For the first time since Labor Day, there is a gaping hole on the sports betting calendar this weekend. With the Super Bowl still one week away, betters are left to peruse the late January NBA regular-season calendar for some exciting and hot lines. It’s just not the same.
Fortunately, the Pro Bowl takes place Sunday night, which should alleviate some of the pre-Super Bowl angst. That’s right: you can bet on the Pro Bowl, and in fact, it’s encouraged. If you look at the trends over the last several years, the Pro Bowl is a nice way to potentially make some extra cash to stuff your coffers heading into the big game.
The most pertinent questions about Pro Bowl betting are below, followed by incisive analysis about the star-studded event.
Is it embarrassing to bet the Pro Bowl?
It is most certainly not embarrassing to bet the Pro Bowl. Look: these are sports games at the end of the day. We are not analyzing world affairs or debating the intricacies of fiscal policy. The truth is, all games are trivial in the grand scheme of life. While the Pro Bowl is an exhibition contest, it isn’t intrinsically less meaningful than other games.
If you bet on some random Bengals-Browns action in Week 17 — or any meaningless regular-season game without direct playoff implications — you can bet on the Pro Bowl. Stop sweating it.
What is the spread?
The AFC is currently listed as the one-point favorite, which is appropriate, given how difficult it is to predict the Pro Bowl. The overall projected point total stands at 50.5
Any key replacements?
Per usual, the original AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters will not resemble the teams that take the field Sunday in Orlando. All six members of the Chiefs — including Patrick Mahomes — and four members of the 49ers — including George Kittle — will not participate. There are several injury replacements, too. On the AFC side, DeAndre Hopkins will sit out, and on the NFC side, Christian McCaffrey will be sidelined.
The AFC is 4-1 against the NFC in the last five Pro Bowls. They covered the spread last season and the point total hit the under. The final score was 26-7.
Over the last five years, the AFC has averaged 32.8 points per game in the glorified All-Star Game, whereas the NFC has put up an average of 29.2 points per contest.
How to bet:
Let’s begin with the over-under. Recent history says the Pro Bowl point total should exceed 50.5. This is not historically a defensive battle.
Speaking of history, the AFC has dominated over the last half-decade, and that should continue this year. Lamar Jackson will start at quarterback and has an opportunity to avenge Baltimore’s premature end to the season. Considering he didn’t leave his room after the Ravens’ playoff loss, it appears as if he’ll be fired up and ready to go.
Jackson enjoyed an incredible sophomore season, assing for 3,127 yards and an NFL-high 36 touchdowns and rushed for 1,206 yards. He can hurt defenses in a multitude of ways — especially those that aren’t trying very hard.
The AFC will roll.
Verdict: Bet AFC and the over