Remember Christina Aguilera’s national anthem from the Super Bowl last year? If you don’t, good for you. If you do, you’ll remember that XTina mangled some lyrics, sang a line twice and generally seemed like she had never heard the Star-Spangled Banner before. It’s been panned as one of the worst renditions of the national anthem in Super Bowl history. But I’ve never been more excited by a national anthem in my life. Because I took the “under” on the prop bet of a 1:54 length of the national anthem – and the music closed out at 1:53.
Every day in life should be filled with prop bets. But the Super Bowl will do just fine. For those of you totally football-illiterate fans, prop bets range on anything from “length of the national anthem” to “first player to score a touchdown” to “number of times Peyton Manning will be shown on screen.”
Today, we’ll examine some of the best and worst that this year’s prop bets have to offer – and let you know which ones to take and which ones to leave for your Super Bowl party. Each review gets three separate grades that mash into one big one.
The Coin Toss
Will the opening coin flip be heads or tails?
If you bet on the Super Bowl coin toss, you might be a compulsive gambler! This is probably the most heavily bet of all the props, and it’s the dumbest one. Anyone who would wager money on this is a moron. And don’t try to convince me that “the AFC has won seven straight tosses” or “the coin has been tails nine out of eleven times.” Really? That’s nice. You know what else is nice? There are two sides to the coin. Neither is weighted heavier than the other. I know this is some deeply intellectual stuff, but it is – wait for it – a fifty percent chance. Exactly fifty. And the fun in this bet is gone before the game even starts. Don’t bother.
Grade: F (Winnability: C, Creativity: F, Fun Factor: F)
But if you had to pick: Tails never fails!
Victor Cruz’s Longest Reception
Will he catch a pass for more than 27.5 yards?
This seems way, WAY too easy to be true. Cruz has been one of the biggest big-play receivers in the league this year. He’s facing the Patriots, who had the worst pass defense in football and allowed the most yards of any Suepr Bowl team ever. He’ll likely be guarded by Julian Edelman at times, who is a wide receiver masquerading as a defensive back. He’s surpassed 27.5 yards on one catch in seven of his last 11 games. And this one’s fun, because every time Cruz catches a five-yard out, you’ll be holding your breath to see how many tackles he can break, or every time Eli Manning chucks a ball up to Cruz, the stakes are even higher.
Grade: B (Winnability: B, Creativity: C, Fun Factor: B)
The pick: Over, which likely means that Darrelle Revis will sign with the Patriots immediately before gametime.
Madonna’s Hair Color
What color will Madonna’s hair be when she begins the Super Bowl?
Well, it’s safe to say this is the first prop bet in the history of the Super Bowl that applies to a person’s hair color. (Dennis Rodman hasn’t been a ceremonial captain before, has he?) The money line right now is “Blonde -400, Field +250”, putting blonde hair at a huge favorite. A quick Google search for “Madonna hair” reveals nothing but various shades of blonde, so I’m going to say this is a lock. By the way, this is the time where we realize, once again, that out of every musical artist in the world, the NFL’s selection for the Super Bowl halftime show was Madonna. In 2012. I think we’re past Nipplegate, since the NFL actually selected someone who was involved in this:
(These will be either the best or worst 21 minutes of your day, or more likely, both.)
Grade: C- (Winnability: B+, Creativity: B-, Fun Factor: D)
The pick: Blonde. Legally or otherwise.
Eli vs. LeBron
What number will be higher – Eli Manning’s completions on Sunday, or LeBron James’ points against the Raptors?
Tremendous bet. Eli’s at 25.3 completions per game in the postseason after averaging 22.4 in the regular season, and LeBron averaging 29.2 points per game. Seems easy enough, no? However – LeBron may score 20 against the Raptors in the first half and take the rest of the game off, while Eli might throw 60 times against the Patriots secondary. This is a great bet mainly because you can choose to have an extra reason to root against LeBron James if you so choose. Your roommate who’s wondering why you keep cheering for Demar DeRozan on defense on Sunday afternoon is going to be quite confused, though.
Grade: B+ (Winnability: C, Creativity: A-, Fun Factor: A-)
The pick: Eli. A championship’s on the line, after all.
Tom Brady vs. Big Ten Basketball
What number will be higher – Tom Brady’s gross passing yards + 63.5, or the combined points of Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern on February 6?
This is likely the greatest bet I have ever seen. The only negative is that you might have to cheer for good offense in Big Ten basketball games. However, you get to wait until the next day to decide the bet, and your gambling addiction will continue for 24 more hours.
One warning: If you make this bet, or are even considering making it, please call a Gamblers Anonymous self-help line immediately. Like, literally right this second. Stop reading the post. Please. Put the laptop down. GO!
Grade: A (Winnability: C, Creativity: A+, Fun Factor: A)
The pick: Brady. When Illinois and Northwestern score in the 40s, you’ll thank me.