When most people think of betting at a sports book, they conjure up images of putting money on a team to win or lose or whether it will cover the point spread. Gambling on sports essentially means to bet on the favorite or the underdog.
Yet there’s a whole world of gambling that has little or nothing to do with the outcome of the game: prop bets.
Prop betting (short for “proposition”) is a bet made regarding the “occurrence or non-occurrence” during a game that does not directly effect the game’s outcome. Many prop bets have nothing to do with the game itself, but with the circus surrounding it. They can also involve statistics from the game in relation to some other event.
Confused yet? Okay, let’s look at some real prop bets for tomorrow’s Super Bowl matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots from the betting site Bovada.lv.
First, some conventional prop bets:
Odds to win the most valuable player award:
Tom Brady’s the odds-on favorite, with 7/5 odds. Next up is Eli Manning at 9/4, followed by Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz at 8/1. The longest odds are reserved for some players that don’t see the field all that much and, of course, the kickers, at 100/1.
Betting on who will win the MVP award has a connection to the outcome of the game, of course. The MVP will almost always come from the winning team, so you are, in a way, also betting on who will win. Now, let’s get to some of the weirder prop bets. Again, these are real.
How long will it take Kelly Clarkson to sing the National Anthem?
This is an Over/Under bet, set at 1 minute and 34 seconds. Will Kelly go diva and stretch out the notes, or will she keep it simple? If you believe it's the former, you'd bet the under. If you think Kelly's going to make this song her own, you'd bet the over.
What will Kelly Clarkson wear to sing the National Anthem?
A Super Bowl XLVI or official NFL shirt, a Colts jersey or shirt, a Patriots jersey or shirt, a Giants jersey or shirt, or anything else (all of these are weighted differently, with the biggest payout going to anyone who bets she'll wear a Giants jersey, considering Kelly is a Texas gal, not known for being fans of the Giants, or, for that matter, the East Coast).
Will Kelly Clarkson forget or omit at least one word of the National Anthem?
This is just a Yes or No bet, with the odds favoring the super professional Kelly not forgetting a word.
Will Kelly Clarkson's bare belly be showing when she sings the National Anthem?
Another Yes or No bet, with the odds makers favoring Kelly keeping her middle under wraps.
Tired of Clarkson? Fine, let’s move on to the halftime show, and Madonna. Again, real bets here:
Will Madonna wear fishnet stockings at any point during the Super Bowl halftime show?
(note: a “-130” means you have to bet $130 to make $100) Yes -130, No -110.
Will Madonna wear a hat at any point during the Super Bowl Halftime show?
Yes -130, No -110
How many times will Peyton Manning be shown on TV during the game, from kickoff until final whistle?
(Note: This betting site states that it's live pictures only, any taped pictures or past video does not count towards wager. Halftime does not count towards wager.)
How many times will Gisele Bundchen (for the uninitiated, Bundchen is Brady’s Brazilian supermodel wife) be shown on TV during the game?
(Note: same rules as above, this is from kickoff until final whistle. Live pictures only, any taped pictures or past video does not count towards wager. Half time does not count towards wager.
What color will the Gatorade (or liquid) be that’s dumped on the head coach of the winning Super Bowl team?
Who will the Super Bowl MVP of the game thank first?
Does not thank anyone 5/2
And finally, you should know that one of the most classic prop bets of all is also the simplest: which team will win the coin toss. Amazingly, the NFC has won the coin toss 14 years in a row. The odds of this happening? .006 percent. But of course, the odds of making it 15 in a row are 50 percent.