My annual real money bets on the Super Bowl include an earthquake, a Left Shark cameo, Beyonce’s cleavage and a New Hampshire primary parlay.
It’s that time of the year again. For those unfamiliar, every year around the Super Bowl, I hunt down the funniest prop bets that online sportsbooks are offering. But, unlike the 50,000,000,000,000 other websites that write about Super Bowl prop bets, I actually put real money on them. $11 per bet, for a total of $121.
Let’s review my record…
2009 – I went 6-3-2, but wasn’t betting for real.
2010 – I went 4-7, lost $14.41
2011 – I went 4-6-1, lost $13.58
2012 – I went 5-4-2, won $4.77
2013 – I went 6-5, won $19.56
2014 – I went 4-7, lost $30.80
2015 – I went 6-5, won $7.75
That gives me a lifetime record of 35-37-5 and I’m down $26.71.
Can I make up for it all in this, my eighth year? It… doesn’t look likely, unless the Super Bowl suffers from nine separate misfortunes. Three misfortunes, it’s possible. Seven misfortunes, there’s an outside chance. But nine misfortunes? I’d like to see that.
Here are the 11 weirdest prop bets being offered for Super Bowl 50, all of which I actually made…
1 | How long will Lady Gaga take to finish the national anthem?
Over 2 minutes, 14.5 seconds -110 (10/11)
Under 2 minutes, 14.5 seconds -125 (4/5)
All four sportsbooks I used offered this bet — and all with slightly different lengths. That’s never happened before. I’m thinking it’s because Lady Gaga was just announced as the singer and there’s not a huge playbook on her national anthem performance style. In fact, I only found one video of her doing it, at the NYC Pride Rally three years ago. (She did it in 2:15, so I’m thinking that’s what all three books roughly based their number on.)
But I have a policy on this bet every year: I bet the over. I’ve won six of the seven previous years with that strategy and I’m not about to stop riding it now — especially when a notoriously theatrical performer is involved. So I picked the sportsbook with the lowest over/under baseline, just to give myself some extra cushion.
I bet $11 on over two minutes, 14.5 seconds with a potential win of $10.
2 | What celebration will Cam Newton do first when he scores a touchdown?
Dances solo +200 (2/1)
Dances with teammates +800 (8/1)
Dunks on goal post +5,000 (50/1)
Goes to crowd and gives ball away +250 (5/2)
Hands ball to official +4,000 (40/1)
Does the”open shirt like Superman” motion +110 (11/10)
Spikes ball +2,000 (20/1)
This feels like one of those SAT questions where there’s a very tempting wrong answer they want you to pick. Cam Newton’s “give the ball to a kid” move has received a lot of media attention, so I think the book is trying to lure casual fans into going for that bet. But the key here is in the language: what celebration will [he] do *first*. And before he gives the ball to a kid — if he can even get through the phalanx of media stationed behind the end zone — he’ll dance. He always dances. By himself. Dabbin’ Billy Idol style.
I bet $11 on Newton dancing solo with a potential win of $22.
3 | Will [play-by-play announcer] Jim Nantz’s tie be one solid color?
Yes +120 (6/5)
No -162.5 (8/13)
Once I got through my initial rush of “whooooooo cares?”, I started analyzing Jim Nantz photos. I found two things: (1) he rarely ever wears a tie that’s just one solid color and (2) when he does, it’s always the same lavender one (see image). I don’t see him busting out a repeat tie for the Super Bowl, and since outside of Ol’ Lavender he never goes solid, I’m going with “no.”
I bet $11 on Jim Nantz not wearing a solid color tie with a potential win of $6.77.
4 | Will the game be delayed by a power outage?
Yes +1,700 (17/1)
It’s a classic prop bet move to offer only the outrageous answer and not the safe alternative; I don’t even have the option to bet “no” here. This bet obviously calls back to the Super Bowl in 2013 that was delayed by the New Orleans Superdome losing power. I don’t see that happening on Sunday (or ever again) — but I’m obligated to bet. Consider this an $11 donation to the fine online gambling providers in Barbados or on the Rock of Gibraltar or wherever they are. And at least if it does happen, I’ll win big.
I bet $11 that the Super Bowl will be delayed by a power outage with a potential win of $187.
5 | Will there be an earthquake during the game?
