The not-so-proper Super Bowl bets

The Super Bowl brings out the excess in many things – viewership, parties and even gambling. The world of prop bets goes crazy when it comes to the Super Bowl. Some are interesting and some are confounding, but there is no shortage of betting options today.

There are few things as American as the Super Bowl. One of those is betting on the Super Bowl. Whether an office pool, a number board or a friendly wager between friends, gambling on the Super Bowl is a time-honored tradition.

That tradition runs so deep, that the bizarre world of "prop bets" – short for proposition bets – have for years been the rage on Super Sunday. Looking to place a bet on the score of the first quarter? There's a prop bet for that. Want to bet on the coin toss? There are three bets for that. It's a sickening display that goes from who will score first and how many yards will this guy gain to the length of the National Anthem and who the MVP will thank first – God, teammates, coaches, family, nobody, etc.

This is a sickness for those who actually drop thousands of dollars on Super Bowl Sunday making bets on these, but one of my all-time favorite prop bet came last year when Bruce Springsteen played the halftime show. If you were willing to bet $100 on it, you could win $2,500 if the Boss pulled Courteney Cox on stage with him during "Dancing In the Dark" – she was the actress he pulled on stage 25 years earlier in the video for the single.

We have scoured the gambling prop bet sites to find some of the things you and your pallies can bet on today as you watch the game. Some make sense. Others don't. But you might want to take a trial run before committing real money to making these sorts of bets. Here is a sampling, starting with bets that are actually pretty legitimate.

  • Who will throw an interception first? Bet $110 to win $100 on Peyton Manning and $120 to win $100 on Drew Brees.

  • Who will throw the most touchdown passes? So there won't be a tie, Drew Brees has an extra half-touchdown added to his total – meaning if they both throw two, Brees wins. Bet $105 on Manning to win $100. Bet $125 on Brees to win $100.

  • Who will have more rushing yards – Pierre Thomas or Joseph Addai? You have to give Lucky Pierre an extra eight yards and bet $120 to win $100. By giving away eight yards, you bet $100 to win $100 by going with Addai?

  • Who will have the more receiving yards – tight end Jeremy Shockey or Dallas Clark? You have to bet $115 on either one to win $100, but if you take Shockey, you get 39½ yards added to your total – or take away 39½ yards from Clark.

  • That disparity is much more pronounced when it comes to which of them will score a touchdown first. Think it's Shockey? You can bet $100 and, if he does, you win $210. To win $100 taking Clark, you have to bet $280.

    At least those bets make some sort of sense. Here is where the degenerate gambler steps up and loses his shirt chasing the gambling bug throughout the game.

  • Which team will have the first accepted penalty called against it? Apparently, it's the Saints. If you bet $100 on the Colts and it's them, you win $110, but have to bet $140 on the Saints to win $100.

  • Who will score last in the first half? The prop cops say clearly Indianapolis. Take the Saints for $100 to score last in the half, you can win $110. But, bet $100 on the Colts and you only win $40.

  • What will that last score be? Bet $155 on a touchdown to win $100, but if you think there could be a late field goal, bet $100 on a non-touchdown (field goal or safety) and win $125. That actually seems like a decent prop bet to take and hope Manning or Brees gets the ball with a minute to go and just enough time to get in field goal range.

  • Will there be a safety? If you think there will be, you can bet $100 to win $800. If you say no, you have to bet $1,400 to win $100 – probably too rich for even a proper bettor to take.

  • Will there be overtime? If you say there is and you bet $100 on it, you win $700. To win $100 betting it won't go to O.T., you have to pony up $1,200.

  • Will game be decided by exactly three points? If you think it will, you can win $400 by betting $100. To win $100 by the final be anything other than three points, you have to bet $600.

  • Will the team that scores first win the game? If you think yes, you will have to bet $195 to win $100. If you think the team that scores first loses, you bet $100 to win $155.

  • Will the Saints score a touchdown in the first quarter? Win $105 if you bet $100 that they will, bet $135 to win $100 if think they won't.

