Freedman’s Favorite Super Bowl 53 Penalty Prop Bet: Will Rams, Patriots Have More Than 12 Penalties?

Freedman’s Favorite Super Bowl 53 Penalty Prop Bet: Will Rams, Patriots Have More Than 12 Penalties? article feature image
Credit:

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay talks with NFL referee John Parry (132).

  • Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring one of his favorite prop bets for each day of 2019.
  • He looks to Super Bowl 53 and highlights his favorite penalty prop bet for the big game, featuring the total number of penalties the Rams & Patriots will incur.

Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine.

For more information on my research process and the resources I use, see the master list of my 2019 prop bets.

2019 Year-to-Date Record

18-17-3, +8.23 Units

  • Golf: 2-3-1, -0.70 Units
  • NFL: 5-5-0, +6.83 Units
  • NBA: 6-5-0, +0.30 Units
  • NHL: 5-3-2, +2.80 Units
  • NCAAF: 0-1-0. -1.0 Units

Freedman’s Favorite Super Bowl 53 Penalty Prop Bet: Rams-Patriots Total Penalties Over/Under 12.5

  • Over 12.5: -115
  • Under 12.5: -115

I discussed this penalty prop bet on the Super Bowl 53 Propapalooza podcast with Sean Koerner. Give the episode a listen.

Last year I bet the under on the total number of Super Bowl penalties, assuming that in the postseason the officials would be less likely to call penalties because the league wouldn’t want the flow of playoff games interrupted.

That ticket cashed, as the Eagles and Patriots combined for just seven penalties.

What can we expect to see out of the Rams and Patriots in Super Bowl 53 (Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS)?

During the season, NFL teams accumulated an average 6.73 penalties per game, resulting in 13.46 total penalties per contest.

The 12 postseason teams averaged 6.70 penalties per game during the regular season, so it’s not as if in the aggregate they are much better at avoiding penalties than the rest of the league is.

But in the playoff, penalties have dropped notably. Based on the 10 separate postseason matchups we’ve had so far, we’d expect to see 13.39 penalties per game (based on regular season averages). Instead, we’ve had 11.2.

In the postseason, referees on a per-game basis have called 2.19 fewer penalties relative to expectations. That difference is massive.

The Patriots and Rams this year didn’t rack up a lot of penalties anyway, averaging just 5.81 and 6.0 per game. Both teams were in the bottom quartile in the league. These are two disciplined, well-coached teams.

Just based on their regular season averages, we’d expect the Pats and Rams to combine for 11.81 penalties.

But given that in the playoffs teams have typically combined for 2.19 fewer penalties than expected, a more accurate postseason projection might call for as few as 9.62 penalties in Super Bowl 53. 

I love the under and have bet it aggressively.

I’ve seen under 10.5 penalties available at +120 odds, and that’s enticing, but I prefer the extra buffer provided with 12.5 penalties.

I bet this at -115. I’ve seen it at -120. I’d bet it to -135.

The Pick: Under 12.5 (-115)

Freedman’s Super Bowl 53 Prop Bets

For more insight on Super Bowl props, use the FantasyLabs Props Tool to help you find the sportsbooks that offer the most value on player props. In the tool, we grade each prop on a 1-10 scale. Since Week 1, the props with a bet quality of at least eight have a 57.9% win rate.

Here are the Super Bowl 53 props I’ve written about so far.


Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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