Super Bowl XLIII prop bet predictions

January 31st, 2009 - 8:19 am

It’s hard enough predicting the winner of the Super Bowl — which will come either later today or tomorrow — let alone prognosticating things like who scores first and which quarterback will have more yards, as well as other incalculable, erratic statistical measures.

Nevertheless, prop bets are fun to do, particularly in a Super Bowl pool in which a fan who knows very little about football can just as likely win as one who knows a great deal about the game.

With that, I present my Super Bowl XLIII prop bets:

For those not familiar with sports betting, the number in parentheses is the money line. Read about it here.

Coin Toss
A) Heads (-105)
B) Tails (-105)
Pick: With a 50-50 chance, I’ve got to go with Heads.

Team to Receive the Opening Kick Off
A) Steelers (+150)
B) Cardinals (-190)
Pick: Despite the unfavorable money line, I’m going with the Cardinals. They have the offense and the Steelers have the defense. If Arizona wins the toss, they’re likely to receive. If Pittsburgh wins the toss, they could defer to the second half.

Steelers – Total Points
A) Over 27 (-115)
B) Under 27 (-115)
Pick: It’s odd they’re not using a half-point, so there very well could be a push. But I’m going to say it’ll be a low-scoring game despite Arizona’s high powered offense and I’m going to take Option B, under 27 points.

Cardinals – Total Points
A) Over 20 (-130)
B) Under 20 (even)
Pick: It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals scoring less than 20 points in a warm climate, especially considering they’re averaging 31.7 points per game in the playoffs. Then again, who’d have thought the undefeated Patriots would have scored just 14 points last year? I like the Steelers’ defense and I’m going with under 20 points for Arizona.

Team to Score First
A) Steelers (-140)
B) Cardinals (+110)
Pick: I’m going with the money line here and taking the Cardinals. I think they’ll get the ball first and at least move into field goal range. Even if they don’t score, I think they’ll move the ball at least far enough to establish field position.

First Score of the Game will be
A) Touchdown (-160)
B) Any other score (+130)
Pick: Again, I’ll go with the money line and pick Option B, because I think a field goal will be scored first.

Total Touchdowns Scored in the Game by Both Teams
A) Over 5.5 (+110)
B) Under 5.5 (-140)
Pick: Six touchdowns is 42 points, or 21 apiece. Mix in a few field goals, and that’s just more points than I think will be scored. Option B — under 5.5 touchdowns.

Total Field Goals MADE by Both Teams
A) Over 3.5 (+125)
B) Under 3.5 (-155)
Pick: Each team will have at least two field goals. Going with the money line and Over 3.5 field goals made.

Total Punts by BOTH Teams
A) Over 9.5
B) Under 9.5 (-120)
Pick: In an article on chicagobears.com, Brad Maynard is said to have the NFL record for most punts in a Super Bowl game and, childishly, roots against punters each year so he can keep his record. In that game — Super Bowl XXXV — against the Ravens, he finished with 11. The Ravens’ punter had 10 punts despite Baltimore scoring 34 points. Going with the theme of a low-scoring game, I like the chances of seeing a lot of punts. Option A.

Jersey Number of Player to score First Touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII
A) Over 38.5 (-115)
B) Under 38.5 (-115)
Pick: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prop bet like this before. The chances of a running back scoring first or a touchdown reception by Larry Fitzgerald (No. 11) seem greater to me than a high numbered player scoring. Gotta go with Option B.

Largest Lead of the Game by Either Team
A) Over 14.5 (-115)
B) Under 14.5 (-115)
Pick: I can’t see either team pulling away by any more than two touchdowns in this game, particularly in a year of such great parity. Of course, anything is possible and it’s why there’s no such thing as a sure thing in gambling. I’ll take Under 14.5 points, though.

Team to Commit the 1st Penalty – Declined Penalties EXCLUDED
A) Steelers (-115)
B) Cardinals (-115)
Pick: I like the odds of Arizona — who really doesn’t belong in this game in the first place — committing the first penalty.

Will Either Team Make a Field Goal in the 1st Quarter
A) Yes (-125)
B) No (-105)
Pick: Option A. I think it’s one of the most likely prop bet results. Particularly for the Steelers who have struggled offensively at times trying to put the ball in the end zone.

Will there be overtime
A) Yes (+600)
B) No (-1000)
Pick: This is what I like to call a throw-away bet. There’s never been an overtime game in the Super Bowl before, but one of these years, you know there will be. If you were actually betting money on this, how can you go wrong betting a small amount with these odds? So, even though I won’t get any monetary value out of this prop bet if I were to guess it correctly, I’m going with Option A — here comes overtime!

There are so many more prop bets out there but I’m sure you can handle only so much. I’ll have my Super Bowl prediction released soon.