It's not possible to get the entire Super Bowl Sunday experience without placing a wager on something, regardless of what that something is. When the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks for the 2014 Super Bowl, every fan should have something at stake.
It can be for a stick of gum, shaving the winning team's mascot in your hair or a second mortgage on your house (probably a little excessive). The point is the true essence of Super Bowl Sunday is the pure, unadulterated diversion of spectacle and high stakes. To be an active participant in this, a little personal gain or loss needs to be on the line.
Is any of this sane? Probably not, but it sure is fun.
In case you've waited until the last minute to become an active participant in the madness, or simply want to up the investment in that quest, I have some plays for the quarterback of each team and one on the halftime performance for your consideration.
Any or all of those will add a little excitement to your Super Bowl XLVIII experience.
As a note, I didn't include betting on the outcome with these last-minute plays, but in case you're looking for a take on which team will triumph, I like Denver minus the points, which I explain here.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Broncos -3, according to Bovada
All odds via Bovada
Total TD Passes by Russell Wilson
Play: Under -130
There isn't a lot of wiggle room on the under on this play, especially considering Denver was tied for 22nd in the league by allowing 1.8 touchdown passes per game this past season.
Still, I like the under.
Wilson threw two or more touchdowns in half of his games this regular season. He hasn't, however, accomplished that feat since Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints.
That includes Wilson throwing just one combined touchdown pass in his two postseason starts this year.
Of course, we also have to consider nerves. Wilson is a second-year quarterback playing his first Super Bowl. This is enough to crack even the most mature competitor.
It would be foolish to bank on that fact, however. Wilson has shown poise beyond his years, and he appears to have his focus in the right places:
Even if Wilson doesn't hit the over here, it is not necessarily bad news for the Seahawks. In fact, it could be a good sign, which is what really pushes me over the edge toward taking the under.
The Seahawks will want to keep the score of this game down. On offense, that will include rushing the ball as much as possible, including in the red zone. This has been their philosophy to this point in the playoffs.
That has resulted in three rushing touchdowns this postseason for Marshawn Lynch, as Wilson has collected just the one touchdown pass.
Total Incomplete Passes by Peyton Manning
Play: Under -105
It's hard to find favorable odds on these kinds of plays. Obviously, that is by design, as the house protects against the more likely play with smaller payouts. That's what makes this bet so appealing to me.
The over is at minus-125 on this line. It makes sense, as 13 or more incompletions for the quarterback that threw the second-most passes in the NFL this past regular season while facing the league's leading pass defense appears like a strong play.
I'm not content with outward appearances, however.
For the season, Manning had more games in the regular season with 13 or more incompletions than he did games where he did not, but he's only thrown 11 incompletions in each of his two postseason games this year.
More than that, however, I'm not convinced the Seahawks will be able to do much to stifle the Broncos' passing offense.
In the article linked above explaining why I like the Broncos in this game, I went back and looked at the three games I felt gave us the best comparison of teams the Seahawks faced with passing offenses at least somewhat comparable to the Broncos'. I found them to be the passing offenses of the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons.
The top wide receivers in those games (Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Harry Douglas) combined to catch 27 passes on 35 targets. If Manning finds that kind of ease in getting the ball to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, he will have little problem hitting other targets with high-percentage completions.
Will Any Member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Be Shirtless During Their Performance?
The Super Bowl is an event that, for better or worse, is about more than the game. The commercials and halftime show have their own army of hype around them. So, it is best to get in on that adventure with a fun bet such as this.
In this instance, the bet is not only fun, but it's also easy money.
Any person would be hard-pressed to think of a band that has proved to be more allergic to clothing than the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This band has done performances on national television that make the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction downright traumatic:
Now, there are some factors that make taking the "No" an appealing prospect. This year's Super Bowl isn't going to be played in the typical shirtless weather. It is going to be cold.
Also, this band is getting old. The three most consistent members—Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Chad Smith—are all over 50.
Still, these factors only add to the possibility of at least one guy coming out shirtless. These unique and devoted rockers are not going to admit that the elements of Mother Nature or Father Time have forced them to change their ways.
Also, as you can see, while Kiedis may show up in clothes more often than he used to, I'm not sure Flea knows how to play his funky brand of spectacular bass with a shirt on.