Miller: If you can think it, you can bet it at Super Bowl XLVIII

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Tom Miller
Sunday, February 2, 2014

“So who do you like Sunday?”

That was the second-most asked question to me this week. Second to any variant of “When’s it going to quit snowing? or “Cold enough for you?”

Super Bowl Sunday has finally arrived. If your team isn’t playing today, it has been an awful long week of ESPN and other networks blasting you full of Bronco and Seahawk tidbits.

The beauty of the Super Bowl is it has something for nearly everybody.

First, of course, is the game itself, which has lived up to its billing recently, with the past six of seven Super Bowls decided by six or less points.

And if you don’t like football, you can watch the new commercials, which cost $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime.

That’s a lot of money to sell a bag of Doritos.

If you don’t like football or the new commercials, you can watch the halftime show. I will discover who or what Bruno Mars is.

If you don’t like football, the commercials or the halftime show…well, I hope you are enjoying your life.

And then there is the wagering aspect. Las Vegas shops opened the betting line immediately after the conference championship games with Seattle being a 2-point favorite.

That didn’t last long as bettors jumped on Denver. So much money came in on Denver that they eventually became 2-point favorites. That has been the steady line for the past 12 days. I have a feeling some Seattle money will likely move the final line to 1 or 1.

Gamblers can also bet the over/under point total, which is 48. With a high of 49 degrees, this number should remain steady. Do you think Peyton Manning will ring up his typical numbers today? Then go over.

If you think the Seattle defense will handle the “Omahas,” under is the way to go.

Then there are the proposition wagers.

If you find the right outlet (I’ll use odds from the 5Dimes sportsbook website), you can bet on anything ranging from total punts in the game to whether the jersey number of the player who scores the first TD of the game is less than or greater than 26.

Will there be a safety? If you bet “no” you have to bet $10 to win $1. If you bet “yes” and there is one, you get $6.50 for every $1 you wager.

Wisconsin fans might want to wager whether Russell Wilson will pass for more or less than 212 yards or rush more or less than 6 times. Or Badger fans can put money down that Montee Ball gets more or less than 9 rushing attempts or gains more or less than 35 yards rushing.

You can bet whether Pete Carroll chomps on his gum more or less than 675,825 times during the game. (Not really, I just made that one up.)

But you can wager whether Denver converts a fourth down ($1.65 for every $1 wagered if yes) or if the Broncos will score in each of the fourth quarters ($2.50 for $1 wagered if yes).

You can wager if there will be a score in the first four minutes of the second quarter or fourth quarter (even money on both wagers).

You can wager on who scores the first touchdown of the game. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is the favorite (6-1), with Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas second at 9.5-1. Ball is 17.5-1, while Wilson is 21-1. (Seattle’s Percy Harvin at 15.5-1 looks good to me.)

Then there is the staple bet of the Super Bowl—the coin toss. Heads or tails, and/or which team wins the toss. Both are even money.

People who bet big money on this should check out the local Gamblers Anonymous number in the phone book.

A flip of a coin is a 50/50 proposition and the Super Bowl is proof. Prior to last year, there had been 23 “heads” and 23 “tails” in the previous 46 Super Bowl tosses. However, last year’s “heads” made it five Super Bowls in a row that “heads” came up and it has come up in six of the past seven Super Bowls.

And if you are in a crowd watching the National Anthem, don’t be surprised if there are people checking their watches every few seconds.

You can wager on how long the song lasts. Opera singer Renee Fleming will belt out the Anthem today and the over/under has been set at 2 minutes, 20 seconds. The stopwatch starts when Fleming starts her first note, not background music. The stopwatch stops when Fleming ends the final note, not music, fireworks, airplanes, etc.

The natural reaction is to take the “under” and at 2:20 that usually would be the way to go. Last year’s over/under was 2:04, but Alicia Keys took a Super Bowl record 2:22 to complete the song.

Will an opera singer strrrreeeettch every word out down to the “Home of the Brave?”

And since Fleming vowed to do the Anthem live, you can wager if she omits a word (5.25-1) or if she includes every word ($9.75 to win $1).

Denver running back Knowshon Moreno was caught crying a river during the National Anthem of a recent game. So you can wager whether he “has a tear on his cheek” (1.66-1) or “no tear on either cheek during Anthem” ($2.20 to win $1). If Moreno is not shown during the telecast of the song, “no tear” collects. (If he cries you can be sure FOX will zoom in.)

Then there are the silly wagers (as if betting whether someone has a tear on their cheek isn’t).

Which one of the FOX sideline reporters will be shown live from a field-level camera first? Erin Andrews (to win $1 you have to bet $1.60) or Pam Oliver (you get $1.20 for every $1 bet)?

You can bet if Archie Manning and Eli Manning will be shown more than once each on the telecast and whether there will be a “dunk” on the crossbar after a TD.

And with Washington and Colorado the only two states to have legalized marijuana use, you can bet whether Joe Buck or Troy Aikman say “marijuana” during the telecast.

You get $3.50 for every $1 bet if you bet they do and it happens, but have to wager $5.30 to win $1 to collect a “no” bet and they avoid the m-word.

As you can see, it is a super day to wager.

And to answer the original question, I would like to see the Broncos win, but will put any little money I wager on the Seahawks. Defense will win this.

And I hope Renee Fleming delivers a lonnnnng National Anthem.

Tom Miller is a page designer/sports writer for The Gazette.

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