Super Bowl Prop Bets to Absolutely Avoid

Dan Levy@danlevythinksNational Lead WriterJanuary 30, 2013

Super Bowl Prop Bets to Absolutely Avoid

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    There are literally hundreds of different prop bets one can make during the Super Bowl, ranging from which player will win MVP to which starting running back will rush for more than three yards on his first carry to, yes, 12 different bets about punting.

    And none of them are even close to the dumbest, lamest and worst prop bets Vegas is offering so we can throw away our hard-earned cash.

    True story: A few years ago, I was in Las Vegas for a celebrity poker tournament the day before the Super Bowl. (I sat next to Nancy Cartwright and Sara Jean Underwood and finished in 14th place, but that's a story for another day.) The casino where I was staying had one of those sheets where you could put $2 down and bet on 10 different Super Bowl prop bets to win $1,600. I hit on nine of the 10. I won jack squat.

    The prop bet I missed on was, "Which Team Will Have Possession To End The First Half?"

    Remember when the Saints beat the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV and New Orleans started the second half with that game-changing onside kick? Of course; everyone remembers that.

    What nobody remembers is how the first half ended, as the Saints lined up for a field goal from the 26-yard line with five seconds remaining in the half. 

    Now, does it really take five seconds for an NFL football to travel from the center to the holder, then through the uprights from 44 yards away? I will take to my grave the fact that there should have been one second left on that game clock if not for the operator lazily letting time expire to avoid another kickoff that would have changed possession back to the Colts before the half ended. 

    I will take it to my grave.

    Be careful when you pick your prop bets. Here are some of the year's absolute worst that Bovada has on offer.

The Coin Toss

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    The Coin Toss: Yes -105; No -105

    Everybody loves to bet on whether the coin will land on heads or tails to get the Super Bowl gambling juices flowing, but what happens when you get that bet wrong? It ruins the rest of the first quarter, and depending on how much you put on a 50-50 bet where the odds don't even pay out that well, it could ruin the prop bet experience for the entire game.

    Did you know there is also a bet for which team will win the coin toss? Isn't that essentially the same thing? This is how casinos steal our money.

Safety and Missed PAT Bets

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    Will There Be A Safety In The Game? Yes +600; No -1000

    Will There Be A Missed Extra Point After Touchdown? Yes +900; No -2000

    Is anyone really betting "No" on either of these? If you have $1,000 to bet on there not being a safety just so you can win $100 on the other end, you probably shouldn't be allowed near a casino. That goes double for the missed PAT prop bet too.

    Now, let's be clear: betting "Yes" on either of these is a great idea. If you're piling up a few prop bets, why the heck wouldn't you throw a few bucks on either of the affirmatives? If neither happens, you aren't out much, but if one of them does hit, you'll likely cover the rest of your prop bet investment.

    The safety bet paid off last year. It could happen again.

Result of the First Coach's Challenge

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    What Will Be The Result of The First Coach's Challenge in the Game? Overturned -120; Stands -110

    Anyone who bets this is either black-out drunk or really has a problem with self-control. I wouldn't bet on the first coach's challenge in the game if the casino was taking action while the play was under review. It's impossible to imagine any actual scenario where this would be a good bet either way. 

    At least with the coin toss, there is a conceivable understanding that the coin will indisputably land on either heads or tails.

    With a coach's challenge, you're not only asked to bet on the Harbaugh brothers' collective ability to determine if a call was wrong, you then have to factor in referee Jerome Boger's propensity to reverse a call—all without actually seeing the play in advance.

    Seriously, you might as well bet on Beyonce and Alicia Keys getting into a fight on camera.

    Wait…is that a bet?

Alicia Keys and the National Anthem

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    Will Alicia Keys Be Booed During or After The US National Anthem? Yes +500

    This is just as ridiculous as the two singers fighting, only this is a real wager. Who is going to boo Alicia Keys? Who is going to boo the national anthem at the Super Bowl, even if a tone-deaf lemur were singing?

    I wouldn't take this bet if it was +5000. Hell, if you're one of the crazy people interested in making this bet, send me the money and I will take a video of myself pretending to light it on fire while actually keeping it to spend on something like voice lessons for that poor lemur or another idea far more useful than thinking someone may boo Alicia Keys.

