Dan Favale | Thu 01/02/2018 - 09:14 EST

NFL “Would You Rather”: Super Bowl Prop Bet Edition

NFL “Would You Rather”: Super Bowl Prop Bet Edition
Plucking out the right Super Bowl prop bets can be difficult. There are so many floating around that you're bound to be torn between a few. That's where we come in. We've sifted through all of the prop bets and pinned down some must-haves that may get lost alongside other options. Basically, this is "Would You Rather?," NFL prop bet edition. Let's roll.

All prop bets and their accompanying odds come via TopBet. Please remember to confirm these lines before deciding on or submitting a wager. They tend to vary across multiple sportsbooks and are subject to change in the lead-up to kickoff.

Which Player Is More Likely To Score Team’s First Touchdown Of The Game?

Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia) 
Brandin Cooks (New England)

People will gravitate toward Alshon Jeffery here. And that’s understandable.

As good as Nick Foles was during the NFC Title win over the Minnesota Vikings, he’s still the Philadelphia Eagles‘ backup. He showed his rust toward the end of the regular season, in addition to Divisional Weekend. He won’t be spreading the ball around willy nilly. He’ll be inclined to lean on his most reliable option—and that’s Jeffery. 

We’re rolling with the Brandin Cooks prop anyway.

Star tight end Rob Gronkowski is the only member of the New England Patriots guaranteed high usage when he plays. And he’s going to play after going through the NFL’s concussion protocol. But he may be subject to a snap count or just plain not at full strength. That will force quarterback Tom Brady to look elsewhere.

Cooks has emerged as TB’s second-favorite option, behind Gronk. That doesn’t extend to the red zone, given his relative like of size and strength, which could be problematic. But Cooks is also touchdown-less through the Patriots’ first two tilts. He feels overdue. And again: His prospective volume of targets matters here.

New England’s defense is, oddly enough, also a part of this decision. That group has yet to be truly tested this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the first top-tier offense, in terms of points per game, the Patriots faced since Week 2. They could prove porous against the Eagles’ air attack, which would allow Foles to spread the ball around more than usual and, in turn, make it extra difficult to forecast which player will score the team’s first touchdown.

Verdict: Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots (+650)

Over/Under On Total Number Of Completions

Nick Foles (Philadelphia)
22.5 (-130)
26.5 (-110)
Tom Brady (New England)

Tom Brady is the natural pick here. He’s throwing the ball, on average, almost 50 times per game since the start of the playoffs. Pegging him for even a 60 percent completion percentage, which would be below his regular-season average, would get him to 27 conversions.

Once again, though, we’re inclined to go against the grain.

Most sportsbooks have the Patriots favored by four to six points. And rightfully so. The assumption is that the Eagles will spend most of the game trying to play catch-up. That means Foles will have to test the air more than usual. It might not happen until the second half, when urgency starts to settle in. But it will happen.

The Patriots, meanwhile, will assume a more conservative defensive approach under those circumstances. And that should result in them allowing a bunch of short-yardage completions. 

Ipso facto: Foles’ overfeels like more of a certainty, because his team is less of a certainty than Brady’s Patriots.

Verdict: Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (over 22.5)

Over/Under On Total Number Of Tackles

Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia)
4.5 (-130)
3.5 (-135)
Malcolm Butler (New England)

This is a truly interesting would-you-rather scenario.

On the one hand, we all expect the Eagles to be playing from behind and, thus, throwing the ball a ton—particularly later in the game. That will provide plenty of opportunities for the Patriots secondary contributors, such as Malcolm Butler, to have a larger-than-usual impact.

On the flip side, however, New England’s passing assault isn’t predicated on the ebbs and flows of the game. Brady will be given the green light to let ‘er rip all night. Even if the Patriots are up big, he’ll be throwing the ball in volume through at least the third quarter, but probably through the middle of the fourth. And if, for some reason, the game is close or New England is the one playing from behind, forget it. Brady will flirt with 50-plus passing attempts.

Penciling him in for 40-plus attempts actually feels on the low end. And that means it will be the Eagles’ secondary tasked with making more frequent plays. Rolling with Malcolm Jenkins, then, is a play-the-man dice roll. His workload should be bigger than anything a member of the Patriots will encounter. It’s better to play those odds.

Verdict: Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles (over 4.5)

Which Team Will Have First Defensive QB Sack?

Philadelphia Eagles
New England Patriots

This one is difficult. 

The Patriots’ defense, as we’ve talked about ad nauseam, is largely untested. They may have trouble getting Foles. They won’t be given a ton of opportunities to do either if the Eagles start out the game with a run-heavy scheme.

Brady, meanwhile, will be dropping back early and often. So not only is the Eagles’ defense more established in its statistical dominance, but it will be afforded more chances to get after the opposing man behind center.

And yet, the Patriots are risk-takers. We saw that during their drubbing of the Tennessee Titans. They had Marcus Mariota scrambling out of the pocket time and time again. They’ll likely do the same to Foles when he drops back. He’s more seasoned than Mariota, but he’s past his prime and playing in the biggest game of his career. There will be moments of hesitation on which the Patriots are able to capitalize. 

Even if the Eagles give them fewer opportunities, they’re better equipped to make the most of them—perhaps by default, since the Patriots’ offensive line is built to give Brady all the time in the world, rendering any number of sacks, let alone the first one of the game, pretty much unlikely.

Verdict: New England Patriots

Over/Under On Receiving Yards For Running Backs

Jay Ajayi (Philadelphia) 
20.5 (-125)
32.5 (+105)
Dion Lewis (New England)

If not for the sheer expansiveness of the Patriots’ passing game, this would be a no-brainer. They don’t tend to use their running backs as a receiving crutch. But Dion Lewis will get a ton of snaps behind Brady, and with New England emphasizing modest-yardage gains more than ever, he has massive appeal as a high-volume bail-out option.

But Jay Ajayi still feels like the surest thing.

Protecting against the pass is the main weakness of the Patriots’ defense. They may lockdown tighter than normal in such a big game, but if they structure their scheme as they have all year, they’ll be susceptible to plays through the air.

Ajayi is the Eagles’ main passing back. They divvy up snaps more than the Patriots overall, but LeGarrette Blount, a former Patriot, isn’t considered a consistent receiving option. Ajayi is going to get more looks by default, and his proximity to Foles opens the door for half-dozen targets or so—which is certainly worth taking the over on his 20.5-yard threshold.

Verdict: Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles (over 20.5)

My Team's Next MatchNew England Patriots

All stats come courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.

Category : Sports Betting News

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