For the millions upon millions of fans who will tune in on Sunday night, the Superbowl offers up more than just a football game.
It's a chance to eat so much bean dip that you physically make yourself ill, to consume so much cheap beer that you call in sick on Monday morning and claim that you've "got that flu bug that is going around," even though everyone in your office listened to you fire your mouth off about how great your Superbowl party was going to be.
It's a chance to gather with friends and family members and argue about things such as whether the latest GoDaddy girl has had a boob job, whether that was actually Brett Favre's junk in those grainy cell phone picks or just exactly what type of paint they're using on Al Michaels head these days.
But the allure of Superbowl Sunday goes much deeper than the excitement on the field or the action that takes place in living rooms around the world. With an estimated 200 million people wagering on the Superbowl in some form, it also provides us with the greatest gambling day of the calendar year.
A staggering $10 billion dollars will be risked on Sunday night, and I'm here to break down your best bets to make sure that you get your piece of the action.
The National Anthem
Why wait until the actual game starts to begin gambling recklessly? Some sports books have as many as five separate prop bets available that are all dependent on Christina Aguilera's rendition of the Star Spangled banner this year.
How long will the anthem last? Well the line has been set at one minute and 54.5 seconds with the +OVER opening as a moderate favorite. Seems reasonable considering that the game will be held in Texas, where they claim that everything is bigger. Let's hope that adage holds true for National Anthems as well.
The other bet I'm taking when it comes to the anthem is whether Aguilera will have her hair straightened or curled when she comes out to sing. I'm taking the slight favorite of curled but don't have a strong reason as to why. Just consider it a gut feeling. Book it.
How long will National Anthem be? OVER 1 minute, 54.5 seconds. (-147)
How will Aguilera wear here hair? CURLED (-125)
The Coin Toss
If your anthem bets don't come through, don't get discouraged. You'll only have to wait another 90 seconds or so before you get an opportunity to recoup those losses with the coin toss.
It should be noted that the NFC has dominated coin flips in recent memory, winning 13 consecutive tosses. Considering that the odds of that happening are well over 10,000 to one, I'm throwing my money down on Pittsburgh to break the trend and finally win one for the AFC.
The heads versus tails debate is one that has raged on for centuries. I've always been a tails guy since I was a youngster and I'm not abandoning that stance now. Never forget who brought you to the dance.
Heads or Tails? TAILS (-105)
Who wins the toss? PITTSBURGH (-105)
With the Steelers making their third Superbowl appearance in the past six years, a big part of me feels that they'll use a lot of the same recipe that made them successful in their past two ventures. That's why I'm taking Heath Miller as the Steeler to make the first Pittsburgh reception at three and a half to one.
Miller is Roethlisbergers "old faithful" when it comes to the passing game, and I expect him to be the target when Big Ben drops back for the first time. That also leads into my next bet, which is taking the OVER for Heath Miller's total receptions at 3.5. Lock it in.
My final wager of the first half will be for the Packers to win the first thirty minutes by 1-3 points at odds of four and a half to one. My first half score: Packers 13. Steelers 10.
Now I know what you're probably thinking. Who the hell is this guy and where does he keep drawing these unbelievable predictions from? And you know what, I don't have a real good answer for that. It's a gift, and one that I'm unselfishly willing to share with you. So just keep your mouth shut and enjoy the winners I'm pumping out here.
First Pittsburgh Reception. HEATH MILLER (+350)
Total Receptions - Heath Miller. OVER 3.5 (-105)
First Half Point Spread. PACKERS TO WIN 1ST HALF BY 1-3 POINTS. (+450)
Half Time Show
I want to go on the record and say that I hate the half time show of the Superbowl. Who wants to see a bunch of uppity teenagers running on the field to form the shape of a giant peace sign or whatever cheesy gimmick they'll have in Dallas this year? With the exception of a couple great musical acts in recent years (Tom Petty, Springsteen), I generally consider it a waste of time. Plus it drags on forever.
Everyone has had a couple of adult beverages at this point, the "food sweats" are ramping up to a full blown lethargic state and the 45 minute half time show basically takes the proverbial wind out of everyone's sails. So what better way to keep everyone engaged and on the edge of their seat than by throwing an obscene amount of money down in half time prop bets?
I guarantee you will never be as into a Black Eyed Peas performance than if you have a week's pay riding on whether Fergie will don a cowboy hat at some point during her performance. For the record, I'm taking the underdog pick and saying that yes, she will.
She's in Texas for god's sakes! If her management team has any idea what they're doing than they'll know that there's no more effective way to win over a Texan crowd than by rocking a cowboy hat. It's science, baby. We're practically printing money over here!
If you're looking for a wager not to make, stay away from the "Will Big Ben hit on Fergie during halftime?" wager at all costs. Sure it pays 20 to one, but do you realistically think that Mike Tomlin will allow Roethlisberger to leave the locker room early to try and get the digits from Fergie?
It's the Superbowl, dammit. Roethlisberger will have to wait until at least after the trophy ceremony to make his pitch to Fergie.
Will Fergie wear a cowboy hat? YES (+115).
By this point, I've already wowed you readers with an incredible wealth of knowledge regarding the Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, the people of Texas and whether a coin flip is in fact an actual 50/50 proposition, among other things.
However it's time to start flexing my football expertise and telling you exactly how things are going to turn out when it's all said done. So grab a pen, a piece of paper, and prepare yourself to crush the books in the process.
First off, we're taking under 45 points for the game. I'm fully expecting both defenses to take things up a level in the 2nd half and for offensive production to come at a premium. So bet the under, trust me.
That brings us to the actual winner of the game. The Packers have emerged as a trendy pick over the last week and a half and currently sit as two and a half point favorites, which is exactly why we're going AGAINST them and taking the Steelers.
Pittsburgh on the moneyline. Pittsburgh plus the two and a half points. Sign me up for both.
As a general rule, we want to go against John Q. Public in spots like this, plus I think that their experience in the big game is going to pay huge dividends for Pittsburgh when it truly counts.
That brings us to our next important decision—selecting an MVP. Well it would be silly to choose someone from Green Bay at this point, and since I predicted a defensive battle in the second half, I'm taking Troy Polamalu and James Harrison at 15-to-1 and 22-to-1 respectively, to take home the MVP hardware.
As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see a game altering play from the Pittsburgh D during the second half—a pick six, a fumble recovery touchdown, or possibly Harrison eviscerating Aaron Rodgers into an actual pile of dust late in the third quarter. One way or the other I think that the Pittsburgh defense is the difference maker.
That leaves us with arguably the most important decision of all—What color Gatorade will Mike Tomlin get showered with as the clock ticks down to its final seconds? Yellow is currently the favorite at even money, but I'm taking a flyer on the color orange and expecting big profits in return. Boom. Thank me later.
Over/Under 45 points. UNDER 45 (-105)
PITTSBURGH +2.5 points (-105)
PITTSBURGH to win the game outright (+115)
T. POLAMALU to win MVP (+1500)
J. HARRISON to win MVP (+2200)
What color Gatorade will the winning coach be covered with? ORANGE. (+400)
And there you have it. A complete guide on how to strike it rich this coming Sunday. The most important things to remember when you're placing your wagers this weekend are to envision how you think the game will go down and bet accordingly, and to place your money down with conviction. Being wishy-washy won't make you any money, so make your picks and be willing to ride with them for better or worse, and at the very least you'll increase your Superbowl fun exponentially.
Happy betting everyone. And Happy Superbowl Sunday!
If you agreed with my picks, disagreed with the selections or enjoyed the article at all - follow me on twitter @brettfulmore