The annual phenomenon that is Super Bowl prop betting has begun, and when it's over, millions of dollars will be on the line practically every play.
This week, sportsbooks around the nation released hundreds of different proposition bets on Super Bowl LIV between the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. Bookmaker William Hill U.S. boasted of having more than 1,000 ways to bet on the big game. The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas on Thursday released 33 pages worth of wagers and took more than $500,000 worth of bets in the first 12 hours they were on the board.
"It's a crazy scene," John Murray, executive director for the SuperBook, said. "It really is."
There are the standards:
- Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is around an even-money favorite to win Super Bowl MVP.
- 49ers running back Raheem Mostert and Chiefs running back Damien Williams are among the favorites to score the first touchdown.
- The over/under on the longest touchdown is 45.5 yards at Caesars Sportsbook.
And there are the more obscure:
- William Hill is offering 9,999-1 odds on the Chiefs scoring exactly four points. No team in the Super Bowl era has ever finished with exactly four points, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
- At sportsbook PointsBet, Shanahan is 100-1 to blow another 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, when they squandered a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
- The SuperBook will even let you bet on whether LeBron James will score more points against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 1 than Mahomes will have completions in the Super Bowl. Mahomes is favored by 1.5 completions.
Historically, the most popular props with bettors have been some of the simplest offerings like, "Will there be a safety?" or "Will there be overtime?" The betting public loves to back the "Yes" at plus-odds on both. A safety is paying around 6-1, and overtime around 8-1. Roughly 5% of games have gone into overtime, and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, a safety has been recorded in 0.067% of games.
The most popular Super Bowl prop bet of all, though, takes place before the game even kicks off, heads or tails, on the coin flip. Last year at William Hill sportsbooks, there were more bets on just heads than there were bets on almost every other proposition offered.
The betting on the coin flip is already heating up this year. PointsBet told ESPN on Thursday that the coin flip was the most popular Super Bowl prop bet so far "by a good margin." Just over 50% of the bets were on heads, but the 70% of the early money was on tails, the book said.
The really wild propositions are restricted primarily to offshore sportsbooks, where the over/under on Demi Lovato's rendition of the National Anthem was hovering around two minutes. Offshore, you'll find odds on anything from if a player will be arrested after the game to how revealing Jennifer Lopez's outfits worn during her halftime performance will be.
The American sports betting market is becoming more liberal, too, as it expands into new jurisdictions. In January, the Indiana Gaming Commission authorized the state's sportsbooks to offer betting on who the Super Bowl MVP will thank first and what color of Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach. Some New Jersey sportsbooks offered Gatorade betting last year and plan to do so again this year.
Green/yellow has been installed as an early favorite.