Will There Be a Safety in Super Bowl 53? Odds, History Behind This Prop Bet

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Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 01, 2019, 10:25 PM EST
  • Will there be a safety scored in Super Bowl 53 between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams?
  • Evan Abrams digs into the history and numbers to find out whether there's value in betting "yes" on a safety scored prop.

The safety may only be get you two points, but for prop bettors it can be worth so much more. In Super Bowl history, the scoring play has occurred nine total times, including four times in the last decade.

History of the Safety

The first safety in a Super Bowl happened in Super Bowl 9 between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only was it the first safety in Super Bowl history, but it was the first scoring play of that game, too.

Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton tried to pitch the ball to his tail back, when it got deflected backwards into the end zone before Tarkenton fell on top of it to give the Steelers a 2-0. Steelers ended up winning the game 16-6, to capture their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

 

Ironically enough, only one of the nine safeties in Super Bowl history had the play start inside the 5-yard line. That occurred when offensive holding was called on the Steelers in Super Bowl 43 after Ben Roethlisberger completed a 19-yard pass to Santonio Holmes downfield.

The Odds Behind the Safety

The odds for there to be a safety in Super Bowl 53 is +600 for “yes” and -900 for “no.” For the third consecutive season, the odds for there to be a safety has stayed stagnant at +600/-900, meaning if you wagered $100 on there to be a safety in Super Bowl 53, you would win $600 and return $700 in total.

As I mentioned previously, a safety has been scored in almost half of the Super Bowl’s over the past 10 years (4-of-10).

With 6-1 odds on there to be a safety, that equates to a 13.7% chance, compared to the -900 odds on there not to be a safety, which nets out to 86.3% chance in Super Bowl 53.

The Math Behind the Safety

In 52 total Super Bowl’s, the safety has occurred nine times, or 17.3% of games.

Many bettors will look at that 17.3% figure or the fact that four safeties have occurred in the last decade in the big game and assume it’s a good bet to take. Not so fast.

Over the past decade of regular season games, which has totaled 2,560 games, 162 total safeties have occurred. That equates to 6.3% of regular season games to have a safety since 2009-10.

Over the past two seasons, 25 total safeties have been scored in 512 regular season games, which equates to only 4.9% of games, which even more displays the gap between the true odds and the probability of the event occurring, especially with two high-powered offenses most likely playing a . majority of the game away from their own goal lines.

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