Super Bowl 2014 Prop Bets: Analyzing Most Entertaining Non-Football Wagers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2014

In this photograph taken while zooming out the lens during a long exposure, the Empire State Building, top, backdrops roman numerals for the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game at Pier A Park in Hoboken, N.J., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are scheduled to play on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Does the enrapturing stupidity of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl give you all the heart-shaped emojis? Do you sit there, pondering life, the meaning of existence and wishing Peyton Manning would have picked your city instead of Omaha? Do you have any earthly idea who Renee Fleming is?

Well, Super Bowl prop betting might be for you.

Now, if you're a well-adjusted human being who just wants to watch the game with friends and family without financial stake, more power to you. In fact, all the power to you, because weak-minded souls like yours truly cannot help ourselves.

We've already Wikipedia'd Ms. Fleming and scoured YouTube for clips of her singing the national anthem. We may or may not have broken out the game tape of the Denver Broncos' AFC Championship Game win over the Patriots, fast-forwarded through all the game action to create an algorithm about how often "Omaha" is muttered pre-snap. We've even considered the merits of a shirtless Red Hot Chili Peppers performance.

Because, I mean, if you're going to go whole-hog on Super Bowl betting, you might as well be informed, right? 

Again, this is not an advised way to live. You will be much happier entering a silly block-pool where you can chalk every loss or gain up as luck. There are no sleepless nights filled with visions of mistiming the national anthem by that one half second, followed by wondering how you're going to pay the light bill.

For the rest of us, here are a few giggle-inducing lines that you can't help yourself from, via

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How Long Will It Take Renee Fleming to Sing the Official U.S. National Anthem? 

Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

Over 2 Minutes, 25 Seconds: +110

Under 2 Minutes, 25 Seconds: -150

This one is a yearly staple and never not entertaining. Essentially, what you're betting here is the nerves of the singer. No matter what anyone says, singing the national anthem Super Bowl stage is among the most fear-inducing things to do as a performer.

Unless you are equipped with Whitney Houston pipes, odds are most folks will be watching only to hear you screw up. The most infamous national anthems are the ones where people forget words, have their voices crack or have Maurice Cheeks come out and help the performance. We've heard the anthem so many times that it's only natural to become jaded.

You can't blame someone like Fleming, who at one point was married to someone named Rick Ross FWIW, for taking the chance for the extra exposure. 

We'll all just be watching from the opening second to see which version of nervous she will be: fast nervous or slow nervous. There are two natural human conditions when under immense pressure. You rush, hurriedly trying to get out of said situation. Or you slow down, process everything and take extra care to make sure nothing goes horribly wrong.

Based on the current odds, it seems bettors think Ms. Fleming will be eager to get the hell out of Dodge (and the cold).

Will the Announcers Say the Word "Marijuana" During the Game? 

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Yes: +350

No: -600

Heh. Not going anywhere near this one. You've all heard all the jokes one could possibly tell on social media by now.

Just know that the answer is "of course not." There will be more than 100 people watching this broadcast. Fox has assigned Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to the game. Buck and Aikman are one of the most competent announcing teams in the game and well-respected by the common fan, and they've done that by mostly avoiding #hottakes and avoiding topics that could offend anyone.

The Super Bowl isn't the platform for Weed Bowl jokes on television. Buck and Aikman know that and will act appropriately.

Will Any Member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be Shirtless During Their Performance?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 09:  Bassist Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performs the national anthem before the game between the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on January 9, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dun
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Yes: -120

No: -120

I sure hope not. Three of the four current members of RHCP are in their 50s. The outlier, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, is only 34 but was not around during the band's shirtless heyday. 

Then again, that hasn't stopped any of them going sans-top in the past. Flea is obviously the most infamous of the shirtless bandits, but GigWise had pictures from their Sydney performance last year, and the article's title was "Still Rocking and Still Shirtless."

If the Super Bowl were in Tampa, "Yes" would be off the board. The New York/New Jersey angle makes this a much more difficult bet. Temperatures aren't expected to be blizzard-like— is now predicting a high of 39 degrees for Super Sunday without precipitation—but that's still not Coachella weather. In case you haven't noticed, folks tend to get more sensitive to weather trends as they get older (and talk about them more often as well).

Perhaps Flea will take one step outside and realize putting his pecs away is for the best.

But that's not the real reason I'm assuming RHCP will keep their clothes on. Again, it's about venue choice. The Super Bowl by design has smartly gone super conservative. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake pretty much ruined edginess for halftime performances, though it would be fun to see what they'd do with Beyoncé, post-Beyoncé. 

Odds are a producer will have a convo with the band and ask them whether it's really necessary to be shirtless. The answer is "of course not."

Which Song Will Bruno Mars Perform First?  

Charles Sykes/Associated Press

Grenade: 11/2

Just the Way You Are: 9/1

Locked Out of Heaven: 4-5

Marry You: 12/1

The Lazy Song: 12/1

Treasure: 12/1

Gorilla: 10/1

Let us talk about one Bruno Mars right quick. In case you haven't heard, Mars will perform. He has teamed with Pepsi to perform. This nonsense will all happen at the same halftime show in which the Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform, because obviously one cannot be satisfied if the Super Bowl does not appeal to both octogenarians and pre-teens.

Whatever. I'm down with the little crooner, because he's typically put on a stellar performance on the most public stages. His "Gorilla" at the MTV Video Music Awards was excellent, as were his Grammys outings in 2012 and 2013. I'm not worried about whether he'll bomb—things will either go well or super-duper well.

Winning the performance prop comes mostly down to two songs: "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Gorilla." He's not going to open with a song from his 2010 album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. That's just bad business. The four singles from that album, specifically "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade," will probably be part of some hits medley in the middle of the performance.

"Gorilla" and "Locked Out of Heaven" simply make the most sense as performance choices. "Gorilla" is a killer power ballad. "Locked Out of Heaven" is super-famous and uptempo. 

If you're betting, take a risk and go with the former. It's better odds and a better song. Always go better.

What Will Bruno Mars be Wearing on His Head at the Start of His Halftime Performance? 

Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

Fedora: -160

Fur Hat: +500

Tuque: +1000

No Hat: +200

I have nothing to say here. I would just like to launch a formal complaint that Pharrell Hat wasn't an option. 

Shame on you, Bovada.

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