Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Betting Notes From Las Vegas; Good Strategy For Prop Betting

By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Nice Party in Dallas for "The Big Game"
If you can’t be in Arlington for the actual Super Bowl, there is no better place to be than in Las Vegas. With a combination of all the party glitz New Years Eve offers mixed in with the passion of sports and Las Vegas’ favorite tradition, gambling, a trip to Vegas for the game is actually a little more entertaining -- and sometimes cheaper -- than being at the actual game.

While there are just over 100,000 people that have tickets for the game itself, Las Vegas opens it’s arms large for all with it’s sports books and parties all across town making the theme of the day louder and larger than any destination in the world. And even though the NFL won’t allow anyone in Las Vegas to actually use the trademarked term of “Super Bowl”, everyone just says “The Big Game” with a wink.

Sorry Dallas, everything is big in Texas, but with 300,000 people expected to be in town, the scoreboard shows Las Vegas as the real winner of being truly big for your event.

Strategizing Your Prop Plays
Upon coming to town, you have already got a preconceived notion of who you like. Depending on who that team is and how you figure the tempo to go, you have a great head start of what to play in your prop wagers.

Las Vegas Hilton Prop Sheet is 8 pages
Should you like the Steelers to win and shut down the Packers, obviously you play the Steelers to win -- either on the money-line or point spread -- and take a shot with the under. A parlay of the two may even be a good investment at a lower amount than your other bets.

You then have to analyze how you came to that conclusion. As you go on about the Steelers have the No. 1 total defense led by the league’s top run defense by a large margin, you come to the conclusion that the Packers won’t be able to run. Glancing through the sheets of prop pages, you find exactly the type of bet that coincides with your logic, the Packers James Starks under 50 ½ yards.

You then come to the conclusion that if the Packers can’t run, they’ll obviously have to throw which then takes you to betting over 34 ½ pass attempts by Aaron Rodgers, something Rodgers has done in three of the four losses he had while not getting hurt.

On the Pittsburgh side, you’re wondering about how they’ll get the win and you reflect back on the success they had over the year, in particular the games that the defense shined. Ben Roethlisberger’s passing yardage is hard to guage because it’s so extreme one way or another, but Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall seem to be consistent key figures in the Steelers success.

Wallace has made big plays all season with seven of his 10 touchdowns coming at least 33 yards out, therefore you start salivating at the chance to bet over 23 ½ yards on Wallace’s longest reception and the +140 on “Yes”, Wallace to score a touchdown. You also get a little greedy with the odds and take a smaller wager on Wallace to score in the first half at +320.

Super Bowl Props Galore on the Hilton Boards
Believing that the Steelers will win, and will do so with the game staying closer to the under, you start believing that Mendenhall’s time consuming carries in the AFC Championship game against the Jets will be duplicated. In that game, he carried the ball 27 times for 121 yards. For the Super Bowl against the Packers, Mendenhall only has to get over 79 yards to win the bet.

Regardless of what scenario unfolds for the game whether you like it high scoring, low scoring, Packers or Steelers, stay correlated with your thoughts rather than just betting random props. Even though betting the first player to score can be fun sometimes, you lose all the edge due to the large house hold on the index.

Any prop that has more than two options should not even be looked at because what you are looking for the most calculated way to keep some kind of an edge on the afternoon with your opinion being the driving force.

By correlating your bets, you have a much better chance to win big on the day if correct. Why do you think the sports books don‘t let people parlay the propositions? It‘s because if one thing happens, there is a greater likelihood that certain other things will happen which gives all the value to the player.

I should note that one sports book, the Las Vegas Hilton, has a list of props that aren’t correlated in any fashion that they do allow parlays on, but it‘s a very short list among their volumes of pages.


Handle Not Expected to Break State Record
All Indications from sports books across the state is that this years Super Bowl handle will not break the record of $94.5 million set in 2006, but could beat the last two seasons, neither of which passed the $83 million mark. MGM Resorts Race and Sports Book Director Jay Rood said he thought $88 million could be achievable.

Record handle not expected for Nevada books
Rood also believes that despite seeing larger action thus far on the Packers that his books likely won’t go to minus-3 stating that Steelers money should start coming in helping to balance out the action that has already been bet.

Bettors with large Packers money have most likely already bet for fear of not getting -2 ½ while the Steelers backers are all waiting for +3. Some of the traditional “Square” sports books off-shore have gone to +3 (Even or +105) on the game, but most of them rarely take large sharp action so it isn’t quite the same indicator that some of the Las Vegas books are. As soon as Stations, MGM Resorts and Wynn all start sliding back to 2 ½-flat, the flood gates should open with Pittsburgh money wanting to get at least +2 or higher.

About 35% of the overall Super Bowl action will occur on Friday and Saturday, with nearly 45% of all the action coming Sunday from 12:01 am to kickoff. Among that huge percentage, I would expect a large portion of it to be Steelers money who have been waiting for their optimum time to get value. That's just speculation on my behalf, because I've been wrong before, such as 2003 when the Raiders money never came.

Center of Attention
The last team we saw a team play in the Super Bowl without their starting center was in 2003 when the Raiders’ Barrett Robbins went missing on what we later found out was a drinking binge in Tijuana mixed in with psychological issues. Tampa Bay money flooded in simultaneously with news and the Raiders ended up losing 48-21.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey has been -- kind of -- ruled out of the Super Bowl and while the point-spread won’t be adjusted, you have to feel that the anchor of the offensive line has to be worth something. Between all the blocking schemes in their power running game, the loss of Pouncey is might affect the team more than we think.

My Favorite Prop
Blake & LeBron pts vs Super Bowl
The MGM resorts sports books have a great prop up asking who will have more, Lebron James and Blake Griffin’s points in their Sunday game against each other or the total points scored in the Super Bowl. James and Griffin are the -4 ½ favorite. Based on their season averages, the number is correct. However, based on their averages in the last 30 days, James and Griffin present great value because their combined average is eight points higher than their season average which gives the bettor an edge for this prop.

I like the game to over 44 ½, but there is too much value in betting with Griffin and James to pass up. I would fully expected both players to surpass their 30 day average as each will look to outshine the other.

Who Do I Think Will Win?
I’ve heard just about every angle for the game from a few sharps and lots of public opinion, and respect them all, but surprisingly, I haven’t wavered too much from my initial thoughts where I thought the game would be won by the Steelers 27-23. I still like the Steelers to win, but I’m thinking more points will be scored.

Not only is it hard for me to get the Steelers 37-36 win over the Packers game out of my head from 2009, but it’s also hard to forget just how good Rodgers is on fast tracks under the roof. Going all the way back to Packers loss at Arizona in the playoffs where he had to 423 yards, to this year where he threw for over 300 yards at Atlanta twice and in Minnesota where he threw for 301 yards, I just think he’ll be able to do his thing well, even against the Steelers top ranked defense.

As for the Steelers, I love how they bend, but they rarely break. All season long they have been battle tested, not to mention many in this group having won two Super Bowls. I think they’re expectations of winning and experience in being able to follow through in tough times will set them apart from Green Bay in a close, but very exciting game.

I’ve bet OVER 44 ½ as my top play, with the Steelers money-line at +125 and Steelers +2 ½ (+105) each for just a shade less.

Final Score: Steelers 31, Packers 27

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