The Super Bowl is popular because football is popular, and football is popular because gambling on football is popular, and gambling on football can be so fiendishly granular and ridiculous, it’s almost as if someone wants you to lose!
Let us explore the wacky world of proposition bets, novelty bets, side bets, or “prop bets,” as they are commonly known, but really, any bet is a proposition, so we still don’t know why these more idiotic and goofy bets are “propositions” any more than betting on who will win the game. The bets have an established “line” to give the bookmaker a small taste of each bet and to make each bet appear to be as simple as guessing heads or tails on the coin toss—which, by the way, would require you to lay $105 to win $100, so even if you win on what is a 50/50 wager, the house grabs $5 in “juice.” The house is thirsty!
Here’s a small sampling of real prop bets we scraped off sportsbook BetOnline. We’ll show you the odds on the first bet we’re listing, but after that you need to think hard and either close this tab immediately or head over to BetOnline, where the “sportsbook terms” page defines “degenerate” as “a term for a compulsive gambler.”
Adam Levine Shoe Color:
- White +120
- Black +300
- Brown +700
- Blue +1000
- Red +1000
- Yellow +1200
- Orange +1200
- Green +2000
- Purple +2000
- Pink +2500
Coin toss: Heads/Tails
National anthem length : Over or Under 1 Minute 50 seconds
Any Player to Kneel During Anthem: Yes/No
Gladys Knight Kneel During National Anthem: Yes/No
Gladys Knight Omit a Word From Anthem: Yes/No
Gladys Knight’s Attire During Anthem: Dress/Skirt or Pants/Shorts
Any Member of the “Pips” Join Gladys for Anthem: Yes/No
We did a little research on this one for you, and according to Wikipedia, there have been seven Pips through the years (not counting Gladys), of whom three are still with us: Merald “Bubba” Knight, Brenda Knight, and late arrival Chris Morante, who became a Pip in 1988. The Pips ineligible to appear are William Guest (died 2015), Eleanor Guest (died 1997), Edward Patten (died 2005), and Langston George (died 2007).
Which coach will be shown first during anthem: Belichick/McVay
Color of liquid poured on winning coach: Clear, Yellow, Red, Blue, Purple, Green, Orange
Will there be a flea-flicker: Yes/No
Who will MVP mention first in speech: God/Teammates/Coach/Owner/Fans/Refs/Family/None of above
Points record broken: Yes/No
Mention of Belichick-McVay age gap: Yes/No
Will CBS show Saints-Rams pass interference: Yes/No
Number of times Giselle Bundchen shown on live broadcast: Over/under 1.5 times
Adam Levine Kneel During Halftime Show: Yes/No
Any Member of Winning Team to Visit White House: Yes/No
Whose Age Will be Closer to Total Points in Game: Bill Belichick, 66 Years Old/Sean McVay, 33 Years Old
What Will be Higher SB Sunday: Tom Brady TD Passes/Donald Trump Tweets
Total Donald Trump Tweets Feb 3rd: Over 5/Under 5
First Doritos Commercial Color of Bag:
Remember sports fans, the House and the NFL always win!
If it’s too exhausting to try to conjure good expert reasons to pick a color of beverage to be dumped or gaming out scoring scenarios, we recommend the only truly good Super Bowl wager, which is the GRID OF RANDOMLY-ASSIGNED NUMERALS!
When the grid is ready for the game, it will be numbered along each axis with the digits from 0 through 9, in random order. Each axis will represent one of the teams. The digits will represent the number each team has in the ones column on the scoreboard—so if the score is New England 157, Los Angeles 0, the winning cell is the one whose coordinates are 7 on the New England axis and 0 on the Los Angeles axis. This is also the winning cell for a score of New England 7, Los Angeles 60; or New England 27, Los Angeles 30.
