PFF's favorite prop bets for the Super Bowl
All season long, our Eric Eager has been offering up his against-the-spread picks for those gambling aficionados out there (you know, where it’s legal). But as the game slates get smaller, the betting opportunities increase, up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl, which offers enough prop bets to keep your favorite neighborhood gambler busy for longer than there is between Conference Championships and the big game.
With that in mind, analysts, writers and fantasy minds around PFF have chimed in with their favorite prop bets for Sunday. (Most of these bets come from Bovada or Oddsshark, but not all.) Check them out and decide your favorite:
Julio Jones UNDER 95.5 total receiving yards
Julio Jones has exceeded this number in nine of 16 games this year, but New England has allowed just four receivers to top this number all year (including playoffs) — Jarvis Landry, Quincy Enunwa, Antonio Brown and DeVante Parker. Brown is the only true outside WR1 on this list, and New England held him to just 77 yards two weeks ago. This week, I’m buying into the narrative that Bill Belichick will do everything he can to scheme against Jones and rob the Falcons of their most-dynamic playmaker. – Scott Barrett
Vic Beasley UNDER 0.5 sacks
First sack: Trey Flowers
Getting stuck into the defensive prop bets hasn’t been anywhere near as easy this season, but I’m quite keen on Vic Beasley on the under for sacks. He led the league with 16, but his matchup against Marcus Cannon is as tough as it gets, as per Eric Eager’s one-on-one matchups piece. In Brady’s 12 regular-season starts, Cannon has allowed zero sacks and no more than one quarterback hit or three hurries in any of those games, while the majority of Beasley’s production has come against vastly inferior players. In addition to this, and an alternative and potentially more lucrative way to cash in on a quiet game from Beasley, oppose him in the first sack market where he is around +300. Instead get behind New England’s Trey Flowers at +700. – Ross Miles
First ATLANTA touchdown: Devonta Freeman
First NEW ENGLAND touchdown: LeGarrette Blount
The first team touchdown scorers are also a market worth taking a longer look at. As much as Julio Jones is an outstanding player, he hasn’t been Atlanta’s first touchdown scorer at all, all season. It’s been Freeman who has been Atlanta’s initial TD scorer, doing so three times this season. No other Falcon has done so more than once. It’s a similar story for New England as well, with Blount scoring the Patriots’ first TD on three occasions, while no other Patriot has done so more than once. Both are generally available to be their team’s first touchdown scorer at 7/2, but if you dig around there are some slightly better odds in places. As of this writing I found 17/4 Blount and 15/4 Freeman on Bet365. – Ross Miles
Matt Ryan OVER 7.5 rushing yards
The Patriots are more conservative with their pass rush than any other team in the league, as they rush three or fewer defenders on 26 percent of the plays. As a result, the New England defense should be able to cover longer with eight men dropping back, which might force Ryan to take off if he cannot find an open receiver across the field. – Zoltan Buday
Matt Ryan UNDER 315.5 passing yards
Ryan has thrown for under 315.5 passing yards (and under 300 passing yards) in 10 of 18 games this year. The Patriots have only given up over 285 passing yards three times this year. Yes, Ryan is the best QB the Patriots have played, but their defense is legitimate. – Tyler Loechner
LeGarrette Blount OVER 14.5 carries
In 14 games with Brady, Blount went over 14.5 carries 10 times — averaging 11.5 when he went under. That includes an eight-carry Saturday game after missing practices to illness. Atlanta allowed the seventh-most plays, their run defense grades seventh-worst, and Blount is the favored Patriots’ closer. – Pat Thorman
Malcolm Mitchell OVER 2.5 catches
Malcolm Mitchell OVER 29.5 receiving yards
The handy thing about these prop bets is, if a player is inactive for the game, it’s no action. So the chances of Mitchell being inactive just make this a no-risk gambit on that end. So then the question is whether Mitchell, if he does play, will catch passes. And in five of the last six games of the regular season, Mitchell surpassed the 2.5-catch and 29.5-yard thresholds. If he’s active Sunday, it’ll be because he’s earned a role in the gameplan, and that would lead to the over being a good bet. – Daniel Kelley
The first score of the game will be a Patriots touchdown
The Patriots scored first in 15 of their 18 games this season, and in every out-of-division game. They strike first 83.3 percent of the time, and 60 percent of those first strikes were touchdowns. – Brandon Marianne Lee
No punt return touchdown
There were 10 punt return touchdowns this season in 266 games. Even in the most productive season in recent memory—2011—there were only 20, still putting the odds in your favor, even at a -1000 payoff. – Mike Renner
No defense or special-teams touchdowns
The Patriots and the Falcons ranked first and second in the NFL in the percentage of their offensive drives ending in a turnover during the regular season, while their defenses were just middle-of-the-pack (14th and 13th, respectively) in that metric. The two quarterbacks in this game combined for just 11 interceptions and 11 fumbles in 1,214 dropbacks in 2016, making the number of opportunities for a defensive touchdown likely scarce in this one. Additionally, Atlanta kickoff man Matt Bosher led the league in touchbacks with 74, while the Patriots’ coverage units allowed just a 5.0-yard average on punt returns and an 19.3 average on kickoff returns during the regular season. Neither the Patriots nor the Falcons had a special-teams touchdown scored in any of their regular season games, a streak that ended when Dion Lewis ran a kickoff back 98 yards against Houston three weeks ago. – Eric Eager
Bill Belichick will be the first coach mentioned on TV after the kickoff
While I do think that the telecast discusses Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan first, the lead-in will be something to the effect of “We all know that Bill Belichick is coaching in his seventh Super Bowl as head coach of the New England Patriots, but how about the job between Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan?” They will then go on to talk about the Falcons, but technically, Belichick will be mentioned first. – Mike Tagliere
If the Patriots win, Brady, Belichick or Kraft WILL be seen shaking Roger Goodell’s hand on TV
Just like my earlier, Malcolm Mitchell-based props, this one has the easy fix of a no-bet-at-all out clause. If the Patriots lose, it’s no action. And if they win, come on, one of the three of those guys at least will want it to all be over with. There will be at least one handshake in that group. – Daniel Kelley
The telecast will mention “Trump” OVER 1.5 times during the game
Not only is Tom Brady the biggest star on the field, but his support of Trump has been a hot topic with the media. Plus, any in-game tweet by Trump will undoubtedly be splashed on the screen. – Mike Castiglione
And PFF’s way to get into the Super Bowl for free…*
Above, I said my favorite prop bet was based on Julio Jones’ yardage. Still, there’s one prop bet that offers far more upside and a lower risk — if you follow my instructions down to the letter:
- You bet the $5,000 max on the following prop bet offered by 5dimes.eu: “A fan illegally enters field of play +1150” (Notes: Fox broadcast team must acknowledge individual on field, game must be delayed as a result.)
- You buy a ticket to the Super Bowl and attend the game.
- You illegally enter the field of play, making sure to do so at a time when the officials will stop the play and you are so disruptive you ensure that the Fox broadcast team acknowledges your existence.
- Collect your $57,500 and release yourself on bail.
Even after legal fees, you’re probably still coming out ahead by a significant margin. — Scott Barrett
* Note: Scott Barrett and PFF are not liable if you choose to follow this advice. Like, don’t actually do it. But still.