Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Super Bowl prop bettors are bound to have two favorite words this weekend: "yes" and "over."
Hilton SuperBook director Jay Kornegay estimated that 75 percent of public prop bettors would exclusively wager "yes" on yes/no props and "over" on over/under props. To Kornegay, the reason is simple.
"No one wants to come all the way to Las Vegas to root for something not to happen," Kornegay said.
Which is exactly why a valuable tactic for all gamblers is to give "no" and "under" extra consideration when scouring the props offered for Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Taking the contrarian approach close to the start of the game results in getting the best value in many cases. John Kelly, a Las Vegas sports gambler and veteran sports-handicapping radio host, advocates this approach.
"The 'yes' was already priced high with the books knowing the public and then it goes up even more," Kelly said. "By kickoff, 'no' is where the value is at. And another reason to bet no: It's a contact sport. One big hit on (Colts running back Joseph) Addai or (Colts tight end Dallas) Clark or (Colts receiver Reggie) Wayne and you're done."
Although Kelly doesn't consider himself a prop-bet specialist, he offered a few other tidbits of advice to casual gamblers searching for action on the Super Bowl.
First and foremost, Kelly said, take it easy. For a recreational player, there's no reason to spread out large sums of cash on a big number of wagers.
"You don't want to have too much action because you lose track of the game," Kelly said. "You're too worried about Reggie Wayne getting a catch that you miss the whole game."
For the record, Kelly's favorite props involve Wayne having a big game Sunday. He specifically mentioned taking the "over" 74.5 receiving yards for Wayne.
Kelly, who currently hosts a sports handicapping show called Winning Wednesdays, also likes the props involving Dallas Clark. Wayne and Clark were held to a combined seven receptions and 90 yards in the Colts' victory against the New York Jets to advance to the Super Bowl. Kelly doesn't see that happening twice in a row.
"The fact that they were shut down in the AFC Championship Game bodes well to me," Kelly said. "I would lean that way. I think it was a product of the Jets paying attention to Wayne and Clark. I think Manning will get back to his top receivers."
Most props, however, aren't as simple as receiving yards for Wayne or Clark. At the Hilton, more than 400 bets are available.
Bettors can wager on anything from Colts defensive back Melvin Bullitt's total tackles to whether there will be more goals scored in the Michigan vs. Wisconsin college hockey game or touchdowns scored in the Super Bowl.
Props could make for more than 50 percent of the total handle bet on the Super Bowl. Kelly is not surprised by their popularity.
"It's the gambling spirit," Kelly said. "It's a fun process. Some are investing, but for the vast majority, this is just three hours of fun."
To turn fun into a little profit it might be advisable to side with "no" or "under" on some of the props.
Does Kornegay agree with this strategy? Not necessarily.
"There's no right side on these," Kornegay said. "You've got to take them on an individual basis."