-- Sunday is Super Bowl LII, of course, with the New England Patriots facing the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFL title. Sunday is also the Super Bowl of gambling: according to the American Gaming Association, an estimated $4.76 billion dollars will be wagered on this year’s game —- most of it illegal.
That's more than the annual GDP of the island of Barbados.
Most people are familiar with simple football bets like the “spread” or the “over-under,” but the Super Bowl brings out the creativity in the casinos and sports books that offer legal betting.
There are more than 900 “prop” (for “proposition”) bets available for this year’s game. “Prop” bets are bets on something that happens during the game that doesn’t directly affect the game’s outcome.
So if you’re inclined to take a chance on some bets that are only marginally related to the game, you can find some pretty odd odds.
There are lots of bets to be made on colors:
--Which color shirt will Patriots coach Bill Belichick be wearing? (Blue is the bettor’s choice so far.)
--Which color will Pink’s hair be when she sings the National Anthem? (White or blonde is the current favorite.)
--Which color liquid will be poured on the winning coach at the end of the game?
Speaking of Pink, who is a huge Eagles fan, you can bet on how long it will take her to sing the Anthem, or whether she will be wearing an Eagles shirt or hat. Or whether she will be airborne. Really.
Justin Timberlake is the headliner for this year’s halftime show. Janet Jackson won’t be with him, but you can bet on how many times Ms. Jackson is mentioned during the game broadcast. Or how many times the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” will be said.
--Will Timberlake be wearing a hat when he starts?
--Will he cover a “Prince” song?
--Will any members of “NSYNC” perform with him?
All open for wagering.
Big sports fans can bet on what are called “cross-sport propositions.” You can bet on whether the U.S. Winter Olympic team wins more medals in South Korea than the total points scored by the winning team in the Super Bowl. Or which number will be higher: points scored by the Patriots in the Super Bowl, or points and assists combined by the Boston Celtics’ Kylie Irving in his NBA game on Sunday afternoon?
Like the game itself, there will be a lot of attention paid to (and money bet on) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
--How many times will his age be mentioned during the broadcast?
--How many times will his supermodel wife Giselle Bundchen be shown on TV during the game?
--Will his uniform be stolen again? Yes, you can actually bet on that.
And just for fun, how many times will the temperature outside the stadium be mentioned during the game? (The forecast high for Minneapolis on Sunday is 11 degrees).
--How many tweets will President Trump tweet on Super Bowl Sunday? (The betting line is 5.)
--And how many times will the famous “Rocky” statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art be shown on the broadcast?
Because there’s potentially a lot of money at stake, precision is key for a lot of these prop bets. For the temperature bet, the announcers can’t just say “It’s cold outside!” They have to say the actual temperature. For a bet about whether Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb’s vomiting incident in Super Bowl XXIX will be mentioned, the announcers must refer to vomiting or a similar word and say “McNabb.”
And for a bettor to collect on the Tom Brady stolen jersey bet, the theft must be reported by ESPN within 48 hours after the Super Bowl is over.
The Patriots are favored by between 4 and 4.5 points.