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Making case to bet interception props in NFL playoffs

Betting against Patrick Mahomes for a whole game isn’t fun. Betting against him for one play is another matter.

Prop bets, once confined to the Super Bowl, have boomed in recent years as sports betting has expanded. Bettors can now wager on who will score the first touchdown and whether there will be a defensive score in almost every NFL game.

Props become even more enticing in the playoffs when there are fewer games to bet on. Of course, props, if overdone, are just one more way to slowly bleed your cash to sportsbooks.

With the disclaimers out of the way, let me suggest a fun way to bet on this weekend’s NFL divisional playoffs: Root for the best quarterbacks in the game to make a mistake.

“Will (insert quarterback’s name here) throw an interception?” is a standard prop found at many Las Vegas sportsbooks. It’s simple to follow. “Yes” bettors can win in an instant; “no” bettors have a built-in sweat for the entire game. (Ask Derek Carr “no” bettors, who lost on the Raiders’ final play last week.)

I am a “yes” bettor. I don’t need that “no” aggravation for three-plus hours.

I follow two basic rules:

— Target games that are expected to be tightly contested, in which the underdog has a real chance of winning. That means both teams could potentially be throwing until the end, not sitting on the lead. (All of this weekend’s games apply.)

— Play only the “yes” props at plus money or low juice (-120 at most).

Price is everything. Last week, I went 2-2 on interception props and won because they were all at +102 or better, with the two longest shots (Mahomes at +120 and Dak Prescott at +125) winning.

That price cutoff eliminates the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo (-145) and the Rams’ Matthew Stafford (-130) this week, but I’m wagering on interceptions from the other six quarterbacks:

— Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow (-110 at the Westgate SuperBook).

— Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill (+105 at BetMGM and the Westgate).

— Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (+210 at the Westgate).

— Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady (-105 at the South Point).

— Buffalo’s Josh Allen (-110 at the South Point).

— Mahomes (+110 at BetMGM and the South Point).

The best part of interception props? The quarterback doesn’t even have to really make a mistake. Interceptions on Hail Marys count, and so do balls bouncing off receivers’ hands into defenders’ arms.

Last week, Mahomes had a pass deflected at the line and intercepted by the Steelers in the first quarter. He went on to throw for five touchdowns in a 42-21 victory, but that didn’t matter to me.

My work was already done.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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