The excitement of Super Bowl week is tied up in the hype that goes with the unofficial holiday that is Super Bowl Sunday.
Casual and hardcore football fans enjoy the game in the company of friends, relatives and neighbors. They congregate together and enjoy the parties, the food and big-screen televisions.
All of those things are nice, but the foundation of the Super Bowl's popularity—and that of the NFL itself—just may be gambling.
In addition to betting on the outcome of the game against the point spread, or wagering on the over/under, there are hundreds of prop bets anyone watching the game can indulge in.
Prop bets can be for everyone, as they involve everything from the outcome of the coin flip to the length of the national anthem to the total amount of rushing yards put up by either quarterback.
The non-football fan, the casual fan and the hardcore fan can all find a wager that piques their interest. As anyone who has ever wagered on football can attest, a bet on the game can keep it interesting even when the outcome is no longer in doubt.
The Carolina Panthers are strong six-point favorites over the Denver Broncos at this point, according to Odds Shark. Most of the bets have been on the Panthers, and that could cause the spread to increase in Carolina's favor. Sixty-three percent of the early bets have been placed on the NFC representative.
The spread has moved steadily since the Panthers opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to Odds Shark, minutes after Carolina dispatched the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night. It could continue to move, but the dynamics of the game would change dramatically if the spread moved to seven points or more.
While the point spread has been fluid, the over/under has been fairly steady at 45 points.
|Prop Bet||Odds||Suggested wager|
|TD passes thrown by Cam Newton, 1.5||Over (-175); Under (+145)||Over|
|TD passes thrown by Peyton Manning, 1.5||Over (-135); Under (+105)||Under|
|Yardage thrown by Cam Newton, 240.5||Over (-125); Under (-105)||Over|
|Yardage thrown by Peyton Manning, 235.5||Over (-125); Under (-105)||Under|
|Interceptions thrown by Cam Newton, 0.5||Over (-170); Under (+140)||Over|
|Interceptions thrown by Peyton Manning, 0.5||Over (-225); Under (+185)||Over|
|Total completions by Cam Newton, 18.5||Over (-135); Under (+105)||Under|
|Total completions by Peyton Manning, 21.5||Over (-105); Under (-125)||Under|
Odds Shark; Silverman selections
Newton, who seems likely to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award after throwing 35 touchdown passes and running for 10 more scores, has a chance to enhance his reputation further on Super Bowl Sunday.
If Newton throws for 240.5 yards or more, bettors who back him can win $100 with a stake of $125, according to Odds Shark. Those who believe he won't reach that level would need to risk $105 to win $100.
Interestingly, Manning's yardage level is 235.5 yards. Once again, a $125 bet on Manning will return a profit of $100 if he is successful, while those who believe he won't reach that mark are asked to put up $105 to win $100.
Those who are interested in TD passes thrown will have that option. If Newton throws more than 1.5 TD passes, his backers will win their wager. It will cost them $175 to get a profit of $100 if he exceeds that figure. Those who don't believe Newton can reach that level will need to risk $100 to win $145.
Manning only threw nine TD passes during the regular season, but his Super Bowl number is also 1.5 scoring passes. It will cost $135 to make a wager on Manning passing for more than that number to return $100, while taking the under-1.5 TD pass wager will require a $100 wager to return $105.
One of the biggest differences between the two quarterbacks in the prop wagers is in rushing yards gained. If Newton exceeds 37.5 yards on the ground, a $125 wager will return $100. Those who believe he won't reach that total will have to risk $105 to win $100.
Manning's prescribed rushing total is 0.5 yards. Yes, if Manning rushes for a yard or more, his backers will win $160 based on a $100 wager. However, those who want to wager that he won't gain a single rushing yard have to risk $200 to win $100.
Quarterback yardage and touchdown totals are prop bets that are usually considered by the hardcore fan. However, party-going fans may be interested in wagering on the color of the Gatorade that will be dumped on the winning head coach.
That's one of the props that is offered, and the line has been set based on past years dumpings. According to Odds Shark, orange (+125), blue (+300), clear (+400), yellow (+400), red (+600), green (+1,000) and purple (+1,000) are the betting options available.
In past five years, orange has come through twice, along with blue and purple once each. However, after the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, no Gatorade was dumped on head coach John Harbaugh, and that means all the money that was wagered on that prop went to the sports books that offered the wager.
That's a good lesson for all bettors. There are no guarantees when it comes to gambling at any aspect of the game, and any wager should be money considered that has been placed at risk.