The culmination of the 2012 NFL season is just a few days away. The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers have made their way to the final table and are busy making preparations for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. I will be one of countless millions from around the world watching from the comforts of their home. I’ll enjoy being with my family, course after course of great food and hopefully some great commercials.
This year, I will watch as a casual, relaxed observer because I couldn’t care less about either of these teams. But I’ll watch anyway just because the Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year. It’s must see TV in my book.
Another reason I won’t feel any tension is because I won’t have anything riding on the game in someone else’s book. That’s right…no bets on the game in my house.
Betting on the Super Bowl has become as American as apple pie. But I’ll bet (ha-ha) you don’t really know how much is wagered. I didn’t. Ready for this? In 5 of the last 8 years, the Nevada handle (the total amount of money wagered on an event over a period of time) has topped $90 million. 90 MILLION DOLLARS! That’s a lot of pie.
Now if you think bets are only placed on the outcome of the game, you need to catch up. According to Superbowl360.com, there are four main categories in which you can ante up:
Point Spreads – This is a very popular style of football bet where you wager on a team covering a given point spread. For example, if the New York Giants were given a spread of +3.5 in the Super Bowl, they’d need to lose by less than three points or win the game in order for their bettors to win.
Money Line Bets – Here you are only wagering on which team will win the Super Bowl. However, there’s always a favorite so odds are attached to each team to keep betting equal on both sides. For example, if the Giants were the underdog, you might win $2.20 for every $1 wagered; meanwhile, those betting on the favorite might only win $1.60 for every $1 bet.
Over/Unders – Rather than betting on which team will win the 2013 Super Bowl, you could always wager on the combined score of both teams. So if the over/under on the game was 35.5, you could either bet on the two teams scoring more or less than this amount.
The fourth category known as prop bets is what people seem to really chase. A prop bet is basically a wager that is made on something other than the outcome of the actual game. There are team prop bets, like which team will score first and there are individual player prop bets, like how many yards will Joe Flacco throw for.
There are even some really funny entertainment style prop bets associated with the Super Bowl, like how long it will take Alicia Keys to sing the National Anthem (the over/under is at 2 min. 15 sec.); or what will be the highest tweet per second during the Super Bowl; or if the Ravens win, and Ray Lewis is interviewed after the game, how many times will he mention the words “God or Lord” (the over/under is at 3). You can bet on what the Dow Jones will do the day after the game. You can even place a bet on how much money is going to be bet on the Super Bowl! Check out these team prop bets and player prop bets courtesy of Bovado. Here’s a list of the crazy entertainment prop bets courtesy of blog.sfgate.com (via Bovado).
I was blind as to how many options were available. There seems to be no-limit – truly something for everyone. No wonder the handle has reached over $90 million recently. That, paired with the fact that you can set up an online account and go all-in from home, makes it really easy to venture in with the sharks.
I can see how it is also tempting when you here stories about people who took a flier and won. Like this one courtesy of CBSSports.com:
If you wanted a spicy start to Super Bowl XLVI, you got it, as the Giants drew first blood when a Tom Brady throw from his own end zone drew a flag, a penalty for intentional grounding and a 2-0.
For those of you scoring at home, betting on a safety as the first score in the Super Bowl was a 75:1 bet at Sportsbook.com….(And they’re saying someone won $15,000 on a $200 bet.) The only time a safety was the first score in an NFL championship…
Despite the lure, the excitement and the potentially big payoffs, I will choose to be a railbird*. I have enough trouble getting worked up at players statistics during fantasy football season. I don’t need the tension of hoping Frank Gore can score three touchdowns so I can cash out big. Besides, I like the odds of my money staying with me. Vegas has enough already.
Will you be placing a Super Bowl wager? Do you consider gambling part of your entertainment budget?
*a non-participatory spectator in a poker game. How many other poker terms can you find in this post?