Ready to hear some Super Bowl props with some actual data - at the very least - loosely backing up the plays? I got you.
I've been in the stat lab crunching numbers on some of the more obscure, but still actual football related props that I can sink my teeth into the data on. If you missed it, I've already done a deep dive on Reba McEntire's under (90.5 second national anthem) but let's run through some action on the playing field.
We'll start with some enticing bets to steer clear from.
DO NOT take the over on any player octopus +980
Speaking of sea creatures, there have been eleven octopis this season which is higher than last year's seven and 2021's six. Jerome Ford, Adam Thielen, Travis Etienne, Stefon Diggs, David Montgomery, Calvin Ridley, CeeDee Lamb, Zay Flowers, Nico Collins, Breece Hall, and Tyler Lockett. Keep in mind there have been 284 games up to this point so the odds of this occuring is just 3.8% based on this season. Sim this out how ever many times you want and you're looking at losing 58% of your money on this bet. That is AWWWWWWWFUL.
The under is no good either at -2500. They get you both ways (as if it's their job) so let's look for some better fish to fry.
Pass on the first half two-minute warning ending exactly at 2:00
This one was fun to look into but ultimately the books got right. If you just consider Chiefs and 49ers possessions this season, they combined for 22 first half two-minute warnings that ended exactly at 2:00. Of course, they didn't have possession of the ball at the two-minute warning for all games played, but in 29 games they did. All in all, that's about a 76% chance of a first half two-minute warning ending exactly at two minutes rate (FHTMWEEATMR). Doing the math on a -700 bet and you're looking at -13% EV which makes this bet a bad idea. Although not nearly as bad as swimming with the octopus.
Even if you think the sample size is too small and want to run the numbers on all teams in 2023 the percentage only improves to 84% (239/284) which still gives the house a 3% edge. As for the under. That's ended up being much much worse at -14% EV.
I'm officially warning you all about the warning.
Don't fall for the final score to have occurred in a past Super Bowl
The most common NFL game score in the Super Bowl era is 20-17. You might not be surprised to learn that exact score hit in a Super Bowl. Patriots vs Rams in 2001 to start the dynasty. In fact, nine out of the 20 most common NFL scores overall occurred on a Super Bowl.
Despite some very common game scores occurring in past Super Bowls, this is still a long shot bet. The house is hoping you see these common scores and take the bait. However, in totality all Super Bowl game scores have hit on just 18.4 percent of all Super Bowl eral games (2,492 / 13,501). Getting +410 on just an 18.4 percent leaves the house with a six percent edge.
OK. I know what you're thinking. So what SHOULD we bet on them!
If you haven't already placed your expendable units on Reba's under, here are the rest of my prop plays.
What's longer? Length of longest made field goal or total points scored in game? - POINTS
This one was fun to reverse engineer. Will be interesting to see if some actual quants disagree with my train of thought, but I'll lay it all out there for you to decide.
Let's walk through the logic. We'll start by trying to estimate what the longest made field goal in the game will be. The table below will help us do this. Considering only the two teams playing, the highlighted green rows reveal which of the two kickers made the longest field goal of each week that both teams played.
I'm only using the two teams playing instead of the league as a whole at the expense of sample size because I feel the factors that lead to field goal attempts and the quality of the kicker (or lack there of) matter. But anytime you have little data to go off of like this just know the confidence will be lower. It is what it is. Don't bet your house.
OK. So we have an average longest made field goal in weeks that both teams played of 45.6 yards. We'll presume that's what the longest made field goal will be tonight. What we need to know now is our odds of the total score going 46 or over. I estimated that by taking all 424 instances in which an NFL line was set at exactly 47.5.
46 points or more were scored in 236/424 games with a 47.5 total line (55.6%). Those are our presumed odds of winning this bet that pays -125.
I know that was a lot of work but now it's time to bask in our glory. Get ready for this. Running these numbers in the EV calculator and we are on the plus side of winning a whopping…
Yeah - this is why people say "fuck it, I'll just take the over" and never try working out the math. But in my defense, that wasn't really an option here - you had to pick WHICH over.
Nothing like being able to take your 80 cents of winnings on a $100 bet to pay the recyling tax on your next case of soda. What a thrill! God damn these fuckers are good at setting lines. At least I know I kinda found the way they comped this bet. I'm sure I'm missing at least .09% somewhere but until someone shows me how this is going on my card as "technically" a winning bet.
Longest touchdown of the game UNDER 15.5 yards long +106
Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey are the biggest threats here with Kittle, MVS and Kelce certainly more than capable in their own rights. That's probably what is leading most people to take the over on this.
Here's my logic for why that will be a mistake. There's 19 total games between these two teams in which this over occurred at least once. Compare that to 39 total games between the two of them and you're looking at a 51% chance of this NOT occurring. I know the sample size is low here, but I feel like the personnel on both offenses is key to focus on. Not to offend other technically pro level offenses like the Panthers, Jets, or Bears, but I think we need to stick with the history of the teams playing. The book is giving us a 5.66% EV on the under. Get ready to go hog wild on a few more cases of soda.
Queue an opening CMC house call on the first play of the game.
OK. One more. My favorite bet of chaos actually might be worth doing.
Combined game touchdown scorer jersey number OVER 121.5 (-150)
OK, so this one is a little squirly because we have the #2 and #3 defenses in points allowed but the 49ers are third in offensive scoring and the last I checked the Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes, so we'll call this all even. I did the work to run the total jersey number totals for both teams. There were 18 weeks in which both teams played so I simply added the touchdown scorers from each team in each week to see which had more than 121.5. Remember, a player scoring two touchdowns doesn't double his figure.
Still. We have 14/18 hitting the over.
Even at -150 that's a HUGE EV of 28%. I guess the fact that the #2 and #3 defenses in points allowed is being respected more by the book makers than I'm giving credit so keep that in mind. But I'll be damned if I'm not going to bet on some damn laundry. It's the Super Bowl!
All in all - here's my card:
- UNDER Reba McEntire national anthem time (90.5 seconds)
- POINTS in which is higher, longest field goal or total score (-125) *technically a winning play
- UNDER 15.5 yards of longest touchdown of game (+106)
- OVER 121.5 total jersey number of touchdown scorers (-150)
Tail me at your risk. Fade me at your investment.