More money is wagered on the Super Bowl than any other event in the sports world, estimated to be as much as $10 billion. Since most football fans don’t have an emotional investment with either team, it’s hard to imagine that so much money could be bet on the game because, with a point spread of 3½ points favoring San Francisco, it’s hard to imagine so many people would risk money on two teams in which they have no prior allegiance.
The fact is that they don’t. They bet on everything from the National Anthem to whether Randy Moss has more receiving yards Sunday than Kobe Bryant has points in the NBA game he plays Sunday to whether the stock market goes up or down Monday after the Super Bowl.
These are what are called proposition bets, better known as prop bets. The gambling website Bovada has nearly 500 different bets that can be made. For those going to a Super Bowl party, we provide this list for you to use as a one-stop shopping list of prop bets that may amuse and entertain at your Super Bowl party.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the prop bet, there are two basic types. Some of the bets that can be made are done on odds, such as how much a team will win by, who will score the first touchdown, etc. Other bets are done by standard betting line procedures using $100 as the standard measure of gambling. The coin toss, for example, is set at -105, which means you bet $105 on either heads or tails to win $100 (it will be tails, by the way … we think). If a number is a plus number (like +130 if the team that doesn’t score first wins the game, you bet $100 to win $130).
With that explanation out of the way, here are some of the bets – from the legitimate to the ridiculous – that people can make wagers on for a little more Super Bowl excitement. We have more than 50 listed so you can print them out and make your picks at your Super Bowl party, but keep in mind that these are only about 10 percent of the bets that can be made.
The 49ers are favored by 3½ points on the betting line, but if you think the Ravens are going to win, you can bet on that by how much. 1-6 points pays off 4:1, with 7-12 points at 6:1, 13-18 points pays off 10:1, 19-24 points is 33:1, 31-26 points is 50:1, as is the Ravens winning by 37 points or more.
The 49ers have lower odds across the board. They’re 7:2 to win by 1-6 points, 7-12 points pays of 4:1, with 13-18 points at 6:1, 19-24 points at 12:1, 25-30 points at 18:1, 31-36 points at 25:1 and 37 or more points checking in 33:1.
The line for both teams as to who will win the coin toss is at -105.
Will the team that wins the opening coin toss win the game? Bet $115 to win $100 or either yes or no.
Will the Ravens score first? They’re even money on the betting line. San Francisco is -130.
Will the team that scores first win? The yes line is at -160, with the no betting line at $130.
Will the team who scores last win the game? Bet $190 to win $100 on yes, but $100 to win $155 if you say no.
What will the first score of the game be? A touchdown is at -145, while a field goal or safety is at +115.
Will there be a score in the first 7:30 of the game? Yes is at -175, while no checks in at +145.
Will the Ravens score more than 21½ points? The over is at -135, while the under is at +105.
Will the 49ers score more than 24½ points? To bet the over, it will cost $135 to win $100. Bet $100 to win $105 on the under.
The official point spread is San Francisco by 3½ points, but gamblers can bet bizarre spreads. To make San Francisco a 3½-point underdog, bet $290 to win $100. Make the Ravens a 3½-point favorite, bet $100 to win $230. Taking is one step further, making Baltimore a 7½-point favorite, one needs bet $100 to win $400. Making San Francisco a 7½-point underdog, bet $600 to win $100. For true degenerate gamblers, if you make the Ravens a 13½-point favorite, you bet $100 to win $700. Want San Francisco plus 13½ points? It will cost you $1,400 to win $100.
Think it will be a defensive game? There’s money to be made if it happens. Resetting the over/under combined point total for the game to 40½ points, you can win $190 for a $100 bet. Think the game will have less than 35½ points, you can win $300 with a $100 bet.
Will the opening kickoff be a touchback? The yes number is -180, while no is at +150.
The first team to enter the red zone? San Francisco is at -140, Baltimore is at +110.
How will Baltimore score its first points? A field goal is at 7:2, a passing touchdown is 4:1, a rushing TD is 6:1, a defensive/special teams TD is 15:1 and a safety is 40:1.
How will San Francisco score first? A field goal is at 7:2, a passing or rushing TD are both at 4:1, a defensive/special teams TD is at 15:1 and a safety is 40:1.
Will one team score four times unanswered times? Yes is at +250, while no is at -325.
For high rollers, there is a bet as to whether a team will score in the first minute of the game. Yes is at +1,200. To bet no, you have to wager $2,500 just to win $100.
Will the last play of the game be credited a rush (or kneeldown) by a quarterback? Yes is at -175, no is at +145.
Will Baltimore score first or punt first? Score first is at +135, while punt first is at -165. How about San Francisco? Score first is at +115, while punt is at -145.
