In-play, Parlay or Props, The Super Bowl’s A Winner All The Way
The statistics–like Kansas City Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ unorthodox under-arm “shovels” and “scoops”–are mind-boggling.
At a conservative bet, it’s estimated that at least US$7 billion (£5.79bn/€6.55bn) will be wagered on this Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII (57) between The Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Some, like the American Gaming Association (AGA), put the handle as high as US$16 billion (£13.25bn/€14.98bn), embracing legit, off-shore and downright dirty; but of course with most of the take being placed in The States, where the Super Bowl is the sporting and betting highlight of the year.
Talk about the proliferation of in-play or parlay betting, it’s expected that at least half of all punts will be on so-called “props”, which don’t even have to concern specific aspects or plays in the game but can cover features such as the length of the national anthem; even which songs Rihanna, the star of the half-time show, will sing.
Professional, or so-called “sharp”, bettors often stay away from betting the more mundane outcomes, such as “winner” or “total score”, because they believe they can get a better edge on props.
They leave conservative up-and-down wagers to “straight” punters.
Predictably, on standard bets there is so much money wagered on who will win, and what the score will be, that bookies can accurately mirror margins to probabilities.
Props, on the other hand, because of their intrinsic, often-random, nature, open a veritable Pandora’s Box of odds and outcomes.
They certainly bring a new level of excitement to Super Bowl betting.
At this year’s American football world championship some books are offering more than 2,000 props, for example, representing for them around 70 percent of the bets they will take.
Time was when Nevada had a near-monopoly on the legal sports betting market in the United States.
But now, since the 2018 repeal of PAPSA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act), over 100 million Americans, almost one-third of the population, in 33 states and the District of Columbia have access to regulated sports wagering.
This season the AGA estimates that almost half of them have bet on the National Football League.
Sundered gambling taboos aside, Sunday’s Super Bowl will go down in history as truly ground-breaking – whatever the result. For it will also be the first time that two Black quarterbacks, the effective leaders of their teams, will feature in a final: Patrick Mahomes, of the Chiefs, and Jalen Hurts of the Eagles.
With the retirement of legendary 45-year-old seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, and relative decline of Aaron Rodgers of the storied Green Bay Packers, Mahomes, aged 27, and Hurts, 24, represent the new generation of dominant quarterbacks.
This will be the brilliant Mahomes’ third Super Bowl final in five-years. He won, against the San Francisco 49ers, in 2020; lost against Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in ‘21.
For Hurts this will be his first ever attempt to conquer the summit of his sport.
And with two brothers–Jason (Kansas) and Travis Kelce–facing each other on opposing teams for the first time in Super Bowl history, the match-up has even greater resonance and spice.
Despite their brilliance, most pundits concur that it will not be the quarterbacks who will decide the outcome of the game; rather the “de-fense” that negates them.
As the old American football rubric repeats: “Offense wins games, defense wins titles.”
Still for me, it’s “All Hail The Chiefs”.
It may not be much of a prop, but I’m happy to bet on it.