By Marc Lawrence
Super Bowl XLVI inIndianapolis kicks off February 5 when New England meets the New York with thePatriots looking to avenge losses to the Giants in Super Bowl XVII, and also a24-20 defeat at Foxboro this season in a game which snapped a 20-game regularseason home win streak by New England.
Aside from betting the gameitself, a myriad of betting propositions abound in every Super Bowl as amateurgamblers with an opinion come out of the closet more often this time of theyear than first-timers at a gay rally.
It’s important to rememberthat when betting Super Bowl props the oddsmaker holds a huge edge as many ofthe props carry as much of a 40-cent ‘juice’ edge in his favor. Thus, it’s critically important to make sureyou have some sort of built-in advantage working in your favor before takingthe plunge.
In addition, the props aredesigned to create more action for the books.
"The props were designed not only to get us publicity but tospread the money out. We didn't just want one big decision for the day; we want10 or 20 big decisions. Our chances obviously are better if we have 20 majordecisions compared to one," said Jay Kornegay, director of Race and Sportsat the Las Vegas Hilton.
Furthermore, it’s important to realize that props are set for thepublic and because they tend to bet on teams and players to succeed (yes bets),most of the money is going to be bet on the 'positive' side of a prop.
According to Kornegay, this is the only NFL game of the year wherehe doesn't set the line with the professional bettors in mind. Theprofessionals, he adds, do bet on props but the handle taken in from the publicmasses that flock to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend far outweighs thesmart money.
Here are some “tips” on some of the more popular propositions whenit comes to prop wagering on this year’s Super Bowl.
1. TheCoin Toss
A wildly popular prop thatfans love betting on is the Coin Toss. It’s fast and it takes place just prior to kick-off. It has also seenthe NFC winning the pre-game coin flip each of the last 14 years in a row!
What does it mean? Nothing. The odds on the NFC winning this year’s coin flip: 50/50.
2. We’ll Take The Ball
In addition, similar propsabound on which team will receive the ball first. The Giants are currently -180.
The reason being, as reported by Joe Fortenbaugh of NationalFootballPost.com is “On Sept 7, 2008, New England played the Kansas CityChiefs, won the toss and elected to receive. That was the day Tom Bradywas lost for season with a torn ACL. Since that day, the Patriotshave played 65 games - playoffs included - and won the coin toss 28 times. Onall 28 occasions, New England elected to defer their choice to the second halfand started the game by kicking off.”
3. Quarterback Action Tops Player Props
Bets involving the quarterbacks are extremely popular and for allthe right reasons as signal callers have won the Super Bowl MVP award 24 timesin 45 previous Super Bowl games.
Running backs and wide receivers have carted home the MVP trophyseven times each, with others (read: defensive performers) also totaling sevenMVP’s.
New England’s Tom Brady and New York’s Eli Manning lead the chargethis year. In head-to-head propositioncompetition the Hilton favors Brady by 11 yards over Manning. You also have to lay an extra -$1.10 more onBrady than Manning in total TD passes for the contest.
4. When Tackles Are Not Tackles and Penalties Are Not Penalties
When betting on theover/under number of tackles it’s important to know that sacks are not recordedas a tackle.
In addition, propositionsinvolving penalties are good only if the penalty is accepted.
5. Team Scoring Tendencies
Certain edges can be found when itcomes to scoring props but rest assured, you are not pulling the wool over thelinemakers eyes.
Here is a breakdown ofquarter-by-quarter scoring and averages for-and-against in all games playedthis season for both squads. Note theGiants have played 19 games this campaign; the Patriots 18:
1Q – New York: 80-81 /4.21-4.26
1Q – New England: 99-86 /5.50-4.78
2Q – New York:135-124 / 8.53–5.37
2Q – New England: 179-100 /9.94-5.56
3Q – New York: 72-79 /3.79-4.16
3Q – New England: 151-63 /8.39-3.50
4Q – New York: 188-145 /9.89-7.63
4Q – New England: 152-122/8.44-6.78
Notice that both teams’defense has been its stingiest in the 3Q this season.
On the flip side, theGiants’ offense has performed at its best in the final stanza, whereas thePats’ attack tends to rev up in the 2Q of games.
Incidentally, New England’sdefense has been en fuego in the 3Q of its last 10 games, allowing just 20points. The Patriots have also notallowed a point in any of their last three games during the final quarter.
6. Player Scoring Tendencies
The leading candidate toscore the first touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI is New England TE Rob Gronkowski,high ankle sprain and all. He led thePatriots in touchdowns with 17 this season.
Behind Gronkowski is New YorkWR Victor Cruz. New England’s other TE,Aaron Hernandez and RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis make up the leading fourcandidates.
Over the previous 45 Super Bowls, wide receivers lead the brigade,scoring the first touchdown 18 times. GreenBay WR Jordy Nelson found the end zone first for the Packers against theSteelers in Super Bowl XLV last year.
Running backs are right on their heels with 16 initial scores.Tight ends have scored first five times, with quarterbacks, kick returners anddefensive players two times each.
7. Odd Props
Melding Super Bowl propswith other sports is another popular prop.
One personality prop that fans are sure to be attracted to is EliManning completions versus LeBron James points. Manning goes up against the NFL’s 31stranked pass defense while James and the Miami Heat will be hosting a TorontoRaptors defense that is surrendering less than 95 PPG on the season.
Meanwhile in a Beantown prop, Tom Brady’s touchdown tosses arepaired against total team goals scored by the Boston Bruins in their gameagainst the Washington Capitals.
One of our favorites, though, is who will the Super Bowl MVP thankfirst - with the choices being Teammates, Coach, Family, God, Owner or noone.
If you like the Pats in this game you probably like the chances ofacknowledging owner Robert Kraft in memory of his recently departed wifeMyra. If you like the Giants it’s likelythe winner will acknowledge his teammates.
One thing is for sure. It’sa good thing Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos will be watching from thesidelines. Otherwise God would have beenan odds-on favorite.