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11 Weirdest Super Bowl XLIX Prop Bets (All of Which I Actually Made)
written by Sam Greenspan

Even though I'm not doing lists exclusively on this site anymore, the list format had to make its triumphant return for this.

For the seventh year in a row, I'm diving into Super Bowl prop bets -- and for the sixth year in a row, I'm putting real money on them. If you're not familiar, sports books offer crazy bets for the Super Bowl, usually with terrible odds and sketchy rules. But I make them anyway. Let's go to the tape...

In 2009 I didn't actually make the bets but picked pretty well... in 2010 I went 4-7 on bets but my wins were big, so I only lost $14.41... in 2011 I slightly improved to 4-6-1 and lost slightly less at $13.58... in 2012 I finally came out in the black, going 5-4-2 for a total of +$4.77... in 2013 I had my biggest year yet, going 6-5 to win $19.56... and last year I regressed to 4-7 to lose $30.80, my worst showing ever.

Once again, I bet $11 on 11 different bets this year, for a total of $121 in horrible prop bets. Here are the 11 weirdest bets I made for the 2015 Super Bowl and my rationale behind each...

  1. How long will Idina Menzel take to complete the National Anthem?
    Over 122.5 seconds even (1/1)
    Under 122.5 seconds -140 (5/7)

    My default has almost always been the over, with sexy results. (Except last year, when that opera singer lady rushed the entire thing.) I feel like Idina Menzel will be so excited to perform a song other than Let It Go for the first time in 14 months that she's going to milk this thing until they have to drag her off the stage with a comically oversized hook.

    I bet $11 dollars on over two minutes, 2.5 seconds with a potential win of $11.

  2. What will the top temperature be in Phoenix for the entire day?
    Under 66.2 F +450 (9/2)
    66.2 to 69.8 +230 (23/10)
    69.8 to 73.4 +200 (2/1)
    73.4 to 77 +333 (10/3)
    Over 77 +500 (5/1)

    The temperatures are a little weird because this bet is from the British site Paddy Power, so I had to convert everything from Celsius into God's Preferred Temperature Scale.

    The weather forecast right now calls for a high of 70 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday. But meteorology is meteorology and data is data -- so I'm not just going to rely on that. The all-time high for Phoenix on February 1st is 83 degrees in 2003... the average high is 69 degrees... and the highs in the "climate change" era of the past decade have been 66, 73, 75, 64, 67, 73, 62, 61, 71 and 66.

    That makes it a real battle between that 66.2-69.8 option and the 69.8-73.4 option. The weather forecast says 70, but the data is leading me strongly toward 66.2 to 69.8; there have only been four times in the past 10 years where the temperature has been higher than that range, the average is within that range and I feel more confident going a little colder than a little warmer.

    I bet $11 dollars on 66.2 to 69.8 degrees with a potential win of $25.30.


  3. Belichick in 70-degree weather.
    Will Bill Belichick wear a hoodie with sleeves or cut/no sleeves?
    Sleeves +170 (17/10)
    Cut/no sleeves -235 (20/47)

    Well this turned out to be more of a labor than I planned. Cross-referencing old NFL schedules, old temperature data and old photos gets a little cumbersome.

    My strategy was to look back through New England's schedule, find a game where the temperature was around 68-71 degrees (like I'm predicting for Sunday), Google Image search Belichick from that game and see if he was wearing sleeves. Well... I couldn't find a game with those conditions until I went back to September 16th, 2012, when the Patriots lost to the Arizona Cardinals (semi-coincidentally) in Boston. The high that day was 71.

    Belichick was NOT wearing long sleeves that day. The pick is in.

    I bet $11 dollars on cut/no sleeves with a potential win of $4.68.

  4. What song will Katy Perry sing first at halftime?
    Roar -120 (5/6)
    This Is How We Do +1200 (12/1)
    Part of Me +2500 (25/1)
    Firework +200 (2/1)
    ET +2000 (20/1)
    The One That Got Away +2500 (25/1)
    Dark Horse +550 (11/2)
    Hot n Cold +2000 (20/1)
    Last Friday Night +2500 (25/1)
    Teenage Dream +1000 (10/1)
    I Kissed a Girl +2500 (25/1)
    California Gurls +2500 (25/1)
    Unconditionally +1000 (10/1)

    I'm guessing Roar is the runaway favorite for two reasons. (1) It's thematically perfect for the Super Bowl halftime show and (2) on her most recent tour, she opened up pretty much every single show with it according to Setlist.fm.

    It's a safe pick, but I am not going to make it. I think she'll save Roar for later in the set; usually Super Bowl halftime show set lists are unique. I figure she's going to want to build, start with perhaps just a vocal on a dark stage with a spotlight and then explode into something bigger. No individual song does that better than Firework -- plus when the song explodes, they can literally explode some fireworks. The NFL loves fireworks. I'm very happy with this pick. (Although sad that I'm not going with the dark horse of Dark Horse which could've brought Juicy J to the Super Bowl. I love Juicy J.)

    I bet $11 dollars on Firework with a potential win of $22.


