The Complete Guide to Ridiculous Super Bowl 53 Prop Bets

super bowl prop bets
Photo credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Crossing Broad staff has done a deep dive on several of the more ridiculous Super Bowl 53 prop bets. Keep in mind, these props come from a wide range of sportsbooks and all may not be available at legal New Jersey sportbooks. You can also check out our full guide on where to bet on the Super Bowl in New Jersey.

Will the Nielsen Rating of Super Bowl 53 reach 44.5? Over (-110)/Under (-110)

This number has only gone below 44.5 twice in the last 10 years. Super Bowl LII actually pulled a 43.1 last February. Super Bowl XLII pulled a 42 number. Both of those games were on NBC, however NBC also had a pair of Super Bowls that pulled 47 and 47.5, and I don’t see anything in the research that shows much differentiation by broadcast. The X-factor here is the LA market, which typically does not do strong Super Bowl numbers. It’s hard to measure how interested Los Angeles is in the Rams and whether or not that translates to strong or weak numbers next week. My lean is over, but the Los Angeles market is unpredictable. How interested will it be in the Rams?

-Kevin Kinkead

Will Jim Nantz or Tony Romo say “Philly Special”? Yes (+250)/No  (-260)

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Interesting question. It’s obvious the play that was ranked the top sports moment in 2018 by Sports Illustrated will be a part of the Super Bowl broadcast. The ballsiest play to ever be called in a Super Bowl was run to perfection against the Patriots (moments after Tom Brady dropped a pass of his own) and was ripped from the Patriots playbook, so it will certainly be brought up during the game, but will either Jim Nantz or Tony Romo actually say the words “Philly Special”?

It’s tough because the play is essentially known by two names. “Philly Special” is the official name of the play, but “Philly Philly” will forever be immortalized when Nick Foles asked Doug Pederson if he wanted “Philly Philly” near the end of the second quarter. Do you trust Romo or Nantz to call the play by its official name, or will they simply just say “Philly Philly”?

I can’t find either of these announcers discussing the play in interviews during the season, so I have no basis on how they would make reference to it.

The value isn’t bad for a “yes” answer at +250, and if anything Romo has proven that he knows the ins and outs of everything going into a game, so he should know that the actual play was called the “Philly Special.” I would put a few bucks down on “Yes” for this prop bet.
-The Coggin Toboggan

Will the winner of Super Bowl 53 visit the White House? Yes  (-200/No +150)

If the Patriots win the Super Bowl, odds are that, yes, they will visit the White House and President Trump. The last two times the Patriots won, in 2015 and 2017, they visited the White House both times. Barack Obama was president in 2015 during the team’s visit and Trump was president in 2017. So they’ve attended while both a Democrat and Republican President was in power.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both fans of President Trump, even though Brady didn’t attend the 2017 ceremony and may have lost favor with the President. But Patriots owner Bob Kraft has a deep friendship and personal relationship with Trump, so it’s likely a delegation from the Patriots will attend.

On the Rams side, Sean McVay was able to steer the team clear of the National Anthem protests last season, a major thorn in Trump’s side over the last two seasons. Defensive end Robert Quinn, who raised his right fist during National Anthems at the start of the 2017 season, is no longer on the team. Additionally, owner Stan Kroenke donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017 and has had no public comments since about any falling out with the President or his ideals, so the Rams would likely send a few players to the White House as well.

Trump’s inability to congratulate the Rams on their Super Bowl appearance (he only congratulated the Patriots, Brady, Belichick and Kraft for making the Super Bowl in a tweet) may sour some players, but I’d say a bet on the “Yes” side of this prop is a good one.
-The Coggin Toboggan

What will be longer? The Total Days of the Government Shutdown (+110) or Yardage of the Longest TD (-140)

UPDATE: This was written before the Shutdown was over. Take the yardage.

Let’s say the shutdown extends all the way to Super Bowl Sunday. That’d be 43 days (we’re at 34 as of 1/25). That might be tough to beat.

Last year, the longest touchdown was the Alshon Jeffery 34-yard catch in the first quarter. In Super Bowl LII, Robert Alford got an 82-yard pick six. Overall, in the nine Super Bowls played this decade, there’s been a total of six touchdowns longer than 43 yards (two in Super Bowl XLVIII, two in Super Bowl XLVII, one in Super Bowl XLIV). Outside of the Alford pick six, there hasn’t been a TD scored that’s been at least 35 yards.

This season, the Patriots have scored six TDs longer than 43 yards. Their longest in the postseason was a Phillip Dorsett 29-yard pass against the Chiefs in the AFC title game. As for the Rams, they’ve had four TDs longer than 43 yards, but all of them have come in the first four weeks of the season (Cooper Kupp had two of them). Since then, their longest TD was a 40-yard catch from Gerald Everett in that crazy Monday Night Football game against the Chiefs. Their longest TD in the postseason was a 35-yard Todd Gurley rushing score.

