Americans love the Super Bowl, and they’re willing to spend their grocery money on it to prove it.
Nothing matches the exhilaration – gamblers call it “juice” – than getting paid to out-smart the betting public. And if you don’t know the difference between a screen pass and corner blitz, no problem. The Super Bowl is the rare day bookmakers can make it interesting for you, too.
Actually, you can make money before the coin toss.
You can wager on the time it will take pop-star Demi Lovato to sing the National Anthem. Seriously. The time to beat is two minutes. If you think she’s going to breeze through the song like she did for Game 4 of the 2015 World Series (1:58), bet under two minutes. If you think she’s going to add a couple yodels to it like she did ahead of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight in 2017 (2:11), bet over. Other performances to consider is the 1:50 anthem she sang for Game 4 of the 2012 World Series, 1:49 for Game 5 of the 2011 World Series and 1:53 for a 2008 NFL game on Thanksgiving Day at Dallas.
Since Las Vegas is going to keep all of the losing money and 10% of the winning payouts, it doesn’t care. It just wants you to bet.
Legal gambling is big business. According to BoydsBets, Las Vegas Sports books made profits from 27 of the last 29 Super Bowls, including a record $19.7 million cut in 2014 when the Seahawks beat Denver, 43-8. No wonder they give away free drink coupons.
The Super Bowl is the largest single-day betting event in the world. Experts believe with the expansion of legalized sportsbooks, more than $160 million will be legally wagered, and that doesn’t include the millions in office pools and bets among friends.
Experts installed Kansas City as a slight favorite. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs should win by one point. It means half the betting public think they won’t cover the spread; the other half think they’ll beat it.
But what’s the fun in picking a winner, especially when bookmakers have so many interesting proposition bets?
In addition to gambling on the National Anthem, you can bet on the coin flip. A winning choice is as easy as calling heads or tails. (Just so you know, heads have come up 24 times and tails 21 in the history of the game. Also, the NFC has won the coin toss 31 out of 45 times – and you can bet on which teams wins the toss.)
If you don’t mind waiting a few months to collect, you can make some bizarre future bets, like: which will be greater – the total wins by the Kansas City Royals baseball team next season or the Chiefs’ rushing yards; which will be greater – home runs by Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout or completions by Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes; which will be greater – number of full rounds for the Jon Jones-Dominick Reyes Ultimate Fighting Championship fight or the number of rushes by 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo; and, my personal favorite, which will be higher – Jordan Spieth’s final-round score at the Phoenix Open or the number receiving yards by Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce?
Everybody loves a longshot. If you don’t mind risking the cost of a tank of gas for a chance to pay for a new house, consider this risky wager: for $1 you can win $10,000 if you pick either team only scores two or four points.
Some longshots aren’t really impossible. For $1, you can win $500 if Mahomes completes 10 or fewer passes. While it’s not likely, what if he gets hurt early in the game? Might be worth the cost of a Snickers bar to take a shot at it.
As for me, I think I can eat six chicken wings during the National Anthem. If you don’t think so, place your bet.