On The Punt is a new weekly betting column from one of New Zealand's most successful sports punters, Pistol Pete.
Super bets for the Super Bowl
Arguably the world's biggest annual sporting event, the Super Bowl definitely takes the cake for the biggest annual event in the gambling world.
Each year punters around the world bet billions on the showdown between the NFC and AFC champions for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy, the symbol of American football supremacy.
This year it features two protagonists who have not been regulars at this showpiece recently but who both have played their parts in Super Bowl history, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers of course are no strangers to the big game, having won five championships in the 80s-90s in their golden era of Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott et al.
That team even featured a Kiwi in it, Christchurch-born middle linebacker Riki Ellison, who won three Super Bowl rings and whose son Rhett played for the Giants at tight end.
But it's been a long time between drinks for the Niners, who have only made one Super Bowl appearance since 1994 before this year.
The Chiefs' Super Bowl history is even more ancient, although they were involved in the inaugural Super Bowl in which they lost to Lombardi's Packers at the Coliseum in 1967.
Three years later they overcame the Vikings and their Purple People Eater defence 23-7 in New Orleans to win their only Super Bowl title.
Fifty years later the Chiefs are back on the arm of their prodigal quarterback Patrick Mahomes and their phenomenal pace-laden offence.
Why it's time for Federer, Nadal and Djokovic to make way
'You don't like good tennis': Nadal rages at umpire before shock exit
While the 49ers offence has also had its moments thanks to an explosive ground game featuring Raheem Mostert, complemented by no-frills QB Jimmy Garoppolo, there is no doubt their suffocating defence is the reason they are playing in Miami on Monday.
Finding the betting 'gems'
In the archetypal showdown between the unstoppable force (the Chiefs) and the immovable object (the 49ers), the bookies make the Chiefs the narrowest of favourites (-1) with the line for the total number of points set at 54.5.
There have only been two other occasions where there was a one-point favourite in the Super Bowl, and they both won - with the 49ers beating the Bengals 20-16 in Miami in 1989 and the Dolphins beating the Redskins 14-17 in LA in 1973.
Of the six Super Bowls since 2000 in which the total has exceeded 50 points, only one (2017) has gone over, including last year's snore-fest which saw the Pats beat the Rams 13-3 (total was 56).
So history suggests backing the Chiefs and "taking the under" is not a bad 1-2 punch for those looking for an interest bet, but dig a little deeper and there are some gems to be found.
The unique occasion that is the Super Bowl means it is very hard to predict how a team will perform on the day, especially in their first Super Bowl appearance.
As a result, I prefer to use recent Super Bowl history to steer us towards some totals propositions which require less precision than a side or total bet on the game.
The bookmakers tends to price up the Super Bowl like it was any other game, which of course it is not, and therein lies the rub.
Firstly, the extra week off and the inevitable big-match nerves especially for Super Bowl rookies, means usually teams take a while to get up to speed, so to speak.
This is already a characteristic of the Chiefs, who trailed 24-0 against Houston and 10-0 against the Titans in their two playoff games before ultimately exploding to 51-31 and 35-24 victories.
But it is even more a characteristic of the Super Bowl itself. In the last 20 Super Bowls, the second half has been the highest-scoring half a massive 16 times or 80 per cent of the time.
The books, oblivious to this stat, are offering 1.91 for the second half to be the highest scoring half, and it's must-bet material given the odds.
A couple of other prices worth taking at the TAB are the NO for both teams to score in the first quarter (1.97) and the NO for a first-quarter touchdown at 4.35.
Both teams have scored in the first quarter in only FOUR of the last 20 Super Bowls, so the NO is hitting at a rate of 80 per cent, while there has been no TD in the first quarter in 11 out of the last 20, a strikerate of 55 per cent.
All three bets, therefore, represent great value, and if they don't cop this year, don't worry, take em again next year!
RECOMMENDED SUPER BOWL BETS
Highest-scoring half? : SECOND HALF at 1.91
First quarter - both teams to score? - NO at 1.97
First-quarter touchdown? - NO at 4.35