by Bryan Knowles and Andrew Potter
Andrew: Hello and welcome to Scramble for the Lawsuit, in which a large group of disgruntled Louisiana sports fans sue your humble Scramble writers for a) jinxing the NFC title game and b) not jinxing the New England Patriots. I have to admit, I was completely wrong to hedge my Lock of the Week pick last time out; winning that pick provided not a crumb of comfort after watching how the inevitable loss went down.
Fortunately, this week we aren't actually here to analyze last week's football. We get to do that next week, when we bring you this season's All-Keep Choppin' Wood selections. Which may or may not include officials this year, depending which of us uploads the article onto the site. Ahem.
Bryan: No, we're here to celebrate the real reason the game is played -- the opportunity to put your money down on terrible, terrible prop bets!
For the 16th year, your humble Scrambleteers have compiled and collected prop bets that help us have a great insight into what will happen during the big game. Important questions like which team will end up scoring first, the effectiveness of the rushing attacks of the two squads, and how long Gladys Knight can hold a note. You know, relevant questions to further our understanding.
Last year, we set a Scramble record for the best prop bet selections, with each of us ending up over 1,300 fictional dollars in the green. That means that this year's guide is guaranteed* to be your path to betting superstardom.
*Not a guarantee.
Andrew: As always, should our bets fail to come through, we will refund you double the price you paid to read them!
Bryan: A reminder for those of you who aren't familiar with how prop bets work:
These are all Super Bowl odds that people are actually betting on, mostly courtesy of our friends at Bovada. We've gone off the board for a few other ones to give you the most interesting selection, but these are all real things that people are really betting money on. Crazy.
Most of these bets are whether a proposition is over or under the "line," usually a total. For example:
Number of brain cells lost due to reading this column (9.5)
Here, you would be betting on how many brain cells this week's column will destroy. You would have to choose either more or fewer than 9.5. Since football stats are generally whole numbers, most propositions won't have "push" as a viable option. If you were to bet that more than 9.5 of your little dudes would croak, you would have to wager a hypothetical $115 to win $215: your $115 that you wagered, plus $100 more (hence the "-115"). If you wanted to take the under, you would wager a hypothetical $100 to win $205: your $100 back, plus $105 (hence the "+105"). Since I imagine your Scramble writers have almost certainly killed a number of your brain cells purely through fright at this point, the under is less likely to win, therefore you'd get more money if it actually does come through.
The other bets are those with many possible options, like wagering on who will score the first touchdown in the game. The odds there will be something like:
Which Scramble writer will correctly predict the most prop bets?
Andrew Potter +110
Bryan Knowles -130
This means that if you wager $130 on Bryan, you will receive only an extra $100, because that's the price you pay for picking the guy who won both Lock of the Week and the Double Survival Challenge. If you instead believe Andrew has been saving up his correct picks for one dramatic showdown, you will receive your $100 back plus an extra $110.
For the purposes of determining a winner of this column , we're laying down 100 Temerian Orens on any of these "pick from a crowd" bets. For over/unders we're wagering 100 on any overs where we're receiving positive odds (e.g., anything above +101) or whatever it takes to win 100 on any overs where we're receiving negative odds (e.g., anything below -101).
Confused? Don't worry; we're keeping track of all that. All that matters are the results of the bets. So let's bet on the Super Bowl and everything else we can think of!
GENERAL SUPER BOWL BETS
Super Bowl LII game odds
New England Patriots -3 (-105)
Los Angeles Rams +3 (-115)
Bryan: I've been going back and forth on the outcome of this game ever since the end of the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots are in better form; the Rams have been better throughout the season. Bill Belichick versus Sean McVay has the chance to be a coaching matchup for the ages. The Patriots are the monster at the end of the book, the road to which each and every NFL season must travel. The Rams are the new hotness, untested at the highest levels. I just can't decide.
And, seeing as how I can't decide, I'll take the Rams +3. Taking the points is the logical decision when you can't come up with a logical answer! With that in mind, it's worth noting that the Patriots opened as the underdogs at some books ... for about five minutes, before all the sharps started dumping money in on the underdog Patriots. They've all seen this story before, too.
Andrew: This game, obvious as it is to say, primarily comes down to two matchups, and what you think of those individually. The first of those is Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady versus Wade Phillips. Your opinion of that probably swings on whether you think the talent on this year's Rams is closer to the 2015-16 Broncos (19.3 PPG across three matchups) or the 2011-13 Texans (a shocking 39.0 PPG across three matchups). All three defenses had their one dominant player, but the Rams' talent level on the back end is probably a smidge closer to "Houston, we have a problem" than "No Fly Zone." They did improve in the second half of the season, and their disruptive defensive linemen should make it harder for the Patriots to dominate and play ball control the way they could against the Chargers and Chiefs, but New England should get their points just the same.
On the other side, we've seen talk about the Patriots employing a similar defensive scheme to the one they used against the Rams back in Super Bowl XXXVI; I expect more of what we saw against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. That means high-variance play, hoping to limit the number of times the Rams score by creating negative plays rather than by the typical bend-don't-break. That worked quite well against Matt Ryan and Kyle Shanahan, so it's up to Sean McVay to come up with a counter. This is a painful line; if it were still the Patriots and the points, I'd take that happily, but any further shift toward the Patriots as favorites would lean me toward a Rams cover. When in doubt, go with the better quarterback: New England (-3) with no expectation of a big margin.
(Ed. Note: While Bovada has the line at Pats -3, almost all other books are currently at Pats -2.5.)
Super Bowl LII money line
New England Patriots (-150)
Los Angeles Rams (+130)
Bryan: This is a closer bet than it was last season -- the bookies give the Rams a much better chance than they gave Nick Foles and the Eagles 12 months ago. Again, since I'm very, very torn on the results, I will go with the Rams and take the better odds. Were it straight up? I think I'd back the Patriots -- that's what I did in our preseason predictions, after all. But with a game that looks, on paper, to be so close, give me the better odds.
Andrew: Same pick, for the same reasons. I think the Patriots are more likely to win, but not so much more likely that I'd bet an extra 50 percent on them doing so.
Super Bowl LII over/under
Over 57.5 (-110)
Under 57.5 (-110)
Bryan: Here's one we can sink our teeth into a little bit more. This has been a year of high scores, so it makes sense that this game would have the highest over/under in Super Bowl history, beating out Super Bowl LI's 57-point total. May we get a game as good half as good as that Super Bowl's second half!
