Sports wagering can be a cruel form of entertainment or an entertaining form of cruelty, depending on how you look at it.
I’m not sure if prop bets make that sentiment worse or better, but I do know they are woven into the fabric of the Super Bowl. Oddsmakers in Vegas and online offer odds on everything from the coin flip to the halftime show to various in-game firsts and totals.
Wagering actual money on any of these things is probably not smart, but just for fun I gathered up a hypothetical $1,000 (easier and safer than the real thing) and found 10 bets I would make if I was so inclined.
In most cases, I eyeballed the bet, formulated an opinion, and did just enough research to support my theory without considering opposing information — basically everything a bad gambler would do. But with prop bets, there’s only so much you can do. That’s probably why they’re so popular with both casinos and casual gamblers.
I’m posting them on Friday in the name of accountability; once the game ends, I’ll tally up the actual results and write about it more. All odds are from Odds Shark. Amount wagered is listed first, with amount won on that wager listed second, with a brief explanation after each one.
$135 (to win 100) on under 3.5 touchdowns scored in the first half: This game could turn into a shootout eventually, but I have a hunch it might start out a little slowly. Factor in that both teams will probably run the ball a decent amount (burning clock), and it seems like four first-half touchdowns is a lot to ask.
$110 (to win 100) on the longest field goal being over 45.5 yards: Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein can make them from 60 yards plus. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has plenty of leg and performs well in the clutch.
$100 (to win 165) that the first turnover of the game will be a fumble: A lot of running plays early, plus Jared Goff’s 14 fumbles in 2018 equal a decent chance this underdog pays.
$115 (to win 100) that Jared Goff will run for more than 8.5 yards in the game: He’s not very mobile, but he’s not a statue. He’s run 9 times for 22 yards so far in the playoffs, and in a Super Bowl with nothing to lose I’m guessing he gets just enough.
$160 (to win 100) that it will take Gladys Knight longer than 1:47 to sing the National Anthem: I just always assume it will take forever to finish the anthem. If I was singing the anthem, I’d bet $10 million on the under and sing as fast as humanly possible.
$100 (to win 100) that Rob Gronkowski will score a touchdown: There is chatter that the Patriots tight end might retire after this game. Bill Belichick isn’t usually the sentimental type, but Tom Brady might get his guy a nice send-off.
$110 (to win 100) that there will be at least one field goal made in the first quarter: Early on, take the points.
$130 (to win 100) that Adam Levine will not be wearing a hat at the start of the halftime show: This is a dumb bet, but I did a Google image search for the Maroon 5 frontman and he isn’t wearing a hat in a single picture. So there you go.
$40 (to win $2,000) on Tom Brady being the first touchdown scorer: Brady’s a terrible scrambler, but at 50/1 odds why not take a flier? He’s great on QB sneaks, and if I’m the Patriots in the Super Bowl on the 1 — unlike the Seahawks — I don’t take any chances.