Super Bowl prop parlays

0 Comments 📁 Slider 🕔01.February 2014
Super Bowl prop parlays

Because of the value Super Bowl prop bets present, most sports books place restrictions on props in an attempt to reduce their own liability. To that end, they lower the limits on prop wagers and don’t allow bettors to parlay them. However, the LVH book – which spearheaded the prop shift from Super Bowl sideshow to main event – allows bettors to parlay a portion of their extensive list of props. The caveat being that only two-team parlays are permitted, and none that are correlated. That’s not to say it’s impossible to find some potential correlation between props that are parlayable, though. Here are a pair to consider.

Russell Wilson first pass incomplete +150
Marshawn Lynch first rush under 3.5 yards -130

While it’s possible this parlay could hit in any order (it’s naturally of no consequence to bettors which leg comes first), it becomes correlated only as listed. More on that in a moment. Chances are, the Seahawks’ first play from scrimmage will be either a Wilson pass or a Lynch run. In 18 games this season, their opening play has been one of those two in all but one instance (when it was a Wilson run). With that, we have a starting point.

As for the relevant numbers, Wilson has completed his first pass 11 times this year, a 61.1 percent rate. Conversely, he has thrown incompletions on seven occasions, a 38.9 percent rate. Of his 18 first-pass attempts, 14 were short throws and four were down the field. He completed 10 of the 14 short throws (71.4 percent) and one of the four deep balls (25 percent). It’s therefore pretty clear the odds will be in favor of an incompletion if Wilson unleashes a deep ball to open the game. But is that a likely scenario given Seattle’s tendency to get things rolling with a short pass attempt? The lean is toward yes because of that track record. Teams can’t be afraid to push the envelope in the Super Bowl, particularly for an offense like Seattle’s that knows it will have to put points on the board opposite Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Coupled with the fact that it’s not often that they try to hit a play down the field right off the bat, there’s great value in assuming a scenario in which the Seahawks try to catch Denver off guard for a big play right away. And the nature of such plays indicates there’s a good chance that the pass is incomplete.

If and when that happens, the parlay has life and is suddenly correlated to the Lynch prop. When teams are faced with a second-and-10, the tendency is to get into the so-called “third-and-manageable.” More often that not, that means a run play, which is safe and will generally yield positive yardage. For the Seahawks, it’s almost automatic to run the ball in that situation. They have one of the best backs in the game in Lynch, and they won’t want Wilson forcing the issue on the first drive. Since it’s highly probable Lynch carries the ball on that play, the question becomes can the Denver defense hold him to under 3.5 yards? Lynch’s numbers would say no, as the bruising back has gained at least four yards on his first carry in 12 of 18 games this season. However, in five of the last six games, he’s been held to three yards or fewer on his first touch. It’s probably not a coincidence that four of those contests came against the Saints and 49ers, both of whom boast stout run defenses.

So how does the Denver run defense stack up against those of New Orleans and San Francisco? Better than one might think. What was a solid unit all season (3.9 yards per carry, tied for sixth in the league) has become even stronger down the stretch and into the playoffs. Over the last six games, the Broncos have stuffed their opponent’s first rush four times, with only San Diego’s Ryan Mathews (twice) gaining more than three yards. Expanding the sample size to their rush defense in the first halves of their four games since Week 16, Denver has held the opposition to an average of 2.65 yards over 43 carries. That should help dispel the notion that the numbers of the Broncos run defense are inflated because teams are frequently down against Denver and therefore throwing the ball. No matter how you dice it, Denver knows how to stop the run. When factoring in the envisioned second-and-10 scenario, the Broncos would have the added advantage of knowing there’s a high probability of Seattle running the ball, which would make a gain of under 3.5 yards all but assured.

In short, if the Seahawks indeed come out and unsuccessfully try to hit a play down the field, by far the tougher of the two parlay legs will be in the rearview and bettors will be able to start thinking about cashing their tickets – and doing so with the added satisfaction of having unearthed some prop correlation that wasn’t supposed to exist.

First kickoff by Matt Prater will NOT result in a touchback -170
First kickoff by Steven Hauschka will NOT result in a touchback -175

As opposed to the first parlay – where the occurrence of the first event becomes correlated to the occurrence of the second – there isn’t correlation to the legs of this parlay per se, but there is commonality. The commonality being that both players are placekickers who will be carrying out identical jobs in conditions that figure to be consistent for their respective opening kickoffs.

Gametime temperature is expected to be well above freezing with a chance of rain. The key determining factor in terms of potentially un-leveling the playing field for one kicker or the other is the wind – and specifically gusts – but the wind is expected to be light, 5-9 mph, and out of the southwest. That last point is important, because any type of crosswind reduces the possibility of one kicker gaining the marked advantage of added loft and carry on the ball when it’s in the air.

The other significant commonality between the kickers is they both had a chance to experience the MetLife Stadium environment once this season, with strikingly similar results. On Sept. 15, the Broncos played the Giants. Prater’s opening kickoff landed two yards deep in the end zone and was returned, as were each of his first four boots. On the day, only three of his eight kickoffs went for touchbacks, with his average kick depth being 4.5 yards into the end zone. On Dec. 15, the Seahawks played the Giants. Hauschka’s opening kickoff landed four yards deep in the end zone and was returned. Of his first four kicks, three were returned and one went out of bounds. For the game, two of his six kickoffs ended in touchbacks, and his average kick depth was 4.4 yards deep in the end zone. It’s tough to find two more similar kicking performances by different players in different weather seasons.

One final note: The pricing on each of these props is revealing. Oddsmakers are making bettors pay a significant premium for propositions that would appear to be closer to a coin flip. Indeed, in five outdoor road games for Prater (home games are removed from consideration due to the altitude in Denver), 55.8 percent of his kicks went for touchbacks (19 of 34), whereas 51.3 percent of Hauschka’s kickoffs (37 of 72) over 13 outdoor games were not returned. Thus as blind plays, betting YES on these props (at +155 and +150, respectively) seems to be the best action. That’s what the books want, and that’s why parlaying up both NOs is the smarter play.

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