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Super Bowl prop bets better left as entertainment

Hold onto your money

February 2, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

A Las Vegas-style online betting service touts it has more than 400 "proposition" bets available for Sunday's Super Bowl.

Those are all the crazy bets not directly related to the game's outcome, and a number of them have nothing to do with what's going on between the Patriots and Giants, either.

But this Bovada - formerly - service doesn't have the one bet I wanted to make.

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You see, my inside information tells me that the weather will be perfect and that neither rain nor snow will affect this game.

Though I'm only a parttime Weather Channel junkie, I figure there's one fact that makes my information an ironclad lock - they're playing indoors at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Without a sure thing to bet on, I'm keeping my money in my wallet when it comes to these oddball bets.

I'm hoping you will, too, since I'd hate to see your Super Bowl evening ruined before the opening kickoff because you thought the coin flip would come up tails and it was actually heads.

So I'm offering my favorite prop picks simply for entertainment value, followed by my actual pick for the game. Considering how my playoff predictions have gone so far, that ought to be real entertaining.

I'll try working my way from the serious to the silly:

Team receiving the opening kickoff - This ought to be directly related to the coin flip, but somehow the Giants are listed as the big favorite. I can only figure that while New England's Bill Belichick always defers his choice to the second half, maybe the Giants' Tom Coughlin doesn't. So take the Giants here, no matter how short the odds are.

Total points, odd or even - The nerdy guys on CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" ought to be helpful here, but Sheldon would probably need three weeks to check every possible permutation. Odd is the favorite, and considering that every one- and three-point victory adds up to an odd score, and that the game can't end in an even-numbered tie, go with the fave.

Total points scored by the six Big Ten men's basketball teams playing on Sunday minus 63.5 vs. Pats quarterback Tom Brady's gross passing yards - Yes, this is an actual bet, one where you have to pick which number will be larger. I think somebody screwed up their original calculations and had to insert the "minus 63.5" clause to make it work. Maybe it would've been better to just start over on this one.

How do you approach this? When I'm asked for my choice, I think I'll just answer "yes" and see if that crashes their entire website, making 10- and 20-dollar bills spew out of my computer monitor. Of course, I'll donate the proceeds to famine relief in Africa.

Color of Madonna's hair when she begins the Super Bowl halftime show - Now we're getting to the juicy stuff. OK, maybe not such a good description considering who we're talking about, but I find these kinds of props a lot more interesting than guessing who the game's MVP will be.

So about this bet, last I heard, Madonna is trying to pretend she's still 25, so a color change would tell everyone she actually knows she's in her 50s and has accepted it. Go with her usual blond, even with poor odds as the heavy favorite.

Color of Gatorade dumped on winning head coach - This is a long-running prop bet, with clear or water the favorite this year, but I personally like yellow at 5-to-2 or red at 6-to-1. Pick your poison, so to speak.

And now onto the game:

New England vs. New York Giants, 6:20 p.m. Sunday, NBC - As I'm writing this sentence, I still can't decide who to pick.

Abracadabra! In the time it took to look up the correct spelling of that magicians' secret word, I've made up my mind.

All the advantages of offensive lines, quarterbacks, defensive backs and everything else keeps coming back to one thing - this game is a toss-up on paper.

So I'm wadding up that 2-inch-thick collection of written facts on my desk and tossing it in the circular file. I'm going with my gut.

My gut says, "Which team will be in the better frame of mind, eager to play, but still loose enough to execute its game plan?" Actually, my gut is saying "When's dinner?" but that doesn't sound nearly as intelligent.

The Giants were given zero chance of pulling off the upset of the perfect Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, and not much of a chance to go this far in the current playoffs.

Now, suddenly, a lot of smart money is taking the Giants on Sunday, and I have a sneaking suspicion it could affect them - All that "being the hunted instead of the hunter" jazz.

When was the last time Brady needed to redeem himself? Probably his first year as a starter in 2001 when no one thought he could lead New England after Drew Bledsoe was hurt. And look how that turned out.

So I'll jump on a nearly empty bandwagon and pick the Patriots, 30-24.

Two weeks ago - 0-2, 0 percent. Playoff total - 5-5, 50 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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