There is gambling, there is entertainment and then there is a degenerate level of gambling that some might consider a form of entertainment, unless of course your next mortgage payment depends on whether you nailed the right color of the Gatorade.
There are some very strange prop bets for Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Falcons and New England. But before getting to those, let me explain the difference between entertainment and degenerate gambling.
When I traveled a lot, like when I worked in Los Angeles and covered the Lakers, I often found myself on a plane with the same large group of beat writers. This was before the days when everybody carried their bag on board. So we would often stand by the airport luggage carousel and bet $1 on whose suitcase would come down first. That was entertainment.
However, there was another time when a writer friend of mine and I were sitting in a hotel lobby and he was regaling me with stories of his gambling habits. He told me, “You know when I knew it was bad? See those elevators over there?” And I turned around to see a bank of three glass elevators going up and down. My friend continued: “I would bet people on which of the three elevators would come down to the lobby first — and sometimes you could go crazy because your elevator would come down to (floor) two, then go back up!” He bet a lot more than $1. That was a problem.
I share this as a lead-in to some “prop bets” you can place on the Super Bowl. If you bet on any of these odds for $1 or an extra appetizer at your Super Bowl party, it qualifies as entertainment. If you bet them for $100, you’re a degenerate.
Here are my favorite Super Bowl props that are posted with online oddsmaker Bovada or in some Las Vegas casinos. (Odds of the more mainstream variety have New England favored by three points over the Falcons, with the over/under set at 58.5 points.)
• Over/under for the length of the national anthem, sung by Luke Bryan: 2 minutes, 9 seconds.
• Luke Bryan’s pants: Blue jeans (1-2) is a favorite over any other pants or shorts (3-2).
• Over/under on how many times “Trump” will be said during the broadcast: 1.5.
• Over/under on how many times “Matty Ice” will be said during the broadcast: 2.
• Over/under on how many times Gisele Bundchen (Tom Brady’s wife) will be shown during the broadcast: 1.5.
• Lady Gaga’s hair color during the halftime show: blonde/yellow: 1-1.7; brown 2-1; green 10-1; pink 15-1, white 15-1, blue 15-1, purple 20-1, orange 20-1.
• Which coach will be mentioned by name first after the opening kickoff, Dan Quinn or Bill Belichick? (Even odds.)
• What color drink will be poured on the winning team’s coach: clear 3-1; green 3-1; orange 3-1; red 6-1; blue 15-2; purple 12-1.
• Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first after receiving the award: God 2-1; team/teammates 2-1; coach 9-1; family 9-1; owner 9-1; Donald Trump 20-1; none of the above 5-2. (It occurred to me God could really fix this bet if He wanted to. Actually, I guess He could fix any of them. OK, moving on…)
• In which quarter will the most points be scored: first 4-1; second 3-2; third 7-2; fourth 5-2.
• First offensive play of the game will be: run 2-3; pass 6-5.
• First points of the game: Patriots touchdown 9-5; Falcons touchdown 2-1; Patriots field goal 3-1; Falcons field goal 7-2; Falcons safety or Patriots safety 20-1.
• Will there be points scored in the final two minutes of the first half: Yes (4-15) is a big favorite over no (11-5).
• Will the game go into overtime: no (1-15) is a big favorite over yes (15-2).
• Will there be a special teams or defensive touchdown: no (1-2) over yes (8-5).
• Over/under on combined team sacks: 4.
• Cross sports: Who will score more, the Patriots or Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook? (Westbrook, averaging 29.6 points, plays at home against Portland.) The Patriots are a slight 1-1.4 favorite.
• Cross sports: What total will be higher, Julio Jones’ receiving yards or the Boston Celtics’ point total? (Boston, averaging 108.1 points, plays at home against the L.A. Clippers.) The odds are even.
• Cross sports: Who will score more, the Falcons or Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan? (DeRozan, averaging 27.9, plays at Brooklyn.) The Falcons are a slight 1-1.4 favorite.
And finally . . .
• Cross sports: What will be higher, the number of Matt Ryan touchdown passes or the goal total in the Leicester vs. Manchester United soccer game? The odds are even.
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Recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
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