If the shutdown ends sooner rather than later, it’s a good chance that the longest TD is greater than the total days of the shutdown. But if I’m betting right now, I’m going with the total days of the shutdown.

-Chris Jastrzembski

Will the Dome of Mercedes-Benz Stadium be Open at Kickoff Yes (-280)/No (+210)

It’s a beautiful stadium and dome. But in its biggest games, the dome has been closed.

In both SEC Championship games in 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and the 2018 MLS Cup, the roof was closed.

The current weather forecast calls for rain for most of the day and evening. Without a doubt, the roof is going to be closed, even if the conditions outside are fine.

-Chris Jastrzembski

Which Song Will Maroon 5 Open With?

Plenty of people groaned at Maroon 5 being named the headliner of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, but look at the list of performers in the title game’s history. Be grateful you are living in a time where Up With People doesn’t get the nod three times in seven years. The other upside to Maroon 5 playing the halftime show is that you know so many of their songs. Unfortunately, this makes figuring out which of those songs they will start the show with that much more difficult.

Here are the odds on which song they will open their show with as of 1/24:

“One More Night” and “Makes Me Wonder” — +300
“Animals” — +500
“Don’t Wanna Know” and “Girls Like You” — +600
“Moves Like Jagger” and “Sugar” — +700
“Payphone” and “Maps” — +1200
“Mic Jack” — +1500
Any Other Song — +400

You might be able to win a bar bet with this nugget: Maroon 5 have only placed four singles at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. All four of them are listed above in bold. “This Love” and “She Will Be Loved” were not #1s. You learn something new every day.

On Maroon 5’s recent tour, they opened every show with “What Lovers Do,” which only ever reached #9 on the Hot 100. That makes any other song at +400 pretty enticing — you get “What Lovers Do,” “Love Somebody,” “Harder to Breathe” and a lot of other hits as an entry.

It might also help to see what recent performers opened with. Last year, Justin Timberlake opened with “Filthy.” Two years ago, Lady Gaga opened with “God Bless America.” Three years ago, Chris Martin opened the show by singing the chorus to “Yellow” before the full band played “Vida la Vida.” I would have lost my ass on “Clocks.” What the past three years tells you is that there is no formula (and apparently no mandate as to what the artist leads with), so the artist’s preference is what carries the day.

A unit each on “One More Night,” “Makes Me Wonder” and “Any Other Song” should at least get you your money back, but if pushed, I’m riding with “Any Other Song.” Adam Levine clearly feels comfortable opening with “What Lovers Do,” you’re getting a number of other strong contenders — “This Love” especially is a song that will reach the entire viewing audience — and you’ve accounted for the possibility that Maroon 5 pulls a Gaga, gets political and opens with something like a verse from “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”
Phil Keidel

Gladys Knight National Anthem over-under 1:50?

I’ve done an obscene amount of research on this and was only able to find one video of Gladys Knight with or without the Pips singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Boom:

That’s a crisp 1 minute and 38 seconds, and she’s a full 27 years older. No way she can hold the last note that long.

This line is low, though. Five singers since Super Bowl 40 have gone over 2:00 minutes when singing the National Anthem– Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel, Jennifer Hudson and, weirdly, Luke Bryan.

Alicia Keys, who couldn’t read a phone number without an interlude, was the longest at 2:35.

This means oddsmakers already implicitly like a shorter version this year. The line has come down in some places to 1:45, so clearly the smart money is under Gladys Knight… if you can grab this before it dips to 1:40, I’d hammer Gladys and the under.

-Kyle

What will be higher Trump’s approval rating or the longest field goal in the game?

Donald Trump’s approval rating is around 34-36 depending on where you look, and that’s under the average NFL made field goal length of 36, so the odds, at first blush, appear to be pretty even. But given the fact the game is LIKELY being played in a dome and that every playoff game this year except for the Colts-Texans and Chargers-Patriots games have featured a field goal of at least 36 yards, the field goal seems to be the play here. It is the favorite at -140, but it’s worth noting that the end of the government shutdown may push Trump slightly higher. Still, take the field goal.

-Kyle

How Many Maroon 5 Songs Will be Played During the Halftime Show?

Over 3.5 — -160
Under 3.5 — +120

Yeah, yeah, I know, Travis Scott and Big Boi are going to be up there, too, and they need to be heard doing something. But there are plenty of Maroon 5 hits that feature similar players. Wiz Khalifa contributed to “Payphone.” Kendrick Lamar was in on “Don’t Wanna Know.” Future guested on “Cold.” So even if Scott and Boi (that was fun to write) get a minute or two of airtime, it’s probably going to be partly chiming in on a Maroon 5 song. None of the songs that were given their own odds exceeds four minutes in length, and because so many of them sound the same, they are all easy to string into each other in two-minute bursts. So we should definitely get segments of five or even six different songs being played in the halftime show running time, which in the last three years has been 13:45, 13:33 and 13:11. This is an over, all day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go listen to some jets take off to get Adam Levine’s voice out of my head.