It should be noted that the Patriots have only gone over 57.5 points in a third of their games this season, and the Rams have only done it once more than New England has -- 57.5 is a big number to hit. Then again, neither team plays an offense as good as the other one on a regular basis; it's a lot easier to keep a total under 57.5 when you're up against the Cardinals and the Bills of the world. The Patriots had six games against top-10 offenses; they hit over 57.5 four times. The Rams had seven games and hit the over five times, missing out by just one point against the Packers. Add in the fact that the game is going to be played indoors, and I'm comfortable taking the over.
Andrew: Complicating matters is the fact that pairing good offenses generally reduces the number of drives in the game, somewhat counterintuitively reducing the number of chances each offense gets to score. If we're looking at nine drives each, that means more than three points per drive to hit the over, even if the tenth for whichever team is a game-winning field goal. I like both offenses more than I like either defense, but that's a high bar. I'd normally be tempted by the over, but this game looks more 27-24 to me than 34-31. I'll take a wary under.
Super Bowl LIII MVP
Tom Brady (+110)
Jared Goff (+225)
Todd Gurley (+1100)
Sony Michel (+1500)
Aaron Donald (+1800)
James White (+2000)
C.J. Anderson (+2500)
Julian Edelman (+2500)
Rob Gronkowski (+3300)
Brandin Cooks (+4000)
Robert Woods (+5000)
Rex Burkhead (+6600)
Aqib Talib (+8000)
Dante Fowler (+7500)
Josh Reynolds (+8000)
Marcus Peters (+10000)
Ndamukong Suh (+7500)
Cory Littleton (+10000)
John Johnson (+10000)
Chris Hogan (+10000)
Kyle Van Noy (+10000)
Trey Flowers (+10000)
Michael Brockers (+10000)
Greg Zuerlein (+10000)
Stephen Gostkowski (+10000)
Cordarrelle Patterson (+12500)
Donta' Hightower (+15000)
Stephon Gilmore (+15000)
Tyler Higbee (+20000)
Mark Barron (+20000)
Gerald Everett (+20000)
Malcolm Brown (+20000)
Phillip Dorsett (+25000)
Devin McCourty (+25000)
Patrick Chung (+25000)
Lamarcus Joyner (+25000)
Deatrich Wise Jr (+27500)
Lawrence Guy (+27500)
Elandon Roberts (+30000)
Matthew Slater (+40000)
James Develin (+40000)
Bryan: Alright, time to massively overthink this one.
Seven of the last ten Super Bowl MVPs have been the winning quarterback, making that the safe bet. The exceptions were Malcolm Smith, who scored a defensive touchdown; Von Miller, who had 2.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles; and Santonio Holmes, who had over half of Ben Roethlisberger's yardage total and a touchdown. That's the kind of day it takes to take the trophy away from the guy under center. Can anyone on either team put up those sorts of numbers?
Forget the Malcolm Smith example; defensive scores are too rare. The Rams and Patriots combined only have six this season, and have allowed only one. Besides, if there is a defensive score, I still feel it's more likely to be part of a shootout rather than a dominant defensive performance, so I doubt that would override an offensive player's chance at the awards. Maybe if someone scored twice…
A Von Miller-esque day, however, seems possible -- at least, from a player of Miller's caliber. Hello there, Aaron Donald -- you've had multiple-sack, multiple-forced fumble days in your career. Heck, you have one this season, against Patrick Mahomes, no less. If any defender is going to win this award, I think it would be Donald. He's capable of making plays that change the course of football games, he's a big enough name to draw voters' attentions, and Jared Goff isn't as big of a "I dunno, give it to the quarterback" draw as Tom Brady would be. A multiple-sack day by Donald could give him this award, no questions asked. At +1800, you're betting that there's roughly a 5 percent chance that Donald wins the award. Those aren't bad odds at all.
What about on offense? Todd Gurley has had games this year which would be MVP-esque -- his 208-yard day against the Broncos back in Week 6 might count, as might his two-score game against the Lions in Week 13-- but he's locked into a timeshare in the Rams' backfield now, which no es bueno. Sony Michel is coming off of a string of great performances, with over 100 yards and multiple scores in each of New England's playoff matchups, but the problem with picking any Patriots skill position player is just how little they depend on any one guy; they're more than willing to let the opposing defense take away something, and let Brady hit all the other guys you're not focusing on. Predicting any one of them to have a big day feels like a fool's errand. Taking any Patriot other than Brady or Michel to win the award feels like a fool's errand.
The Rams do have a pair of receivers that can rack up 100-plus-yard days with relative frequency in Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, but to predict one of them to get the award, he would probably have to not only have a 100-yard day, but also score without Goff having a generally good day passing to other receivers. The fact there are two of them seems to diminish those odds in my book.
I'm torn between Donald and Brady. Brady's odds are just so, so bad, though. The odds imply Brady will raise the trophy about 48 percent of the time. If you view the game as close to a 50-50 tossup, as I do, you'd need Brady to win over 95 percent of the time the Patriots do. That seems implausible -- yes, it's hard to guess which Patriots skill position player will have a good day, but I'd give better than 1-in-20 odds that someone will, like Deion Branch in Super Bowl XXXIX. So I'll take the long odds on Donald, even if it doesn't make sense with my "over" prediction. I think there are semi-decent odds the Rams could win despite an average day from Jared Goff, which could open the door for a disruptive defensive presence.
Andrew: I hate the odds for Tom Brady, but I love the odds for C.J. Anderson. If the Rams win, I fully expect part of the reason to be a big day running the ball, and Anderson's likely to be at the forefront of that. If a receiver has a big day, it's as likely to go to the quarterback as the guy catching the ball. Not so with the running game. I'll take C.J. Anderson and be content with the long-odds play.
Bryan: Last year, we had a heads -- breaking a string of four straight tails from 2014 to 2017. Tails, in fact, has historically been the stronger bet, thanks to a dominant 27-25 record. In addition, tails does seem to be a strong supporter of the New England Patriots, going 5-4 in their previous nine Super Bowl appearances. However, these things do seem to come in streaks -- the four-game tails streak was preceded by a five-game heads run, meaning we've seen the two longest coin-flip streaks in history since Super Bowl XLII. With that in mind, I'm picking heads to keep this new streak alive.
Andrew: Why break with tradition? Tails, tails, never fails.
Team to score first in the game
New England Patriots (-125)
Los Angeles Rams (-105)
Bryan: The Patriots have scored first in 12 of their 18 games this season; the Rams have only done so in eight of their 18 matchups. That's a really low number for a good team, but the Rams have a history of letting the other team march down the field on them. The Rams kicked off to start the game eight times this season; four of those immediately resulted in scores before the Rams had a chance to touch the ball. The Patriots only let two teams march down the field from the kickoff to score. Even at those longer odds, give me the Patriots to draw first blood.
