About $100 million is bet legally in Las Vegas each year on the Super Bowl, and most of that money is wagered on the proposition bets offered by dozens of sports books in town.
Every year, the Las Vegas Hilton sports book releases the longest list of Super Bowl proposition bets in the world. This year, the LVH is offering more than 350 props for gamblers to bet on for the big game this Sunday when the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks.
Proposition bets on the Super Bowl used to make up just a tiny portion of the overall betting action on the game. However, in the last two decades, interest in prop bets has soared as sports books became more creative in booking fun bets for the gambling public.
Nowadays, more money is bet in Las Vegas on proposition bets than on all other Super Bowl wagers combined. About 60 percent of Super Bowl action is on the props, mainly because the bets are fun, interesting, simple, and potentially lucrative if a longshot prop hits.
Super Bowl props are easy to understand. Just pick a question you like, try to guess the winner, and put up your money. If you get it right, collect the payout listed on your ticket.
The simplest prop of all to bet is the opening coin toss. The LVH sports book lists both heads and tails at -103. That means that if you want to bet on the Super Bowl coin toss, you can risk $103 to win $100.
Although all prices are listed in terms of a $100 wager, betting $100 is not mandatory. You could bet any amount you like, and the sports book will pay off at equivalent odds if you win. For example, if you want to bet $10 that the coin will land on heads this Sunday, your ticket will be worth $19.71 if you win. That includes the $10 you originally bet, and your profit of $9.71.
Although, just betting on the coin toss wouldn’t be much fun. There are hundreds of other Super Bowl prop bets available, some with huge odds that could prove very expensive for the house if they win.
Let’s take a look at the 10 most expensive longshot Super Bowl prop bets from the casino's point of view, with payouts listed for a $100 bet.
10 Will There Be A Successful Two-Point Conversion? -$425
After every touchdown, the scoring team has the option to kick the ball for an extra point, or to try for two points by running or passing the ball from the two-yard-line across the goal line. Most of the time, coaches play it safe by taking the easier extra point, but late in games they may be willing to gamble and try for two. If you gamble $100 on this prop and hit, you’ll notch a $425 profit.
9 Will There Be A Safety? — $550
A safety is the rarest way to score points in the NFL, as an offensive player must be tackled or penalized in his own end zone for the defense to earn the two points. But this prop bet has paid off big recently, as safeties have been recorded in three of the last five Super Bowls. Interestingly, betting against the safety is still considered one of the sharpest bets you can make on the Super Bowl. This year, your $100 bet will win you $550 if either team scores a safety.
8 Will There Be Overtime? — $600
If the Broncos and the Seahawks are tied after four quarters are played, the game will proceed in overtime, and this prop will cash big. Although several important NFL playoff games have seen extra periods in recent years, no Super Bowl has ever gone to overtime. If this is the year that changes that, betters can win $600 on a $100 ticket.
7 Will Peyton Manning Score A Touchdown? — $1,000
6 Will Montee Ball Score The First Touchdown? — $1,200
Denver’s rookie running back Montee Ball has major talent, and he holds college football’s all-time record for most touchdowns in a career with 79. If you back him to score the first touchdown of the Super Bowl, you’ll take home 12 times your original bet, or $1,200 in profit for a $100 ticket.
5 Will There Be 8 Or More Field Goals? — $6,000
Denver and Seattle have two of the best kickers in the league in Matt Prater and Steven Hauschka. Prater was voted into the 2014 Pro Bowl before the Broncos made the Super Bowl, and he also set the NFL record for longest field goal ever made at 64 yards this season. Hauschka was third in the league in overall points scored. If these two excellent kickers combine for eight or more field goals, your $100 ticket will return a whopping $6,000 in winnings.
4 Seattle To Win By 39+ Points — $10,000
If you think the Seattle Seahawks will win and win big, this may be the prop for you. If Seattle wins the Super Bowl by 39 or more points, these prop tickets will pay out at 100 to 1, or $10,000 for a $100 wager.
3 No Touchdown Scored In Game — $20,000
This longshot prop bet is almost unthinkable: an entire Super Bowl with no touchdowns scored. No NFL game has gone without a touchdown since Oct. 23, 2011, when the Cleveland Browns defeated the Seattle Seahawks 6-3. Considering Denver’s record-setting offense this year, this prop seems even more unlikely. If this prop comes in, it will be expensive for the sports books indeed, as they will have to pay out $20,000 for a $100 ticket.
2 Total Points In Game, 7 Or Below — $20,000
The posted total for this Super Bowl is 47, which means that oddsmakers expect it’s equally likely the game will go above or below that total. This prop takes that idea to the extreme. If somehow the points in the game total 7 or less, bettors will cash in at 200 to 1, or $20,000 on a $100 wager.
1 Seahawks Or Broncos Score Exactly 4 Points — $999,900
This is by far the longest shot of all the Super Bowl props available. First, you have to pick a team, either the Seahawks or the Broncos. Then, that team has to score exactly four points. The only way to score four points in football is to score two safeties and nothing else. No NFL team has ever scored exactly four points in a game, but it did happen in college football on Oct. 23, 2004, when Penn State scored four points in a loss to Iowa. If the stars align and you cash in on this prop, you can turn a single $100 ticket into a million dollars, with a profit of $999,900 plus your original $100 back.