The unique and extremely popular [citation needed] authority on pop culture since 2008

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written by Sam Greenspan

For the 13th year in a row, I bet real money on ridiculous Super Bowl bets including referee hair, progressive commercials, and side boob.

I may not post on this website as much as I used to (if you want to read more regular stuff from me, please check out my growing weekly newsletter!) but I’m certainly not going to watch a Super Bowl without betting money on the stupidest of things.

For the 13th year in a row, I humbly submit my Super Bowl prop bets column. Yes, every other website on the planet writes this column. As far as I can tell, however, I’m still the only person actually putting real money on every single one of the bets. As has been my tradition, I put $11 on each of my 11 bets, wagering a total of $121 on the dumbest bets I can find for the Super Bowl.

My all-time record stands at 64-61-7, however, because a lot of these bets have laughable payouts, my all-time financial tally stands at -$109.11. At this point, I’ve been doing this bit so long I might have to adjust for inflation.

Can this be the year I finally win a long shot bet and pull myself back to even (or at least close)? Will I be able to watch the Super Bowl carefully enough to monitor my bets (when I started this bit in 2008, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl while cooped up in a pandemic with a special lady and two small children)? Will I remember to cancel my free trial of CBS’s streaming platform after the game so I don’t get charged and I’m really not interested in continuing to pay to have access to same-day Young Sheldon or the complete archive of The Bold and the Beautiful?

The suspense swells. Let’s get to the bets.

1 | Who will win MVP of the Puppy Bowl?

Male -135

Female -105

I am confusingly terrible at my Puppy Bowl bets. Ever since the prop bet sites started offering Puppy Bowl bets in 2018 I’ve hopped on them — and I’m 0-for-3. You’d think accidentally I would’ve won one at this point, considering they’re just “flip a coin” deals. But no. I cannot bet the Puppy Bowl accurately. It remains my white whale. A whale made of puppies.

This year I decided to go for the MVP bet. I took the time to go through all 42 Puppy Bowl participants for the year and it looks like roughly an even split between male and female dogs (they didn’t specify on some of the dogs, many of the names are gender neutral, and while I was willing to look through the 42 photos of the dogs, I wasn’t willing to download some of them to zoom in on their undercarriages to try to see what they were working with).

Since there’s not much to go off here, I’m just going to go with the option with a better (but still terrible) payout.

I bet $11 on FEMALE to win $10.48 (total payout $21.48)

2 | Will Miley Cyrus side boob be seen?

Yes +225

No -350

Miley Cyrus is performing at something called the TikTok Tailgate  (now that’s a name with long-term staying power) before the Super Bowl. She’ll be performing for “7,500 vaccinated health care workers” according to the NFL’s official press release.

So… bring on the side boob? I know Miley is Miley (after all, as her best friend Lesley once notably said, ‘She’s just being Miley’) — but nothing about the NFL’s official TikTok Tailgate for vaccinated health care workers screams “a good time for side boob.”

I bet $11 on NO to win $3.14 (total payout $14.14)

3 | Which will be said first during Amanda Gorman poem?

Chiefs -125

Bucs/Buccaneers -105

Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who’s currently riding a Mr. Burns gubernatorial runaway freight train of momentum, is reading a poem during the Super Bowl pregame. I’m not sure how many poems have been read before past Super Bowls, but as the email I just got from the Nissan dealership where I bought an Altima in 2010 told me, these are unprecedented times.

Her poem will focus on three Americans — very much “everyday hero” folks — who’ve been named honorary Super Bowl captains. This bet, however, focuses on which Super Bowl team she’ll mention first in her poem. (Not “will she mention a team” which seems like a bet where I might’ve gone “no.”)

I have a weird gut feeling that if she does mention the teams, she’ll lead with Kansas City. There’s something about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that just makes them feel like the team you say second. Think about it. If you’re describing any game they play in, wouldn’t you say the other team first? Chiefs-Bucs. Bears-Bucs. Jaguars-Bucs. And so on. It’s like parting your hair — for some reason, it only works one way. So even though the payout on Chiefs is slightly worse, I have to follow my completely arbitrary hunch.

I bet $11 on CHIEFS to win $8.80 (total payout $19.80)

4 | How long will it take Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church to sing the National Anthem?

Under 2:00 -150

Over 2:00 +110

In a random twist, the Super Bowl has enlisted two singers to duet on the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. That’s one of the only things, it seems, Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church have in common besides “both singers” and “I couldn’t tell you one song by either of them.” Apparently they’d never even met each other before the NFL decided to pair them up.

The first-time duet makes it quite difficult for me to scout their past National Anthem performances (especially since it appears Church has never performed the National Anthem at an event before). Sullivan has a few past performances, which clocked in at 1:38 (in 2016) and 1:49 (in 2014). The sportsbooks also seem to have no idea how to set this line; all of the over-unders are around two minutes, which is kind of the “average anthem time” default.

When in doubt, I always bet the under on the National Anthem. It’s almost always served me well, as this is a bet I normally win. So keep it nice and tight, you two.

I bet $11 on UNDER 2:00 to win $7.33 (total payout $18.33)

5 | Coach to have nostrils seen first during game

Bruce Arians -200

Andy Reid +150

Both of the head coaches in the Super Bowl have struggled wearing masks this season. That is zero percent surprising, as men who match several of their demographic segments somehow always seem to struggle with masks no matter where you go.

Arians has opted for a clear face shield quite a bit this season; during the postgame celebration for the NFC Championship, he wore a real mask but had it on upside down (as seen above). He’s not particularly experienced with mask wearing, it seems.