Andrew: The Patriots have been remarkably assertive in their postseason games so far, getting the ball first and driving for an opening touchdown on both occasions. If they make that three-for-three, it could set the tone for a classic offensive showdown. I like their chances of doing just that. Give me the Patriots here.
First scoring play
Field Goal or Safety (+140)
Bryan: 1:2 odds seems exactly right for a touchdown to open out the scoring. In the 36 combined games these two teams have played, 24 of them opened up with a touchdown. Both offenses are explosive; neither defense can really be called stingy. I'll take an opening touchdown, as neither team will want to settle for a figgie to open up the scoring in this one.
Andrew: As above, I like the chances that the first team to possess the ball goes down the field for a tone-setting touchdown. It helps that we have two coaches who both understand the need to be aggressive in short-yardage and long-field goal situations.
Will the team that scores first win the game?
Bryan: Yes, they will. That doesn't mesh with my earlier picks at all -- I've got the Rams winning outright, and the Patriots scoring first to open up the game -- but I'm trying not to put all my eggs in one basket here. In a close game, this is pretty much a 50/50 proposition. If the game becomes a blowout -- and it feels like we're due for one, after so many great finishes -- then it becomes more like 80/20 towards the team that scores first. The odds aren't long enough to get me off of "yes" here.
Andrew: Yes. The Patriots will score on their opening drive, and will stave off the fightback to win the game.
Team to score last in the game
New England Patriots (-115)
Los Angeles Rams (-115)
Bryan: It's close, and probably just random chance, but the Rams are ever so slightly more likely to pick up the last score in their games, doing so in 10 of their 18 matchups. The Patriots are also ever so slightly more likely to let their opponents pick up the last score in their games, doing that in 10 of their 18 matchups. This is almost assuredly random chance and not, you know, anything predictive, but hey, I did the research, so I'm putting it into the article. It also does match up with my best theory of the game -- the Patriots jumping out to a lead and the Rams firing to play catch-up late. So I'll go with the Rams.
Andrew: The Rams will score last, because the Patriots won't have to -- they will run out the clock on the win on their ensuing drive. No game-winning field goal heroics required this time.
Will either team score three straight times in the game?
Bryan: What? -230 for yes? This is the first one I'm tempted to go out and bet my own money on here, because that seems insanely high. I'd take "no" at even money, so yeah, I'll grab it if I'm getting extra cash. The Rams played seven games against playoff teams during the regular season; four of those seven games did not feature three consecutive scores. The Patriots played four playoff teams during the regular season; three of those games did not feature three consecutive scores. That logic breaks down a bit during the postseason -- the Patriots put up five scores in a row in their blowout of the Chargers, the Rams scored three times in a row in their win over Dallas and the Saints opened up the scoring with three consecutive shots against the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. I'll ignore the Chargers and Cowboys games, however; the Pats and Rams were coming off byes and should have been rested up and healthier in addition to just being the better team overall. I'll hope for a competitive game where the scoring is more evenly divvied up, thank you.
Andrew: I actually think the answer to this question is "yes," but not so much that I'm willing to lay down more than double my stake that outcome. Give me "no," purely because the -230 odds are insane.
Margin of victory
Patriots by 1-6 points (+350)
Patriots by 7-12 points (+550)
Patriots by 13-18 points (+750)
Patriots by 19-24 points (+1100)
Patriots by 25-30 points (+1800)
Patriots by 31-36 points (+2800)
Patriots by 37-42 points (+4500)
Patriots by 43+ points (+5000)
Rams by 1-6 points (+375)
Rams by 7-12 points (+600)
Rams by 13-18 points (+900)
Rams by 19-24 points (+1400)
Rams by 25-30 points (+2200)
Rams by 31-36 points (+3500)
Rams by 37-42 points (+5500)
Rams by 43+ points (+7000)
Bryan: Every Brady/Belichick Super Bowl has been a one-score game. Admittedly, last year was an eight-point margin so we can't say that every single one falls in the 1-6 point bucket, but still -- these games never seem to be blowouts. Add in that it's the closest Super Bowl we've ever predicted, with our odds giving the Patriots a 50.1 percent chance of winning, and I'm going to ignore everything with a double digit here. I'll take the Patriots by 1-6 even though it's slightly worse odds than the Rams by the same amount. I'm continuing to hedge, you see.
Andrew: I took New England against the spread, and I'll stick with that option here. Patriots (1-6).
Which will be the highest scoring quarter?
1st Quarter (+450)
2nd Quarter (+175)
3rd Quarter (+450)
4th Quarter (+200)
Bryan: I like two different quarters here. Most of the scoring in the NFL does happen in the second and fourth quarters because of the urgency to get points on the board before the end of the half, and the extra timeout from the two-minute warning, and so on and so forth. The fourth quarter has a high chance of having one team trying to drain clock, however, so I'm not interested in taking that one; I'd rather have quarter number two. I'm also interested in the third quarter, however; there are a lot of scenarios where I could see the scoreboard lighting up then and there. Maybe one team finds itself down early, and decides to open up the second half firing bombs downfield. Maybe the leading team decides to go for the jugular, trying to turn a moderate lead into a huge one before the opposing offense even gets back on the field. Maybe adjustments in the longer-than-usual halftime allows Sean McVay to come up with a play based on tendencies observed in the first half, or for Bill Belichick to note a Jared Goff tell and change up his coverages. I'm talking myself into taking the third quarter and the longest odds.
Andrew: I always find the second and fourth quarter supremely frustrating, because that always seems to be when teams properly open up their offenses and start attacking. Shockingly, that's then when they start scoring more points. The frustrating part isn't them doing that; it's wondering why they weren't doing this in the first place. The second quarter seems more likely than any other to result in points. Even if the odds aren't the greatest, at least they aren't asking for an increased stake. Give me the second quarter, as both teams try to lock down an advantage before halftime.
Total punts in the game
Over 7.5 (-115)
Under 7.5 (-115)
Bryan: Both teams averaged more than 7.5 punts per game this season, but that's not a fair way to judge these things -- they're playing against better-than-average offenses, after all, and they can't count on a Josh Allen OR Rosen to stall the offense out. The Patriots punt about twice as often as the Rams do, and they average a combined ... 7.2 punts per game. 7.2 is less than 7.5, and that sounds like a more fun game to watch. I'll take the under, and hope we get a Johnny Hekker fake.