  • How about the Colts? If you think they will score a touchdown in the first quarter, you have to bet $135 to win $100. It's even money if you bet they won't.

    Now it gets completely ridiculous. Heroin addicts scoff at gamblers that make these bets, but most people should know the simple axiom "It always comes up tails."

  • Bet $110 to win $100 on the coin toss with three possible bets – whether it will come up heads or tails, whether the Saints or Colts win the toss and whether the player making the call is right or wrong.

  • What will the first commercial pitch – beer, car or other? Bet $110 to win $100 by taking any of the three options.

  • Who will have the first interception of the game? Bet $100 to win $500 on Darren Sharper or $100 to win $3,500 if its Phillip Wheeler or Robert Mathis of the Colts or Scott Fujita of the Saints.

  • How many touchdown passes will Manning have? That doesn't sound too complicated except you have to hit the number. Betting $100 and hitting the right number, you can win $500 if he throws none, $250 for one, $220 for two, $175 for three, $450 for four, $1,000 for five or $2,000 for six.

  • Bet $115 to win $100 on the longest reception of the game for Pierre Garcon – the over/under is 27½ yards.

  • Bet $105 to win $100 as to whether Brees or Manning ends up with an even or odd number of passing yards.

  • How long will it take Carrie Underwood to sing the National Anthem from the first note she sings to the last? The over/under is 1:42. Take the over and win $120 for a $100 bet. Take the under and you need $150 bet to win $100.

  • The odds on the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach? They've got it – yellow 4-5, clear/water 8-5, orange 11-2; green 6-1; red 25-2; blue 25-2.

  • How many times will Manning's father Archie be shown on camera during the game? The over/under is at four. Bet $160 to win $100 on the over and bet $100 to win $130 on the under.

  • On the other side of the coin, how many times will Reggie Bush's girlfriend Kim Kardashian be shown during the broadcast? The over/under is 2½. Bet $105 to win $100 on the over and bet $125 to win $100 on the under.

  • How many times will the announce team mention Hurricane Katrina while the game is being played? The over/under is 2½, with those betting the over needing to put up $140 to win $100 and those taking the under betting $100 to win $110. For the record, I'm putting $100 on the over – the smartest $140 I've ever spent. How many times will Pete Townshend of The Who do his trademark windmill move on his guitar? The over/under is 5½ and you need to bet $175 to win $100. If he does it five times or less and you bet $100 on it, you win $145.

    As you can see, to many it's just a game. To others, it's a degenerate obsession. Enjoy the game!


  • It would appear that Cris Carter has lost a little steam with the voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In last year's voting, he made the first cut into the final 10 nominees. This year, he was among the first five cut from the list, while fellow wide receiver Andre Reed made the final 10. Why the NFL feels obligated to turn the Hall of Fame voting into "American Idol" remains a question, but look at the comparative stats on Carter and Reed. Carter played 16 seasons, caught 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns. Reed also played 16 seasons, catching 951 passes for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns. The difference? Reed played in four Super Bowls and Carter didn't – putting the emphasis back on playing in the big game as opposed to not. If you went strictly by the numbers and who was viewed during his prime as a dominant player, Carter would win hands down. But not with the committee for the Hall of Fame.

  • There's no questioning that the NFL is the most popular sport among young people in the prime demographic of 18-29, but since the Janet Jackson "Wardrobe Malfunction" debacle in 2004, the league has gone away from having young performers. In the years since, the halftime shows have been Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and E-Street Band and The Who – all performers that were around in the 1970s and some that were famous before there was such a thing as the Super Bowl.

  • Halftime conspiracy theory: Any guesses why The Who was chosen as the halftime performer? The game is on CBS this year and three of their "CSI" franchise shows have songs by The Who as their theme. Want to make a prop bet that all three songs – "Who Are You", "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" – will be played? Triple your money if Jeff Probst jams on tambourine.

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