Super Bowl Odds 2013: Prop Bets Gamblers Should Avoid in Ravens vs. 49ers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts towards the end of the game against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

For those NFL diehards who aren't fans of the San Francisco 49ers or Baltimore Ravens, Sunday's Super Bowl may take some heavy financial wagering to garner an emotional investment.

Luckily, sportsbooks across the world use the Super Bowl as a yearly platform to provide bets for nearly every second, starting from when the players arrive to when the Harbaugh brothers embrace at midfield. Think someone is going to get arrested before the big game or that Beyonce will bring out Jay-Z during her halftime performance? The folks at Bovada have betting lines for both.

However, as to be expected, there are plenty of props on the board that smart bettors will avoid at all costs. With that in mind, let's take a look at all the wagers to avoid as we prepare for the betting extravaganza known as Super Bowl XLVII.


How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the U.S. National Anthem? (Over/Under: 2 minutes, 10 seconds)

Oddsmakers almost always know more than the betting public. It's how sportsbooks, casinos and other similar establishments stay in business.

However, it's bets like the length of the national anthem that spawned phrases like "there's a sucker born every minute." As the betting public, we have absolutely no idea how long Keys' national anthem will take. A YouTube search of "Alicia Keys national anthem" produces results that amount to a whole lot of nothing.

All we do know is that Keys promised to make her rendition a "brand new" style and that she's a classically trained musician. That likely means she won't garishly over-sing or forget any words (which is a prop bet and worth betting, if you're so inclined).

Other than that, we seemingly have no statistical information on Keys' national anthem singing prowess. The oddsmakers, on the other hand, are in the business of studying every last syllable that has come out of Keys' mouth and running algorithms to come up with a perfect money-making time. 

Obviously, no one has any clue how long Keys will take to sing the national anthem. But you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be within a couple seconds of the line set by the oddsmakers. 

For that reason, it's impossible for anyone to feel comfortable taking either side. 


Super Bowl MVP: Frank Gore (7/1) or Ray Rice (12/1)

It's an overwrought trope that "today's NFL" is more of a passing league than ever. Statistical evidence shows us that fluctuation between run-pass ratios has been rather constant over the past two decades, which renders that belief a widely-accepted falsehood.

What has changed over time, though, is how those in the sportswriters booth vote for the Super Bowl MVP. From 1967-1998, seven running backs won the Super Bowl MVP (a 21.9 percent rate) and at least two backs won the trophy in every decade except the three-year window in the 1960s.

Since then, the well has run completely dry. Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis was the last running back to win a Super Bowl MVP in 1998, with 12 of the past 14 trophies being handed to players in the passing game (quarterbacks or receivers).

That doesn't bode well for Rice or Gore, the latter of whom has become an in vogue choice for those looking for a long-shot choice. Though both men play integral roles in their respective offenses, picking either one of them for Sunday's MVP would be completely ignoring the recent trends.

There are three (and only three) players worth betting on for MVP: Colin Kaepernick (8/5), Joe Flacco (11/4) and Ray Lewis (7/1). And at his current odds, Kaepernick is really only worth betting if you're fully convinced the 49ers will come away victorious. 

One could venture deep and look for a receiver like Torrey Smith (20/1), Anquan Boldin (16/1) or Michael Crabtree (14/1), but betting either running back is a losing proposition. 


Any Bet With Extremely High Odds (+1000 or Higher)

Excluding the game's MVP award, where we just pointed out a few players with strong value, taking huge odds on strange props is the betting equivalent of setting your money on fire.

Or, rather, it's the Super Bowl equivalent of playing the Powerball—only without hundreds of millions of dollars waiting at the end of the rainbow. I suppose Joe Flacco throwing four or more interceptions (+1000) has a higher probability of happening than one winning a multi-state lottery, but they payout doesn't mathematically make sense.

There's only one reason sportsbooks give out lines with extremely-high odds: to draw in "sucker bets." More often than not, people who bet on the Super Bowl are doing so on football for the first time this year and are simply looking to add a little excitement to their watching experience.

These huge lines are made for 64-year-old great aunts who couldn't tell a Kaepernick from a hole in the ground and are looking to make a quick buck. If you have a friend considering a bet like this, have them do themselves a favor and spend $100 on Powerball tickets or go pay the slots on the Las Vegas strip.