Andrew: This is a neat line. Last year's Super Bowl saw only one punt, but the previous three years all saw more than seven, then the three years before that all saw fewer than seven. Exactly seven of the 14 participants have punted three or fewer times, which would give us the under if both teams did it; and exactly seven have punted four or more, which would give us the over if both teams did it. Even a high points total is no guarantee: In Super Bowl LI -- which I see as something of a predecessor to this in terms of how I think New England approaches it -- there were 10 punts, and that saw 62 points. Absent an unexpected pile of turnovers, each team is likely to punt at least three times, and one of the two is likely to punt more. Sure, I'll grab the over, if only to be all contrarian and whatnot.
TOUCHDOWNS AND FIELD GOALS
First touchdown scorer
Sony Michel (+500)
Todd Gurley (+600)
C.J. Anderson (+700)
Brandin Cooks (+750)
Robert Woods (+750)
James White (+900)
Julian Edelman (+900)
Rob Gronkowski (+900)
Josh Reynolds (+1000)
Rex Burkhead (+1000)
Chris Hogan (+1500)
Tyler Higbee (+2000)
Phillip Dorsett (+2000)
Gerald Everett (+2500)
Cordarelle Patterson (+4000)
Jared Goff (+5000)
James Develin (+5000)
Tom Brady (+5000)
John Kelly (+10000)
Johnny Mundt (+10000)
Any Other Touchdown Scorer (+700)
No Touchdown Scorer (+10000)
Bryan: Early in the season, the Rams nearly always opened up with Todd Gurley. That hasn't been the case down the stretch, but if you assume that his lighter use in the playoffs has been rust more than anything else, he might be poised to have a big day in the Super Bowl; I think he's the best value of any of the Rams on the board. Robert Woods isn't a bad choice, either, but I'd stay away from any other Rams.
Sony Michel is rightfully the top player listed here; he has opened the scoring in three of New England's last four games and seemingly has become the guy the Patriots count on most out of the backfield. I'd pass on Gronk and Edelman and instead look at James White and Cordarrelle Patterson if you're going down the list for the Pats, and I'm really, really tempted by James Develin. The Patriots have run 45 plays inside the opponent's 3-yard line; Develin was the guy on five of them and scored four touchdowns. That's an extremely tempting rate at +5000, and being right on that would basically give me the Prop Bets battle ... only Develin has just three touches so far this postseason, none of them even in the red zone, much less at the goal line. They have all been successful, sure, but when Rex Burkhead is getting goal-line carries and you're not, I can't ride with Develin. I'll hope a rejuvenated Gurley shows off his early-season form.
Andrew: It's going to be either Gronk or Jimmy "not the Whirlwind" White, against some poor overmatched Rams linebacker or safety, isn't it? Give me Rob Gronkowski, as we learn that the Patriots have been battling to keep him healthy just so he can go out with a bang in this game.
Longest touchdown yardage in the game
Over 46.5 (-115)
Under 46.5 (-115)
Bryan: These teams are not set up for long touchdowns. The Rams haven't scored a touchdown over 46.5 yards since Week 4, and four of their three touchdowns of that length went to Cooper Kupp, who won't be joining us in Atlanta. The Patriots have scored five, but only three of them were intentional; they also had a kickoff return and an interception return, which are more random. It's not that much better on defense; the teams combined to allow just seven touchdowns of 46.5 yards or more this season -- and three of them came on the arm of Patrick Mahomes. We're more likely to see long drives consisting of chunk yardage, not a big bomb that ends up scoring from behind midfield. Under.
Andrew: I can see the Patriots playing high-variance ball, which means a chance for some big plays if the Rams protection holds up, but big plays do not necessarily equate to big touchdowns. The best chance for this comes on some manner of blown coverage, and that is inherently unpredictable (at least, unless you're Chris Hogan against the Steelers). In the normal course of things, these just aren't those kinds of offenses. I'm quite comfortable playing against the random outcome here, and taking the under.
Shortest touchdown yardage in the game
Over 1.5 (+140)
Under 1.5 (-160)
Bryan: Let me tell you, I was more sure on this one before Sean McVay kicked the scaredy-cat field goal towards the end of the NFC Championship Game. At even odds, I'd take the under -- all it takes is one pass interference call to set up a 1-yard plunge for two of the best run-blocking offensive lines in football. However, with the odds being what they are, I'll actually take the over, and hope that goal-line plunges happen from the 2 instead.
Andrew: Weird choices in New Orleans aside, both of these coaches usually understand that fourth-and-1 is time for the offense, not the kicker. The problem I have here, again, is the odds: I'm not willing to add 60 percent to my stake for the chance at witnessing a 1-yard score. I'll stick to my default stake, and take the cautious over on this one.
Longest successful field goal in the game
Over 45.5 yards (-110)
Under 45.5 yards (-120)
Bryan: Because of injuries to Greg Zuerlein, the Rams have actually had three different kickers attempt 46-plus-yard field goal attempts. Only Zuerlein has been successful, however, going 8-for-12 when asked to boot it long. Only 12 attempts doesn't give me much confidence he'll attempt one -- McVay will go for it on fourth down in that sort of territory -- but if his number is called, Greg has the leg. Stephen Gostkowski has a much less comforting 5-for-9 record this year; the Patriots simply do not attempt that many long field goals, nor has Gostkowski had too much luck nailing them. Frankly, I hate both of these bets, but I'll take the over with the smaller odds. I imagine it'd be the Rams nailing that long field goal, both from having the better kicker and from being more likely to crack under Super Bowl pressure and attempt the long shot.
Andrew: Neither of these guys is going to want to risk giving the other team that sort of field position for the sake of three points, which adds to the incentive for going for it. I think we'll stay comfortably under 45 yards unless the score starts to get lopsided in favor of the kicking team.
OTHER GAME EVENTS
The first turnover of the game will be?
No Turnover in Game (+750)
Andrew: The problem with the fumble prop is it's not enough just to force a fumble; the defense also has to recover it. Both of these coaches have built their current offenses to keep the quarterbacks clean; Jared Goff has one of the most talented lines in the league in front of him, while Tom Brady has one of the most cohesive and hasn't been sacked once yet in this entire postseason. Still, I reckon a strip-sack is at least as likely as an interception, and the odds on that are better, so let's go with fumble for the first turnover.
Bryan There has only been one game involving these two teams that hasn't had at least one turnover, so forget that "no turnover" option; that's a mug's game. I'd expect a fumble and an interception to be roughly equally likely, especially if they're considering muffed punts to be potential fumbles. I'll take an awkward punt bounce or an Aaron Donald strip-sack over a poor throw from either a legend or a brilliantly designed offense. Fumble.
Will the game go to overtime?
Bryan: Neither team had played in an overtime game until last week's conference championship games. Even with such terrible odds, I have to go with no.
