Among the many Super Bowl proposition bets there is one that offers a significant return on investment for a relatively commonplace event–a game that is tied at the end of regulation:
WILL THE GAME GO TO OVERTIME:
Actually, the opening statement of this post isn’t quite so ‘cut and dried’. In the NFL regular season overtime games are commonplace with at least one (if not more) in an average week. They’re also fairly common in the playoffs with an average of 1.2 overtime games in the postseason every year. But as we discussed in an earlier post about ‘things that won’t happen‘ there has never been an overtime game in the Super Bowl. And the title of the aforementioned post notwithstanding, we concluded that of the things that haven’t happened in the Super Bowl an overtime game was by far the most likely.
So let’s start with our analysis of this prop where I like to start any betting proposition handicap–by ‘doing the math’. In this case, we’ll first look at the negative–the implied probability at -1000 is just over 90%. In other words, to make the ‘No’ a good bet you have to have a greater than 90% certainty that the game won’t go to overtime. As hefty as that burden of proof sounds there is some statistical validation for betting the ‘No’–using the 1.2 overtime games per postseason that translates to just over 9%. In other words while it may not be an overlay at -1000 it’s not exactly a ‘sucker bet’ either.
Now lets consider the other side of the equation–at +600 the implied probability (which is the same thing as ‘theoretical breakeven point’) is 14.29%. While it may be a fallacy to assume that because something hasn’t happened before that it’s impossible (and especially in this case) what isn’t a fallacy is the cold hard math. If you’re only getting +600 for an event that occurs (by postseason metrics) just over 9% of the time you’re getting the worst of it. It’s not easy to bet a lot to win a little–especially -1000 to win 100–but if you’re going to play this prop the best value position is on the ‘negative’.