Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
There are thousands upon thousands of wagering options surrounding the Super Bowl. Digest cannot possibly do justice to them all, so we’ll just highlight the biggest, strangest and most interesting bets, props and parlays.
Spread: Patriots -2.5 (money lines: Patriots -115, Rams -106)
Nearly 20 years of Patriots dominance can cloud a bettor’s rational judgment in the Super Bowl: You either love them or hate them, respect them or resent them, but you can’t bet on them as if they are just another team.
So it’s best to consider a rule we call Pasquale’s Wager (named after Cousin Pasquale, who taught Digest how to handicap games and smoke cigarettes in middle school) when deciding how to bet a Patriots Super Bowl: If a team you hate is in a big game, bet them big. If they win, you win. If they lose, the joy of watching them lose cushions your financial loss.
Patriots fans don’t have much use for Pasquale’s Wager—for them, betting against Tom Brady ranks somewhere between sawing off their own arms and burning down a puppy daycare—so the Patriots -115 money line offers something for both lovers and haters, while the 2.5-point spread is narrow enough to limit the risk of a Pasquale’s Worst Case Scenario: a no-cover win which leaves you angry and broke.
The Patriots are 13-6-1 at clearing the over in postseason games since 2011, per TeamRankings.com. The last two Super Bowls produced 62 and 74 points. And what are you going to do, bet on a low-scoring Super Bowl? C’mon!
James White is +150 to score a touchdown in the game, Rob Gronkowski +165 and Rex Burkhead (who became Mr. Goal Line against the Chiefs) is +185.
Some books are offering two-player touchdown parlays. If Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson both score a touchdown, for example, it pays at +350. Our favorite play: Gronkowski and White +1000.
Brady has thrown for over 300 yards in eight of his past 10 postseason games, so betting over the 299.5 for his passing yards feels safe. Don’t Pasquale’s Wager this one, though; you’ll be beyond miserable if he spends the fourth quarter handing off.
Most rushing yards
Todd Gurley is getting +225, Sony Michel -115. A Patriots rookie running back is picked to out-rush another team’s workhorse in the Super Bowl: If that’s not a sign of the changing times, nothing is.
Members of the C.J. Anderson fan club can get him to lead the game in rushing at +350. But if you really want to overreact to championship-game storylines, take Burkhead at +2500. Patriots rushers have come from nowhere in the Super Bowl before (see: James White in LI).
Brady pays out a ho-hum +110. Jared Goff pays +225. If you are feeling an MVP performance from Goff (Digest is not), consider a Rams-and-over parlay (+290) instead so you don’t get stuck if voters get carried away and name Sean McVay MVP or something.
Todd Gurley is a tasty +1400 if you want to wager on his triumphant return from the title-game benching. White pays at +2800, but it’s better to wager on his stats, because if he catches a bunch of touchdown passes, Brady will win the MVP.
Johnny Hekker is +20000 if you want to play Powerball on a fake punt so spectacular it makes the Philly Special look like a fullback dive.
• Length of national anthem over-under: 1:50. What’s the money line on anyone pointing out the hypocrisy of treating the anthem as something so sacred that players cannot protest racial injustice while it’s playing and simultaneously using it as a silly excuse for a prop bet? Never mind; it just paid.
• Bill Belichick‘s hoodie color: Some sites are giving 3-1 odds on gray. Blue is the favorite (2-3), but the Rams wear blue, and what are the odds that Belichick is so fashion-challenged that he would wear the other team’s color? (Don’t answer that.)
• Either team scores a two-point conversion: +225. This feels so much like free money that Digest played it the moment we spotted it. For the record: The Rams were 5-of-7 on two-point conversions; the Patriots a surprising 0-of-1.
• Safeties in the game: +800. There have been nine safeties in Super Bowl history, but Brady got flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone for one of them (Super Bowl XLVI), and when you factor in the great Rams pass-rushers, inexperienced Jared Goff and other factors, +800 may be a fun flier. (Wagering on no safeties, meanwhile, pays out at a junk-bond rate of -1667.)
Game goes to overtime: +900. Digest also played this and not just because both conference championship games (and Super Bowl LI two years ago) went to overtime. We just want some extra dough if forced to work extra late because the game went long. It’s the Pasquale’s Wager of sleep deprivation!
Unless otherwise noted, odds and money lines are from the DraftKings Sportsbook App, collected on Sunday.