The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in Vegas. March Madness’s opening weeks are certainly far more depraved, and the horror stories I’ve heard from the books on those days would turn a man from basketball altogether, but the Super Bowl is a celebration of the inanity of sports betting. The props are here, and it proves that the human being will, if given the option, gamble on anything, chasing the great alea across the steppes forever.
The Super Bowl props are a heuristic of America. It sums up the calendar year, captures the emotion and importance of events and filters them through the cheap plastic mold of Las Vegas and the National Football League. This is a look into the gambling heart of a nation.
Offshore gambling website Bovada put out their master list of prop bets, and they gave us a doozy. To help me chop through the underbrush and pick every last prop, I tried to recruit the enigmatic “BovadaKing69”. He wasn’t available, so I got Ryan Mathews instead, who absolutely does not gamble on sports. We’re just two good patriotic Americans like yourself.
We’ve got so many we had to divide this into two days. Today, we start with the props for “Entertainment Odds and Ends.”
How long will it take for Luke Bryan to sing the US National Anthem?
Over/Under 2 minutes 9 seconds
Chris: Give me the under. Luke Bryan respects America. He is a scrappy kind of National Anthem singer. He honors America and the troops and the flag and John Cena with hustle and intelligence. He brings his lunchpail and hard hat to sing anthems. He’s not like one of these hip-hop style singers showing off their beautiful voices. Real gym rat, motor never stops.
Ryan: I, for one, am absolutely shocked that a country music singer is performing the National Anthem deep in the heart of Texas. Stunned. As someone who has never heard a Luke Bryan song, or at least been consciously aware that I’ve heard one, I had to do some research. One of his more popular songs according to Spotify is “I Don’t Want This Night to End” with over 50 million plays. Give me the over.
What will Luke Bryan be wearing when he starts singing the US National Anthem?
Blue Jeans 1/2
Any other pants or shorts 3/2
Chris: A quick Google search on Luke Bryan at first led me to worry he did not have legs, but after searching “Luke Bryan pants” I’ve come to find out that there are people thirsty for this weird country singer. I thought tight pants were a hipster thing and to be reviled by the people who listen to this garbage music. Whatever, I’ll take any other pants or shorts.
Ryan: Bryan is definitely wearing blue jeans and if he doesn’t, there’s going to be a shit storm on Twitter for that exact reason, Chris. If the thirst is not quenched, if we don’t reach the appropriate level of sex appeal for the Super Bowl—which lies somewhere between an exposed nipple and a 63-year-old Mick Jagger—the people will take their talents to Twitter.
Tight, tight blue jeans for the people who annually demand the Super Bowl be anything other than a football game.
Will Luke Bryan be wearing a hat when he appears on screen before singing the US National Anthem?
Yes +140 (7/5)
No -180 (5/9)
Chris: Continuing with my world class googling I have discovered Luke Bryan likes to wear his baseball cap backwards. Colin Cowherd would question his moral character. Yes and the odds.
Ryan: I’ve been listening to Luke Bryan since I searched his name two questions ago and worst fears confirmed, I’ve heard at least half of his most popular hits. His Spotify profile page shows he has a nice swad of hair: No hat to hide it.
Will Luke Bryan forget or omit a word from the Official US National Anthem?
Chris: No. Are you saying a scrappy troop respecter like Luke Bryan would disrespect America like that?
Ryan: Chris and I finally agree on the merits of Luke Bryan and his patriotic compass. There is no chance he forgets even a syllable from this thing. No.
As a quick aside, considering I’ve had to answer multiple questions about Luke Bryan, I need to take this time to remind everyone that we were this close to an Outkast performance in 2004. Of course, the league wanted the performance on their terms, but there was zero chance Dre was going to let them neuter either “Hey Ya!” or “The Way You Move”, both of which reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100.
So in summation, because execs didn’t trust the Two Dope Boyz in a Cadillac, we all paid for it, and we’re still paying for it: ‘04 ended up being the year of #NippleGate which single-handedly changed the talent they’d employ for the next decade. Just another instance in which the league passed off the cost to the consumer.
Chris: Socialize the NFL and allow Run The Jewels to perform halftime.
Will any Player on the Falcons or Patriots roster be seen kneeling during the National Anthem on TV during live broadcast?
Yes +150 (3/2)
No -200 (1/2)
Chris: No. As much as I would like it I think this particular motion has been played out. Not only that, the Patriots are the team for creeping fascism.
Ryan: After doing something as immensely patriotic as having a country singer perform the anthem, do you think there’s a chance they undo all of that patriotism with a single camera cut? No chance.
How many times will Trump be said on TV during Broadcast?
Chris: Over. If you think Fox Sports is immune to the same fart-sniffing that their News counterparts are guilty of, boy you live under a damn rock.
