This is part three of a four article series exploring Super Bowl LV – politics crossover prop bets.
- Part One: Joe Biden’s SB Interview Betting Odds
- Part Two: US Politics Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Prop Bets
While my specialty is political betting, the Super Bowl is the most exciting time of year for handicappers and fans of online wagering.
Fortunately, I found the perfect marriage of the two. After analyzing the top NFL betting sites’ massive selection of props, I found 16 Super Bowl LV betting lines related to politics. This article covers some excellent “What Will be Higher?” wagers, which compare stats from the Super Bowl to potential political outcomes.
Let me start by saying the two “What Will be Higher” wagers featured on this page are far-and-away my favorite Super Bowl LV props. The oddsmakers who came up with them deserve a raise because they’re both brilliantly conceived.
In both cases, we’re comparing the total number of points in the Super Bowl to a political outcome – one concerning President Joe Biden and the other for Donald Trump. Assuming the oddsmakers’ totals line is accurate, each of these bets should be relatively close. More so than most Super Bowl props, both of these wagers could go either way.
- Total Points Scored in Super Bowl LV vs. Total Number of Senate Votes to Convict Trump (in his upcoming impeachment trial)
- Total Points Scored in Super Bowl LV vs. Joe Biden’s Approval Rating on February 7
Let’s Start with the Totals Line
56 still feels a bit high to me, but it gives us a decent starting point for comparison’s sake.
Historical Over / Under Trends
Kansas City has gone 8-9-1 covering totals, while Tampa Bay went 11-8. However, when the line has been between 54.5 and 57.5, the Chiefs drop to 6-8-1 while the Buccaneers move to 6-6.
Looking back at similarly high Super Bowl totals (at least 50 points), unders are 6-1.
And that single over? The freaking Patriots vs. Falcons game. Not only did that Super Bowl go into overtime, but New England managed one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL history. Totals greater than 50 points do not fare well on Super Bowl Sunday.
When these two teams played each other in Week 12, the line was almost identical, settling at 56.5 by kick-off. In perfect weather conditions, Kansas City won 27-24 – only 51 points, going well under.
That’s a bad sign because teams tighten up in the Super Bowl. They’re also thrown off by all the pageantry — the constant starts and stops and longer breaks throughout the game. It messes with players’ rhythm, whereas in Week 12, teams have hit their stride.
It’s also worth noting that whenever two franchises that played each other in the regular season have rematched in the Super Bowl, the winner from the earlier meeting has gone 6-7. And no AFC squad has ever beaten an NFC team twice in one season.
That’s crucial because if the Buccaneers win this game, it probably won’t be in a shootout. It’ll be because Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones Jr ground down Kansas City’s rush defense – 21st in the league in yards allowed per game. That means the clock keeps running, and the over gets that much harder to hit.
Kansas City is also missing critical blockers to injuries, so three offensive linemen will be playing out of position, including both tackles. That’s a nightmare for any team, much less going against a Tampa Bay defense whose front seven features about five pro-bowl caliber studs.
I know Patrick Mahomes is impressive, but the combination of a shuffled offensive line and a top-tier defensive opponent is bound to affect scoring negatively.
On the other side of the ball, you have Tom Brady facing off against yet another Steve Spagnuolo defense in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs defensive coordinator is 3-2 against Brady-led squads, dating back to the NY Giants’ massive upset over the undefeated (up to that point) Patriots.
Everything is pointing to this game going under.
Unfortunately, that makes predicting these two Super Bowl – politics cross bets considerably more challenging. If we adjust our expectations for the total to a range closer to 52 – 55, it’s almost a coin toss.
Total Points vs. Senate Votes to Impeach Trump
As you may have heard, Donald Trump has another impeachment trial coming up, making him the first President in American history to be impeached twice. He’s being charged with inciting insurrection, related to the January 6 riots at the Capitol, inspired by the “stop the steal” movement.
It also marks the first time someone is being impeached as a civilian after leaving office. That distinction makes this a uniquely tricky case; there have already been debates over whether the impeachment trial is unconstitutional.
Regardless, the proceedings are moving forward and scheduled to begin next week. Unlike last time, the Democrats (and Senators who caucus with them) now have the majority in the Senate and can thus push through whatever impeachment trial rules they desire.
What Will be Higher?
- Matchup Odds
- Total Points Scored Super Bowl LV -140
- Senate Votes to Convict Trump+100
That’s an excellent place to start if we’re comparing the votes to convict with the point total.
Those 50 votes are a sure thing, so the Super Bowl teams must score more than that to have any possibility of winning this matchup.
Who Will Cross Trump Supporters?
What we don’t know is how many Republicans will cross party lines to convict Trump.
Since January, he’s undoubtedly lost some support among GOP loyalists, but the former President is still immensely popular with an active and vocal section of conservatives.
We’ve already seen Liz Cheney’s approval rating crater in Wyoming after joining nine other Republicans in the House to vote to impeach Donald Trump. The Wyoming GOP even censured her!
Trump is already out of power, so this trial is mostly political theater.
A recent nationwide survey revealed that only 50% of respondents think Donald Trump should be convicted. Everything is still split along partisan lines, so there’s little incentive for GOP Senators to stick their neck out when, even if he’s convicted, nothing changes.
We may have recently gotten a glimpse of exactly how the impeachment votes will break out.
On January 26, Senators were sworn in for Trump’s impeachment trial and began hammering out the rules. During the proceedings, Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky proposed a motion to declare the trial unconstitutional due to the former President already being out of power.
