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Super Bowl 2019: Some of the prop bets that are making the bookies nervous | TribLIVE.com
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Super Bowl 2019: Some of the prop bets that are making the bookies nervous

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Rhode Island state Rep. William O’Brien places a $100 bet Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., on the New England Patriots to win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53. Fans of the Patriots are gearing up for Super Bowl 53 by betting on the game, the first time they can do so legally in New England.

At the SugarHouse Casino, they’re seeing a lot of action on C.J. Anderson scoring the first touchdown.

The biggest liability for the William Hill-US bookmakers is whether James Develin will score. Most of their bettors are saying no, he will not.

Some guy walked into Resorts Casino in Atlantic City and put 5 grand on the Rams to kick a field goal in the first half. A few days earlier, another bettor put $37k exclusively on props. He needs one of the teams to make a two-point conversion.

Proposition bets are as much a part of the Super Bowl as wardrobe malfunctions, only more intense.

“What you see in people interested in betting a game like this is being invested in more than the final score,” said Evan Davis, VP and general counsel of SugarHouse. “Which team will score first, or some event that could happen any time during the game gives them additional engagement.”

Besides Anderson scoring the first touchdown (at 11-1 odds), Davis said Wednesday that SugarHouse’s other popular props were:

• Rob Gronkowski to score a TD (+150).

• James White plus 69.5 scrimmage yards (-115).

• Julian Edelman to score a TD (+108).

• Robert Woods over 70.5 receiving yards (-115).

“The public loves the underdog in prop bets,” said Jeff Davis (no relation to the SugarHouse executive), director of trading for Caesars Entertainment, which runs two sportsbooks in Atlantic City and another in Chester, Pa. “There are a lot of things people never bet: the coin toss, whether their favorite player will score a touchdown … “

HEADS or TAILS?

53 percent of the bets on the coin toss at William Hill’s sportsbooks nationwide has been on heads as of Wednesday evening

Caesars’ bookies also are interested in who scores that first touchdown. Jeff Davis devised a prop that the first touchdown would be scored by a player whose jersey number was over 28.5. As of midday Wednesday, he needed the over and was concerned with one player in particular.

“Where do I put James White?” Davis said of New England’s running back who led the Patriots in touchdowns during the season and wears No. 28. “He was the swing player … That one took me a half-hour. I was agonizing over it. I don’t want to be way off. That’s the fun part of doing this.”

All of the lines figure to fluctuate leading up to Sunday’s game (6:30 p.m., CBS). The weekend will see a big spike in wagering as people arrive in Nevada, and all the other places that may now offer legalized sports betting for the Super Bowl for the first time. From the coin toss to the final gun, the action will be furious.

Jeff Davis, from Caesars, said prop bets accounted for one-third of their Super Bowl wagers last year. He’s estimating that number will jump to 40 percent thanks to all of the new jurisdictions.

“We’ll just be here in Vegas; likely rooting for the Rams,” he said, “hoping there’s no safety and hoping that the game doesn’t go into overtime.”