Ryan: I was going to take the under, but then I remembered the NFC Wild Card game where Buck and Aikman volleyed back and forth over a trip on a boat. Over.
Who will Donald Trump pick to win the game?
Chris: “The Patriots are just the classiest organization in the NFL. Bob Kraft, Bob Kraft he’s my friend, he’s wonderful, a beautiful man. Listen, folks, Tom Brady? The best. He’s the best quarterback there is folks! If I was still running the USFL today I would try to buy him away for my team. And he would say yes, because I make the classiest football teams, and Tom Brady is the classiest of individuals around. I love the Patriots. I’ve always loved them.”
Ryan: Chris did it better. The Patriots.
What will be higher on Super Bowl Sunday?
Tom Brady Rushing Yards +150 (3/2)
Donald Trump’s Interview will Bill O'Reilly in minutes -200 (1/2)
Chris: Bill O’Reilly interview. Dear Christ we might need the jaws of life and some Dawn to pry ol’ Bill off of Trump’s taint. After two weeks of blunders and the rising tide of white nationalism and fascism, Trump will be ready to babble into a camera for as long as possible while Bill caresses his bosom. Tom Brady, on the other hand, seems allergic to moving.
Ryan: At this point, I’m just along for the ride while Chris steers like Raoul Drake.
But give me Brady’s rushing yards. There’s a bootleg that springs Tom for a gain of 14 in McDaniels playbook and that’s enough to get it done.
How many times will "Matty Ice" be said on TV during live broadcast?
Chris: This is a Joe Buck and Troy Aikman broadcast. Over. Over. Over.
Ryan: There’s going to be plenty of opportunities for Joe Buck to release his crescendoing monotone into the aether as the Falcons offense, courtesy of Matty Ice, hit on some big plays. Over.
How many times will "Gronk" or "Gronkowski" be said on TV during live broadcast?
Chris: I’ll take Under. He won’t be in the game so the short attention spans of our greatest sporting media won’t be able to remember to say his name three times. A good thing they don’t, because if you say Gronk three times in a mirror he appears with a jug of bottom-shelf tequila and a box of sparklers.
Ryan: Same situation, but if you utter Aaron Hernandez three times, you’ll be tagged with some Henna in the form of a water gun and five drops of water to commemorate the time you got way too reckless at that birthday party and lost a couple of friends.
The Patriots will have enough red zone opportunities to talk about how much they miss Gronk rather than mention how useful Martellus Bennett is in his place. Double down on the over.
How many times will Arthur Blank be shown on TV during the Broadcast?
Over /Under 2
Chris: Gonna lean here towards over. There’s a chance the Falcons win, and if so I fully expect more dancing to accompany the usual suite shots.
Ryan: I’ll take the over on this one, but only because I want to see Blank hitting the dirty bird from his suite when the Falcons have this one wrapped up in the fourth quarter.
How many times will Robert Kraft be shown on TV during the Broadcast?
Chris: I’ll take the under on Kraft. Not a showman. Nine-to-five kind of billionaire. Boston Strong.
Ryan: You messed with the wrong city, Chris. Over because the Patriots score a bunch of points.
How many times will Giselle Bundchen be shown on TV during the Broadcast?
Over 1½ +110 (11/10)
Under 1½ -150 (2/3)
Ryan: Okay, I’m taking the over on this one too because this Super Bowl is going to be real heavy on the amount of Tom Brady it doles out. There’s already a groundswell surrounding this narrative about his relationship with his parents and the “struggles” they’ve been facing, so I think they cut to wherever they’re sitting whenever Brady does a good.
Chris: This does feel like the Brady Bowl. I’ll take the over as well.
In general we seem to have a strange fascination among the sporting press with the sexual prowess of our half-warriors of the gridiron. When the Packers struggle we can’t go more than two weeks without hearing about the conniving essence-stealing work of Olivia Munn. Giselle was, at some point, treated in a similar fashion. At times it feels like we’ve entrusted our media to a bunch of Mike Cernovich’s, committed to the volcel lifestyle, believing their sperm to be the source of indelible masculine power. It’s all very Freudian and very messy.
How many times will "deflate" or "deflategate" be said on TV during live broadcast?
Over 1½ EVEN (1/1)
Under 1½ -140 (5/7)
Ryan: I don’t think there’s any way that Buck will keep himself from coming back to this at least a few times. “Doesn’t matter how deflated that pass is, it’s going for six; touchdown, Patriots.” Going with the over.
Chris: This is going over. I don’t think we’ll ever be rid of this ridiculous scandal until the whole of the Patriots cast retires and the team is rebranded, renamed and relocated to Mexico City. Baseball was forever marked by a betting scandal and christened the perpetrators as the Black Sox, and their other scandal was about steroids. Football has deflated balls.
