.4% BT rate) and Philly’s great O-Line gets him to the second level with ease where he can break one off. Lewis might do most of his damage receiving and the props on their total carries implies Ajayi gets two more attempts.
6. Nick Foles’ first completion u8.5 yards: They’re going to keep it simple early. His average pass attempt distance on all forward passes just 8.1 yards. Check this out:
— Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) January 16, 2018
First touchdown of the game:
This is one of my favorite props every year. Although it’s somewhat random, it’s not. NFL Savant has a great tool to look at red zone offensive usage and combined with opposing defensive personnel/tendencies, we can make a few educated guesses. Just a few if not just big on 1-2, because if you have too much exposure you may just win a little or lose it all.
The Patriots are a narrow favorite (-125) to score first but their first scoring is always more of a crapshoot.
1. Corey Clement at 28:1: He’s had 13 red zone rushing attempts and has converted four (all from inside the 10). Jay Ajayi has 7 and 0, respectively. I think Blount is third chair in this game. Clement also has two red zone TD receptions.
2. Nelson Agholor at 18:1: He’s got a plus matchup against slot CB Eric Rowe and receives a lot of red zone looks. The wideout has converted 19 targets (team high) for five touchdowns.
3. Rex Burkhead at 13:1: The Patriots could use anyone down in the red zone but Burkhead has been pretty darn good with his goal-line tries: 16 red zone rushes for five touchdowns, plus seven red zone targets for three receptions — all touchdowns.
Most Valuable Player:
I’m still bitter than James White didn’t get it last year when I had him at about a 30:1 longshot. They even had him on the podium – absurd. Anyhow, if this is the second time it’s not Brady (Deion Branch) in a Super Bowl win, I’m not sure who I’d guess other than Gronk.
So, forget the Patriots here. Maybe I’ll sprinkle Amendola giving all my drooling above. But let’s take a few sensible shots on Eagles defenders who might power Philly to victory. Remember, Von Miller won it in Super Bowl 50 with a huge performance and Seahawks LB Malcolm Smith in XLVIII because they couldn’t award it to the entire Seahawks defense.
1. Fletcher Cox at 75:1: He’s a total beast, could blow up a few plays in the middle.
2. Chris Long at 150:1: The rotational defensive end forced fumbles this year, and also possesses good karma in general. At 150, why not?