Photo via Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Every year, Super Bowl prop bets become more and more popular among both professional and recreational players. To find out just how props fit into the overall Super Bowl betting experience, I reached out to odds consultant Scott Cooley, for an insider’s perspective on the most popular prop bets, biggest liabilities and how props help attract new bettors.
Q: How important are props to your overall handle? Do they make up a significant portion or do most bettors still flock towards normal game lines?
A: In general, bettors still lean toward the traditional avenues of gambling on the Super Bowl. But as props have become more popular over the years, more and more bettors are marrying the two.
The spread, total and moneyline still make up more than 75 percent of the Super Bowl money handle. But the ticket count between traditional odds and proposition odds is right at 50-50 these days. The casual bettors love to put down small bets for big prop payouts.
Q: Do props help attract recreational players or even those who don’t bet regularly?
A: Without question props attract more recreational bettors and convert bystanders. You entice the entertainment types that want to bet on the halftime show or the commercials. And you might catch the attention of a politics junkie that wants to wager on Donald Trump props. We want everyone interested in the game’s massive production, not just the sports fans.
Q: How popular are those entertainment props, like cleavage, Gatorade color, etc.?
A: Wildly popular. And the books normally come out ahead on these types of props. The player props aren’t usually profitable, but the exotic stuff sells and scores. And we hang our hat on coming up with some of the craziest ones.
Q: Overtime and safety props are among the highest liabilities for many sportsbooks each year. Do you see the same thing and are there other props that always seem to be liabilities?
A: The overtime and safety props do create liability because of the large prices on “Yes.” The average bettor looks at those props and thinks, “There’s a good chance we could see overtime in this game and 6/1 or 7/1 odds is great value on my dollar.” They’re always looking for the big return, and these two props seem more realistic to cash than some.
Q: Overall, what are the most popular prop bets among your players?
A: One of the most popular will forever be the coin toss. It’s easy to understand/grade, and it kicks off the action from the outset. We opened our cross-sport props just yesterday and those have received a ton of action already from the regular bettors. Our broadcaster props have been surprisingly steady with action as everyone expects to hear Al Michaels make a ton of gambling references during the game. Of course the player statistical props are always popular because that brings a “fantasy” element of sorts into the wager.
Q: In terms of your most popular props, are these mostly small wagers from recreational players or are big bettors playing limits too?
A: The exotic, entertainment-type props are from recreational players. The player props see action from both betting parties, and the sharps hammer them over and over until they feel the odds or juice has been adjusted to where it should be.
Q: What limits are available for your selection of Super Bowl props?
A: They range from $100 to $2000 so the limits are really dependent on the type of prop. Obviously, the more football-oriented props (stuff we know) have the higher limits.
Q: Does most of your props action come in on Super Bowl Sunday? Or is it relatively steady over the course of the two weeks after the conference championship games?
A: The props action is relatively steady throughout the two weeks, but I’d say about half of it comes on Saturday and Sunday. In general, the pros get in early to pick off the bad numbers while the Joes wait until the last minute.
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