  5. Will Katy Perry show cleavage during the halftime show?
    Yes -800 (1/8)
    No +450 (9/2)

    Katy Perry got in trouble for showing too much cleavage on Sesame Street. And yes, I know the NFL fancies itself a more Puritanical environment than Sesame Street, but still. Come on.

    I bet $11 dollars on cleavage with a whopping potential win of $1.38.

  6. How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV?
    Over 1.5 even (1/1)
    Under 1.5 -140 (5/7)

    This is a standard bet offered for any Super Bowl where a player has a celebrity girlfriend/wife, but Gisele is no standard celebrity WAG. She's the celebrity WAG who angrily and publicly went after Brady's receivers after the Patriots lost the Super Bowl in 2012. Still, two on-camera appearances during the game seems a little excessive. After all, I'm sure NBC needs to save some celebrity camera time to promote some new show on their Who Gives a Rat's Ass Thursday lineup.

    I bet $11 dollars on the under with a potential win of $7.86.

  7. How many times will "deflated" or "deflate" be said during the game?
    Over 3 -140 (5/7)
    Under 3 even (1/1)

    Ooh that "3" is a devious over/under spot. My initial instinct is the over -- after all, the media has said the word "deflate" 46.7 million times in the past two weeks, so if the broadcast hits just an imperceptible fraction of that, we're in the money. And I think the bookmakers had that same instinct, since over is the favorite.

    But the more I thought about it -- four mentions is a LOT. I figure we'll get straightforward mention of the scandal plus two unfunny Cris Collinsworth jokes. (AKA all Cris Collinsworth jokes.) But a fourth mention beyond that? There's only so much you can beat the dead horse. I really think it will be a push but in lieu of that, I'll go under.

    I bet $11 dollars on the under with a potential win of $11.


  8. Will Marshawn Lynch celebrate a touchdown by grabbing his crotch?
    Yes +350 (7/2)
    No -600 (1/6)

    I have loved all the Marshawn Lynch stuff this week -- especially sports reporters upset that he's exposing the worthlessness of their generic questions by becoming an exponentially bigger story through saying nothing at all. I also love the "Hold mah dick" touchdown celebration -- even if it flies in the face of his whole excuse for shirking interviews because he doesn't want the spotlight. Marshawn Lynch is a complex lunatic. I do expect him to score a TD in the Super Bowl and I will be extremely disappointed if doesn't grab his crotch out of fear of getting fined. Although since he's just there so he doesn't get fined, you never know...

    I bet $11 dollars on yes with a potential win of $38.50.

  9. Will Bill Belichick smile on camera during the game?
    Yes +140 (7/5)
    No -180 (5/9)

    I might've been willing to bet the "no" on "Will Bill Belichick ever smile again in his life?" Easiest bet on the board.

    I bet $11 dollars on no with a potential win of $6.11.

  10. What will be higher: Russell Wilson's passing yards (-17.5) or the U.S. national average gas price (in pennies) on Monday, February 2nd?
    Wilson -17.5 -125 (4/5)
    Gas prices +17.5 -105 (20/21)

    So this is a little convoluted. Russell Wilson's yardage -- plus 17.5 added on -- has to be higher than the national average gas price. Let's break it down...

    This year Wilson averaged 217.2 yards per game. He's averaging 238.5 per game in the playoffs. Last year, in the Super Bowl, he threw for 206 (and last week, he threw for 209).

    The current national average gas price is $2.038. It's trending down, but not rapidly, so we're almost certainly looking at something in the $2.01 - $2.05 range, most likely right around $2.038.

    That means Russell Wilson needs to throw for more than 221.3 yards to cover this spread (or, on the highest end of my predictions, 223 yards). He's only done that two times in his playoff career, his season average is below that and his "big game" small sample size average is below that.

    I took the points (gas points? can I get coffee mugs with them?) and bet $11 dollars on gas prices with a potential win of $10.48.

  11. Groundhog Day parlay!
    Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, Pats win +220 (11/5)
    Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see shadow, Pats win +275 (11/4)
    Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, Hawks win +225 (9/4)
    Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see shadow, Hawks win +275 (11/4)

    And finally, I love this one. After all, you may always toast to world peace, but I toast to the groundhog.

    First off, I am picking Seattle to win. I have two friends in L.A. whose favorite teams are the Lions and Seahawks respectively. I'm a Browns fan. The three of us have always cheered for each other's crappy teams -- and now, one of our teams accidentally turned out to be good. Last year we were vociferous about the Seahawks and we'll run that back. Plus, since my five-year streak of coming in last in fantasy football leagues has proven, I fail when I try to predict anything related to football, so I might as well just pick the team I like better.

    And now onto the groundhog. Punxsutawney Phil has made 118 predictions on record -- and has seen his shadow 85.6 percent of the time. There's very little incentive in the betting lines for me to go against the grain.

    I bet $11 dollars on Phil seeing his shadow parlayed with a Seahawks victory, with a potential win of $24.75.

I'll have the results up on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when the official word on the Groundhog Day parlay and the gas price come in.


This post was originally published on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Sports.

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