Betfair has over 400 Super Bowl LII markets (pre-play and in-play) to get stuck into on Sunday. So we asked our NFL team to pick their best side-market bets...
"Considering Ajayi's dodgy knees and flighty attitude, it's Blount that interests me on the prop / player markets. Competing in a Super Bowl means players seldom lack for motivation. Yet Blount is squaring up to his former team, a year on from being let go for no legitimate reason. So he'll be desperate to make an impact here."
While much of the Philly "narrative" will centre around Nick Foles making the greatest Stygian comeback since Lazarus (sorry to mix my mythologies) the Eagles must first establish a ground assault, if their QB is to make the deep downfield strikes through New England's susceptible secondary. Step forward the one-two rushing punch of Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount.
Considering Ajayi's dodgy knees and flighty attitude, it's Blount that interests me on the prop markets. Competing in a Super Bowl means players seldom lack for motivation. Yet Blount is squaring up to his former team, a year on from being let go for no legitimate reason. So he'll be desperate to make an impact here. Blount has taken his chance with trademark industry in the City of Brotherly Love, recording the sixth 750+-yard campaign of his career, averaging a dependable 4.4 yards per carry.
Working on that statistical premise, he only needs to receive six hand-offs from Foles to breach the 26-yard mark for his total rushing yards, and that looks like a proverbial "gimme" at 5/6.
When searching for a prop bet, I've loved the addition of Betfair's #OddsOnThat feature. Scrolling through some of the prices quoted for various combinations you are more than likely to find something that piques your interest.
The one I've found at a more than reasonable price is Jay Ajayi to rush for over 66.5 yards, Dion Lewis to rush for more than 47.5 yards and no interception to be thrown in the match. That is available at 22/1.
Both running backs have a real chance to beat their number. The English-born Ajayi has quickly become the go to player in the Eagles backfield. New England mix and match more but Lewis is shifty. He also has the confidence of the offensive coordinator.
The no interceptions aspect is the bigger risk. Neither Quarterback has a penchant for throwing picks but to get both to be flawless in such an important game is a big ask. Yet sometimes it is all about value.
Mark Kirwan says: Back the New England Patriots to win the fourth quarter at [1.9]
I expect the Eagles to lead as the Falcons last year and the Jags did in the conference championship. Brady's legacy is being defined by a series of great comebacks. The Pats adjust better than other teams, and that shows through late. I'd expect them to pick up scores in the fourth quarter, win or lose, so back them at [1.9] on the Exchange to win the fourth quarter.
Based on the sense that we could be a due a blow-out, I would also look at the Winning Margin markets in the 20 to 30 point range on the Betfair Exchange. At the risk of ridicule, I am going to suggest the Eagles are probably the more likely blow-out winners in this game because their defence is so strong. Anyone who likes a speculative big price bet should look at Eagles winning margin markets.
There are a raft of novelty specials that take the eye on the Betfair Sportsbook, not least which song will Justin Timberlake sing first at half-time - which I've been reliably informed by a colleague to be 'Can't Stop The Feeling' at 6/4.
But it's the more politically-oriented markets that I'll be focusing on following Donald Trump's decision to make player protests during the season a near-federal issue. The Sportsbook go 3/1 that the POTUS makes an appearance but I'm not convinced he will due to potential backlash but of more interest is the 7/2 available about 'Will any players kneel during the national anthem?'.
Protests peaked during week three of the regular season and that was the only occasion that a New England Patriot player took the knee, however on the Eagles side, protests continued all the way through to week seven and beyond. Moreover they were one of only four teams take such a stance from the beginning of the campaign; Super Bowl Sunday is surely too big of an opportunity for a player to not make their feelings known.
The Super Bowl MVP is a market which I always find fascinating. A couple of years ago I successfully tipped linebacker Von Miller for the award at 25/1 here on betting.betfair.com
That was a game where defenses were bound to dominate and so a defensive player offered the best value. This year though, we look set for a high scoring game dominated by offense. In 51 Super Bowls to date, more than half the MVP awards have gone to the winning quarterback. So straight away, the odds on one of the two QBs winning should be below evens. I believe the Eagles will win, and so that makes Nick Foles a fantastic shout at 7/2 to take the prize.
Anything close to his performance against Minnesota and Foles will cruise home. But in truth, all he needs to do is be on the winning side and throw no more than one interception. It might not be fair, but in the NFL it's quarterbacks who get the most recognition.