Last year, I watched the Super Bowl at a local pub with two of my oldest friends — and roughly 100 strangers. On Sunday, my wife and I will watch the game from our couch, making sure the volume isn’t too loud to wake the little one.
Fortunately, we still have prop bets to make the world feel a little bit like it used to.
Here are some of the best bets you can make on Super Bowl 2021:
National Anthem Length
Off the board: This prop is an annual favorite but had to be pulled by books after it was blown up on Saturday by a reporter who recorded Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church’s rehearsal at 2:16. Bettors initially could have gotten +100 with the line at 1 minute, 59 seconds. Sullivan has finished safely under this number during anthem performances for the NBA and NHL, but her collaboration with Church changes the equation. The last Super Bowl duet came in 2006, when Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville’s rendition lasted 2:08. Though the over was the underdog, six of the past eight anthems have been at least two minutes.
Heads (-102): Tails holds the all-time edge (29-25) after winning six of the past seven Super Bowl matchups. Heads is due for a big day.
Patrick Mahomes (22/1): Mahomes has six rushing touchdowns in 46 regular-season games, but the urgency of postseason play has seen the Chiefs quarterback put his body at risk far more often. Mahomes has scored a touchdown in four of seven career playoff games, including last year’s Super Bowl.
Rob Gronkowski (18/1) and Cameron Brate (30/1): Since a Week 10 bye, Kansas City has surrendered seven touchdowns to tight ends. Meanwhile, Gronkowski’s best game of the season came against the Chiefs (seven catches, 106 yards) and Brate has at least five targets in every playoff game, which included a touchdown in the NFC Championship.
Tom Brady’s first pass
Incomplete, +145: Brady has more rings than any player in NFL history, but he doesn’t always start strong in the big game. In his past six Super Bowl appearances, Brady has opened with an incomplete pass five times.
Will Tom Brady score a rushing touchdown?
Yes, +600: The 43-year-old has four rushing scores this season, including one in the divisional round. He’s never punched one in during any of his previous nine Super Bowl trips. It’s about time.
Over 19½ rushing yards, -110: Coming off a concussion, Mahomes ran for just 5 yards in the AFC Championship, but the former MVP won’t have a choice but to run on Sunday, when the dangerous Tampa Bay pass rush attacks the Chiefs’ makeshift offensive line. Mahomes also ran for 28 yards in the regular-season win over the Bucs.
Over 3½ receptions, -110: First there was Kevin Faulk. Then there was James White. Now, Brady’s developed trust in checking down to Fournette, who has had at least four receptions in every playoff game this season and has been targeted an average of 5.7 times per playoff game.
Under 29½ rushing yards, -110: As the unquestioned lead back, the rookie was held under 3.4 yards per carry in the regular-season matchup with the Bucs’ top-ranked run defense. After missing two games due to injury, Edwards-Helaire had 7 yards on six carries in the AFC Championship, with Andy Reid riding Darrel Williams’ hot hand.
At least 12 rushing attempts by Leonard Fournette, at least 100 receiving yards by Tyreek Hill and at least two passing touchdowns by Brady
Parlay, +425: Fournette has received at least 12 carries in every playoff game. Brady has thrown at least two touchdowns in 10 straight games. Hill has at least 100 yards receiving in three straight playoff games. Someone will probably slip up on Sunday, but the odds are too enticing for such an attainable trifecta.
Patrick Mahomes touchdown passes over Mikal Bridges 3-pointers
-110: After hitting six 3-pointers in an overtime game on Jan. 22, the Suns forward went 4 of 21 from deep over the next five games.
The team that scores first will not win
+150: The Chiefs have won five straight playoff games in the past two seasons. Their opponent scored first four times.
Largest lead by either team
Under 16½, -110: Like all Super Bowls involving Tom Brady, expect another close contest in which the outcome won’t be clear until the fourth quarter.
Teams tied at halftime, Chiefs win
12/1: If you also believe this could be a classic, take a flier on the star quarterbacks having another back-and-forth affair, with the better team ultimately prevailing.
Missed extra point
+240: Harrison Butker and Ryan Succop have missed a combined 13 extra points this season, with each kicker shanking one in the playoffs.
At least one score in the final 3:30 of the fourth quarter
-180: Last year, the Chiefs scored twice in the final 3:30, marking the sixth straight year it has occurred. With these quarterbacks, you’ll have confidence in whichever team holds the ball.
Super Bowl MVP
Tyreek Hill (16/1): The best big-play threat in the NFL holds the unique ability to break open a game by himself and also presents a threat out of the backfield, which could reduce Mahomes’ award odds. After going for a career-best 269 yards receiving and three touchdowns against the Bucs this season, Hill has remained hot in the playoffs, averaging 141 yards per game. Just four of the past seven MVPs have been claimed by a quarterback and none of the past four back-to-back champions have had the same MVP.
Tom Brady (+250): The four-time Super Bowl MVP could easily add to his record-setting collection, providing better value than the Bucs money line (+140). Feel free to combine it with a defensive player — 10 have claimed the honor— who can take advantage of the Chiefs reconfigured offensive line and make Mahomes miserable, like Shaq Barrett (50/1), who had three sacks in the NFC Championship and has totaled 30.5 sacks in two years with the Bucs, along with eight forced fumbles.