Super Bowl 55 will probably be the biggest sports betting event of 2021—and one of the largest, period, since many states have now legalized sports gambling. Want to get in on the action? Try some Super Bowl prop betting.
Prop bets are a fun way to give yourself a rooting interest if you don’t care much about the Chiefs or the Buccaneers. They’re also accessible for fans who’d rather track smaller outcomes within the game instead of taking a shot on the point spread (Chiefs favored by 3) or over/under (56.5 total points between the two teams).
In a prop bet, a bettor places a wager on any number of specific events that might occur before, during, or after the game. As long as you live in a state that has legalized sports betting, you can bet on just about anything, though different sportsbooks post different wagers. In many states, you can place bets online at sites like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, but make sure to check the gambling regulations for where you live first.
Different prop bets might include picking who will win the coin toss, make the first catch of the game, score the final touchdown, or win MVP honors. Plus, you can bet on things totally separate from the action, like which player the TV cameras will zoom in on first.
Assessing the odds for each bet will help you determine how much cash you can win. Odds with a plus sign indicate a less probable outcome, and they show the amount you’d win for every $100 you bet. Odds with a minus sign indicate the more probable outcome, and they show the amount you need to bet in order to win $100. A bet at -110 odds, for example, means a $110 wager would return $100 in profit ($210 total), while +150 means a $100 wager would return $150 ($250 total). The longer the odds, the larger the payout.
Here are seven prop bets worth considering as you watch the game (6:30 p.m. Eastern time this Sunday on CBS). Odds may vary slightly depending on where you place your bets.
Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church’s national anthem: Over 1 minute, 59 seconds (+100)
The over is a significant underdog on the duration of the national anthem, with the under getting -140 odds. It’s probably because the last three anthems have all clocked in around the 1:50 mark. But this marks the first duet since Super Bowl 40 in 2006, and that one (a lovely performance by Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville) reached 2:08. And before this three-year run of sub-two-minute anthems, three in a row had gone between 2:04 and 2:09. The mix of genres (Sullivan’s R&B, Church’s country) could also add to the length of this performance.
Patrick Mahomes passing yards: Under 325.5 (-112)
Right now, Mahomes is playing quarterback at a higher level than perhaps anyone who has ever played. But as brilliant as he is, he doesn’t exceed 330 air yards as often as you’d think. He has done it seven times in 17 regular season and postseason starts this year, and now he’s facing a Buccaneer defense that defends the pass better than all but a handful of teams. Mahomes is good enough to make this under bet look silly, but math suggests he will not.
Tom Brady passing yards: Under 295.5 (-106)
Brady remains excellent, and on the verge of his 10th Super Bowl, he puts more air under the ball than people realize (his 9.5 air yards per attempt lead the league by half a yard). But his three best wideouts, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown, have been banged up to varying degrees. There’s also reason to think the Bucs might not throw the ball a ton.
Leonard Fournette rushing yards: Over 48.5 (-118)
Derrik Klassen, an analyst for Football Outsiders and Rotoworld, cautions against putting faith in the Chiefs to run the ball consistently. With Patrick Mahomes throwing, why run? But Klassen suspects the Buccaneers might be inclined to try to move the ball on the ground.
“The Chiefs defense is abysmal against the run, primarily due to some shaky play at linebacker and on the edge,” he tells Men’s Journal. “Bruce Arians might feel inclined to play the run-run-play action formula rather than test a good Chiefs secondary with a ton of drop-back passing.”
If the Bucs do ride the ground game, Fournette is likely to see a lot of carries.
The Weeknd wardrobe changes during halftime show: Over 0.5 (-380)
This feels like a sure thing. The Weeknd did not line up a Super Bowl halftime show gig—perhaps the most-watched gig he’ll ever perform in his life—to wear the same clothes the entire time. But if you’d like to try a long shot, you can bet the under at approximately +240, meaning a $100 bet would return a $240 profit if he stuck with one outfit.
Travis Kelce receptions: Over 8.5 (+110)
Kelce caught eight and 13 in his two playoff games so far. The injury report suggests he’ll keep seeing the ball. Receiver Sammy Watkins may play but has been dealing with a calf injury. Receiver DeMarcus Robinson may miss the game because of Covid-19 protocols. Even Kelce’s backup, Deon Yelder, is just coming off injured reserve. Health issues on the Kansas City offensive line also support lots of targets for #87, even if nine catches is a massive amount for a tight end.
“With the Chiefs offensive line not at full strength, and the Buccaneers being a blitz-happy defense, Mahomes might need to drop a few shorter passes to Kelce to avoid big losses in the backfield,” USA Today’s Charles McDonald says.
Tom Brady to win Super Bowl MVP: (+210)
Some narratives are worth buying into at the right price. If the Buccaneers win, Brady is the odds-on favorite over any of his less famous teammates.
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