Andrew: We already had this once. Once is enough. We aren't doing that again. No.
Will a non-QB throw a touchdown?
Bryan: We all want a Philly Philly repeat, don't we? Well, let's see who we have available for this one.
The Patriots have Julian Edelman, former Kent State quarterback. Edelman has attempted four passes in his career, including a career-high two this season. He even has a 51-yard touchdown pass under his belt, to Danny Amendola back in the 2013 divisional playoffs. That's really the only Patriot who has an arm that we know of; I don't believe anyone else on their roster has ever attempted a pass in the NFL. The Rams might be a better bet with Johnny Hekker under center; the punter is 12-for-20 throwing passes in his NFL career, though he hasn't hit the end zone since he hit, uh, Danny Amendola in 2012. That's a heck of a coincidence, there.
If this was "will a non-QB throw a pass," I'd go yes. But Hekker's passes are generally short, intended to pick up first downs; I don't see a Belichick-coached team letting a fake slip past the gunners all the way into the end zone. And we saw what happened last Super Bowl when the Patriots tried to have Edelman throw a pass. Yick. I'll take no.
Andrew: As with the above wager, this isn't happening unless things start to get out of hand; and if they do, the other team will be ready for it. We've had our fun, but sanity will prevail: no, a non-quarterback will not throw a touchdown pass.
Will any TD be overturned by replay?
Bryan: Please. Please no. Don't let the refs be the story in this one. Please, no.
Andrew: Overturned? No. Awarded maybe, but not overturned. No.
Will both teams combined score 76 or more points to break the Super Bowl record?
Bryan: I'm feeling something like a 31-30 game, which would fall short of the record 76; there's a reason that's the record. That being said, this has been a year for setting offensive records, and both of these teams can put up Nintendo numbers when they want to. The Patriots have only been involved in one game that broached 76 this season: their shootout with the Chiefs back in Week 6. The Rams have done it three times, against the murderer's row of Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, and Nick Mullens (for the record: snog Mahomes, marry Brees, kill Mullens). +350 odds implies just over a 20 percent chance of nailing it, and that just feels too high for me; I'd need something along the lines of +800 to sway me into picking the highest-scoring Super Bowl of all time. I'll say no.
Andrew: I don't see any way we're repeating that. Last time was crazy. This time, the Patriots defense is way better and the Patriots will control the tempo too much if they're having this level of offensive success. I took the under above with hesitance. I'm taking it here with assurance. No.
Will there be a successful two-point conversion attempt in the game?
Bryan: There were 73 successful two-point conversions in 2018, which I believe is the NFL record. The Rams had an impressive five of them on seven attempts, balanced neatly between rushing and passing ... but the Patriots had none. They only attempted one, against the Bills back in Week 8; it was intercepted. You could argue that the Patriots simply haven't been in many situations this season where a conversion attempt was called for, but just one attempt is ridiculously low in the modern era.
It should be further noted that three of the Rams' attempts came in one game -- the game where Greg Zuerlein got hurt, forcing the Rams to dig deep into their bag of tricks rather than trust Johnny Hekker's leg. I have no doubt that either team could pick up a conversion if they needed it, but I don't see either team even attempting one unless they're left with little choice. No.
Andrew: We need two things to happen here. We need either team to attempt a two-point conversion, then we need that team to make it. I'd be pretty confident of the latter, at least; both teams have very good offensive lines, tend to avoid negative plays, and should be able to gain 2 yards on a crucial play. It's the former part that I question. I think to have one team attempting two-point conversions, we're going to need the sort of lopsided scoring we just don't get in Patriots Super Bowls. Even with the odds tempting me toward yes, you can put me down as a content no.
Will either team hit the upright or crossbar on a missed field goal or extra point attempt?
Bryan: Is Cody Parkey playing? No? Then I'll take no. What a ridiculously specific thing to need -- not only a missed field goal, but a doink. C'mon, guys.
Andrew: The odds on this are barely better than the odds on a two-point conversion. No thanks. No.
Will there be an onside kick attempt in the game?
Bryan: With onside kick odds being destroyed by the new safety rules -- Bring in the Schiano Rule! Long live the AAF! -- we're not going to see any sort of surprise attack by either team. So, we can rephrase the question as "will either team score late in the fourth quarter, yet still be trailing?" The fact that it's an attempt rather than a success helps us out, but neither the Rams nor the Patriots have attempted an onside kick this season. The Super Bowl does require throwing out all the stops, and I do feel the game will be close, but I'm still going to go with no.
Andrew: We've probably reached the tipping point at which even teams who would previously have gone for the onside kick won't attempt it unless there truly is no alternative. There really does need to be an alternative, but in the absence of one ... we're going to need very specific conditions for this to happen, and I don't think those conditions will be met. No, neither team will attempt an onside kick.
Will a special teams or defensive TD be scored?
Bryan: The Patriots have four non-offensive touchdowns this season, the Rams have five. Those aren't terribly shabby numbers, though neither are exactly going down in the record books. The problem is that to score a defensive touchdown, you need both a) luck and b) a mistake by the other team. The Patriots haven't allowed a single defensive/special teams touchdown this season, and the Rams have only allowed one, a sack-fumble in the end zone in the Greatest Game of the Year. I'm going to have to go with no on this one, too. Man, I'm going with "no" on all the fun ones.
Andrew: This is another "can we tempt you that some random, rare event will happen with long enough odds?" question. The only reason I'd even consider "yes" is to avoid losing big if it happens. That sort of fear is no way to live. No.
PATRIOTS PLAYER PROP STATS
Total passing yards -- Tom Brady
Over 300.5 (-115)
Under 300.5 (-115)
Andrew: Do we think the Rams will shut down the Patriots run game or build a big lead? That may not have the impact you suspect on this prop: interestingly, Brady's 300-yard days this year have almost all come in wins. The only such game the Patriots did not win was the infamous last-play defeat in Miami; Brady is 6-1 when passing for over 300 yards this year, and 7-4 when passing for under 300. The Patriots will need to complete passes to sustain drives, and I expect them to do so with relative ease. Unusually for a quarterback yardage total, if Brady is under 300 then the Patriots are probably in trouble. Over.
Bryan: Last year, I guessed "under" on Tom Brady's passing yardage total ... and got destroyed. You think I would learn my lesson, but no, I'm going to double down on my mistakes! I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady stuck in the 260s; the Rams were able to put the relative kibosh on Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers, so I think expecting a 300-yard day from Brady is excessive -- not impossible, by any means, but I think the Rams' pass defense will do a better job keeping Brady in check than that. Under.
