Gambling On Super Bowl 48: Picks, Props, and Over/Under Totals


Jan 28, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas speaks to the media during Media Day for Super Bowl XLVIII at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get into the myriad of prop bets available, we’re going to start simple. Simple, not small. The point spread on this game started with Seattle giving 1 to the Broncos, but the betting public (and possibly Richard Sherman’s outburst) has swung the line all the way to Denver -2.5.

I liked Seattle on the opening line, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I still like them now. But we aren’t going to simply stop at the standard line, we are going to get on the moneyline (+125), and we are going to take an alternative spread and bet Seattle all the way up to -3.5. I’ve got the Seahawks winning the game by 4, but I’m not about to get suckered in on the exact total number (Seattle by 4-6 is 10:1).

So here’s the plan, 3 units on Seattle +2.5, 2 on the Seattle moneyline, and 1 on Seattle -3.5. When we hit em all, we’ll be rolling in our 6 unit win. I’ll get in to why as we move through the props.

Moving on to the total. I’m going to play this one a little safer. And for much less. There’s really not a popular play here. It opened at 48, got down to 47, and now it’s trending back towards 48. This is a tough one because every scenario is legitimately possible. Seattle and the over seems like the toughest one to get to though, which is why I’m going to stick with the under. Peyton is going to get his, and the Denver defense will certainly allow some points, but I can’t see both teams getting to 24, so the under it is, but only for a single unit. 1 unit under 48.

On to the props, the bread and butter of the Big Game (just going for a little alliteration, leave me alone). The first one, and my favorite is probably going to come as a bit of a surprise. Fade (bet against) Julius Thomas in every way possible. The Seahawks are dominant against tight ends. Since their bye week they have been downright nasty. Only once did they allow 5 receptions, all others were 3 or less, and the biggest TE output yardage wise has been 42 yards from Jimmy Graham in Week 13. In the playoffs they have allowed just 3 receptions and 24 yards in 2 games against Graham and Vernon Davis. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Julius Thomas, but he’s not Jimmy Graham and he’s maybe equal at best with Davis.

So let’s start with Thomas total yards. The number sits at 50.5. I’ve got 3 units on the under.

On to receptions, which is 4.5. Once again, we’ve got the under, this time for 2 units. 

Julius Thomas to score a TD? Nope. Count me in for 3 units at -190.

And finally 1 unit on Thomas’ longest reception under 18.5. Boy are we going to make a killing when Seattle’s defense does what they do every week.

My second favorite prop is one I gave away in the Pewter Plank Podcast. The basis of the bet came from the prop reading, last score of the game will be touchdown (-200) or any other score (+175). I love the “other score.” But the chances it’s a safety are so rare that there’s actually a better way to place this same bet. You can also break the last score of the game down by team. So instead of simply taking the +175, I’m advising you to take Seahawks FG at +400 AND Broncos FG at +400. 1 unit a piece and we wind up with a return of +200 when we win.

Here’s a few more, for a single unit a piece.

Largest lead of the game, under 13.5 (+155). Should be a close game all the way through, and considering we are on Seattle the odds are even more in our favor.

First touchdown of the game will be anything other than a passing TD (+150). Lynch is probably the most likely single player to score, and the Broncos actually score a sneakily high number of rushing TD’s (they have 17 this year).

Will there be a safety? No -800. It’s free money, just take it.

Will either team score in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game, No -110.  Both defenses are going to want to set a tone early. Plus I expect both the Seahawks and Broncos to try running the ball in the frigid weather before they move to the pass. I could see multiple punts in the first 6:30. We just have to hope to avoid the turnover.

Will Steven Hauschka’s first kick result in a touchback? No -175. 48 out of Hauschka’s 94 kicks resulted in touchbacks this season. But with the cold weather and return men’s willingness to bring kicks out in big games, this one looks heavily in our favor.

Will either team score 3 straight times? No +155. As I’ve mentioned all throughout this post, I expect this game to be close. 3 straight scores is not terrible difficult, and teams even lose games in which they score three straight, but I like the price we are getting here.

Last but not least. Kevin Durant points against the Wizards vs. Peyton Manning passing attempts. Durant +7.5 (-110). Durant is on a streak in which he’s scored at least 30 in 12 straight games. Peyton usually throws the ball between 30-40 times. Against the Wizards, we can reasonably expect Durant to score 30-35, meaning Manning will have to throw somewhere in the high 30’s to low 40’s against the best defense in the NFL. Yup, give me the Durantula.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, and you are welcome for the extra paycheck this week.