Thursday, February 01, 2007

Some more Super Bowl Props

Here are some Super Bowl Prop bets I made. A big problem with Super Bowl Prop bets is that the market is thin, and not all sportsbooks have the same props. A wager of $1,000 or less can move the line. Many of the prop bets I listed are no longer available anywhere. I have also listed what I think is fair value so any reader can make their own assessment. These are not recommendations or suggestions. These are simply the bets I have made for myself in Las Vegas. Of course I think they are positive EV bets (otherwise I would not have bet them), but no one should imply they really are positive EV bets without thinking about it themselves.

Before I give out the plays I made, let me discuss the process that I go about in evaluating Super Bowl props. I use the following techniques and combine them to form an opinion:

1. Database
The database of games I use are all NFL regular season and playoff games from 1989 to 2006. Some of the statistics I do not have data for the entire span, others I do. If the prop is related to the pointspread, then I’ll just use the pointspread as my parameters. For example, I will use favorites of 5 to 9 points and use what happened in those games as a guide for this Super Bowl.

2. Simulation
I run a simulation with 10,000 iterations. I try to adjust the simulation so it meets the marketplace in terms of pointspread and total. I also try to adjust it so it matches some of the data in the database. The simulation is useful for certain props that are not in the database, such as “Will there be more than 3 different scorers for IND?”

3. Marketplace
I adjust my database results and simulation results to the marketplace, in particular the game pointspread and total. Doing that helps me avoid the mistake of making a wager that may be worse off than betting the pointspread or total outright. For example, games lined 45 and higher only go over 44.1% of the time. If one simply looked at the database, most props that are rooting for the Under will look more attractive. But these props should be looked at in comparison to the Total also. Since you can always bet Under in the Total at –110, it means you need to build in some extra edge in order to bet other props that win if the game goes Under.

4. Discussion
I discuss many of these ideas and thoughts with other very smart bettors. Bouncing ideas and thoughts back and forth lead to fewer errors (if I make a mistake, maybe my friends with catch it), and increased opportunities (they may show me something I didn’t previously know, or ask me a certain question that leads me to think about something else).

Well, enough of the preparation material. Here are some of the props that I did bet in Las Vegas earlier this week. If they are not available anymore (and I would not be surprised if they are not), just remember this is the nature of Super Bowl Props’ thin marketplace.

First Score is a TD –155
Fair Value –178

In a sample of 975 games (regular season and playoffs) with totals of 44 or more, the First Score has been a Touchdown 64.0% of the team (-178). One piece of data to look at that makes this prop look bad is that in playoff games with totals of 44 or more, the First Score has been a TD only 58.5% (-141) of the time. But I tend to be more comfortable with a sample size of 975 games than 44, even though the 44 may be more relevant. This is an issue where having the database and the results alone does not do everything, one still has to make a judgment call regarding which set of data is relevant. If there were 200 playoff games in that sample size, and it showed the same results, I’d put a lot more weight on that and maybe I’d pass on this bet. But with only 44, I am ok bucking the playoff trend.

Fezzik earlier today released Under 10 –120 in the First Quarter. I also like this bet. I like it even more in conjunction with the First Score is a TD at –155. The combination of these two positive EV bets in one portfolio is fantastic in my opinion

At Least One Scoreless Quarter No –240
Fair value: -324

In 975 NFL games with totals of 44 or higher (with the average total of 46.6), 23.6% of those games had at least one scoreless quarter. Since 2000, the results are 550 games with only 24% of those games having a scoreless quarter. Contrast this to a database of all games since 1989 where 32.7% (+206) of them had a scoreless quarter. Obviously the total matters in this prop. A high total means a lower chance of a scoreless quarter in the game.

Will the Bears Ever have the Lead? No +190
Fair Value: +162

This is a prop that I don’t have a full complement of data of all games from 1989 to 2006. I only have about half the number. In the 1,111 games with lines of 5 to 9, the underdog has had the lead in 61.8% (-162) of those games. Obviously this is a prop that leans against the Bears. If you have an opinion on the game and like the Bears to cover the spread, then you may want to shy away from this prop. On the other hand, if you like the Colts, this prop probably offers great value relative to the pointspread.

Parlay: Bears win First Half & Bears win the Game +1400, +1000
Fair Value: +475

This is a line that I was able to find at a couple of sportsbooks in Las Vegas. The line is no longer available at those prices anymore, but it is possible some other sportsbook used the same service and still have those lines. I would not mention this prop if I still had a chance to bet it, I’d be happy taking as much as possible at +700 or better because it is so easy to hedge off if the risk got too big for me. Normally, contest props do not offer much value, so I was shocked to see this. But pleasantly shocked.

Score in Last Two Minutes of First Half: Yes –200
Fair Value: -267

72.7% (-267) of the 975 games with totals of 44 or higher had a score in the last two minutes of the first half.

Will there be a FG 50 Yards or longer? No –260 and again No –460
Fair Value: better than -538

This was an interesting prop for me to value because kickers have gotten better over the years at making field goals, and they have also been making longer ones too. So I decided to use data from 2001 to 2006 only for this prop. In 472 games, only 15.7% (+538) had a 50+ yard FG made. Also, understand that some of these games were in dome stadiums where it is easier to kick a long field goal because of the surface and lack of wind. There may not be much wind in Miami, but the surface is grass.

This made me bet the No at –260. So what made me go back and bet the No at –460? When I looked at the specific kickers in this game, Adam Vinatieri and Robbie Gould, I saw that neither had made a 50+ yard FG during the regular season. Vinatieri has not made a regular season FG of 50 yards or longer since 2002! He is 0-5 since then on 50+ yard FG attempts. Gould has been in the league since 2005, and he has not made one at all, in fact, he does not even have one try out of his 63 total career FG attempts. In the playoffs however, Vinatieri actually did make two 50+ yard field goals in two different games. One against KC and another against BAL. Let’s assume then that the two kickers played in 18 games against each other this year. In two of those games, a 50+ yard FG was made. Using that small sample size, -460 still looks good.

Given all this information, I was now comfortable going back and betting more, even though it was at a far worse number than the original number.

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