Total rushing yards -- Sony Michel
Over 80.5 (-115)
Under 80.5 (-115)
Andrew: Even split alert! Sony Michel has seven games over this total in 2018, and eight games under it. Again, the common feature is that the team has won the games in which he has exceeded it, and lost most of those in which he did not. (Did you know teams tend to gain more rushing yards when they're winning?) The Patriots are going to the ground game early and often in this postseason, and the Rams defense is not particularly adept at stopping it. Over.
Bryan: The Rams haven't allowed 80 yards to a team in the playoffs, shutting down both Ezekiel Elliott and the duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram nicely. Had you asked me this question before the AFC Championship Game, I would have said no -- Michel, while certainly capable of having a good day, isn't a week-in, week-out fantasy stud. I may be overreacting to a performance against the historically terrible Chiefs' rushing defense, but Michel has been a majorly vital piece to the Patriots' offensive puzzle the last few weeks. I'll go with the over.
Total receiving yards -- Julian Edelman
Over 84.5 (-115)
Under 84.5 (-115)
Andrew: Edelman, however, is the opposite of the above: New England turns to him when they're struggling, not when they're dominating. Edelman is the only one of our four Patriots individual prop selections to have a worse win-loss record when he records better fantasy numbers. The Patriots are 3-3 when Edelman has at least 85 receiving yards, but 8-0 when he has 84 or fewer. They're 5-3 when he has at least 10 targets, but 6-0 when he doesn't hit double figures. That's not necessarily predictive of anything, but it's a notable usage pattern. If the Patriots are succeeding, they'll probably be having success with multiple receivers including Rob Gronkowski and the running backs. I think Gronk will have a bigger game than Edelman, in what may well be the big man's final game. That will keep Julian under 84.5 yards.
Bryan: This one is so tough because the Patriots aren't afraid to spread the ball around. Edelman could be the Patriots' leading receiver… but it could just as easily be James White out of the backfield, or Chris Hogan as the deep threat, or Gronkowski just dunking on people. It could be a case where everything is spread out evenly, and no one gets over 80 yards. There's just too much uncertainty for me to go above 80 for any individual Pats receiver, so I'll take the under.
Total receptions -- Rob Gronkowski
Over 4.5 (-150)
Under 4.5 (+120)
Andrew: When Rob Gronkowksi is on, he's still one of the most unstoppable receivers in the game. The Chiefs couldn't do a thing about him in the fourth quarter in Arrowhead stadium, and he had three games in the regular season with a catch rate above 85 percent and 70 yards or more. The problem is, he has only four games all year with more than four catches, versus five with two or fewer. A lot of people, myself included, think Gronk will GRONK! for the last time on February 3, so I expect him to go out in style. Brady will look for him, and expect the big fella to answer. It's nothing more than a hunch of a last hurrah, but Gronkowski will go over 4.5 receptions.
Bryan: I don't think Brady will make a point of getting the ball to Gronk unless the game is essentially over, one way or another. The thing is, Gronk's just not the same guy we have become accustomed to over the years. Heck, he hasn't even been targeted five times in six of his games this season, much less been able to haul in five passes. I could see a three- or four-catch day for him, but that still puts him firmly in the under.
RAMS PLAYER PROP STATS
Total passing yards -- Jared Goff
Over 289.5 (-115)
Under 289.5 (-115)
Andrew: Jared Goff has gone over 290 passing yards in 10 of the 18 games the Rams have played this season. Of the times he did not, one came against the Bears defense, and six came with the Rams up multiple scores throughout much of the second half. Goff's yardage totals, like Brady's, do not depend on a negative game script. I don't expect to see the Rams up multiple scores in the second half, and the Patriots defense is not the 2018 Bears, which means I do expect to see Jared Goff eclipse 290 yards. Over.
Bryan: Goff has failed to hit 290 yards in three of his last four starts and five of his last seven. Earlier in the year, with Cooper Kupp out there in the field? Sure, I'd buy it. I can't shake the feeling, however, that the Rams peaked at midseason, and it has all been downhill from there. Under.
Andrew: C.J. Anderson is perfectly suited to what the Rams do on offense, and is playing better than Todd Gurley right now. I understand why the coaching staff wants to keep their alleged star involved, but it's quite clear to me that Anderson is currently the better back. Remember when Gurley was being mentioned as an MVP candidate? He isn't even the most valuable running back on his own team right now. Anderson will have more carries.
Bryan: Gurley was invisible in the NFC Championship Game, and less valuable than Anderson the week before. Still, though -- Gurley is the more talented player. I'm going to go out on limb and say his poor performance the last couple weeks has been lingering effect from the knee injury coupled with some rust from being off for essentially three and a half weeks entering the playoffs. If the Rams are going to win this game, they're going to need Gurley to look like his early-season self, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say Gurley will tote the ball the most.
Total receiving yards -- Brandin Cooks
Over 70.5 (-115)
Under 70.5 (-115)
Andrew: Ooh, the revenge game angle. Cooks has nine games over 71 receiving yards this season, versus nine games under. He has eclipsed 71 yards in 10 of the 11 games in which he has exceeded eight targets. The Rams will look to get him involved as often as possible, and six catches for around 80 yards should be wholly attainable with his likely target share. Over.
Bryan: Once again, this is a prop I would have hammered the over on if we were still in October, but teams have done a better job keeping Cooks under control over the past two months -- he has only topped 70 yards in one game in December or January. I'd be tempted at going for the over at 65 yards, and would hammer it at 60, but I think 70 might just be a little too much to ask for the way the Rams' offense has currently been working. Under.
Bryan: There's about a 50/50 chance Brady will throw at least one pick, and Donald is more likely to get a sack than that. In addition, I think about the scenario -- Donald is bursting through the line, charging at Brady. Does Brady throw a desperation pass downfield, or does he absorb the sack? Earlier in the game, I think he takes the sack. Later, he might force the pass and have it picked, but in the first quarter or so, I think Donald gets his man. We'll go for the Sack.
Will CBS show the LAR/NO pass interference call during the game?
Bryan: No! Heck no, even. Roger Goodell will be camped out in the CBS production truck, making sure this never, ever happens. No! The NFL doesn't want anyone talking about the non-call during the Super Bowl! They don't want any controversy over this, and I'm sure their TV partners over at CBS will be happy to oblige. No.
Andrew: Nah, after kickoff they'll be focused specifically on what goes on in this game. If the prop covered the pregame shows then sure, but not during the game itself. No.
How many plays will Tony Romo correctly predict ahead of the play?
