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Super Bowl 2015: The Winning Prop Bets

Max Meyer |
January 30, 2015 | 10:15 a.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor

Tom Brady (Flickr, Creative Commons)
Tom Brady (Flickr, Creative Commons)
When it comes to the Super Bowl, watching the game is usually fun. But betting on Super Bowl props always makes the game more exciting, especially if it's a snoozer like Seahawks-Broncos last year. Here are six of my favorite prop bets (via Bovada) for Sunday's game. Good luck, and whatever you do, don't bet on the coin toss. 

Total QB Sacks in the game, UNDER 3.5 (+155)

Both of these teams have mediocre pass rushes. In four combined playoff games, the Seahawks and Patriots have accumulated three total sacks. In fact, all three of those sacks were by the Seahawks. The Patriots haven't gotten one playoff sack, despite a lofty total of 78 dropbacks by Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco.

The Patriots allowed only 26 sacks in the regular season, and their 4.4 sack rate is second best in the NFL. Tom Brady gets rid of the ball quickly, and the offensive line has gelled over the course of the season. The Seahawks have given up a lot more sacks in their 18 games, but I expect Seattle to consistently run the ball against New England's shoddy run defense. Fewer pass attempts from Russell Wilson means fewer opportunities to sack him. 

Will the New England Patriots Successfully Convert a 4th Down? YES (+130)

In case you didn't know already, Bill Belichick isn't afraid to roll the dice. That holds true in big games too. The Patriots went 2-2 on 4th down conversions against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game. Belichick has gone for it on fourth down three times in the last two Super Bowls the Patriots have played in.

I think this will be a close game, and that Belichick will play it risky on 4th down and shorts in this game. The Tom Brady quarterback sneak is one of the most effective ways to convert fourth down in today's NFL. It also helps that I'm getting plus money on this wager.

Total Passing Attempts in the game for Tom Brady, OVER 36.5 (-130)

The Patriots love to pass the ball. Seattle's defense is really good at stopping the run and the pass. Do you think the Patriots are going to try and beat Seattle's elite defense with Tom Brady or the likes of LeGarrette Blount?

If you take out the regular season finale against the Bills, Brady averaged 38 pass attempts per game over this season. He had 50 in the playoff game against the Ravens. He had 58 against the Seahawks when the Patriots last played them two seasons ago. In his last two Super Bowls, Brady has thrown the ball 89 times. The Patriots only had 35 rushing attempts in those games as well.

The Seahawks pass defense is outstanding, but throwing teams need to pass against them to beat them. Peyton Manning had 49 pass attempts in last year's Super Bowl loss to Seattle. I think the Patriots utilize a spread passing game focused on quick routes in the Super Bowl, so expect a lot of throws from Brady.

Longest Completion for Tom Brady, UNDER 37.5 yards (-115)

Speaking of utilizing a spread passing game focused on quick routes, I don't expect the Patriots to throw the ball deep all that often. In his last eight games, he's had a completion for longer than 37.5 yards in two of them. And those two games were against the lackluster secondaries of Baltimore and San Diego. 

In the last two Super Bowls, Brady's longest completed passes went for 21 and 19 yards. The Patriots love the short passing attack, and that may be all Seattle's secondary is willing to give them. Seattle's defense in the playoffs surrendered a long of a 31-yard completion to Cam Newton and 23-yard completion to Aaron Rodgers. This team does not get beat deep often. I don't think that happens in this game either with the style of offense that the Patriots use. 

Will the New England Patriots score a Touchdown in the 1st Quarter? YES (+105)

Sorry for being Patriots heavy on these prop bets, I just saw more value on props involving them compared to the Seahawks. Anyway, the Patriots have the lowest Bovada odds of scoring a touchdown in the first quarter compared to the other three. Why? Because the public knows that Bill Belichick loves to defer on the coin toss.

The thing is though, Pete Carroll likes to defer on the coin toss as well. And even though the Patriots do end up getting the ball to start the second half often, they still put up points in the first quarter. New England has scored a first quarter touchdown in 10 of 18 games this year. That includes doing so in both playoff games. The Seahawks also gave up a first quarter TD to Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship game. 

You should take advantage of getting better odds here just because of the public perception that the Patriots won't be receiving the ball first. 

Who will have more Receptions in the game? Rob Gronkowski -1.5 over Doug Baldwin (-130)

Gronk averaged 5.4 catches per game this season, while Baldwin averaged 4.2. But if the Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl, they're going to have to go through their star tight end. A good game from Doug Baldwin and a Seahawks win aren't mutually exclusive. 

With Darrelle Revis most likely covering Baldwin in this game, the Seahawks may avoid him entirely. There are other areas to attack New England's pass defense, so why throw it in the direction of one of the best cornerbacks in football? The Seahawks have had trouble defending tight ends this season, and Gronk is one of the biggest matchup nightmares there is. I think Gronk has a big game, while Baldwin's name doesn't get heard that often on Sunday. Gronk should easily get two more receptions than Baldwin in this game.

Reach Senior Sports Editor Max Meyer by email.

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