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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

The fastest growing element of Super Bowl betting in Las Vegas involves proposition bets, or “props.” Those aren’t traditional bets on the pointspread or full gameOver/Under, but rather on specific player-related or team-related occurrences.

Sportsbooks were initially hesitant to offer side bets many years ago because they didn’t think there would be interest from anyone accept the sharpest bettors. It turns out that squares (the public) absolutely LOVE props, so now the city is flooded with them.

Should followers of my College of Advanced Sports Betting play any of those proposition bets? I would say it this way. I don’t think the PUBLIC should bet any props. Most are true sucker bets that don’t offer any value. The sportsbooks typically clean up on these because squares make such bad choices. Being an “Advanced” handicapper and sports bettor means knowing when to pass! I hope I’ve made that point clear over the past several months.

That being said, you CAN bet a few of these for profit if your handicapping is solid. You will find edges here and there. The point is…do your homework…then be picky enough to only bet actual edges. Some guidelines.

*The EARLIER you bet, the better. Sharps tend to attack prop bets when they first come up and immediately bet the line to where it’s supposed to be. If you’re betting late, the value is probably already gone.  Sitting down Sunday morning, a few hours before kickoff, and trying to find good prop bets is a fool’s errand.

*FOCUS more on OVER/UNDER bets rather than “odds to score” type bets. Whenever a bet involves several options that are rated at various prices from 4-1, 10-1, 20-1, or whatever, you’re never getting anywhere near the true odds when betting. The guy paying 10-1 is probably more like 25-1 in real life. The guy getting 4-1 is probably more like 8-1. Don’t bet these unless you somehow have specific “inside” information that a team will try to throw its first touchdown to a certain receiver. But you know what? Even then, you’re still probably not getting true odds because modern offenses are full of checkdowns and options.

I’m okay with betting on Over/Unders for individual performances in rushing or passing yardage, scoring bets for quarters or halves, the types of bets where you’re dealing with the clear 11/10 juice rather than hidden vigorish.

*UTILIZE your PROVEN TECHNIQUES with PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS rather than playing hunches. It’s the Super Bowl. Your gut wants you to have fun and take a few flyers on longshots. Las Vegas was built on bad hunches from gamblers’ guts. Use what’s worked for you during this season with your analysis of high impact players to attack the most vulnerable performance Over/Unders. Those will be right in your wheelhouse. In fact, you should go up to your Vegas bookmaker right now and THANK him for creating additional betting opportunities that line up with your strengths.

If you’re not yet fully confident of your credentials as an Advanced Sports Bettor or Handicapper, then pass the propositions. If you ARE confident, then focus on performance-based props that line up with your handicapping strengths…and try to bet those early rather than waiting until game day.

I have big plays for Super Bowl Sunday as you can imagine. If you’d like additional guidance, my football finale will be available for purchase with your major credit card right here at this very website over the weekend. You can build your bankrolls day-by-day with basketball if you wish. I know many of you are already moving aggressively into the baskets. I encourage the rest of you to start doing that this week so you’ll be up to speed in plenty of time for March Madness.

More coursework is on the way later this week for both basketball and the Super Bowl. Thanks again for all the hard work you’re doing at the behest of The Dean of Sports Handicapping. That’s why this feature has become such a big internet success!

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