-Phil Keidel

Jersey Number of First/Last Touchdown Scorer Over (-134)/Under (+100)

When I saw the betting line on the props bets for jersey number of the first and last touchdown in the Super Bowl, I did a double take. Showing my age, my first thought was this has to be a mistake. The majority of touchdowns scored are scored by guys with uniform numbers 27 or higher. I mean, there are 73 numbers between 27 and 99 compared to just 26 between 1 and 26. Why wouldn’t the odds be more diverse? So, I had to dive into it. I had to look closer to find out if my initial instinct was correct, or if there was something more indicative into the logic of setting the line where it is. As such, I went back and reviewed the box score for each of the 52 previous Super Bowls and looked at who scored the first touchdown and who scored the last touchdown.

Here’s what I came up with:

First Touchdown of the Super Bowl

Uniform number 27 or higher – 39 times

Uniform number 26 or lower – 13 times

Last Touchdown of the Super Bowl

Uniform number 27 or higher – 39 times

Uniform number 26 or lower 13 times

At first glance, my hypothesis seemed correct. That’s 75% of the time that the first or last touchdown in the Super Bowl would be scored by someone with a uniform number of 27 or higher.

As such, just based on this data, betting the over would seem to be really good odds. I mean, yeah, it’s minus 134, but it’s not like it’s minus-260.

It seems like a real value bet, but then I looked a little closer. See, I told you my original theory was rooted in age. That’s because nowadays, more wide receivers are wearing lower numbers than they used to. I’m not exactly sure when the trend started toward lower numbers for receivers, but since 2001, both the fist touchdown and the last touchdown of the Super Bowl were scored by guys with uniform numbers of 27 or higher just three times.

From Super Bowl XXXI through Super Bowl XXXV it happened every year. In fact, it happened in 25 of the first 35 Super Bowls, and through the first 40 Super Bowls, it never happened that both the first and last touchdown of the big game were scored by a player with a uniform number of 26 or below. Not once. Since then it’s happened three times (Super Bowls XLI, XLVIII, XLIX).

And then there’s this stat:

First Touchdown of the Super Bowl:

LII – Alshon Jeffrey (No. 17)

LI – Devonta Freeman (No. 24)

L – Malik Jackson (No. 97)

XLIX – Brandon LaFell (No. 19)

XLVIII – Marshawn Lynch (No. 24)

That makes four of the last five Super Bowls where the first touchdown was scored by someone with a number below the 26.5 line set by DraftKings and the only one that wasn’t was a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Denver’s Malik Jackson.

But wait a minute…what else can we glean from the available information that could help here? Well, of the 104 touchdowns that were examined over 52 Super Bowls, only 10 were scored on defense or special teams. That means there’s a 90.4% chance that an offensive player will score the first or last touchdown.

So, let’s look at the guys who have the best chance of scoring for New England and Los Angeles.

For the Patriots, there are 10 guys to consider. Five of them have uniform numbers of 26 or lower (Tom Brady, Sony Michel, Julian Edelman, Philip Dorsett and Chris Hogan), and five of them are 27 or higher (James White, Patrick Develin, Rex Burkhead, Cordarelle Patterson and Rob Gronkowski).

For the Rams, there are eight guys to consider since they don’t spread the ball around as much as the Pats do. They have just three guys at No. 26 or lower (Jared Goff, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks) and five guys at No. 27 or higher (Todd Gurley, C.J. Anderson, Gerald Everett, Josh Reynolds and Tyler Higbee).

That would give a slight edge to the over (10 vs. 8) but you pretty much have to take the quarterbacks out of the mix. Neither Brady nor Goff are particularly known for rushing the ball. Brady ran for just 35 yards this season while Goff ran for 108. They each scored two rushing touchdowns though, but that would mean they would have to be down at the goal line and likely trying to plunge it in.

So if you take them out of the mix, that leaves you with 10 guys with uniforms that are over the number and just six guys with uniforms under the number.

With that information, the odds definitely swing more in the favor of over.

But, there’s one other thing to note: only 13 of the 52 touchdowns that were the last touchdown of the game were scored by running backs, meaning late in the game – and that’s historically. In today’s pass-happy NFL, it’s a good bet that the RB’s odds of scoring late are diminished even further, while 19 of the 52 first touchdowns were scored by backs – meaning they’re more a bit more active early. So, to me, this comes down to receivers, which gets us back to even – five on each side of the over/under line.

That’s frustrating. The over bet is no longer a value play and the under bet is the correct odds. So, there’s nothing here that really makes me want to take a side. Mathematically, you should go with the under if you absolutely must bet it. But the odds aren’t in your favor here either way.

In closing, this prop is simply a sucker bet. Avoid.

-Anthony SanFilippo

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