It’s back! The fifth-annual 11 Points list of crazy Super Bowl bets including Beyonce’s cleavage, Frank Gore’s intelligence and whether brothers gotta hug.
For the fifth year in a row, I’m doing my list of crazy — but real — Super Bowl bets. And for the 4th year in a row, I’m putting actual money on all of them. Since I started this gimmick in 2009, you may’ve noticed that now EVERY website does a Super Bowl crazy prop bets list — but I remain the only one who actually puts his own money on the bets. That gives me a strong sense of pride. Not strong enough to up my bets from $11 each to, say, $111 each… but still pride. Sweet, hollow pride.
I placed bets at four different sportsbooks this year — all of which now have domain names that suggest they’re located on lawless sovereign islands — and I’m feeling pretty good. Not spectacular, but pretty good.
If you want to take a quick refresher journey through my battle with Super Bowl prop bets, in 2009 I didn’t make any actual financial bets but picked pretty well… in 2010 I lost $14.41 overall… in 2011 I lost $13.58… and last year, I won $4.77. Meaning I’m down $23.22 after three years and 33 bets. FEEL THE RUSH.
Here are the 11 weird bets I actually made on Super Bowl XLVII.
1 | Will a Ravens or 49ers player be arrested before the game?
Yes +500 (5/1)
Unfortunately, this is one of those bets where they don’t even offer action on “no.” Because the answer is probably no. But there’s already been plenty of hot controversy leading up to this Super Bowl — Ray Lewis’s PED use, some no-name 49er going on a homophobic tirade, Randy Moss going into full-on delusional mode, Alex Smith plotting his ultimate revenge — so maybe, just maybe, this year could produce an arrest. Add in New Orleans, where I’ve been told trouble finds you on the bayou (mostly during The Princess and the Frog), and you’re cookin’ crawfish in a crucible.
I bet $11 on a player getting arrested in the next few days to potentially win $55.
2 | How long will Alicia Keys’s National Anthem last?
Under two minutes, five seconds -110 (10/11)
Over two minutes, five seconds -120 (5/6)
I like to vary up what I bet on from year to year, but I always do the National Anthem bet. Gets me invested in the game right at the beginning. The oddsmakers do a tremendous job setting these lines; it’s always insanely close. Do they have mathematical models on each female singer’s National Anthem performance length?
The “over” has also always served me well. I’ve won with it every year except the year Christina Aguilera forgot one of the words causing her to clock in a fraction of a second short. So I bet $11 on the over to win $9.17. It’s hard to get rich on wild Super Bowl prop bets.
3 | Will Alicia Keys be booed during or after the National Anthem?
Yes +500 (5/1)
This is in response to that Aguilera boner a few years ago. I don’t see Alicia Keys getting booed, but you never know. Maybe one of the fireworks that shoots off on “rockets’ red glare” hits the roof of the Superdome and ignites, and she stops the National Anthem to sing, “This dome is on fiiiiiiiya”? I’m grasping at straws here, both for a way to win the bet and a joke.
Because “no” wasn’t an option, I bet $11 to win $55.
4 | How many times will “Harbaugh” be said during the game?
Over 21.5 -140 (5/7)
Under 21.5 even (1/1)
One of the under-the-radar storylines of this Super Bowl is that the head coaches of the 49ers and Ravens are brothers. You’d think ESPN would’ve mentioned that once or twice in the past two weeks.
So how many times will their last name come out? I initially gravitated to the over, but the more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that head coaches don’t get mentioned all that often. I don’t see the brothers getting a combined 11 mentions per half. So I bet $11 on the under to win $11. Look at all those 11s! This one’s meant to be.
5 | Will Beyonce show cleavage during her first song?
Yes -350 (2/7)
No +250 (5/2)
The oddsmakers clearly think Beyonce is going to come out cans blazing, as “yes” is the heavy favorite here. I’m actually going to go the other direction. I think Beyonce has too many ballads (and too much desire to sing them) to go all high-energy songs for the entire show. So I’m predicting she starts in some kind of evening gown, maybe knocks down a couple bars of Halo or Best Thing I Never Had — then does a quick costume change into her gear for Single Ladies and such. I bet $11 on no cleavage to win $27.50.
6 | Will Jay-Z join Beyonce on stage?
