If, like me, you were a fan of The Wire, you'll understand what I mean when I say my favourite character was Prop Joe. Well, actually, my favourite character was Omar, but everyone's favourite was Omar, and then Bunk, because he'd been a lacrosse star in high school, but after them, my man was Prop Joe because he thought he knew all the angles.
This week, I'm going to turn into Prop Mike, because one of the things that makes the Super Bowl special is the number of prop bets (also known as specials) which are available, which both cover every angle of the game, from anthem to MVP, and provide an inside opportunity for the smaller points of the football on which you might be able to profit.
The most popular bets tend to be on the simplest, least predictable things, which we call novelty bets, and are a Super Bowl staple. It has always occurred to me that if you were the guys who mixes the gatorade for the winning team you could make a lot of money).
Anthem can go over
The length of the national anthem, for example. I know very little about Mickey Guyton, and country singers tend to perform it more straightforwardly than others, which means shorter, but this is a huge chance to perform on a big stage before the biggest audience you'll ever have, so they do tend to run on a bit. But 1:38.5 is a pretty quick anthem so I'm guessing here but youcan find this one under the novelty bets
Anthem: Back over 98.5 seconds @ 1.834/5
LA to get the love
The coin toss is, shall we say, a coin toss. Historically, heads has come up 29 times, tails 26. You're on your own here. You're on your own for the halftime show too, because I have no clue what songs Dr Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Kendrick Bourne (oh wait, he plays for the 49ers, it's Kendrick Lamar!) or Mary J Blige will sing. And the big one, the colour of the Gatorade, I am not lying when I say I am colour blind, and I tend to go original Gatorade every year.
You can take a novelty bet on who will be the first mention in the MVP's speech. I kind of like the city at 5/1.
MVP's Speech: Back LA first mention @ 6.05/1
But let's get down to the real thing, because there are some very tempting prop bets based on the football.
Rams to come out flying
The Rams are fast starters, and the Bengals haven't been, so I really like the Rams to be ahead at the end of the first quarter. I take the three-way, where a tie score is an option, and therefore not a push as it is in the two-way bet, because the odds are better. This is my best prop bet of the day.
Best Bet: Back LA Rams for first quarter winner (three way) @ 5/6
Rams to be ahead at break and end
When the Rams lost to the 49ers at the end of the regular season, it was the first game coach Sean McVay had ever lost when leading at halftime. I am not as sold on this one as I am on the first quarter, but the odds make it very tempting as a value bet.
Value Bet: Back LA Rams halftime/fulltime winners at evens
Wide receiver to be star man
The winning team's QB is usually the MVP. Matt Stafford is 11/10, and you can take the field at 4/7. But I can see scenarios where Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham or JaMarr Chase make MVP cases, which makes this qualify as a decent outside bet. You could also take Aaron Donald by grabbing any defensive player at 7/1 (he's 16/1 in an odds boost by himself).
Outside Bet: Back position of wide receiver to be MVP @ 11/4
Rams to run the ball
I like this one for two reasons. I think the Rams will see an advantage to running the ball against the Bengals, but I also think this will be Sony Michel's chance to get more carries, and Akers may get a few catches as well. Michel is 8/11 to have over 5.5 rushes, which I would take, and I would grab the Bengals' Samaje Perine to have over 2.5 yards rushing at 5/6.
Rushing Yards: Back Cam Akers to make under 64.5 @ 5/6
Can he kick it? Yes he can
Evan McPherson was 9/11 over 50 yards in the season, and three for three in the playoffs. Zac Taylor will let him take long kicks, and the Rams' D may be able to force them into field goal attempts. I'd be willing to bet on McPherson making more than 1.5 kicks, so this one seems a no-brainer, hence the short odds.
Field Goals: Back Evan McPherson to attempt over 1.5 @ 8/13
McPherson will out-kick Gay
For the same reasons as above, I expect McPherson to get more field goal attempts than Gay, while Gay will likely have more conversions. But two field goals equals six conversions, so I anticpate McPherson having two plus two conversions of his own for eight points.
Kickers: Back Evan McPherson to kick more points than Matt Gay at 5/6
Chase, Higbee et al are good bets for to score touchdowns
I am providing a range of options here; you need to balance the likelihood of a player's being tightly covered in the end zone to the coach's cleverness at scheming someone else into being open there.
To Score a TD: Back any of Ja'Marr Chase 11/10, Tyler Higbee 13/5, Samaje Perrine 9/2, Trent Taylor 19/1
Good luck, and thanks for following this column throughout the 2021 season. Bet responsibly, enjoy the game, and see you next season!