Reid has also had his difficulties. He also tried a clear face shield, but switched to a mask when it kept fogging up (as seen above). He’s also worn a mask that fit so poorly many compared it to a horse’s feeding bag, and a variety of other masks that never seemed to quite fit his face correctly.

In other words, I’d venture we’re gonna see both of these guys’ nostrils during the game. But whose will pop first? I’m going to go with Reid. I feel like Arians has more to prove than Reid in general, and proper face mask utilization on football’s biggest stage is falls under that umbrella.

I bet $11 on ANDY REID’S NOSTRILS to win $16.50 (total payout $27.50)

6 | How will Sarah Thomas wear her hair?

Down (ponytail) -300

Up (in hat) +200

Sarah Thomas, a sixth-year NFL referee, is set to become the first woman to officiate during a Super Bowl. The sports books clearly wanted to create some prop bet around that, but had trouble thinking of one — so they went with hair.

I was surprised to see ponytail had a lower payout, as there are two factors that made me think she’ll go hair up. One, a Google Image search shows she wears her hair up quite a bit during games — especially when it’s colder outside. With a 40 percent chance of rain in Tampa for the game and a temperature low of 46, it could be pretty chilly down on the field. Those are hair up conditions.

I bet $11 on HAIR UP to win $22 (total payout $33)

7 | First Anheuser-Busch brand commercial to run

Bud Light +120

Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade +175

Michelob Ultra +175

Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer +200

Anheuser-Busch made a big announcement last week that they would NOT be running any Budweiser ads during the game, instead putting those marketing dollars behind “vaccine awareness and distribution.” That’s a nice sentiment, only it’s only a part of the story; the full story is they won’t be advertising Bud Heavy, but will still have commercials for lots of their other brands.

So… which of those brands are we going to see first? To explain my pick, we must travel back in time to 2019, when I made another prop bet on the first A-B commercial and laughed at the concept of them starting with Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer. “It would be a hell of a twist,” I wrote, “If whatever that spiked seltzer is got a hefty first quarter ad placement.”

And then, whatever spiked seltzer that was got the heaty first quarter ad placement. I’m going to bank on Anheuser-Busch pulling the same move this year and trying to use the early commercial slots to promote their most obscure possible product, the Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer.

I bet $11 on MICHELOB ULTRA ORGANIC SELTZER to win $22 (total payout $33)

8 | First interracial couple shown in a commercial

White woman/Black man -150

Black woman/White man +110

I’m not sure I feel particularly savory betting on this, but since some sports book chose to offer it and it’s definitely a prop bet I’ve never seen before, I felt compelled to share it. (The same bookies also offered a bet on which would appear first in a commercial, an interracial couple or — this is exactly how they phrased it — an “LGB (no T)” couple.)

I’m not sure how they set the odds, as I couldn’t find any leaked commercials yet with interracial couples. And since there’s really no reason to predict one couple over the other, I’ll go for the higher potential payout.

I bet $11 on BLACK WOMAN/WHITE MAN to win $12.10 (total payout $23.10)

9 | The Weeknd first song performed at halftime

Blinding Lights +180

Save Your Tears +200

Pray for Me +250

Can’t Feel My Face +300

Starboy +300

I Feel It Coming +900

Hawaii +1000

The Hills +1000

In Your Eyes +1200

Earned It +1600

Love Me Harder +1600

Lost in the Fire +2000

Every year, I bet on the first song of the halftime show and I always lose. But my loss is always the result of overanalyzing the performer’s catalog. Well, I can’t do that here. Because I recognize roughly three song titles on that list. (Note: I would recognize more of the songs when I listened to brief clips of them, but the titles meant nothing to me.) I have no hope of overanalyzing The Weeknd’s song choice due to a total lack of familiarity. Don’t they usually pick people who appeal to my age bracket (or older) for the halftime show? What’s happening here?

Anyway, I listened to the first 30 seconds of all those songs and I think the one that makes the most sense to start with is Earned It. It kinda sets the tone for The Weeknd’s style of music, it’s probably too slow to bust out throughout the rest of the set… and it pays huge. If I’m gonna lose anyway, might as well bet the long shot. After 13 years I’m due for one lucky break on these.

I bet $11 on EARNED IT to win $176 (total payout $187)

10 | How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown?

Over 1.5 -240

Under 1.5 +165

I’ve been betting on Gisele Super Bowl appearance frequencies since Patrick Mahomes was in high school. (Seriously. I made my first “how often will Gisele appear” bet in 2012. Mahomes went to college in 2014. We’ve both done big things since.)

Here’s what I’ve learned over these years about “how often will so and so be shown on camera?” bets. Always take the under. The broadcasts always laser focus on the game and very little of the ancillary stuff at the stadium. Sure, they might show Gisele once, but my experience has taught me they won’t show her a second time during the game broadcast.

I bet $11 on UNDER 1.5 to win $18.15 (total payout $29.15)

11 | Which will be higher: Tom Brady’s passing yards in Super Bowl LV or the closing price of GameStop Corp. (GME) on February 5th?

Tom Brady -350

GME +225

Gotta love a hyper topical Super Bowl bet. I figured they’d pull this off the board before February 5th — in fact, I’m surprised it’s still available — so I grabbed it while I could. As of this moment, GameStop’s stock is down to $101 a share. It’s hard to imagine Brady putting up fewer yards than that unless he gets hurt. Even if GameStop stock makes a comeback before Friday when the markets close, quarterbacks generally put up huge yards against the Chiefs.

I bet $11 on TOM BRADY to win $3.14 (total payout $14.14)

That’s the list! I’ll try to tweet a bit during the game about the bets and I’ll be back next week with my annual Super Bowl prop bet wrap-up column.