Super Bowl week is one of my favorite news weeks of the year, not because I want to hear ESPN’s endless blather about “Cover 2” defenses and whether the android known as Peyton Manning can function in temperatures below freezing (I bet Commander Data could). No, I love hearing about the proposition or ‘prop’ bets that bookmakers set in an attempt to separate you from your mortgage payment on some really, really stupid wagers.
Prop bets are simply wagers that have nothing to do with which team wins the game. The most common prop is the ‘over/under’, which is betting that the total points scored will or will not be above an arbitrary number set by a guy in Vegas who drives a Maybach Exelero. Other common props are which player will score first, the total number of field goals attempted in the game, and how many times one of the assistant coaches will be caught on camera going knuckle-deep on a nostril.
But you have to remember that this is the Super Bowl, so pedestrian prop bets like who will win the coin toss won’t cut it here. Super Bowl = Super Props.
For instance, you can bet that Renee Fleming will forget at least one word of the National Anthem, whether or not she will be wearing gloves, and what color they will be, provided she is wearing them at all. It’s my guess that if you’re watching a football game and you have some jack riding on the fashion choices of an opera star you’ve never heard of, that guy in the Maybach is thinking about a new set of rims and a pinky ring he’s gonna buy with your money.
Another popular prop is what color liquid will be dumped on the winning coach following the game. Your best odds are with the clear liquid or water at 2-1, with green coming in at 10-1, as everybody knows that liquid green anything sucks, so there’s likely to be none around to be tossed. (For you non-betting types, 2-1 odds means that should you win your bet at those odds, you win two dollars for every dollar bet, at 10-1 odds, you would get ten dollars for every dollar bet and so on. Remember that laying a lot of lettuce down on long odds like 10-1 is only going to get Mr. Maybach some more mustache wax).
(Disclaimer: While this is a story about gambling, it should be noted that betting on sporting events in Ohio is for the most part illegal and immoral, as opposed to scratchy lotto tickets and Keno games which are quite legal and moral and which you have a civic duty to support with all that extra money you have).
Gatorade baths of whatever color not your style? You can bet on who the MVP will thank first in his post-game interview (teammates come in at 2-1, God at 5-2, family at 12-1, and the owner at 25-1), what song Bruno Mars will sing first at half time (who cares), and whether or not the announcers will mention the word “marijuana” during the broadcast. A 4:20 reference would be good enough for me.
But my favorite so far this year has to be the “Omaha” over/under. All-Galaxy Peyton Manning (I still say he’s cyborg) has been using his last few games to shout the word “Omaha” at his center’s butt, linebackers, refs, and guys selling $8 beers. There has been no little discussion about why a grown man would yell such a thing and so often, but it seems to be working as he will be playing in a little thing called the Super Bowl, so “Omaha” and be damned.
As I write this, the over/under on Manning shouting the name of his favorite Nebraska city during the game is 21.
I’m betting the over. They have such great steaks.