Super Bowl 47: There’s a Prop Bet For That
In the week leading up to Super Bowl 47, you’re probably going to hear a few things about Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis or 49ers sophomore stud quarterback Colin Kaepernick or the Harbaugh brothers. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but did you know Jim and John are the first pair of brothers to coach against each other in the biggest of all the Big Games?
But the best part of the run-up to the Big Game is that fans can put their money where the media’s mouths are. As one of hundreds of “prop bets” available at Las Vegas casinos and offshore online books, you can actually wager on how many times the name “Harbaugh” will be mentioned during the game broadcast. Feeling confident that it will be more than the over/under of 20.5 times? Come on down. There’s a website willing to take your money for Super Bowl 47 prop bets.
From the length of the National Anthem (over/under 2:15) to the coin flip result (you know what the odds are) to “Harbowl” mentions (over/under 2.5) to whether Beyoncé will be showing cleavage during her first song (80% chance) to the number of times Ray Lewis mentions “God/Lord” in his post-game interview (over/under 3) to the chances that Alicia Keys messes up the lyrics to the National Anthem (32%) to the color of the Gatorade used to douse the winning coach (clear is the favorite), there’s a prop for that.
Why are these prop bets so popular? According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, the largest sports betting website compliant with United States law, there are many reasons why people love the props.
“There’s hundreds and hundreds of bets in Vegas that are statistically driven like will the second string tight end have more than 1.5 catches and there’s a big audience for that,” Bell said. “But because the Super Bowl is a social event — not just online but with parties and the way people interact with it — to not have anything on the game if you’re not a fan it may cause you to feel left out.
“One of the real advancements of these quirkier props is the idea that someone who really doesn’t know anything about football — this might be the only football game they watch the entire year — can bet on something associated with the game. Will Jack Harbaugh be shown over/under 2.5 times? Will Jay-Z join Beyoncé on stage during the halftime show? That’s the kind of stuff you don’t have be a football fan to take part in and since the game is so social it’s a way to be involved.”
Some of the most popular props that generate a lot of buzz (and action) are the ones relating to the National Anthem. Will Alicia Keys screw up the lyrics? $100 wins $170 if she does. Will the “Girl On Fire” singer be booed? If she is, $100 wins $500. Of course the most contentious is the over/under on the length of the Star Spangled Banner. This year it’s set at 2 minutes 15 seconds (note that Bovada.LV has it at 2 minutes 12 seconds).
“It’s interesting to keep in mind that there’s a real kind of engagement to that fact,” Bell said. “Not only is there a build-up where the whole time you’re getting this rush — is she ahead of schedule, is she behind schedule? And then there’s always the chance it’s going to be 2:14 or 2:16 or right around that number and the questions begin — when did it begin? When did it really end? Add that all up and you have a lot of excitement and engagement in one bet.”
Keep in mind that Vegas casinos only accept bets on action that takes place on the field (of the over $10 billion in action expected on this year’s game, only one percent will be wagered in Vegas). If it doesn’t show up in the box score, you’re going to have to look online or offshore. That includes one of the most creative and intriguing props this year — will superstar media mogul Jay-Z join his wife Beyoncé on stage during the halftime show? Right now, the oddsmakers say there’s a 43% chance this happens ($100 wins $110).
“The Jay-Z joining Beyoncé on stage really plugs into the TMZ culture which is clearly very strong and it’s very simple to understand,” Bell said. “You again can feel or envision that visceral moment. For that entire 12 minute halftime show you’re going to be watching thinking ‘Is that him? Is that him?’ You’re going to be looking in the corner of the screen. The simplicity of it, plugging in the TMZ culture, plus the actual engagement of the halftime show before Jay-Z comes out or the whole show if he doesn’t. All that adds up to be a very compelling bet.”
Even with all the wacky options available and cross-sport variations — which will be higher, LeBron James rebounds and assists February 3rd vs. Toronto or Ray Lewis tackles and assists in the Super Bowl? — the most popular of all the props continues to be the simplest of them all: heads or tails. It’s an even 50/50 shot that gets the gamblers every time.
“Every year the most popular is the coin flip,” Bell said. “There’s a certain kind of perverseness to be able to bet at a casino on a coin flip which people find appealing. And also there’s a simplicity. The idea of everyone understands a coin flip and to have the whole country watching and you have money on it. The simplicity and novelty of it is very appealing.”