Your weekly dose of sports betting tips and news, Super Bowl props edition. These nuggets appear at 10am Eastern every Saturday.
How to bet Super Bowl props – Rufus Peabody hates picks. The professional bettor despises the pick industry, and he’d rather talk to Sean McVay about his time out usage in the second half against San Francisco than talk about picks.
So when he gives out a pick on a Super Bowl prop, as he did on the Circles Off podcast, you should listen.
Rufus likes Joe Mixon under his receiving yards. Based on his data analysis, Cincinnati doesn’t use Mixon in the passing game when behind in the game. With the Rams -4, Cincinnati will more likely find themselves in negative game scripts, which will lead to fewer Mixon targets.
Rufus said he likes Mixon under his receiving yards down to 24.5 yards. In addition, he said it is fine to bet the under on props as late as Sunday. Betting this late is death for an NFL regular season spread, but the public often keeps the market value of Super Bowl props high.
I love to see innovation in sports betting media, and Circles Off with Rob Pizzola and Johnny from Betstamp shook things up this week with a four hour, thirteen minute episode on Super Bowl props. In addition to Rufus, the fabulous list of guests included Colin Davy, Drew Dinsick and Fabian Sommer.
One approach is to bet the under on star defensive players. The average bettor knows these stars and inflates these prop values. While these stars most likely play well, it is difficult to record enough tackles and sacks to hit these lofty numbers.
This theory coincides with one of my favorite bets: Aaron Donald NOT to have a sack (+150 per FanDuel). While much has been made about the nine sacks of Joe Burrow in the AFC divisional game against Tennessee, Kansas City almost had the same pressure rate the following week, but only accrued one sack.
Getting home may be tougher than the market expects, even though Donald is undoubtedly one of the great defenders ever to play the game.
Injuries – Only two teams to double check against the ESPN NFL injuries page.
- Cincinnati TE C.J. Uzomah is listed as questionable but was a full participant in Friday’s practice.
- Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee and OT Joe Noteboom were placed on IR Friday. Neither will play in the Super Bowl.
- Los Angeles Rams RB Darrell Henderson Jr. has a good chance to play in the Super Bowl. Henderson had the most carries for the Rams the first half of the season but hasn’t played since week 16 against Minnesota. This has implications for Cam Akers (see below).
- Los Angeles Rams S Taylor Rapp hasn’t played this postseason due to a concussion, but he will play in the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl steam – There will be a lot of market movement before Sunday’s kickoff at 6:30pm Eastern. However, Spanky tweeted that while sports books usually move because of sharp bettors, the Super Bowl is different. The books want equal money on both sides of the spread and total.
As of Saturday morning, most sports books have Rams -4 with a total of 48.5.
Van Jefferson – JJ Zachariason, a fantasy football expert that recently left FanDuel to start his own site LateRound.com, joined Ed Feng on The Football Analytics Show.
For the Super Bowl, he likes Van Jefferson over his receiving yardage total. In Sean McVay’s system, Jefferson sees a ton of routes run as the third receiver (39 and 42 in the last two games). While he has only gotten 8 targets for a 9.9% target rate, JJ expects this target rate to regress to the season average of 14.5% against the Bengals.
Kicking Distance – On BetQL Daily, I put together an argument for why I like the total successful field goal distance to be over 120.5 yards (-140 per FanDuel).
One reason is the conservatism by both head coaches on fourth down. Ben Baldwin’s site rbsdm.com, named after the idea that running backs don’t matter (unless you have a prop bet), shows how often teams go for it when they should. The Rams and Bengals rank 19th and 20th, respectively (out of 32 NFL teams) when it comes to fourth down aggressiveness.
Assuming this conservatism continues, there will be more field goal attempts and a greater likelihood for over 120.5 yards.
Similar Styles – Per Next Gen Stats, the Rams and Bengals offenses epitomize the Spiderman gif where the real and phony are pointing at each other; no teams ran more 11 personnel (one running back, three wide receivers) than these two (83% and 77%) and both ran with empty backfields more frequently than everyone else (19% and 15%).
While specific players are different, the structure of these offenses is similar, which suggests the same approach to running back and receiver props. For instance, if you like the Van Jefferson prop, the prop for the Bengals’ third receiver in Tyler Boyd may also strike your fancy. His number is 42.5 yards, but there are alternative props including 70+ yards at +270 (per FanDuel).
When Boyd went over 42.5 yards for a game this season, he tended to perform significantly over that mark.
Data driven betting information
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