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Super Bowl 53 Prop Bets: 2 Late-Score Props Offering Value

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James White

  • Looking back at the results from the past 52 Super Bowls can shed light on some value for Super Bowl 53 prop bets.
  • That's been the case for at least two Super Bowl 53 prop bets we analyzed.

I’m not much of a prop guy. I’ll take a longshot “first touchdown scorer” prop on occasion when I’m looking to get rid of the change in my pocket, but for the most part I tend to stick to standard side and over/under betting.

There’s something about the Super Bowl, though. It just brings it out of me. Perhaps that’s why I’m following Mark Gallant’s advice and betting on Spongebob to make an appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show.

As I was perusing through the list of props for Super Bowl 53, a couple jumped out at me. I was impressed by both having a relatively small hold considering they were fairly far from even money.

They’re both also relating to a similar topic: late scores.

Will there be a score in the final 3:30 of the 4th quarter?

  • Yes: -170
  • No: +150

I’ll be honest, the reason this bet jumped out to me at first was that it felt like a bit of a trap. Just off the top of my head, I couldn’t remember a recent Super Bowl in which a team didn’t score late, and I assumed this line would be an attempt to take advantage of that recency bias.

I was all ready to do some research and conclude that taking “No” was actually going to the smart play here.

Boy was I wrong.

After looking back at all 52 Super Bowls, I found that 32 featured a score within the final three and a half minutes of the fourth. That 61.5% win rate would equate to a betting line of -160, which is right where this line is set. All seems in order so far … until you look at recent trends.

Fifteen of the 20 games without a late score came in the first 27 Super Bowls. That means since then, this prop has gone 20-5 (80% win rate).

Now, I’m one to believe in regression to the mean, so I’m not going to tell you that this has an 80% chance to happen in Super Bowl 53. I will say, however, that the NFL has changed since its early days. Tom Brady can go up and down the field with far more ease than, say, Bart Starr could 52 years ago.

Plus, for this prop to have value, we don’t need it to win 80% of the time. The -170 odds require only a 63% probability to break even.

Since this line doesn’t seem to factor the faster-paced game in at all — not to mention that this Super Bowl features the most expected points ever — I’m comfortable laying the -170 on “yes.”

Will the team that scores last win the game?

  • Yes: -170
  • No: +150

Different question, same odds.

Once again, the contrarian mind inside of me was expecting to find a surprise edge on “No” here. But once I started digging, I was shocked as to why this line was set so low.

Of the 52 Super Bowls in history, 38 have been won by the team that scores last, a 73.08% win percentage. Even without accounting for recent trends in the NFL — which likely have less effect on this prop than the former — that’s well above the win rate needed (again, 63%) to make “Yes” a profitable option.

Still, it’s worth noting that the team to score last in the past 36 Super Bowls is 30-6 (83.3%) in those games. Cutting that down a bit more, the record becomes 20-3 in the past 23 (87.0%).

So as much as I wanted to go against my gut feeling, once again I’ve got no choice but to suggest that this line is too low — at least based on the 52-game Super Bowl sample.

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