The NFL season culminates with Super Bowl 53 on Sunday, Feb. 3 between the perennial contender New England Patriots and upstart Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots (-2.5) are slightly favored on most sportsbooks in New Jersey, but that is only where the betting options begin. The Super Bowl offers more “proposition bets” than any other sporting event although some involve more skill and research than others (such as betting the coin toss). In this article, we highlight the five best prop bets to take on various New Jersey sportsbooks.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
Top Five Prop Bets For Super Bowl LIII on February 3, 2019
5. First Away Team Kickoff is Touchback (No, -115 on 888 Sportsbook)
Since this is the least scientific of our recommended prop bets, it ranks fifth and should not be bet with extreme confidence. It’s close to a coin flip based on the overall data. Yet the Patriots (technically the away team) did have the third-lowest touchback percentage (41.03%) in the NFL last season and the sixth-lowest (49.53%) this season.
Much of that is by design. Bill Belichick and his staff prefer to pin the kick returner between the 10-yard line and end zone, forcing a return that often falls short of the 25-yard line. With return specialist Pharoh Cooper waived, the Rams are using third-year CB Blake Countess on kick returns and second-year WR JoJo Watson on most punt returns.
Belichick will likely instruct his special team’s unit to test those inexperienced returners and see if they make a critical mistake under the incredibly bright lights in the first quarter of the Super Bowl. Throughout the playoffs, the Pats have tested their opponents to return the ball, posting a notable 23.81% touchback rate over their last three games.
4. Rob Gronkowski (Over) 20.5 Yards on Longest Reception (-115 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
While Rob Gronkowski has been diminished this season by shaky healthy, he’s still a big-play threat with strong hands and the ability to make plays down the field.
“Gronk” led all NFL tight ends in terms of his average depth of target (13.5 yards) this season. He rumbled for a 25-yard reception, despite running very few pass routes, in an AFC Divisional Round win over the Chargers. Then, he posted a 25-yard reception while snaring 6 of 11 targets against the Chiefs. Gronk averaged 13.7 yards per reception in the AFC Championship and averages 14.5 yards per reception on the season.
3. Sony Michel (Under) 19.5 Longest Rush (-115 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Patriots will likely look to feature Sony Michel against a Rams defense that’s struggled against the rush all year. Yet Michel could disappoint after knifing through the Chiefs’ and Chargers’ weak interior lines. Nearly half of his rushes were between the tackles this season, which is where the Rams are led by all-world DT Aaron Donald and fellow star Ndamukong Suh.
The Rams yielded a league-high 5.1 YPC this season but stiffened considerably while allowing just 2.05 YPC in their two playoff wins. Ezekiel Elliott managed a long of 15 yards three weeks ago. Then, Mark Ingram topped out at 16 in the NFC Championship game.
Michel gouged the sleeping Chargers in the first half of that easy win but averaged just 3.9 YPC with a long run of 11 yards against the Chiefs’ leaky run defense. He could lose work on edge rushes to Rex Burkhead and James White as the Pats look to stay a step ahead of Rams DC Wade Phillips by adjusting their game plan.
2. Todd Gurley (Over) 3.5 Receptions (+115 on 888 Sportsbook)
The odds are great on this prop bet in part because Todd Gurley’s health has been shaky over the past few weeks. He’s losing goal-line opportunities and rushes on early downs to C.J. Anderson, but Anderson is unlikely to take any of Gurley’s work in the passing game.
Gurley averaged 4.2 receptions per game this season despite the Rams leading throughout most of their 13 regular season wins. In the Rams’ last loss, Gurley compiled a whopping 10 receptions on 13 targets during a comeback bid against the Eagles in Week 15.
The Patriots are favored, but even if the Rams get out to an early lead, there’s no way Sean McVay will want to take his foot off the gas given the track record on the other sideline. New England yielded the fifth-most receptions (90) and fourth-most receiving yards (783) in the AFC to opposing RBs this season and ranked 22nd in DVOA pass defense against the position.
1. Tom Brady (Over) 291.5 Passing Yards (-112 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
This prop bet can also be parlayed on FanDuel Sportsbook in a sense. You can bet on Tom Brady to throw for 300-plus yards and a New England Patriots win and get +225 odds. While it’s possible Brady tops that number while in comeback mode, he’s likely going to throw for 300-plus yards in a win or a loss as long as the Rams’ offense is productive against a middling Patriots defense.
You can also take a chance on Brady to go Over 26.5 completions (+105 on FanDuel Sportsbook). The odds are a bit better on this bet since it will depend on pace and game flow, but the Patriots’ quick-hitting pass attack should be firing on all cylinders as OC Josh McDaniels looks to mitigate the Rams’ interior pass rush with screens and slants.
Brady is averaging 433 passing YPG over his last three Super Bowl appearances, and the Rams allowed visiting QBs to post a 100.8 passer rating with a 68.1% completion rate at home this season. They will be in a similar environment this Sunday on the fast turf in Atlanta.
Brady averages 270.8 passing YPG over 22 career starts in stadiums with domes or retractable roofs. He’s 17-5 in those starts and obviously tends to step up in bigger games. Thus, banking on the future Hall of Famer to top 300 yards and carry the Pats to a sixth Super Bowl victory is one of the likeliest prop bet scenarios you can find.