This means the wagering is completely independent from the question of which team wins. All that matters is which numbers they land on. If you’re in a big enough, or action-friendly-enough, group of people who maybe even DNGAF about sports, this device will have them lustily screaming alternately for both teams, depending on the changes in the score, right up until the end of the game.
Notice that nowhere in the above account did we use the word “pick” to describe a person’s relationship to the teams or their score-numbers. That is because nobody gets to pick those things. The positions of the teams and numbers are assigned at random, and only after all the picking has been done.
Well in advance of kickoff, begin the process. Start with the grid above, download one from an enabling spot on the Internet, or draw your own completely empty, no-teams, no-numbers grid. Then assign a dollar value per square. Each square costs the same amount. Determining the value of the squares and the value of the pot is usually a consensus process. Some people want to play and strike it rich! “C’mon, think about it, if each square is ten dollars, this thing would be worth a ten dollars times ten, how much is that, ten grand? A grand? OK, let’s go, ten bucks for a shot at G-stack! Let’s do it! OK, well howabout five bucks, then the whole board would be worth five bills, c’mon, we can get a hundred squares sold today!”
In the company I keep, the above pleading is usually coming from me, and the squares end up going for two bucks a pop at most, $200 total value for the board. When the dollar amount is that low, there’s only one result that matters, and that’s the trailing digits of the final score.
If you are working with a bunch of high rollers, the permutations are endless. I’ve seen grids up at small local bars where the squares were being sold weeks in advance, going for a hundred bucks each, so the pot was big enough for there to be payoffs for the score as it stood at the end of each quarter, and payoffs for adjacent squares, all sorts of foolishness. There are some sick gamblers out there digging in for their big spoonful of Superb Owl Sundae.
Back to business! Hurry! You are working against the clock and all the drinking that might be going on, especially by you, the person whose big idea this all was, can’t you just enjoy sports without having to bet on it?
Everybody who wants in gets their money up on the spot (this is very important), and then takes turns putting their name or initials or annoying “lucky” drawing in a square. People get weird about this part, the picking of the blank squares (even people who did not get a D-minus in Probability and Statistics), they pick corners, they pick multiple squares in a row, so the only way to keep it amiable is one pick at a time, taking turns, with multiple separate turns for multiple square purchases, which you must encourage, because the only way this thing works is if you get all the squares sold. If you are the organizer, it’s on you to take the cash and get the squares sold. I cannot say this strongly enough, do not extend credit, even if you’re doing 50 cents a square, if people want credit they have to figure it out amongst themselves and pay you, the keeper of the pot. You are not “the house,” because you are not making anything, so it is important not to assume risk. Also, if you are the organizer, it will be awkward if you win (and you could, if you buy in, because you are not “the house”), so everything must be done in an air of absolute transparency. It’s amazing how people’s feelings get hurt when there’s a dollar sign between you.
Once you have all the squares sold—I did tell you about how I advise against extending credit, OK—it’s time to give people something to care about, their random numerals!
Decide team positions by assigning “heads’ to one team and “tails” to the other team, and then calling the toss for the agreed-upon decision, to wit: “OK, we are gonna toss this quarter to decide the team that goes in the spot on the left. The New Englanders will be ‘heads’ and the Rammers will be the ‘tails’ side of the coin.” Once you have the first position determined, the other team goes in the open spot.
Then do a random draw of numbers to assign in either the vertical or horizontal space. Make sure the draw method is agreed upon by all parties, or enough parties so that there aren’t any whiners later. Repeat the random draw for the remaining axis.
For our example draw, we declare “heads” is the New England Cheaters, which means “tails” will be the Los Angeles Other-Cheaters. We tossed the quarter and it came up heads, so we’re placing New England in the first space on the left, and LA goes on the right. Now we’re going to assign New England’s numbers by drawing cards. We pulled and shuffled a range representing the numerals 1 through 0, with an ace representing 1 and a 10 representing 0.
Place the Official Document in a spot where it may be viewed easily for reference while staring at the screen and hollering.