Less than 30 years ago when Super Bowl lines hit the board, there weren’t more than a dozen or so prop bets that went up along with the sides and totals. With what shops in Las Vegas are offering, plus all the options at offshore sportsbooks these days, from the coin toss to the Gatorade bath to how much Trump will tweet, there is literally over a thousand ways to wager on the Super Bowl this year.
That’s pretty awesome.
Luckily for us Super Bowl prop betting junkies, it’s getting even better. Sportbooks have gotten even more creative in recent years, breaking through sidelines and putting together some really neat crossover sports props. Books are offering these props in almost every sport, from the NBA, to golf and even some involving Las Vegas’ brand new NHL team, the Golden Knights. Pretty much everything you could think of is on the board.
For instance, for last year’s Super Bowl there was a “Who would score more?” prop, Steph Curry or the Carolina Panthers, with Curry laying 4.5-points. Of course Curry cashed, but there is value to be had with these performance based crossover props.
So let’s keep our focus on the NBA. This year’s crossover bets, once again feature some of the biggest names in the NBA, so let’s break down and pick five of my favorite NBA crossover bets for Super Bowl LI.
Odds courtesy Westgate LV Superbook.
Russell Westbrook Free Throws Made (-1.5) vs. Julian Edelman receptions
At first glance, this looks like a slam dunk for Westbrook to cash, but the -1.5 beside the Thunder’s superstar’s name should make you pause.
Westbrook is of course one of the league leaders in free throw attempts per game at 10.5 and he is going up against a Trail Blazers team on Sunday that allows the third most free throw attempts per game. However, he is only sinking 8.6 of those attempts and attempted just four free throws in his last game against the Blazers this season.
Edelman meanwhile, averaged 6.8 receptions per game this season with Tom Brady as his quarterback and he has been even hotter in the second half of the season, snagging 7.4 receptions per game in the Pats last nine games.
The chalk is everything here. I expect a high scoring Super Bowl, which should mean plenty of opportunity for Edelman, while Westbrook should be his regular (awesome) self. If this was straight up, I’d go with Russ, but, it’s not.
Pick: Edelman Receptions (+1.5)
Isaiah Thomas Points vs. Patriots Points (-2.5)
No one is hotter in any sport right now than Isaiah Thomas. He’s averaging 29.7 points per game this season and it’s even more ridiculous over the last nine games where he’s dropping 35.7 ppg.
Sunday, Thomas and the Celtics host the struggling Los Angeles Clippers who have allowed 120.6 points per game over their last seven games. Even if you take away the two beatdowns at the hands of the Warriors, they’re still allowing 113.4 points per game.
As stated before, I think the Super Bowl is a high scoring one, with the Pats putting up somewhere between 28-31 points. I think Mr. Fourth quarter is better than 28-31, especially if you’re giving me 2.5-points.
Pick: Thomas Points (+2.5)
LeBron James Points vs. Matt Ryan Completions (Pick)
This is another interesting one and once again comes down to how you feel the “Big Game” will go. One more time, my gut says Super Bowl LI will be a barn burner.
That being said, Ryan is playing the best football of his career, but since he was so efficient this year he only ended up completing 23.3 passes per game, while LeBron is scoring 25.7 points per game this season.
James and the Cavs have pulled out of their nose dive a bit, scoring 26.5 in his last four games, but Cleveland is in New York the night before a day off for the Super Bowl and we all know LeBron and the Cavs love taking in other big sporting events. Even though a Cleveland team isn’t involved, so there is a chance of a lookahead spot here.
Throw in the fact Ryan is red-hot in his last four games, where he has completed 27, 27, 26 and 27 passes and I like “Matty Ice” in this spot.
Pick: Ryan Completions (Pick)
Steph Curry Points + Assists (-2.5) vs. Patriots + Falcons 1st Half Points
Steph Curry may be just behind Isaiah Thomas when it comes to on-fire NBA players. The two-time defending league MVP is starting to look like just that.
Since the calendar rolled over to 2017, Curry is scoring 28.7 points per game, while shooting 45 percent from long range and is dishing out 7.3 assists per game. His last four games in particular have been nuts, dropping 34.8 points per game and draining 55.8 percent of his threes with 7.8 assists per game.
Ok, this is the last time. While I think the Big Game is a high scoring one I still see the first half scoring sitting somewhere between 24 and 30 points. That won’t be able to match Steph versus the Kings.
Pick: Curry Points + Assists (-2.5)
New York Knicks Points (-9.5) vs. Julio Jones Receiving Yards
Finally, this one seems a bit like a gift to me.
I know Pats coach Bill Belichick is known for taking away a teams’ top weapon, but to me, Jones is the new version of Beast Mode. I don’t think Malcolm Butler, let alone anyone else in the New England secondary can cover him.
Jones averaged 100.6 yards per game in the regular season and has been a monster in the postseason with 247 yards on 15 receptions and three touchdowns.
While the Knicks are 12th in scoring at 105.8 points per game this season, they have averaged just 87.4 points per game in their last eight games against the Cavs, and you have to lay an extra 9.5-points?
Julio’s ceiling is through the roof and well, the Knicks are the Knicks.
Pick: Jones Receiving Yards (+9.5)
Andrew Caley is the associate editor of Covers. You can follow him on Twitter @Covers_Caley.