What’s an Octopus in betting?

Steve Myatt
October 3, 2023
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sports betting on mobile

The National Football League has lots of unusual stats. With technology and analytics, every detail of the league is tracked and recorded. So, what exactly is an octopus in the NFL? No, it’s not the sea creature you may be thinking of. This is a real term used to refer to one of the most impressive football stats.

If you’re interested in learning about the octopus stat in sports betting, you’re in the right place. We’ll delve into its history as well as teach you how to place an octopus bet.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

What’s an Octopus in the NFL?

In 2019, a Sports Illustrated columnist, Mitch Goldich, coined the term Octopus in relation to the NFL. It refers to an NFL player scoring a touchdown and then following it up with a two-point conversion. 

A single touchdown earns a team six points. A successful two-point conversion adds up the points to eight. An octopus usually has eight tentacles, which is where the term Octopus came from.

Goldich introduced the term octopus in a tweet during a matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens. Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ quarterback, scored an 8-point lead, which prompted Goldich’s tweet.

Afterward, the term rapidly went viral and has gained much popularity since then. Media outlets and fans now use it to describe similar plays when it comes to football.

Since 1994, the celebrated and impressive octopus stat has been witnessed 175 times. This is because the two-point conversion had not been introduced prior to 1994.

As a novelty, the octopus has become quite popular, which is why most bookmakers now offer it.

What is a Two-point Conversion in the NFL?

It is important that we consider the two-point conversion rule in order to fully understand an octopus bet. The two-point conversion rule began in collegiate-level football in the late 1950s. The American Football League later adopted it, but it gained much popularity when it was introduced in the NFL.

Upon scoring a touchdown, the scoring team is presented with two options. The first option is the one-point conversion, where a player kicks the football in between the uprights. Also, they can choose to attempt the two-point conversion. This is where the team runs the ball across the goal line at the two-yard line (the scrimmage).

How Does an Octopus Bet Work in Football?

As a gambler, it’s imperative that you understand how an octopus bet works. This helps you know when to place this kind of bet to avoid unnecessary losses.

First off, you have to understand that quarterbacks cannot throw a ball for a touchdown and score two points. For an octopus, the scoring player must catch the ball in the end zone and score a touchdown. This is also where the two-point conversion must be secured.

For a quarterback to score an octopus, they must run the ball to the end zone themselves. Also, they’ll have to run the conversion afterward.

Betting sites normally add the octopus bet in the section that covers NFL Novelty Props. However, some will add it to the Game Props or Player Props. Popular sportsbooks and casinos in the US normally assign the highest odds to the option they think is less likely to occur. The converse is also true in this regard.

An octopus bet in football explained

When it comes to octopus bets, placing wagers is comparably straightforward. Most sports betting sites will offer a simple Yes-or-No option. Oftentimes, the betting odds are usually slanted toward the No option. This goes to show how rare the octopus is.

If you pick the Yes option and a player pulls it off, the payout to expect is usually significant. 

Are you looking to place an octopus bet today? The following is a simple strategy that you may want to consider.

  • Pick players who’s more likely to score touchdowns
  • Prioritize players who are heavily involved in the offensive schemes of their respective teams
  • Consider each team’s red zone efficiency

An octopus bet example

Let’s imagine the following is an octopus betting option in your preferred sportsbook’s novelty props section.

Will an octopus occur at the Super Bowl LVIII – Yes (+1400)or No (-2500)

In this regard, you only have two selections to pick from. Based on the example, the bookie thinks that the chance of an octopus occurring is 6.67%. On the other hand, there is a 96.15% chance that an octopus won’t occur.

Will an octopus occur at the Super Bowl LVIIIOddsPayout/ $100 bet
Y+1500$1600
N-6100$102.67

The probability of bettors wagering No in this market is usually low. For that reason, bookmakers will always offer more odds for a better betting edge.

How Frequently Does an Octopus Occur in Football?

The octopus stat is an elusive and rare occurrence in American Football. As earlier stated, it has only occurred 175 times in the 7800+ NFL games since 1994. Hundreds of touchdowns have been scored since then. However, only a few have resulted in octopi. This is indicative of how often you can expect it to happen.

The rarity of an octopus is why it is such an impressive and memorable feat. Every player dreams of accomplishing it and joining the handful who’ve achieved it previously. It adds prestige to every scorer’s football career stats.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, there has only been one octopus occurrence. This has also added to the feat’s intrigue.

To understand how rare this phenomenon is, let’s look at the 2021/22 NFL season. During the season, only six octopi happened, which is among the highest to ever be witnessed in a single season. They were scored by Danny Amendola, Michael Pittman, Dalton Schultz, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Quintez Cephus, and Mark Andrews. Out of these players, only Andrew scored two octopi in the same game.

In the entire NFL history, only one player (Todd Garley) has managed to reel off four octopi. Randy Moss, a Hall of Famer, comes 8n second with three octopi. The third position is a tie between 20+ NFL players, including Mark Andrews.

With that said, an octopus bet is such a longshot prop, although it lets you enjoy the luxury of gambling on a prop that is only available in the NFL.

Octopus Betting Odds Explained 

By now, you already know that an octopus is a prop bet. This means that its success depends on a number of factors. These are 

  • The player himself
  • The team they are matched up with
  • The odds given by the bookmaker

Also, prop betting odds are usually dependent on the whole season. Every National Football League season consists of 272 games in total. A quick math suggests that the chances of an octopus happening is roughly 2%. Also, its rarity underscores how hard it is to predict whether or not it’ll happen.

Compared to traditional bets, an octopus bet requires a more specific outcome. This is why the odds are usually longer to incorporate all variables.

Pros and Cons of an Octopus Bet

Every bet has some level of risk attached to it. An octopus bet isn’t different in this regard. Nonetheless, this prop bet usually has a relatively high potential win since bookies tend to offer long odds on one side of the market. Considering how rare it is, sportsbooks will usually offer this market for big games like Conference finals and the Super Bowl. 

Having said that, let’s highlight some of the notable advantages and drawbacks of this bet.

Pros

  • Relatively higher payouts due to its rarity
  • Greatly increases same-game parlay bet’s potential payout
  • Sufficient stats are available to help you predict outcomes

Cons

  • An octopus is very unlikely to occur
  • It’s only available during big games

Octopus Interesting Facts

  • More than 140 players have reeled off an octopus to this day.
  • Both the Rams and Packers tie for the most octopi scored. Each side has 11.
  • The NFL has recorded twice as many two-point conversions as octopi.
  • Todd Garley has scored the most octopi in a single game -four.
Author Steve Myatt

Steve is the founder of Gamblers Cafe. He came up with the idea in 2022 and has been providing insights found herein. Having been in the gambling industry for over 5 years, he uses this opportunity to make the industry safe by assessing casinos and recommending the best ones.