Proposition bets or prop bets make the Super Bowl even more exciting and more profitable than it already is. They provide an opportunity for serious gamblers and casual fans to wager not only on the final score of the game, but also on a wide range of individual events within the game. Based on pre-calculated odds, bettors can choose whether to wager on an event that has a high chance of happening or try their luck on an event with a lesser chance of happening.
The basic skill required in sports betting is the ability to assess the probability or chance of a certain event to happen. Bettors are guided by odds which represent this probability. Odds are presented in different formats such as in decimal, fractional, or moneyline. For Super Bowl prop bets, one of the most used formats is fractional betting.
For fractional betting, the principle is that when you bet the denominator, you gain the numerator. For instance, in Super Bowl 50, the odds of Peyton Manning announcing his retirement in the postgame interview are 5/1. This means that if you bet $10 and are right, you will gain $50 plus your original $10 for a total of $60. On the other hand, the odds of him not announcing his retirement postgame are 1/10. This means that if you bet $10 and are right, you will win $1 plus the $10 for a total of $11.
The general rule is that if the denominator is bigger than the numerator, there is a higher chance of that event happening. However, if you wager on an event that has a higher chance of happening, your potential profit will be lower. Taking the example above, if you bet on the event with 1/10 odds (higher chance) of happening, you will only gain $11. If you bet on the other event with 5/1 odds (lower chance) of happening, you will gain $60.
In the end, the odds were right and Peyton Manning did not announce his retirement during the postgame interview. Instead, he did it one month after the Super Bowl.
Now that you know how to assess the odds in a Super Bowl prop bets list, it is up to you whether you will go with the event that has a higher chance of happening or take your risk with the event with a lower probability but a higher payout. An example of a good risk is the prop bet on which team will score first in Super Bowl 50. The odds of the Carolina Panthers scoring first were 2/3 while it was 6/5 for the Denver Broncos. The odds favored the Carolina Panthers, but in the end, it was the Denver Broncos who scored first.
Unfortunately, the whole concept of odds and probability is deemed useless when it comes to prop bets with a random outcome like the result of the coin toss. In an event like this, there is nothing left to do but to go with your gut and hope for the best.