The Professor’s 2021 NFL Super Bowl Special Bets: DraftKings and FanDuel

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The Professor's 2021 NFL Super Bowl Special Bets: DraftKings and FanDuel

Super Bowl Weekend is upon us, and DraftKings and FanDuel have a variety of bet specials to make the NFL’s season finale that much more enjoyable. In this article, The Professor will sort through eight available offers to identify which bets have a bit of value, which are priced fairly, and which are more on the “just for fun” side. Odds come from DraftKings and FanDuel.

Bets with Value

Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford Over 4.5 Combined Passing TDs (+145, DraftKings)

The Professor’s model has Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow projected at an average game of 2.1 touchdown passes and Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford at 2.4, putting their combined total dead on the number of 4.5 combined passing touchdowns. A common theme in this article is that The Professor expects these quarterbacks to shine in this game, which makes the +145 price for Burrow and Stafford to combine for at least five touchdowns an appealing number.

Either Joe Burrow or Matthew Stafford To Throw a 50+ Yard TD (+200, FanDuel)

At +200, this bet must hit 33.3% of the time to break even; given that Stafford had a long throw of at least 50 yards in eight of his 20 starts this season, and that Burrow had a long throw of at least 50 yards in nine of his 20 starts, and that only one of them needs to hit, the +200 price is appealing. Both quarterbacks are capable of dialing up a deep ball, and there is also the possibility that a receiver such as Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp or Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase turns a short catch into a long score. Granted, not all of the fifty-yarders noted in Burrow and Stafford’s statistics went for a touchdown, but the odds of one of them hitting a long strike are high, and those plays have a fairly good shot to get in the endzone.

Rams to Win, Matthew Stafford to throw for 290+ yards, and Odell Beckham Jr. to score a Touchdown (+500, DraftKings)

A +500 bet means that our break-even percentage on this bet is 16.67%; The Professor will take a conservative view and assume that these events are independent to argue that there is some value on this bet. On DraftKings, the Rams are -200 to win this game, Stafford’s passing yards total is set at 279.5, and Beckham is +120 to score a touchdown. The Professor’s model has a higher mean projection for Stafford’s passing yards and indicates that the odds of all three of these events occurring, assuming independence, would come out around 15%, just below the break-even of 16.67%. However, because the Rams winning, Stafford throwing for 290+, and Beckham scoring a touchdown are all positively correlated, the odds of all three events occurring gets boosted over the break-even of 16.67%. It isn’t a huge edge, but for bettors who like the Rams and are looking for a bigger score, this play is appealing.


Solid Value

Jersey Number of 1st Touchdown Scorer: 23.5 (Under -140, Over +110, DraftKings)

Key Players Under 23.5Key Players Over 23.5
1: Ja’Marr Chase (CIN)25: Sony Michel (LAR)
3: Odell Beckham Jr (LAR)25: Chris Evans (CIN)
9: Joe Burrow (CIN)28: Joe Mixon (CIN)
9: Matthew Stafford (LAR)34: Samaje Perine (CIN)
10: Cooper Kupp (LAR)80: Mike Thomas (CIN)
12: Van Jefferson (LAR)83: Tyler Boyd (CIN)
18: Ben Skowronek (LAR)85: Tee Higgins (CIN)
23: Cam Akers (LAR)86: Kendall Blanton (LAR)
87: C.J. Uzomah (CIN)
88: Brycen Hopkins (LAR)
89: Tyler Higbee (LAR)
89: Drew Sample (CIN)

DraftKings has added a prop based on the jersey number of the first touchdown scorer in this game. Like a typical TD Scorer bet, this applies to the rusher or receiver who gets the ball in the endzone, so passing touchdowns are not included. The list of players with numbers under 23.5 includes four players with a relatively high probability to score (Chase, Beckham, Kupp, Akers), the two quarterbacks (Burrow, Stafford), and deep ball targets for the Rams (Jefferson, Skowronek). The group with numbers over 23.5 is more numerous and would look a lot better if tight ends C.J. Uzomah (CIN) and Tyler Higbee (LAR) were both healthy, but as it stands, the 23.5+ list only includes two high-probability scorers (Mixon, Higgins). Players such as Cincinnati’s Tyler Boyd have a plausible chance to get in the endzone, but the list includes far more loose ends, such as Bengals running backs Chris Evans and Samaje Perine, though as Perine showed last week, there is always a chance that one touch can turn into a long touchdown.

