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Top-10 2011 Super Bowl prop bets

31 Jan 2011

By Aaron Todd
There's less than a week to go before the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl, and all the online sportsbooks are offering prop bets on the big game. Here's our top-10 list of Super Bowl prop bets, and where you can make them.

10. Coin toss
You've got to love the annual prop bet on the coin toss. You can make this bet in two different ways. You can pick heads or tails, or you can pick the team that will win the toss. Bodog offers the best odds on both at -105 for either side of either wager.

The most famous NFL coin toss took place before overtime of a 1998 Thanksgiving Day game, when an NFL referee misheard the call by Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis call on the toss, which gave Detroit the ball in overtime, instead of the Steelers. The Lions then marched down the field on their first possession and won the game.

Of course, if you win big on one of these wagers, you'll likely have even better memories of this year's Super Bowl coin toss than a life-long Lions fans has of the 1998 game. This is an even money proposition, but I'm going to take heads and the Steelers.

9. Length of the national anthem
This is another one of my annual favorites. Bodog has set the line for Christina Aguilera's version at one minute and 52 seconds, but it appears that heavy money has come in at the over thus far, as the price for the over is -150, while you're getting +110 on the under.

Aguilera's last big anthem was the lead-in to Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. That performance clocked in at one minute, 55 seconds. However, she also sang before Game 6 of the same series, and the version came in at 1:52. All previous acapella anthems by Aguilera that I could find during a quick YouTube search came in under a minute and 50 seconds, most of them at NHL games.

With the game scheduled to be held in Dallas and no rain in the forecast, you can expect the roof to be open for the game, which means that temperatures will likely be in the 40s – similar to what you'll feel in an NHL arena, if not even a little colder. Expect Aguilera to want to get back in a cozy luxury box and get through the anthem in under 1:50.

8. Turnover market
William Hill Sportsbook & Racebook gives bettors an opportunity to pick how many total turnovers will take place in the game. You can pick less than two at a price of 9/2, two or three at 5/4, four or five at 15/8, or six or more at 9/2.

The Steelers turned the ball over just 15 times in 16 regular season games, and four of them were interceptions thrown by quarterbacks not named Ben Roethlisberger. Green Bay meanwhile had 19 turnovers in 16 games. That's a combined average of 2.1 turnovers per game. While Pittsburgh picked off 24 passes this year, they didn't play against a quarterback as hot as Aaron Rodgers often. I'm going to go for the long shot and take one or fewer at 9/2 because neither team is very turnover prone, it pays a better price than any of the other likely scenarios, and it gives me two ways to win.

7. Exact number of QB sacks
This is a tricky one, and hard to predict. But there are some factors that can help you lean one way or the other. Roethlisberger is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league to bring down. And Rodgers has been sacked just five times in three playoff games. I'm going to go on the low side of this and pick two, once again, because I think there's good value. If I'm right I'll get an 11/1 payoff at Bodog, and it won't matter if the rest of my top-10 picks for Super Bowl prop bets are wrong.

6. Total score odd or even
More NFL games end with odd-numbered totals than even-numbered totals, and the odds here reflect that. At bet365 Sportsbook & Racebook, you'll be paid just 20/27 on an odd number wager, while you'll get 23/20 on a wager on an even total. Eleven of the Packers' 19 games this year have been odd numbered totals, while the Steelers have had just eight of 18 games end with an even numbered total. That rounds out to just about an even-money proposition with these two teams, so I'll take the value and an even total score.

5. Will the Packers score in every quarter?
My gut tells me to take Bodog up on the "yes" here, since it pays +235. But looking at the numbers, Green Bay has scored in every quarter in just two of 19 games this year, and they haven't scored in every quarter in any of their three playoff games (yes, including the 48-21 rout of the Falcons). I'm going to swallow hard at the -295 price, but considering the Packers scored in every quarter in 10.5 percent of their games this year, and that the Steelers have a formidable defense, in the end I think it's a fair price.

4. Will there be a special teams or defensive touchdown?
While I did say that I didn't think there would be many turnovers in the game, I do think there will be a special teams or defensive touchdown in the game. Coaches famously pull out all the stops in the Super Bowl, and that can either lead to dramatic special teams plays, or disastrous decisions that lead to defensive touchdowns. Bodog is offering me the best odds, so I'll take their +145 and say yes, there will be a special teams or defensive touchdown in the Super Bowl this year.

3. Antwaan Randle El receiving yards
Randle El has only had 22 catches this year for a total of 253 yards. He has yet to make one catch this postseason and has a fumble in special teams. I don't expect to see Pittsburgh looking to the aging receiver often if at all, so I'll take the under 15.5 yards for -130 offered by Bodog.

2. Rodgers vs. Favre
I love Bodog for this one. The question is will Aaron Rodgers have more passing yards (plus 29.5) than Brett Favre did in Super Bowl XXXI (he had 246). The best part of this bet is that it duplicates the over/under prop bet for Rodgers passing yards, but offers slightly better odds (at least it did when I was researching this) at -110, instead of -125, for the over. I think Rodgers is going to approach 300 passing yards, so I'll take the over and the better odds.

1. Super Bowl MVP
Pick the Super Bowl MVP is really a crap shoot, and it traditionally offers some of the worst odds of all Super Bowl prop bets. But I'll give it a shot and pick Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. I've already said I think he's going to throw for more than 300 yards, so why not? William Hill is offering me the best odds, so I'll take Rodgers at 13/8 for Super Bowl MVP.
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