It’s Super Bowl Sunday and an estimated 184 million Americans are expected to tune in to watch the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. While it’s all fun and games for the majority of people watching, more than a few have got a financial stake in how things shake out.
It’s estimated that total betting for this year’s event will top $4 billion and it’s a sure thing that a good chunk of it is tied up in the hundreds of prop bets that have been floating around on different gambling websites. If your gambling lingo is a bit rusty, a prop bet is simply a bet that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual outcome of the game. Nothing is off-limits, including the pre-show events, halftime and the post-game celebration.
Every year, the prop bets seem to get a little more exotic and this year is shaping up to be no exception. To give you an idea of what people are plunking their money down on, MyBankTracker scouted out the most popular prop bets for Super Bowl XLIX, both on and off the field.
1. National Anthem length
While a good many of the prop bets involve things that actually happen during the game, there are lots of other things you can stake your money on and the National Anthem is at the top of the list. This year, Broadway star Idina Menzel is belting it out and oddsmakers are taking bets on whether it takes her more than 2 minutes and 1 second to finish the song. The odds of her leaving out a word or forgetting the lyrics altogether are set at 4-1.
Did you know? In 2013, Alicia Keys set the record for the longest National Anthem rendition ever at 2 minutes, 36 seconds.
2. Bill Belichick’s hoodie
The color Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s hoodie has been a topic of heavy speculation among prop betters and even money says that this year, he shows up in blue. He’s worn grey and red in two previous Super Bowl appearances with the Pats, both of which ended in a loss. The odds break down to 7-4 for blue, 1-2 for grey and 7-1 for red. There’s also a separate betting pool for fans who want to wager on whether he cuts the sleeves or leaves them intact, with the odds set at 2-3 and 11-10 respectively.
3. The coin toss
The winner of the coin toss decides who gets first possession of the ball and it’s easily one of the most popular prop bets based on how simple it is. There’s no over or under to worry about; all you have to do is pick a team and you’ve got a 50-50 shot at getting it right. The over/under is set at -105 for both and as the designated home team, the Seahawks will be calling heads or tails
Did you know? Six of the last eight Super Bowl coin tosses have been heads. The NFC team has won the toss 15 times out of the last 17 games.
4. Who scores the first touchdown
The next prop bet that’s getting a lot of attention this year is who will score the first touchdown. According to Bovada, it’s a close call between Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, at 11-2 odds, and Patriots tight end Ron Gronkowski at 13-2.
If you’re feeling really lucky, you could take your chances on a longshot and bet that there won’t be any touchdowns scored at all during the game. At 125-1 odds, you’d be in for a pretty decent payday if the bet played out in your favor.
5. Scoring a safety
Whether or not either side will score a safety is another hot topic making the prop betting rounds this year. Last year’s Super Bowl started off with a safety for the Seahawks, earning New York real estate owner Jona Rechnitz a cool $25,000 off a $500 bet. In 2012, Rechnitz picked up $50,000 when the Giants scored a safety during the first possession of the game. Bovada has the odds on a safety being the first score of the game set at 33-1.
Tip: If you win, be sure to pay taxes on your earnings.
6. Super Bowl MVP
Prop betters are also laying their cash on the line to determine who’s going to take home the Most Valuable Player award. Patriots QB Tom Brady has a slight edge, with 9-5 odds but Seahawks shot caller Russell Wilson isn’t too far behind at 7-2. Other names being tossed around the ring include Julian Edelman, Richard Sherman and Jermaine Kearse.
7. Who gets the Gatorade?
The tradition of dousing the winning coach with a bucket of watered-down Gatorade dates back to the 1987 Super Bowl, when Giants players drenched head coach Bill Parcells after beating the Broncos. Orange tends to be the top choice and for this year’s event, it’s the 3-2 favorite among prop betters. Yellow, clear, blue and red are among the other contenders, with green coming in last at 10-1.
Did you know? Only three NFL coaches have managed to escape the Gatorade bath since Super Bowl 35.
Prop betting is all about adding some extra excitement to the game but some people take it more seriously than others. Yale grad and pro gambler Rufus Peabody of Massey-Peabody Analytics has a track record of laying down some big cash on prop bets. For the 2014 Super Bowl, he put a staggering $600,000 on the line. There’s no word on how much he actually won or whether he’s betting big again this year.
Super Bowl XLIX kicks off at 6:04 p.m. EST on Sunday.