Over 7.5 (-140)
Under 7.5 (Even)
Bryan: This is a sucker's bet, designed to appeal to people reading all about Romo's success at calling out what the Patriots were doing on their final drive -- there's a similar prop asking if he'll be a defensive coordinator to start 2019 which, what? No, sorry, no.
Romo has done an incredible job in the booth, and he was on fire last Sunday, predicting at least five Patriots play calls as the game went down the stretch. That's about as hot as he can possibly get, though; this prop requires both him to attempt to predict a call and a call to be right, and that's a bit of a judgement call. What counts as a prediction? "Brady's going to pass here" on third-and-15? I'd stick away from this one because of the possibility of arbitrator hijinx, but I'll take the under overall.
Andrew: From what I gather, the network has kinda tried to lean Tony away from doing that, and he just got excited enough by what he was seeing against the Chiefs that he couldn't help himself. The biggest factor in that game was the simplicity of the Chiefs defense, which allowed the Patriots to dictate matchups in an eminently predictable way for the veteran quarterback. Wade Phillips is unlikely to make things so simple. This prop's going under, and if it goes over I will be seriously disappointed in ol' Sonofbum.
How long will it take for Gladys Knight to sing the US National Anthem?
Over 1 minute 45 seconds (-130)
Under 1 minute 45 seconds (-110)
Bryan: I've been going back to the film, listening to some Gladys Knight anthems to try to guess this one, and it's going to be tight. She generally does clock in in the 1:40s, so 1:45 is entirely plausible, especially during a big event like the Super Bowl. A repeat of the final refrain would take us well and truly over. I'm still going with the under, hoping she stays quick and to the point, and we can all move on with our lives. Either way, it'll be better than Jimmy Buffet's rendition. Shudder.
Andrew: I did not do that research, but 1:45 for a Super Bowl national anthem is really darned quick. She'll hold some of those high notes, revel (professionally) in the moment, and keep the crowd's attention long enough to scrape over the 1:45 mark. Not by much, but a split second is all it takes.
Will any scoring drive take less time than it takes Gladys Knight to sing the National Anthem?
Bryan: A 1:45-ish drive isn't that short, all things considered. You could have a long bomb for a score. You could get the ball on a turnover in field goal range and go three-and-out. You could score in a hurry-up with the help of time-outs. There are plenty of ways to get points on the board quickly. I like the odds of someone managing to pull that off -- probably the Rams, if I would have to guess. But I don't have to guess! It can be anyone! Hold those high notes, Gladys, and give me Yes.
Andrew: Inside the two-minute warning, anything is possible. A field-goal drive before halftime is both likely and attainable, and will take less than 1:45. Yes both has the best odds and is what I consider the more likely outcome. I love it when a plan comes together.
Halftime show -- what will be the first song performed by Maroon 5?
One More Night (+300)
Makes Me Wonder (+500)
Girls Like You (+600)
Moves Like Jagger (+600)
Don't Wanna Know (+700)
She Will Be Loved (+1500)
This Love (+1500)
Bryan: Per Setlist.fm, Maroon 5 performed 49 shows in 2018. 42 of them were long enough to analyze, and of those 42, What Lovers Do opened 38 shows. That is ... not one of the options! That is less than helpful!
The other opener they used from time to time was Moves Like Jagger, but that's really more of a closer. I bet that's the song they'll play to wrap up the whole show; it's good for a grand finale with appropriate pyro and lighting effects and all that sort of stuff.
I'm tempted by Payphone, actually -- it's not an opener, but if they DO open with Lovers, then the prop would roll to the NEXT one, and that could well be Payphone; it typically is on tour. The problem is, Payphone doesn't really feel like a song that gets everyone up and excited for a concert; it's something you might cut in a halftime show with multiple guest performances. Instead, I'll go with Girls Like You. It's their most recent single, it hit No. 1, it's a song they've used to kick off their encores -- and there are no encores at the Super Bowl, requiring playlist reshuffling -- so, eh, sure. Why not.
Andrew: Can I just take a minute to point out how weird it is that Maroon 5 are playing the Super Bowl? This isn't somebody with the star power of a Madonna or a Tom Petty or a Bruce Springsteen; it isn't a legendary dad-rock act like the Rolling Stones or The Who or U2; it isn't even a particularly trendy modern recording artist like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga or Jessica Simpson (back in the day); it's the type of middle-of-the-road, not-quite legend but definitely not up-and-coming, decent-but-whatever, radio-friendly but generally indistinct group that wouldn't normally even sniff an occasion this size. Don't get me wrong, I quite liked Maroon 5 ... in 2003. I don't quite understand how or why they're still here, much less getting this gig.
Anyway, the latest single always seems like the best place to start with an occasion like this, absent an "other" option to cover them doing something random like the National Anthem or a medley of covers. I hate to agree with you on this particular item, but I don't really see them breaking open the back catalog for an opener. Put me down for Girls Like You. Which, I feel obligated to add, is awful, and I will not be around to see the outcome of this prop.
Will Big Boi and Adam Levine perform Mic Jack at halftime?
Bryan: Adding to Maroon 5's odd selection was the outrage that the NFL didn't dip into Atlanta's deep musical culture to find someone to perform in the Mercedes-Benz Dome. Atlanta has a huge R&B and hip-hop scene, and they hold their own in the pop and rock fields as well. Maroon 5 seems like an odd, safe and, frankly, white choice, and it's rumored that they were only selected after Rihanna and Cardi B turned the league down. This criticism is one reason why the NFL quickly added Travis Scott and, most notably, Big Boi to the lineup.
In case, like me, you were not familiar, Mic Jack is a 2017 collaboration between Big Boi and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, so it would make sense that they would perform it together. On the other hand, I can't really reproduce the lyrics here in this column, which might also make the NFL somewhat wary of it. I'm still going to go yes, because it seems odd to put the two together and not have them do their big collab, but I'll be, uh, intrigued to see which parts of the song they take from to perform.
Oh, and Andre 3000 was the better half of OutKast.
Andrew: Uh ... the chorus maybe? Maaaybe? It would be really weird, as you say, to put these two together and not have that song in somewhere, and the song does contain some lyrical references to football. I could see a rework of the second verse slotting between two choruses that lead out of and into something else, but certainly not as a standalone song. Assuming that's enough to satisfy the prop, then yes, but the league is asking for trouble with that one if the mics are live.
Will Maroon 5 play Sweet Victory at halftime as a SpongeBob SquarePants Tribute?
Bryan: OK, let me try to explain this one.
There are always petitions on what the NFL should do at halftime, usually by people who are not, in any way shape or form, fans of football. For instance, there's a perennial petition for Weird Al to do the halftime show, and while he puts on a hell of a performance, it doesn't really fit what the NFL tries to do. These sorts of things are generally ignored.
