The Super Bowl. The game that will elevate certain players to formerly unrealized heights, immortalize entire teams and, unfortunately, crush a few wallets.
It's inevitable. Plenty of people are going to lose their milk money over the bets they lay.
But that's not going to happen to you. You've got this handy guide that will walk you through plenty of prop-bet choices as well as map out the proper pick against the spread.
Click through for your guide to Super Bowl prosperity.
All lines and odds are provided by bovada.lv unless noted otherwise.
Anquan Boldin Will Score a Touchdown (+130)
Have you watched the NFL playoffs at all? Then you've noticed Anquan Boldin decided to make these playoffs his "Watch The Throne" album. We knew he was good. Now, we know he's a watch-me-make-this-cornerback-cry good. The 49ers had trouble dealing with the big bodies of Julio Jones and Roddy White a couple weeks ago. A motivated Boldin will not prove to be an easier match.
Colin Kaepernick Will Rush For Under 85 Yards (-115) according to sportsbook.com
This is a variation of the Kaepernick-will-have-fewer-than-seven-rushes bet. Kaepernick is an offensive coordinator's Vanilla Sky (pre-everything going terribly wrong) and a defensive coordinator's Elm Street (timely references all around). The Falcons weren't too keen on letting Kaepernick run wild, and the Ravens would be smart to adopt a similar strategy. The kid can throw the ball, but Baltimore would much rather have him do it through the air than make things happen with his feet.
Ray Rice Will Score a Touchdown Before Frank Gore (+125)
As Sports Illustrated's Peter King pointed out, the San Francisco 49ers defense has been struggling lately. This bet is basically saying that the Ravens can drive down the field and score quickly. And Ray Rice is certainly capable of finishing off a drive. Since the opposite of this pick only comes in at minus-155, there is some serious value here.
The Ravens Will Score More Than 22.5 Points (-125) according to sportsbook.com
As mentioned in the previous slide, San Francisco has not been keeping teams off the scoreboard. The Niners have been winning with offense. There is little reason to believe that the trend won't continue despite Justin Smith getting two weeks to rest.
Baltimore Will Get a First Down Before San Francisco (+120)
This pick is an improvement on the coin-flip prop (minus-105 both ways) and has much to do with the above paragraph. The Ravens will be able to move the ball. If they get the ball first, there's a great chance that they pick up a first down. Alternatively, picking the Niners isn't nearly as lucrative (minus-150).
The 49ers Will Score Before They Punt (+130) according to sportsbook.com
Every once in awhile you lay a bet that you want to root for and that also provides a nice payday if it wins. Outside of Baltimore and San Francisco, the viewing public wants to see a close, exciting game. If both teams come out firing and light up the scoreboard, we all win. Why not double down on that? As for legitimate football reasons, San Francisco has Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. They're all good. Hence, they could score. Simple logic doesn't mean stupid logic.
Jim Harbaugh Will Be Shown Before John (+125)
You always lead with your best foot, and in terms of popularity and recognition, that's Jim Harbaugh. John has built a nice following and is well known to most football fans. However, Jim not only played in the league, but has a fiery personality that attracts attention. There is a split-screen option, but extending the introduction by using separate frames is a great way to fill some time and add to the drama.
Jay-Z Will Not Join Beyonce On Stage (-135)
There are two reasons this pick will come through. First, Beyonce doesn't need her husband to entertain America. This is her moment and she will nail it. It's what she does. Second, Hova isn't a second banana. I'm sure they have a loving relationship and all that good stuff, but Mr. Z is an alpha male. He isn't taking a supporting role on the biggest stage in entertainment.
There Will Be a Second-Half Lead Change (+145)
I slipped into one more I-want-this-to-happen bet. And this one has some serious merit. Remember, if a team is losing by less than a touchdown at halftime and scores, this bet will already be a winner. Plus, both offenses are explosive and both defenses are opportunistic. It's completely possible that there are multiple lead changes in the second half.
The 4.5-point opening line didn't turn heads when it was initially released. It didn't grab your attention as overly high or insultingly low.
We had just watched San Francisco fall behind by three scores before rallying and crushing Tony Gonzalez's dreams. Colin Kaepernick was cool under the pressure heaped on him by Atlanta's blazing start, and he strung together a few impressive series.
Plus, we still thought of the Baltimore Ravens as the team that finished its season in a tailspin. They lost four of five games and looked like a team that peaked somewhere in October. We then took a closer look at Baltimore's wins and wondered who the Ravens had really beaten.
The Niners were going to the Super Bowl as the favorite, we just hadn't figured out by how much. Thus, when 4.5 points were offered, nobody balked.
Like I said, the 4.5-point line looked fine. At first glance.
But a more careful observation reminded a few that the Baltimore Ravens are a good team; a team that more than a few people predicted would be a serious contender.
Bettors started to realize there was some serious value at 4.5 points. This Baltimore team had beaten the AFC's two top seeds in their own homes and looked convincing against the New England Patriots.
People started buying the Ravens hard, leading to the line dipping all the way to three points before settling at four.
This isn't just a points grab in a contest that could go 300 different ways. Well, not completely.
There have been too many declarations regarding Colin Kaepernick's ascendance to the throne. Too many coronations for a young, exciting player who could very well develop into an uncontainable offensive monster.
Joe Flacco's time has come. He's endured all of the trials. Now it's time to enjoy the rewards.
Flacco is never going to be the golden boy or the flawless tactician.
He's Joe Flacco. He doesn't complete a high percentage of his passes because he's always throwing deep. And he's won more road playoff games than any other quarterback playing in such a manner.
And, dare I say it, the Ravens are the more complete team right now. The vaunted San Francisco defense has been a shell of its former self.
Kaepernick, Frank Gore and company will cause all kinds of problems for Baltimore's defense. But that won't rattle the steady-as-she-goes Flacco. He won't win a beauty contest, just a Super Bowl.