My Super Bowl prop bets did not go great this year, but I did take down at least one big one.
For the eighth year in a row, I put real money on 11 different ridiculous prop bets for the Super Bowl. You can see all of them here.
It’s time to check in on how I did. (Spoiler alert: I did a lot of Three Stooges-style tugging on my collar in embarrassment on Sunday.)
1 | How long will Lady Gaga take to finish the national anthem?
This might be the most controversial prop bet result in my eight-year run. Lady Gaga’s performance featured an unexpected hiccup at the end. She sang “braaaaaave” and ended around the 2:09 mark — but then re-upped by dramatically singing “braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave” again after a brief pause, extending her anthem time to well over 2:20. Since the over-unders were all set in the general 2:15ish range, there was a minor uproar over whether to count her time from the end of the initial “brave” or not.
The online sportsbooks did not reach a consensus. Having bet the over, I was extremely fortunate to have placed my bet with one of the books that honored the second “brave” and paid the over. That’s a relief. Like, where do you even complain if an offshore sportsbook rips you off? “Hello, Antigua? I have a complaint…”
Sam’s result: Win! Running tally: 1-0-0 (+$10)
2 | What celebration will Cam Newton do first when he scores a touchdown?
This bet was a push since Cam Newton didn’t score, thus depriving more than 100 million people of seeing his dance move of choice. Fortunately for the pearl-clutching masses, he did plenty of other criticizable stuff — you know, he just doesn’t rub people the right way like those other, role model-type quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger.
Sam’s result: Push. Running tally: 1-0-1 (+$10)
3 | Will [play-by-play announcer] Jim Nantz’s tie be one solid color?
I spent a long time researching this bet and deduced that Nantz only had one solid tie, a lavender one, which he’d busted out at least four other times in the past. I figured he wouldn’t repeat it for the Super Bowl, and since he went patterns in every other instance, he’d certainly wear a pattern.
Nope. He found a mustard yellow tie somewhere deep in the recesses of his closet and let it rip, in all its hideous glory. Thanks a lot, Jim Nantz.
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 1-1-1 (-$1)
4 | Will the game be delayed by a power outage?
There was no option to bet on “no,” so I had to bet on “yes.” And — shocker — the once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl power outage from a few years ago didn’t repeat itself. I knew this was an $11 donation going in; of all my long shots, this was the longest.
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 1-2-1 (-$12)
5 | Will there be an earthquake during the game?
I carefully monitored the USGS earthquake report and while there were a few minor quakes in northern California during the course of the Super Bowl, none in the Santa Clara area. Again, I didn’t even have the option to bet “no,” so this was more free long shot money for the casino.
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 1-3-1 (-$23)
6 | Will Chris Martin wear a hat when he first appears during halftime show?
Unlike that Jim Nantz curveall, here my research paid off. I discovered that Chris Martin pretty much never wears a hat on stage, and he maintained that pattern through the Super Bowl. He came out with no hat to give me only my second win of the day — one that paid a mere $2.20 on an $11 bet. Prop bets aren’t exactly a quick road to riches.
Sam’s result: Win! Running tally: 2-3-1 (-$20.80)
7 | Will the “Left Shark” make an appearance on stage during the halftime show?
For a moment, at the end of the halftime show, I thought there was a chance. Chris Martin, Beyonce and Bruno Mars were on stage and a Benneton ad broke out behind them. Why not have the Left Shark make a cameo in the spirit of inclusiveness (and viral potential)? But, alas, no shark was anywhere to be found, Left or otherwise. Since I didn’t have the option to bet “no” (notice a theme?), once again this was a free $11 for the book.
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 2-4-1 (-$31.80)
8 | Will Beyonce show cleavage during the halftime show?
I bet that she would, based on her previous Super Bowl performance. Instead, she came out in an outfit that, in fact, was as anti-cleavage as possible. Apparently her performance was controversial, but I missed all of that — all I could focus on was the missing cleavage. If I keep losing, Beyonce, how am I going to pay my automo-bills?
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 2-5-1 (-$42.80)
9 | How many times will the Golden Gate Bridge be shown during the broadcast?
I bet it wouldn’t be shown; clearly I underestimated the usage of B-roll. I really had no memory of the Super Bowl broadcast including local footage coming in and out of commercial; I thought they’d only show overhead shots of the stadium. Turns out they show a ton of the stuff, and even though Santa Clara isn’t San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge made multiple appearances.
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 2-6-1 (-$53.80)
10 | Will Peyton Manning announce his retirement in the postgame interview?
He had two perfect opportunities to announce his retirement and go out on top. Instead, in both cases, he plugged Budweiser. Now he’s going to retire in May or something instead of really seizing the drama of the moment like he should’ve.
Sam’s result: Loss. Running tally: 2-7-1 (-$64.80)
11 | Parlay the winner of the Super Bowl and the New Hampshire Republican primary
I bet the Broncos would win the Super Bowl and Trump would win the New Hampshire Republican primary two days later. And lo and behold, both of those things somehow happened. Who says Trump never helps out the middle class? This single bet paid $35.20 (!) — and saved my ENTIRE day.
Sam’s result: Win! Running tally: 3-7-1 (-$29.60)
So, I lost $29.60 overall. That means, despite having my worst overall picking performance (I’ve never had just three correct picks before), I only had my second worst monetary performance. In 2014, I lost $30.80. My best showing remains 2013, when I won $19.56.
And after eight years of picks (seven with real money on them), my record is now 38-44-6 and I’m down $56.31. I’ll make it up next year, though, when I bet “yes” on the Super Bowl MVP plugging a product in his postgame speech and Ed Sheeran not showing butt crack during his halftime performance.