- Susan Collins of Maine
- Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
- Mitt Romney of Utah
- Ben Sasse of Nebraska
- Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
All but five Senate Republicans voted for Paul’s motion!
“We’re excited about it,” the Kentucky Senator said after the vote. “It was one of the few times in Washington where a loss is actually a victory.”
If anything changes, it’ll be because more Republicans than those five join the Democrats; it won’t be less. I was already highly skeptical of the Bucs and Chiefs hitting that 54+ range, so every GOP Senator who votes to convict only makes it that much harder.
For the Super Bowl total to win this bet, there needs to either be a ridiculous explosion of scoring or dozens of Democratic Senators must lose their minds a vote with the Republicans to acquit Donald Trump for some reason. The former is about a million times more likely than the latter.
On paper, the game looks destined to go under. I wouldn’t be surprised if the total number of points scored falls somewhere in the 30s or 40s, and Donald Trump’s conviction votes will clear that without breaking a sweat.
Total Points vs. Joe Biden’s Approval Rating
The trickier of the two bets is comparing the Super Bowl total and Joe Biden’s approval rating on Sunday. Oddly enough, this prop is being offered by MyBookie, not the same online sportsbook that gave us the previous wager.
What Will be Higher?
- Matchup Odds
- Total Points Scored Super Bowl LV -165
- Joe Biden approval rating on Feb. 7th +125
Even if new data rolls in on Sunday, that number shouldn’t change too much since it’ll still average into current figures.
Another political betting site has an over/under bet on Joe Biden’s approval rating on Sunday, with the line set at 53.5. The oddsmakers are usually shockingly accurate, so use this number as a reference point when making comparisons to the Super Bowl scoring total.
Biden’s Approval Rating Feb 7 2021
- Matchup Odds
- Over 53.5 +100
- Under 53.5-150
But let’s say a fresh wave of approval polls come in tomorrow to start the new week; what would have to change for Joe Biden’s rating to see significant movement?
- Frustrations over the lack of stimulus checks.
- President Biden’s CBS interview airing before the Super Bowl.
Where’s My Check?
Biden is still in his honeymoon period as a newly elected president. Nevertheless, frustrations are growing louder over the failure to deliver some of the campaign promises that were promised for “day one.”
Naturally, the 78-year-old pledged to do so many things on his first day in office it would have been impossible to complete them all, but the stimulus checks were different.
After Joe Biden had already won the election, he began campaigning on behalf of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidates in Georgia’s runoff elections. Majority-control of the Senate was in the balance.
If Mitch McConnell lost his Senate majority, they promised, the Dems could push through a bill and send direct cash payments to Americans the next day.
It instantly changed the complexion of both races.
Voters blamed Republicans for obstructing stimulus payments while Joe Biden campaigned in Georgia, assuring the residents the money was coming if both Democrats won. Georgians delivered on their end of the deal; Biden hasn’t.
- First, the checks were reduced from $2,000 to $1,400. Liberal leaders assured their supporters that they hadn’t lied; the $600 payment from Trump’s final month in office was part of the $2,000 total.
- Now, Joe Biden is less interested in using the Democratic majority to ram legislation through Congress; he wants to negotiate and compromise. The amount of money in the direct payments is down to around $1,000.
- Some Democratic members of Congress want them restricted only to people who made less than $50,000 on their 2019 tax return – which was before a deadly pandemic cost about 50 million people their jobs.
This is a conversation to which Americans are paying attention, mostly out of desperation. If relief doesn’t come soon, those approval ratings will start tanking in no time.
The Super Bowl Interview
Earlier in this series about political Super Bowl prop bets, I wrote an entire article discussing President Joe Biden’s upcoming interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell, set to air right before the Super Bowl broadcast.
It will be one of his only primetime interviews since entering the White House and his first opportunity to speak directly to almost 100 million Americans.
Biden tends to come across as a friendly, decent, everyman in these kinds of settings, so I can easily see his approval rating getting a slight bump on Sunday. He doesn’t have to worry about any flubs or controversies since the interview was pre-taped. Plus, the media loves the guy — so the conversation will be edited as favorably as possible.
I’m guessing he’ll mostly talk about things like “unity” and getting through the pandemic without steering into anything too polarizing.
As I said in my prior piece, I don’t think he’ll even make a Super Bowl pick, at the risk of making one team’s fans angry.
The bet asked which team Biden would pick and gave four options: Tampa Bay, Kansas City, “refuses to answer,” and “wonders if both can win.”
Florida is significantly more critical to the Democratic Party than Missouri. If Biden doesn’t want to be perceived as supporting MAGA Brady, I don’t see how he can make a pick at all. That leaves us with two options:”
- “Decline to pick a side” at –130; or
- “Wonders if they can both win” at +500.
Watching those old clips, the President clearly has at least a base of football knowledge. He’s comfortable and familiar talking about the game, so he knows both teams can’t win.
Still, that won’t stop him from sharing his desire to see everyone come out on top. It’s very on-brand right now for “Mr. Unity.”
I think Biden is going to try and take both teams as a cute rhetorical tactic to avoid taking a position and possibly make some Bucs fans mad.
As a sports fan, that’s pretty lame, but it’s the smart move as an elected official. That’s how a President keeps their approval rating up! Assuming he comes across as the kindly, gentle grandpa like I’m anticipating, it’s not out of the question for Biden to see a one- or two-point bump in his approval rating.
That’s in the same ballpark as the Super Bowl’s total. If you think the game is going over, you should bet on this matchup against Biden as well.
I’m taking the other side since I see Sunday’s game going well under 56 points.