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Super Bowl Prop: Do Your Homework

   by Bryan Leonard - 01/31/2006

Oddsmakers have had plenty of time to carefully scrutinize the last game of the football season, therefore the side and total are likely to be good numbers. You rarely see much line movement on Super Bowls. However, proposition bets offer bettors an excellent opportunity to find good bets and soft numbers. But you can’t do guesswork, you have to do some homework.

Let’s go through a prop and do some research on it. For instance, there’s a line offered on the Steelers/Seahawks Super Bowl this weekend that reads: What half will the most points be scored in? The second half opened +110. Is this a good number? Just thinking about what might happen, it seems to reason that both coaches, Mike Holmgren and Bill Cowher, are primarily ball control gurus. They look to establish their running games and control the clock. Perhaps the first half will be more conservative, with the second half more wide-open as the trailing team looks to catch up. But let’s not stop there. Is there anything in recent history to support this?

Last season, the Patriots and Eagles were tied 7-7 at the half, then there were 31 points scored in the second half. As we reasoned above, the Patriots jumped ahead 24-14 forcing the Eagles to pass more in the fourth quarter to get back in the game. Chalk one up for the second half having more scoring.

Two years ago, the Patriots and Panthers scored 24 first half points. Then they tallied 35 in the second half. Actually, there was no scoring in the third quarter and then the teams erupted for 35 points in the wildest fourth quarter in Super Bowl memory.

Three years ago, the Buccaneers led the Raiders 20-3 at the half. That’s 23 point. The Bucs went on to win 48-21, so there were 46 second half points! Four years ago, the Patriots led the Rams 14-3 at the half, then the teams combined for 20 second half points.

Before that, the Ravens were up 10-0 on the Giants at the half, then the teams combined for 31 second half points. Before that, the Rams led 9-0 at the half over Tennessee. The teams combined for 30 second half points.

Before that, Denver led Atlanta 17-6 at the half, a combined 23 points. Like the Patriots/Panthers Super Bowl, there was no scoring in the third quarter, and then the teams erupted for 30 fourth quarter points! If you’re keeping score, that’s 7-0 the last seven years where there has been more scoring in the second half than the first half.

In the Broncos/Packers Super Bowl before that, the teams combined for 31 first half points, then 24 second half points. So we have to go back to 1998 to find the last time the first half won that wager. This doesn’t guarantee that there will be more second half scoring this Sunday, of course, but my point is to show you what handicappers do when assessing whether a prop bet is worth a wager or not. There are dozens of interesting prop bets to examine this Sunday. So get out there and find ones you think may be worth wagering on. But don’t stop there: Do your homework to support your findings!

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