The Professor will wait to see the injury reports on Uzomah and Higbee on game day before making a decision on this one. If both tight ends can go, the +110 odds on the over 23.5 group becomes more appealing, but if neither can go, the under 23.5 at -140 looks better, particularly for bettors who expect the Rams to score the first touchdown.

Ja’Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., Tee Higgins each to have over 49.5 Receiving Yards (+160, DraftKings)

The Professor’s model has the following mean receiving projections for these four receivers: 103.2 (Kupp), 80.6 (Chase), 67.2 (Beckham), and 61.9 (Higgins). At +160, this bet needs to hit 38.46% of the time to be a break-even play, and given the way that Ja’Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp, and Odell Beckham Jr. have dominated the NFL playoffs, the bet likely hinges on Tee Higgins. Based on the odds of Chase, Kupp, and Beckham each topping the number, the probability for Higgins to top the number needs to be in the 60% range to put the probability of all four receivers hitting 50 yards in the 30% range. Given Higgins’ projection in The Professor’s model, the +160 price appears reasonable.

Both Teams to Score 25+ Points, Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford 250+ Passing Yards Each (+450, DraftKings)

The Professor’s model projects this game at 28.2 Rams to 25.4 Bengals, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford at 301.3 passing yards, and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow at 276 passing yards. As each team’s scoring is heavily dependent on their quarterback’s passing yards, it does not make sense to calculate the odds of these four events all occurring based on the individual odds. At +450, our break-even number is 18.2%; if we assign each team a 50% chance of topping 25 points (which is a bit conservative on the Rams side), and each quarterback an 85% chance of throwing for over 250 yards, given that his team scored over 25 points, our projected odds for this bet to hit comes in right around 18%, indicating this play is a solid value.


Just for Fun

Either Joe Burrow or Matthew Stafford to have a Reception (Yes, +800, DraftKings)

The Professor’s initial reaction to this NFL Super Bowl Special was that Burrow and Stafford, a pair of pocket-bound quarterbacks, are unlikely to make catches, but then Super Bowl memories of Tom Brady as a Patriot and Nick Foles as an Eagle came to mind. Burrow and Stafford are not the types of athletes coaches would normally ask to run routes, but teams have more time to spend on trick plays with the two-week break before the Super Bowl, so it isn’t out of the question that one of these signal-callers gets the opportunity to create a “Philly Special” type of memory, and this DraftKings bet pays well whether or not the catch goes for a touchdown.

Any Offensive Lineman to Have a Receiving TD (+2000, FanDuel)

Trick plays are a common theme for these “Just for Fun” bets; as The Professor noted in the Burrow/Stafford reception prop, the extra week between the NFL’s Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl gives coaching staffs surplus planning and teaching time, so novel ideas can come into play. Both of these teams have played at least six different offensive linemen during the NFL Playoffs due to injuries or ineffective play, so it would not be shocking for either offense to bring in a sixth lineman as an eligible receiver and release him to the flat off play-action. Add in the fact that Rams head coach Sean McVay could look to add a wrinkle to get left tackle Andrew Whitworth a touchdown reception against his longtime team in the Super Bowl, which could be Whitworth’s last game, and this +2000 bet could make your Super Bowl a great night.


Conclusion

This article examined several prop bets for the upcoming week of NFL Action. To get access to more of The Professor’s content, check him out at BeerLife Sports.

About the author:

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Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.