Bubba versus Brady, Koepka against Cooks: 12 golf-related bets, and predictions, for Super Bowl LIII
Forget the commercials, halftime show or actual game; the best part of the Super Bowl is the gambling. And part of that action involves golf-related prop bets. We scanned the 1000-plus items from various sports books for this week's match-up between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, and discovered quite a few wagers geared towards hackers. Here are the golf-centric prop bets for Super Bowl LIII, as well as our predictions for each wager.
Josh Reynolds receptions (-1.5) vs. Phil Mickelson Sunday bogeys or worse (-110)
Despite seeing a steady diet of targets in his direction, the Rams receiver has averaged just three catches over his last four games. But with the Rams (likely) playing from behind, that number of total grabs should safely be in the five-to-seven range. Mickelson, for his part, has turned in an over-par final round at TPC Scottsdale just once since 2000. This is as easy as it gets...so easy that Phil is likely betting on it too. PICK: Reynolds.
Phil Mickelson Sunday birdies vs. Julian Edelman receptions (-115)
Mickelson, who is first in birdie average on the young season and was sixth on tour in 2018, made four birdies during the Waste Management final round a winter ago. In 2017, he posted six red figures, and three the year before that. While that's some robust production, Edelman hauled in seven passes against Kansas City in the AFC Conference Championship, and nine versus the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional Round. The Rams defense is more formidable than either of those squads, yet Edelman is a lock for plenty of traffic his way. Pick: Edelman.
Jon Rahm Sunday birdies (-110) vs. Jared Goff rushing yards (-120)
During the regular season Goff averaged a whopping 6.75 yards per game. However, that number has doubled in the playoffs for the former No. 1 pick. So yeah, not exactly a modern-day Mike Vick...but also a performance that puts Rahm, a birdie-making machine (third on tour last year at 4.44 per round), at a severe disadvantage. Nevertheless, we like Rahm to make a run in front of the hometown fans, while the Patriots' front seven keeps Goff grounded. Pick: Rahm.
Jon Rahm Sunday score (-20.5) vs. Yardage of longest single touchdown scored by either team (-110)
In three Sunday appearances at the WMPO, the Spaniard owns a 70.00 average, with a low of 68. We're envisioning the 24-year-old to fire something in the 67-68 arena. That figure, with Rahm's -20.5 tag, means a 49-yarder wins the prop for the football side. The Super Bowl has been blessed with a run of spirited games filled with "Did you see THAT?!" moments...but our forecast is a long play won't be part of this year's festivities. Pick: Rahm.
Rickie Fowler score (-130) vs. C.J. Anderson rushing yards (+100)
Last year was the first time this decade that Fowler failed to break even on Sunday in Phoenix, and owns a career 69.17 fourth-round mark at TPC Scottsdale. While Anderson has averaged 116.5 yards on the ground over his last four games, most of that damage came with All-Pro Todd Gurley on the sidelines, and even with Gurley essentially benched in the conference championship, Anderson only totaled 44 rushing yards. In short, don't expect Anderson to hit paydirt. Pick: Fowler.
Total yardage of all touchdowns scored (-18.5) vs. Rickie Fowler Sunday score (-110)
Sticking with the Fowler score above, this would give the Super Bowl total yardage around 90 yards. A quick scan of the past five Super Bowls:
Individually, all over the ballpark. In the aggregate, the average comes out to 102.2 yards per contest. Suppose it comes down to this: are you projecting a high or low-scoring affair? We are going with the former. Pick: Total yardage.
Bubba Watson long drive (-160) vs. Tom Brady passing yards (+125)
The two-time Masters champ's longest WMPO drive last year was 354 yards. The year before that, 347 yards, and 348 yards in 2016. Against Brady's season average of 272 yards, looks like a no-brainer. Except that Brady is averaging 381 yards over his last seven postseason appearances, highlighted by 505 yards in last year's Super Bowl and 466 yards in 2017's big game. Somewhere, the '85 Bears shed a collective tear. That the Rams' secondary was middle of the pack in pass defense isn't alleviating any concerns of another such performance. Pick: Brady.
Super Bowl LIII attendance (-250) vs. Waste Management Phoenix Open attendance (+190)
Back up the Brinks and put it all on the Super Bowl crowd. For all of its bloated impressive crowd figures, Sunday at TPC Scottsdale historically has been the lowest-attended day of the week. Last year's announced crowd was 65,000 spectators...which will be 15,000 fewer fans than at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Throw in a (relatively) weak field in Phoenix this year, it won't be close. Pick: Super Bowl.
Greg Zuerlein points scored (-3.5) vs. Justin Thomas Sunday birdies (-110)
Greg the Leg has averaged over 11 points in his last five contests. Even with a lights-out performance from Thomas, that would be a hot number to match. However, Zuerlein is battling a foot injury this week, and though he says the ailment won't keep him from playing, we feel the foot is integral to, um, kicking. Pick: Thomas.
Robert Woods receiving yards (-3.5) vs. Dustin Johnson Sunday score (-110)
The next three refer to the new Saudi event. Woods averaged 76.2 yards per game during the regular season, and we're guessing the Saudi set-up won't mirror a U.S. Open experience. Pick: Woods.
Brandin Cooks receptions (-0.5) vs. Brooks Koepka Sunday birdies (-110)
Cooks had 80 catches this season, with another 11 in two playoff games, coming out to five receptions per contest. So can the reigning Player of the Year record five or more birds in the final round? As the last two years have proved, it's a fool's errand to bet against Brooks. Pick: Koepka.
Julian Edelman receiving yards (-10.5) vs. Justin Rose Sunday score (-110)
Rose is hotter than a Samsung Galaxy phone. But the same can be said for Edelman, averaging 95 yards over his last five games. He's good for 80 yards by halftime. Pick: Edelman.