Thursday, January 30, 2014

Once we finish laughing at all the crazy prop bets that got put on the board for the Super Bowl, we can settle down and take a more serious look at the props involving the actual game.

If you're looking for value, here are some of the best options for both player and team prop bets this Sunday. All odds courtesy of Bovada.

Player Props

Player to score first TD in the game?

Julius Thomas 8/1

Montee Ball 16/1

Percy Harvin 14/1

The Seahawks have done a fantastic job shutting down opposing tight ends this season, a list that includes the likes of Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis, but Thomas is difficult to handle in the red zone. If Seattle load up in coverage, there's a good chance that Peyton Manning calls an audible and hands it off to one of his backs. You could flip a coin between Ball and Moreno, but Ball offers more value. Finally, Percy Harvin can score in so many ways, both on the ground and in the air, so he provides a good option under any circumstance.

Total completions - Russell Wilson

Over 16.5

Total passing attempts in the game - Russell Wilson

Over 26.5

The 'Hawks love to the run the ball as much as any team in the NFL, but there are a few things in Wilson's favor for this prop. First, the Broncos already had a weak pass defense, and now they are without Chris Harris. Second, they add Percy Harvin to the lineup. And finally, in the event that the Seahawks need to come from behind, Wilson will be passing on the majority of the snaps.

Longest completion - Russell Wilson

Over 36.5

Again, there is a strong perception keeping this number at a lower rate - the fact that Seattle are a run-first team. Wilson is also underrated as a deep passer. This year they completed the highest percentage of passes over 20 yards, and with Tate and Harvin running routes, there's a good chance for a big play.

Total Rushing Yards - Russell Wilson

Over 32.5

Without Von Miller in the lineup, the option for a quarterback spy becomes thin. This is a Denver defense that will have a hard time accounting for pre-snap formations, so how will they account for Wilson? Wilson should have some nice opportunities to pick up yards with his legs.

Total Rushing Yards - Marshawn Lynch

Over 90.5

This number is pretty low when you consider what Lynch was able to do this year. Nobody in the league created more missed tackles than him and it wasn't even close. He racked up over 100 yards against the 49ers, one of the best run defenses in the NFL. The only way I see Lynch not reaching this number is if the Broncos are up 2+ scores in the fourth quarter.

Total Rushing Attempts in the game - Marshawn Lynch

Over 21.5

For a heavy running team, you can be sure that Seattle will try to establish their ground game early, and grind down the Broncos defenders throughout the game. If Seattle have a second half lead, this prop could hit earlier than expected.

Total tackles and assists - Kam Chancellor

Over 7.5

Chancellor will be a key player in stopping the run. This number is low given how big his role is.

Total receiving yards - Demaryius Thomas

Under 75.5

Total receptions - Demaryius Thomas

Under 5

Of Welker, Decker, and Thomas, it's Thomas's numbers that go down the most when facing press coverage. If he sees a heavy dose of Richard Sherman, I don't expect him to put up big receiving yards.

What will be higher, Alex Ovechkin shots on goal Vs Detroit Red Wings, or Wes Welker receptions?

Ovechkin shots

Ovechkin is tops in the NHL with around 5.5 shots per game. He's a pretty solid bet for a lot of shots each and every game, but Welker is going up against the best pass defense in the NFL. It's more likely that the Broncos spread the wealth than load up on Welker targets.

What will be higher, goals in the Red Wings/Capitals game, or Demaryius Thomas receptions.

Goals in the Red Wings/Capitals game

Both of these hockey teams are average at best on defense, and neither have had excellent goaltending this year. For reasons mentioned above, I don't think Thomas is due for a big game.

Team Props

Team to score last wins the game

No +135

The odds for this prop don't make much sense in terms of how many NFL games go. A lot of garbage points are put on the scoreboard at the end of games by the team trying to get back in it. There is also the natural incentive factor. Teams that are ahead will be more inclined to burn clock than put up points. Good value here.

Total team points - Seattle Seahawks

Over 23.5 -125

When you factor in the fact that the Seahawks shouldn't be underdogs to begin with, their team total offers some value. The Denver defense has performed below average in most of the key categories this year against a fairly weak schedule, and now they are without some of their best players due to injury.

Longest successful field goal

Over 44.5 yards

There is always the possibility of some not-so-great weather and Met Life Stadium is known for swirling winds, but both of these teams have strong, reliable kickers and 45 yards isn't that long.

Team to get the first first down of the game

Seahawks +105

Since this will likely come down to who gets the ball first, there's no reason why Seattle should be the underdogs here. For a coin flip, take the plus money.

Last scoring play of the game

Field goal or safety +150

There are far too many scenarios where a field goal could be the last play of the game, eg if the game is close, goes to overtime, to extend a lead, to cut a two score lead, etc. At +145, you have to like those odds.

Total number of penalties made in the game

Under 12

When it comes to the Super Bowl, referees do not want to be the ones to decide the game. It's also bad optics for the league to have a penalty-filled game.