Yes -105 (20/21)
No -135 (20/27)
Basically, this is a bet on whether you think she’ll do Crazy In Love. Because she’s not doing ’03 Bonnie and Clyde. That song is 2000-and-late. I can see the allure of betting that yes, since we know he’ll be there and because artists tend to do their greatest hits during Super Bowl halftime. But I’m just not getting that read. I get the feeling he sees this as Beyonce’s show, not his, and it’s not his spotlight to steal. So I bet $11 on no Jay-Z cameo to win $8.15. If they’d let me bet on whether the other former Destiny’s Child members would make a surprise cameo — invited or not — the decision would’ve been a lot harder.
7 | Will Frank Gore’s point total beat his Wonderlic score (of 6)?
Beats it +500 (5/1)
Doesn’t beat it +150 (3/2)
Ties it +105 (21/20)
I love this because it’s such a dick way of arriving at a fairly basic bet.
Before the NFL draft, every player takes a 50-question intelligence test called the Wonderlic. The scores are supposed to be private, but they always leak out, and everyone has a nice laugh at the expense of the players who flop. Frank Gore’s six out of 50 is an unmitigated flop. It’s almost impossible to score that low.
But ultimately, this bet is whether you think Frank Gore will have zero TDs, one TDs, or either one TD and a two-point conversion or two TDs. The 49ers offense is not built around Gore getting multiple TDs. There are too many other options, especially running options, for that to happen. With Alex Smith as the quarterback, maybe; with Colin Kaepernick, no way.
I bet $11 on Gore’s scoring tally coming in below his test score, to win $16.50.
8 | What’s higher: Randy Moss receptions or the Harbaugh parents shown on screen?
Randy Moss -120 (5/6)
Jack or Jackie Harbaugh -120 (5/6)
Five years ago, if this scenario had come up, I would’ve bet on the parents. I would’ve figured brothers playing in the Super Bowl just HAD to lead to a ton of shots of their parents in a suite at the game, sweating it out. But I’ve been burned on similar bets so many times in the past, I just can’t pick this.
When the Saints were in the Super Bowl, Hurricane Katrina was only mentioned once… that same year, Kim Kardashian (dating Reggie Bush at the time) was never shown… the next year, in Dallas, Jerry Jones was never shown… that year, with Green Bay in the game, Brett Favre was never mentioned… and last year, Tebow was never mentioned… even though Eli Manning was in the game, Archie and/or Peyton Manning only made it on screen once… Gisele Bundchen was only shown once… and the David Tyree helmet catch from the previous Giants/Pats Super Bowl was never shown.
History says the focus is on the game on the field and not on the periphery. So I’m betting on the greatest wide receiver in the history of mankind to outpace parents who have the same name. (Really, Jack and Jackie? That’s messed up. No wonder their kids turned out so diabolical and incorrigible.)
I’ve got $11 on Randy Moss to win $9.17.
9 | How many tweets will ESPN’s Darren Rovell make on Super Bowl Sunday?
Over 104.5 -115 (20/23)
Under 104.5 -115 (20/23)
This is the first time I’ve seen a sportsbook pander this badly. If you’re lucky enough not to know who this is, Darren Rovell is ESPN’s “sports business” reporter and a relentless self promoter — not necessarily in that order. I’m thinking BetOnline (who’s offering this) only did this to try to get attention from Rovell. He tweets about their bet, they get business, everyone gets stroked.
And in the P.T. Barnum-inspired world of modern sports journalism, he’ll HAVE to make himself part of the story. I bet he tweets exactly 104 times, then at 11:59 P.M. pulls the trigger on his 105th tweet. So I bet $11 on the over to win $9.57.
10 | How long will the Harbaugh postgame handshake/hug last?
Over six seconds -105 (20/21)
Under six seconds -135 (20/27)
The normal postgame handshake between NFL coaches lasts about two seconds. (Or 3/100ths of a second if Bill Belichick is one of the coaches.) But this is the Super Bowl, these guys are brothers, and no one’s got a plane to catch right afterward. I don’t have a brother, but if I did, and we were coaching against each other in the Super Bowl, I can guarantee we’d hug in the middle of the field for a WHILE afterward. Almost to the point where it got weird. So I bet $11 on the over to win $10.48.
11 | When Ray Lewis is interviewed after the game, how many times will he say God/Lord?
Over 3 -120 (5/6)
Under 3 -120 (5/6)
Let’s hope he focuses on God after this Super Bowl, instead of what he did after Baltimore’s last Super Bowl appearance. I bet $11 on the over to win $9.17 AND keep everyone un-stabbed.
Overall, I have the potential to win $220.71. Or lose $121. I’m due for something big, one way or the other.