NFL Super Bowl Prop Bets Ire of League Officials

Posted on: January 22, 2019, 10:42h. 

Last updated on: January 22, 2019, 10:42h.

Prop bets on the upcoming Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams allow gamblers to make wagers on the performances of specific players, and that’s a concept NFL league officials despise.

Super Bowl odds prop bets NFL
The Super Bowl is set, and so are prop bets that allow gamblers to wager on just about anything they can possibly imagine. (Image: Peter Aiken/Jonathan Bachman/Getty)

Las Vegas oddsmakers are gearing up for two busy weeks of betting prior to the 6:30 pm ET kickoff on February 3. The Patriots are 2.5-point favorites as of Tuesday afternoon at the Westgate SuperBook.

While the NFL has been forced into embracing legal sports betting outside Nevada following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal ban last May, the league says betting on individual players threatens the integrity of the sport.

A prominent trend in sports betting, both legal and illegal, are wagers on individual events or actions that occur during games,” NFL EVP of Communication and Public Affairs Jocelyn Moore told the US House Judiciary Committee in September.

“Examples might range from the number of passing yards by a quarterback in a football game or the number of points or rebounds by a team during a quarter of a basketball game,” Moore testified. She encouraged Congress “to allow professional and amateur sports organizations to identify which types of bets simply pose too significant a risk.”

The NFL told the Associated Press this week that their position hasn’t changed regarding prop bets.

New Orleans Saints fans might opine that referees pose a greater threat to influencing the outcome of a game than prop betting after a blown call on Sunday likely cost them a spot in Super Bowl 53.

Validated Concern?

William Hill, the largest bookmaker in Nevada that’s rapidly expanding operations into newly legalized states, says the NFL’s worries are overblown.

William Hill US CEO Joe Asher told the AP, “With the exception of the Super Bowl, player props are a tiny portion of the business – a fingernail on the world’s biggest man. Prop betting on the Super Bowl is quite popular and keeps people engaged throughout the game, even if it’s a blowout.”

“We’ve never seen evidence of a player prop being manipulated,” Asher concluded.

Many sportsbooks limit prop bets to $500 or $1,000. That’s not only to protect the game from potential manipulation – but also the sportsbook from being on the hook for a large payout in a wager market that might not attract a ton of action.

Obscurest of the Obscure

The Super Bowl prop bets are seemingly limitless. While a popular one is the coin toss (both heads and tails at -105), bettors can also take odds on whether the digital currency Bitcoin will increase (-130) or decrease (-110) in value during the big game.

Since the Super Bowl is on a Sunday, Chick-fil-A inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is expected to be closed, as is customary for the fast food chain. The odds of it being closed are at -950 (implied odds of 90.48 percent).

The odds of President Donald Trump attending the game are “yes” +400, “no” -700. And speaking of the commander in chief, the number of tweets he’ll push out on February 3 is at “over six” -120, “under six” -120.