Super Bowl’s so-called dead week brings proposition bets

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From coin flip to national anthem time to the MVP, sportsbooks look to maximize options.

Most years, the NFL builds in a bye week between the AFC and NFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl, giving the teams a chance to get healthy but leaving bettors that have enjoyed weekly action since September starved for a chance to place a wager.

In recent years sportsbook operators have unleashed more proposition bets, or props, to pique interest. In Las Vegas, the Wednesday 11 days before the big game has become prop release day.

Prop bets range from statistical questions, such as will quarterbacks Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes throw for over or under a designated number of yards, to scenarios ranging from which team will score first to will there be a score in the final two minutes of the game.

One prop that has risen and fallen in popularity is the time for singing of the National Anthem. Prior to 2006, this bet generally was not available, but it quickly caught on. However, many sportsbooks have stopped offering a line. In some cases, bettors have obtained information on rehearsal times and scored big wins, or there has been controversy due to singers repeating the word “brave” at the end, making for a dispute as to when the song actually ended.

In 2021, of course, the National Anthem is not just a song but a time to protest. Some online books are allowing people to bet if players will kneel and or raise a fist.

Another prop to watch in this year’s game is the winner of the Most Valuable Player award. The quarterbacks usually are the favorites, but in this case Mahomes and Brady are so well known, they’re casting a shadow on the other candidates. One site has Mahomes as a 5/6 favorite, followed by Brady at 2/1. Whereas in most years the next option might be roughly 5/1, Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill is 12/1 and teammate Travis Kelce is 15/1. The odds jump all the way to 35/1 for the fifth most popular option.

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