I love the Super Bowl for two reasons.
The first, of course, is the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction – if, of course, Janet Jackson is performing, not Bruno Mars.
The second reason is proposition betting. Prop bets are novelty bets that don’t have a direct effect on the outcome of the game.
Professional football has become America’s Game for two reasons: The game fits the television screen incredibly well and betting fits the game incredibly well. The Super Bowl is obviously the headliner – and built for betting.
Last year, in Nevada alone, $98.9 million was bet on the Super Bowl. And of that amount, the larger casinos say more than 60 percent is spent on prop bets.
The reason, according to Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton, the guy who started all of this goofy wagering back in the 1980s, was to spread the betting dollar out. “We didn’t just want one big decision for the day; we wanted 10 or 20 big decisions,” Kornegay said.
There will be as many as 400 prop bets to choose from for Super Bowl betters this time around.
This year, with the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks game set for New Jersey, even the weather has become a subject of prop bets:
Will it snow during the game?
Will the lowest temperature be over or under 31 degrees?
Will the temperature be over or under 34 degrees at kickoff?
The weather forecast also had an impact by delaying some of the prop bets themselves.
Many of the books were waiting to create lines the weather might impact like passing yards, receptions and field goals. Bad weather, bad Peyton Manning, some books were thinking, worried the record-setting Bronco quarterback wouldn’t be effective in a snowstorm, high winds or a nasty chill factor.
But the prop bets, which Kornegay said takes weeks with a staff of 15 to 20 people to create at his casino, have come rolling in.
A few of the standard that you would see any Super Bowl:
Who will be the Super Bowl MVP?
Denver’s Manning is the favorite at 6/5, Seattle QB Russell Wilson is second at 15/4. A number of players, including Denver defenders Danny Trevathan and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, are listed at 100/1 and the field is 22/1.
Who will score the first touchdown of the game?
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is the favorite at 5/1, with Denver running back Knowshon Moreno second at 17/2. Denver wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker are all tied for third at 9/1.
OK, pretty stock stuff.
Now, a bit off the wall:
What will be higher? The total goals by the Canadian national hockey team at the Sochi Olympics or the first-half points by the Seahawks? Obviously, that one won’t pay one way or another until after the Sochi Olympics conclude.
Will any member of the halftime show group Red Hot Chili Peppers appear shirtless during the performance?
Who will be seen first on TV after kickoff, Erin Andrews or Pam Oliver?
How many times will Eli Manning appear on screen during the telecast, over or under 3.5?
Which coach will be mentioned by name first after kickoff, John Fox or Pete Carroll?
Will Moreno cry during the National Anthem?
There will also be the obligatory, for this game at least, How many times will Manning say “Omaha” during the game, over or under 27.5?
Yes, you can bet any, or all.
Kornegay and his Las Vegas staff, in keeping with the rest of the large Las Vegas casinos, have come out with a 24-page booklet of prop bets.
After checking them out, I have determined that this will be the Broncos’ year because of the simplest prop bet of all: Will the coin toss come up heads or tails?
In 47 Super Bowls, heads has come up 24 times, tails 23.
The NFC had won 14 coin tosses in a row until two years ago when the Patriots of the AFC broke the streak and won the toss. Last year, Baltimore made it two in a row for the AFC, calling heads and winning.
The Broncos always make the call and defer to the other team if they win the toss, hoping they can control the ball at the end of the first half and receive the kickoff in the second half.
The official sponsor of the Super Bowl coin toss the last several years?
Papa John’s pizza.
Need I say more?