Yes +1,500 (15/1)
Ooooh weee, they’re really testing my commitment to the bit this year. But if there was ever a place for a Super Bowl earthquake, it’s in the Bay Area. It delayed the World Series 27 years ago, so why not?
I bet $11 that there will be an earthquake during the Super Bowl with a potential win of $165.
6 | Will Chris Martin wear a hat when he first appears during halftime show?
Yes +275 (11/4)
No -500 (1/5)
I looked through a lot of photos of Coldplay concerts — so, so, so many white people — and only found one where Chris Martin was wearing a hat on stage. It was 12 years ago. Meanwhile the guitarist, Jonny Buckland, wears a hat on stage at almost every concert without fail — but he’s not famous enough to get a prop bet. Ha! Marry a celebrity, consciously uncouple from her, and then maybe people will start betting on your haberdashery, bro.
I bet $11 that Chris Martin will not come out in a hat to win a life-changing $2.20.
7 | Will the “Left Shark” make an appearance on stage during the halftime show?
Yes +1,500 (15/1)
Of all the one-sided long shot bets I’m making, I feel like this one has the best shot of happening. The rogue dancing “Left Shark” was the viral talking point of last year’s Super Bowl halftime show. I wouldn’t be shocked if he got brought out for a cameo this year. After all, in this day and age, it’s not just about getting your TV show trending — it’s all about controlling the narrative on what’s trending. #LeftShark
I bet $11 that the “Left Shark” will appear during the halftime show with a potential win of $165.
8 | Will Beyonce show cleavage during the halftime show?
Yes +400 (4/1)
No -600 (1/6)
Oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
And you know for you I’d bleed myself dry.
Coldplay lyrics are creepy. Cleavage for all! (Also, she showed cleavage last time she did the halftime show. And made some rockin’ faces.)
I bet $11 that Beyonce will show cleavage with a potential win of $44.
9 | How many times will the Golden Gate Bridge be shown during the broadcast?
Over 0.5 -400 (1/4)
Under 0.5 +250 (5/2)
I disagree with the oddsmakers’ favorite on this one. If the Super Bowl were happening in San Francisco, sure. They’ll shoot the Golden Gate Bridge for a little local flavor. But the game is in Santa Clara — 51 miles south of the Golden Gate Bridge. And I don’t have any real memory of Super Bowl broadcasts showing local B-roll (other than shooting the stadium from overhead coming back from breaks).
I bet $11 that the Golden Gate Bridge will not be shown during the broadcast with a potential win of $27.50.
10 | Will Peyton Manning announce his retirement in the postgame interview?
Yes +500 (5/1)
No -1,000 (1/10)
This is so tough. I’m inclined to say he might retire on the spot if they win, Jerome Bettis style, but that doesn’t seem like Peyton. He’s not impulsive or flashy or, frankly, really ready to give it up. But…I hate to take the bet with such terrible odds (betting $11 to make $1.10). So even on the slightest of chances he might retire, I have to let it ride.
I bet $11 on Manning retiring in his postgame interview with a potential win of $55.
11 | Parlay the winner of the Super Bowl and the New Hampshire Republican primary
Panthers and Trump win +120 (6/5)
Panthers and Rubio win +450 (9/2)
Panthers and one of the others win +700 (7/1)
Broncos and Trump win +320 (16/5)
Broncos and Rubio win +850 (17/2)
Broncos and one of the others win +1,300 (13/1)
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday, so this one won’t be resolved right away. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Trump has a 60 percent chance of winning the Republican primary. And I would say “Well, he could say something crazy between now and then and blow it” — but whenever he says crazy stuff it somehow makes his campaign stronger. So — and what a world we live in — he really seems like the pick here. (Rubio is at 15 percent.)
As for the Super Bowl, I have absolutely no idea. (I’ve documented it a bit over the years, but my ability to pick NFL games has become so comically bad that I now pick against my gut by rule.) My instinct is the Panthers, so the Broncos will probably win. And if I’m going to win that “Peyton Manning retiring on the spot” bet, I feel like it requires the Broncos to win.
I bet $11 that the Broncos will win the Super Bowl and Trump will win the New Hampshire primary with a potential win of $35.20.
If I win all 11 bets, that’s a total of $719.67. And all it’ll take is an earthquake causing a power outage that delays the game, brings out the Left Shark and drives Peyton Manning to retire. I think I’m going to hold off on spending that money in my head.