How many times will J.J. Watt be mentioned on TV during live broadcast?
Over 1 -140 (5/7)
Under 1 EVEN (1/1)
Ryan: Correct me if I’m wrong, but is J.J. Watt playing in this game? No? Well, alright then. Under.
Chris: I hope not even once. Under but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is a push.
Will "Houston we have a problem" be said on TV during live broadcast?
Chris: Yes. Are you kidding me? Joe Buck is dripping saliva at the thought of using this if someone goes up 14 points unanswered.
Ryan: Im upset just thinking about this, and for no real, tangible reason at all. I’m going to say no to calm myself down.
Will the word "Lacrosse" be said on TV during live broadcast?
Chris: No. What? I missed this. Is this a reference to something?
Ryan: A couple of things: Bill loves lacrosse, and probably does so more than he ever cared about football. Chris Hogan was also a former lacrosse player at college, and he’s going to probably be the MVP because that’s just how these things work. A big play from Brady to Hogan will lead to some remark from Buck about how Belichick has such an eye for recognizing talent. If I had my tax return in hand, I’d bet it all on yes.
Which coach will be mentioned by name first after Kickoff?
(Note: Must say full name.)
Chris: By the Immutable Laws of Sports Broadcasting there is a far better chance that they will know and remember Bill Belichick’s name more readily than they will Dan Quinn’s, and thus take the path of least resistance towards the Hoodie.
Ryan: I’m going to go the other way on this one because saying “Quinn” on it’s own sounds like a first name, and since three-quarters of the people watching don’t know who Dan Quinn is, they’re going to need to say both names.
IF the Patriots win will Brady, Belichick or Kraft be seen shaking Roger Goodell's hand on TV?
Yes -180 (5/9)
No +140 (7/5)
Chris: No. Some real petty stuff is about to happen here and I’m all for it. It’s the only redeeming quality to a Patriots win. The only one.
Ryan: Where are the odds of the TV cameras showing Belichick or a coordinator shaking hands with the “member of the media” who jacked Kyle Shanahan’s game plan? It was reported to be accidental and I don’t think anything could be more appropriately labeled as alternative facts, ever.
Teflon Tom won’t turn down the opportunity to get Goodell’s goat by matching hands while holding the Lombardi Trophy in the other. Yes.
What color will the liquid be that is poured on the winning coach?
Ryan: Clear liquid? Like, water? Yeah, I’ll go with the favorite, clear liquid.
Chris: New brand name Clear Liquid with replenishing next-generation H2O. You can only get it from us, your benevolent capitalist dictators, because we decided to poison all the other sources with coal runoff.
It’s going to be orange though, for some immutable law I can’t really explain here.
Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first?
Donald Trump 20/1
Does not Mention Anyone above 5/2
Ryan: Ryan seems like the type of guy to thank his team or teammates before he gets to the guy upstairs, but I want to imagine a world where Brady thanks Roger Goodell first for the opportunity to play football this season.
Give me Ryan and his team/teammates.
Chris: This applies to Brady too, who has been playing the “oh golly gee shucks” card too hard this week to think he’ll go anyway other than his team. In either case, team/teammates is the right play.
It’s tempting to play Donald Trump if you’re banking on a Patriots win. This is only here to take your money. Brady has been playing the blissfully ignorant card so hard lately that it’s reached annoying levels. He’ll continue the act until he retires.
Which song will Lady Gaga play first during the Halftime show?
Born this Way 9/4
Bad Romance 5/2
Edge of Glory 6/1
Poker Face 10/1
Just Dance 10/1
Any Other Song 11/10
Ryan: I’m going to go with “Bad Romance” because I think it has some serious stadium sounds going on at the beginning of that track. Some of the other songs seem a bit dated—”Poker Face” and “Just Dance”—but if I could lay money on another song, “Edge of Glory” seems like a good bet as well.
Chris: I don’t usually see Super Bowl acts date themselves, so I’m leaning away from “Bad Romance” as it came out in 2009. I’ll take “Edge of Glory” because the lyrics lend to an archetype of Super Bowl halftime—pop romance and a vaguely interesting title—and the music fits the occasion.
What color will Lady Gaga's hair be when she comes on stage for the Halftime show?
Any other Color 5/2
Chris: I know Gaga’s chilled a bit and while the odds on any other color are pretty good, my world-class googling has revealed she hasn’t really done any other color besides an occasional platinum/white look. I don’t think the corporate masters of the NFL, those brave souls who balk at all things ungodly except for taking like three dozen prescription drugs, would approve of such depravity. Blonde.
Ryan: She’s blonde right now and has been for awhile, including all of this press for her latest release.
She’ll be blonde for the big show.