One petition this year, on Change.org, is calling for a SpongeBob tribute in this year's show, commemorating the passing of SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg. It has nearly 1.2 million signatures as of time of writing, which isn't nothing. Still, this is the thing the NFL generally ignores…
... except. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium's Twitter account acknowledged the petition. And, 32 seconds into Maroon 5's halftime show teaser, they mixed in footage of SpongeBob.
— Maroon 5 (@maroon5) January 13, 2019
… No. No, this isn't going to happen, right? Even in the world we live in, where Weezer ironically covering Toto's Africa with Weird Al playing the role of Rivers Cuomo dressed as Buddy Holly somehow became an internet thing... no. No no no. Too weird.
Andrew: My entire response to this question could simply be a GIF of Steve Carell yelling "no," repeatedly, in character, in a memified clip from The Office. I hate SpongeBob SquarePants; it's total and utter brainrot. Based on these props, I simply cannot imagine a halftime show I would be less interested in seeing. I'm left hoping that my kettle takes a very, very long time to boil during the Super Bowl intermission. Please, please, please let this be no. And for pity's sake get off my lawn.
What color will the liquid be that is poured on the head coach of the winning team?
Bryan: Again, the use of the word "liquid" in this prop is concerning. I get that they can't say Gatorade, but they could at least say sports drink or something. Making it that generic makes it feel vaguely disturbing.
The Patriots didn't bother with the Liquid Shower last time they won the Super Bowl; this has become old hat for them. Is Sean McVay even old enough to know where the tradition comes from? The tradition started in '84, McVay was born in 1986! How uncool must a Gatorade shower be for him? I'll take Clear, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if we just skipped it this year.
Andrew: Refunds all round, as the boring old Patriots win it and, for the fourth time in six victories, don't bother drowning their
Grinch head coach. Unless that counts as clear? Nah, if it even happens, it'll be plain old water. Clear.
Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first after he is presented the trophy?
Does not mention any of the above (+400)
Bryan: Last year, you had much, much slimmer odds if you wanted to name the city -- while betters didn't think the Eagles would win, they were fairly sure they'd give a shout-out to the long-suffering city of Philadelphia had they won. Boston is not a long-suffering city, and the Rams haven't been in L.A. long enough for that to be the first thing that pops to mind, I would imagine. I'm going to go for coach at the long odds -- there's a non-zero chance this could be it for Belichick if the Patriots win, and that would be a heck of a way to wish him off. And with McVay being the Celebrity Coach du jour in the NFL, there's a decent shot he gets shouted out as well, too.
Andrew: The most likely MVP is Tom Brady, and if it's Tom Brady he's going to shout out to Gisele first. The odds against family here are, amusingly, more than four times as long as the odds against Brady winning the MVP in the first place. He's the favorite for that at terrible odds, which makes family the favorite for this at a much more comfortable profit margin.
How many commercials will run during the Super Bowl?
Over 96 (-120)
Under 96 (-120)
Bryan: Last year, there were 65 official commercials according to USA Today's Ad Meter, which is WAY under 96. Networks usually sell about 70 30-second ad slots during the Super Bowl, so you'd need a heck of a lot of 15-second slots or overtime to hit this. Way, way under.
Andrew: This line is weirdly high, unless they know something we don't. I think 96 points is more achievable than 96 commercials. Under.
Will "Dilly Dilly" be said during a Bud Light commercial?
Andrew: Ugh. Yes. It will. And I'll take another swig of my curated craft ale (Dark Island, unless I can find another bottle of Bosteels Limited Release 2018 that doesn't cost £20 between now and then), roll my eyes, and try to forget that campaign ever existed.
Bryan: Recent commercials haven't had Dilly Dilly in them; they've just been expanding the greater Dilly Dillyverse. If this was whether one Bud Light commercial wouldn't have the phrase, I'd go for it -- they've gone less for their slogan and more for a "if you like beer, but don't love beer, try our product" campaign this year. An odd choice, but a choice notwithstanding. However, Bud Light will probably have multiple ads this year, and at least one of them is likely to utter the accursed phrase. Yes.
How many commercials will have a dog in them?
Over 5.5 (-115)
Under 5.5 (-115)
Bryan: Cute Animals are a time-tested Super Bowl ad winner, right alongside Celebrity Cameos and Fourth-Wall Breaking as the most commonly used commercial tricks on the big day. That being said, I can't remember a ton of dogs being used last year, so I'm going to take the under.
Andrew: How many big brands are consistently using dogs in their advertising? There's that guy walking his dogs in the Verizon series, and Subaru has a "spokesdog." I could see U.S. Bank revisiting their dog from last year ... after that I just don't know. Budweiser has an established history with dogs in Super Bowl commercials. There are probably more than we realize even in the background of some of the big campaigns, so I'm going to be daft and speculative with the over on this one.
Will the roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium be open for kickoff?
Bryan: The NFL wants the roof open. They pointed out, for instance, that they had the roof open in Arizona in Super Bowl XLIX in a situation where, normally, the Cardinals would have preferred the roof to be closed. That being said, the retractable roof, uh, didn't work in 2017. And it leaked, quite badly. Those little, shall we say, "issues" have been fixed now. A bigger issue is the weather in Atlanta in February -- there was an ice storm last time we had a Super Bowl down here, and the NFL isn't going to make teams play in anything remotely resembling inclement weather if they have an option. I think it's gon' rain. Close the dang roof.
Andrew: This prop and the next prop go together, and depend on a level of awareness of the weather in Georgia that I, as somebody whose sole experience of the USA is Florida 18 years ago, simply do not possess. I don't really understand putting a roof on the stadium if it isn't going to be used in the coldest month of the year, but there are many, many things I do not understand about football in Atlanta. Nobody wants the game to be disrupted unnecessarily. The roof will not be open for that reason. No.
Atlanta temperature at kickoff
Over 48 degrees (-115)
Under 48 degrees (-115)
Bryan: As I'm typing this, it's 66 and sunny in Atlanta. That would be pretty good football weather -- but from early reports, it's going to be quite a bit colder in the evening in a week and a half. I'm going to go under, which is yet more reasons to keep the roof closed!
Andrew: A chill wind is coming, and ignorant people will Tweet ignorant things in response to it. Under.
Bryan: These are just a few of the over 400 props that will be open and able to bet on by the time you read this article. It's a crazy big business, and even as the NFL tries to put the genie back in the bottle, they're only getting more and more popular. We're not sure that you'll exactly secure your financial future by gambling on SpongeBob showing up at halftime, but hey, that's what we're here for. Good luck gambling!