Many love the Super Bowl because of the betting opportunities it provides that other NFL games typically don’t. While casual bettors enjoy some of these quirky markets, professionals view them as ways to earn revenue.
Most West Virginia sportsbooks are equipped with a long list of available props to bet on for Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI. These include some weird options, as always, like the coin toss and Gatorade color.
As the game approaches, the majority who bet on it will get a few fun wagers in to add a little excitement to the action.
Some will feel a little more stress with a lot more money on the line. Plenty of professional gamblers take aim at some of these props, usually betting a whole lot to ensure a much smaller payday on something that appears to be a lock.
Of course, nothing is that easy when it comes to sports betting, creating some historic tales from past Super Bowls.
Betting on a Super Bowl safety
One of the more popular props every year involves whether the game will include a safety. Football fans know that they aren’t very common, but the market usually comes with quality odds.
Currently, DraftKings WV shows the odds for a safety to occur at +800.
This is usually enough for bettors to throw a couple of dollars down on the potential that there will be a safety. It’s also something that can happen at any point in the game, regardless of the score, thus keeping your interest.
Professional bettors find themselves on the other side of this equation, taking the “sure thing” of the teams not recording one. DraftKings offers this line for no safety at -1600.
Normal individuals who only bet for fun usually avoid something with these odds. You’d need to wager $160 just to win and make a profit of $10.
However, some pros know the likelihood of this event happening and see a chance to make some money.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, fewer than 7% of NFL games during the regular season include a safety. That’s about one safety in every 15 contests.
Since sharp bettors realize that odds should reflect their actual occurrence, which would be closer to +1500, they’re getting a deal on the other side. They’ll put down a significant amount of money hoping this isn’t the one time.
This happens so often that sportsbook operators align a few of these massive wagers each year to offset all of the small ones taking the yes option.
The statistics support that this is a smart investment, but there’s no way to predict the future.
Remembering Super Bowl XLVIII
One bettor learned this the hard way during Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
Many in the gambling world know him as Marco Robindale. He ended up losing a total of $240,000 on that safety prop.
To make things even worse, it happened on the game’s very first play from scrimmage. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was walking to the line when his center snapped it over his head and into the end zone.
Robindale didn’t intend to bet this much, but he saw a chance to win big.
Broncos’ safety debacle
Part of the problem was the popularity of casual bettors taking that there will be a safety. It just so happened that the two previous Super Bowls also featured a safety.
Since so many tickets came in on yes, sportsbooks needed to adjust their odds. This led to a substantially reduced price on the no side to try to alleviate all of the money coming in.
Pros like Robindale tried to take advantage. Instead of receiving odds around -900 to go against a safety, books were offering as low as -450 or better.
Caesars Sportsbook notified Robindale that they would take however much he wanted to put down at -350. He wagered $70,000 at its Vegas location to win $20,000.
Overall, the $240,000 would have netted around $50,000. Robindale found out his bet lost when speaking to his friend on the phone, looking to sell off some of his bet.
Another professional gambler, Rufus Peabody, discussed the approach to wagers like this from his standpoint. According to ESPN, he said:
“Laying a big price is not sexy. If it wins, you don’t win a lot; if it loses, you lose a lot. I see why the average recreational bettor doesn’t like laying a big price like that. If I made one bet a year, I probably wouldn’t want to risk $1,000 to win $100.”
After enduring the tough beat from 2014, Robindale’s moved on from Super Bowl props with a lot of juice. The safety bet that provided his second-largest defeat ever was his last. He explained:
“Great numbers, great bets, but … I decided after that, it was more trouble than it’s worth. It’s not really my M.O. to worry about wins and losses. I’m far more concerned with getting the opportunity. But I think my bankroll can be in better spots than betting a lot to win a little, with rare exceptions. The safety, the overtime … any of those, I’ve written them off to gambling past.”