Will the Ravens score at least once in every quarter? Yes is at +225, no is at -285. Will the 49ers score in every quarter? Yes is at +185, no is at -225.
Will there be a scoreless quarter Sunday. Bet $100 to win $240 if you say yes. Bet $300 to win $100 if you say no.
Will the game be decided by exactly seven points? Bet $100 to win $600 if you say yes and bet $1,000 to win $100 if you say no.
The total points for both teams – odd or even? Odd is at -140, while even is at +110.
The over/under for the longest touchdown of the game was set at 46½ yards. The over is at -105; the under is at -125.
Will there be a defensive or special teams touchdown? Yes is at +150; no is at -180.
How many made field goals will there be? The odds are as follows: none (10:1), one (6:1), two (13:4), three (3:1), four (7:2), five (13:2), six (10:1) or seven or more (18:1).
Will a field goal come up short or get blocked? Bet $100 to win $700 (our sneaky hunch bet of the game).
Will there be more or less than 9½ punts in the game? Over is at +110; under is at -140.
Will either team convert a fourth-down attempt? Yes is at -210; no is at +170.
Who will call the first time out? Both teams are at -115.
Who will get flagged for the first penalty? Baltimore is at -135, while the 49ers are at +105 – apparently gamblers think the Ravens are the more penalty-prone team.
Will a roughing-the-passer penalty get called? Yes is at even; no is at -130.
Will there be a 2-point conversion attempt. Yes is at +195; no is at -250.
Who will win the MVP award for the game? Colin Kaepernick is the favorite at 8:5, followed by Joe Flacco (11:4), Frank Gore (7:1), Ray Lewis (15:2), Ray Rice (12:1), Michael Crabtree (14:1), Anquan Boldin (16:1), Vernon Davis (18:1), Torrey Smith (20:1), Ed Reed (33:1), LaMichael James (40:1), Patrick Willis (40:1), Randy Moss (40:1), Aldon Smith (50:1), Alex Smith (50:1), Dennis Pitta (50:1), Dashon Goldson (66:1), NaVarro Bowman (66:1), Terrell Suggs (66:1), Bernard Pierce (75:1), Bernard Pollard (75:1), David Akers (75:1), Justin Tucker (75:1), Ted Ginn Jr. (75:1), Delanie Walker (100:1) and anybody else (28:1).
Will Flacco throw for more than 250½ yards? The over is at -135; the under is at +105.
Flacco is a statue in the backfield. The over/under on his rushing yardage for the game was just at just 2½ yards, with the over at -150 and the under at +120.
Kaepernick’s over under for passing yards is 232½ – with -125 for the over and -105 for the under.
Kaepernick is clearly a better rusher, since his over/under for rushing yards is 52½, with bettors putting up $115 to win $100 regardless of which side of the fence they’re on.
Will Ray Rice rush for more than 67½ yards? The over is at -125; the under is at -105.
Will Frank Gore run for more than 82½ yards? The over is -130; the under is even.
Will Randy Moss have a big day? The oddsmakers don’t think so. His over/under is just 35½ yards, -125 for the over and -105 for the under.
As if these aren’t crazy enough, there are cross-sport bets that can be placed, such as who will have the higher number – shots on goal by Sidney Crosby in his Feb. 3 game vs. Washington or Torrey Smith’s reception total?
How long with it take Alicia Keys to sing the National Anthem? The over/under is two minutes, 10 seconds – +120 for the over and -160 for the under.
Will Keys forgot or miss at least one word during the singing of the anthem? The odds are +200 for yes and -300 for no.
During the halftime show will Beyonce be joined on stage by her husband Jay Z? The line is -105 for yes and -135 for no.
How many times will Jack Harbaugh, the father of both coaches, be shown on camera during the game? The over/under is 2½, with -160 for the over and +120 for the under.
How many times will the word “Harbaugh” be spoken during the game? The over/under is 22½, with -150 for the over and +110 for the under.
What color will the Gatorade be that is dumped on the winning coach? Yellow is the favorite at even money, followed by clear/water (9:4), orange (15:4), red (13:2), green (7:1) and blue (15:2).
Who will the Super Bowl MVP thank first in his acceptance speech? The choices are teammates (8:5), God (5:2), coach (12:1), family (15:1), owner (20:1). The option he doesn’t thank anyone is a favorite at 3:2.
How many people will watch the game? The over/under is 111 million, with -140 to bet on the over and even money on the under.
It’s hard to imagine that there are more than 400 bets that can legally be made on the Super Bowl. At least now you have a use for all that Christmas money you still have laying around.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.