    Nobody is booing Alicia Keys, or America.

Beyonce and Jay-Z Performing Together

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    Will Beyonce Be Joined By Jay-Z on Stage during the Super Bowl Halftime Show? Yes +110; No -150

    Folks, Vegas is messing with you. This isn't like asking if Bruce Springsteen's wife would be on stage with him when he did the halftime show. There is no way Jay-Z is going to upstage his wife by showing up at the Super Bowl halftime show to perform when she's the $50 million dollar face of Pepsi, the show's sponsor. 

    However, the one sure-fire way to make Beyonce's performance go viral is to have her husband sneak on stage for a duet or two. Pepsi would love that.

    It's like they're begging you to take this action! Stay away. Stay…away.

Beyonce's Crazy Halftime Show Wardrobe

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    Will Beyonce's hair be curly/crimped or straight at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime Show? Straight +150; Curly/Crimped -200 

    What predominant color will Beyonce's top be at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime Show? (Various odds for different colors) 

    This is what I don't understand about bets like these: How hard would it be for whoever is in charge of the halftime show wardrobe design to say, "Hey, Beyonce, we're going to make the first song really wild, so let's have your hair flowing and how about throwing on this bright green top?"

    Green, by the way, is 15/1 if you're looking to bet on this.

    I understand that people have a job to do and presumably aren't worrying about making extra money on top of the bucks they'll be pulling in for working the Super Bowl, but someone involved in the show has to know what Beyonce is going to wear and can pretty easily call a friend to place a moderate but substantial wager to cash in on that inside information.

    Maybe Vegas can handle a few "sure thing" bets with all the random guess action it's getting, but I just don't see how a wardrobe person isn't taking advantage of the situation by putting a few hundred bucks on a color with nobody knowing a thing.

    That said, unless you know, it pays to stay away from silly bets like hairstyles or shirt colors.

Jack Harbaugh

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    How Many Times Will Jack Harbaugh Be Shown On TV During The Game? 2 - Over (-160); Under (+120)

    This is another one of those bets where, again, one person holds a lot of power. The CBS director can decide this bet so darn easily. How hard would it be to show Mr. Harbaugh one time and then never again the rest of the game? 

    If you were a director and knew you were planning to show him once and only once—note, it's easier to plan for the under because there's a slim but possible chance he may never put himself in view of the cameras—would it be so hard to tip off a friend to throw a few unsuspecting bets on the under? 

    I know that this logic is expecting the worst out of people, but this is a victimless crime. Wait, I'm actually not even sure if it’s a crime!

    It's a victimless wager, and throwing a few thousand bucks spread out over a few different bets on a sure thing you can control is nothing more than a nice bonus for the year of hard work that got you to the Super Bowl.

    It would almost be a crime not to decide this bet.

The Harbaugh Brothers

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    Who Will Be Shown First During The Game? Jim Harbaugh +110; John Harbaugh +110; Split Screen +300 

    This is dead money.

Harbaugh References During the Telecast

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    How Many Times Will The Game Be Referred to as the Harbaugh Bowl or Har Bowl or Super Baugh during the game (not including pre-game and halftime)? 2.5 — Over (EVEN); Under -140 


    How Many Times Will Harbaugh Be Said During the Game?  21.5 Over — (-140); Under (EVEN) 

    Entertaining either of these bets would be putting money on what Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are saying during the game, which means you'd have to pay attention to every single word Nantz and, specifically, Simms say.

    Don't you want to enjoy yourself during the game?

    Nantz and Simms make enough money that "throw a little scratch on a sure thing" is probably not a viable theory. Still, a pun on Harbaugh and the Super Bowl seems high at 2.5, and saying their names more than 21 times seems really high.

    I might think Nantz will say Bill Belichick's name more than 21 times during this Super Bowl, but I'd probably play the under on Harbaugh.

    If there was an over-under of .5 "Hello Friends," I'd say bet the farm on the over. Other than that, I'd stay away from betting on anything Nantz and Simms have to say.