"Tails," Mickey Rourke, Palin 2012 & Other Things You Can Bet On
It's easy to find a place online where you can place a bet on the Steelers, who are favored by 7 points in Sunday's big game. The final outcome is only one of the things you can bet on, though. Almost every other event that takes place during the game will have some effect on the outcome of one of the many ridiculous Super Bowl prop bets; any time the ball moves or the whistle blows, someone probably wins or loses money. Let's take a look at some of the wagers you can make if you're desperate for action this Sunday, as well as a few non-football bets.
1. The Coin Flip
Betting on the Super Bowl is great and all, but you have to wait several hours for the game to finish. Sometimes you need action a bit faster than that. To help quench the public's insatiable thirst for gambling, many sportsbook sites take wagers on the game's opening coin flip. For a mere $105 bet, you can win $100 if you pick the right side of the coin. And as a possible side effect, your high school stats teacher's head will probably explode the moment you make the bet!
2. The Team to Get the First Penalty
That little yellow flag could mean big green for you if you bet on which team is penalized first. It's tough to pick a winner here since the two teams were actually pretty close in number of penalties this season. The Cardinals were 8th in the NFL with 98 penalties, while the Steelers came in 12th with 91. In the playoffs the Cards have had 19 while the Steelers have had 14, but it's such a small sample size that you probably don't want to bet your house on either squad. If this wager isn't specific enough for you, though, you can make bets on which team has the first pass interference or holding called against it.
3. Team to Use a Challenge First
Whether or not you support the use of instant replay, you can make a bit of cash the first time the red flag flies out. This wager would be far more exciting if the Eagles had actually made the Super Bowl, as some industrious sportsbook would offer a line on "Coach to Make the First Successful Challenge," and offer 5,000-to-1 odds on Andy Reid.
4. Receiving Yards
The truly prop-crazy can bet on his favorite player's receiving yards in the game. Bettors can pick how many yards they think a player will rack up during the game, bet over/unders on how long the player's first catch will be, and lay cash on whether or not the player will score a touchdown in the game.
If that's not enough for you, though, and you really enjoy numbers, you can also bet on whether or not a player's receiving yardage total will be an odd or even number. BetUS and other sportsbooks will allow the truly degenerate among us to pick odds or evens, then back their position with cash. You may roll your eyes now, but the joke will be on you when I've spent four days poring over spreadsheets to discern whether or not Early Doucet is really a threat to go odd this game.
Maybe you didn't get the Early Doucet reference, and football isn't your thing. But that doesn't mean you can't have your friends awkwardly stage a gambling intervention for you. There are a number of other betting opportunities available to you even if you've never watched a sporting event in your life.
5. The Grammys
BetUS.com is currently booking bets on who will win Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" is the early favorite for Record of the Year; its money line is currently +110, meaning that a $100 bet would win the bettor $110. Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III and Coldplay's Viva La Vida or Death & All His Friends are both +165 in the Album of the Year race, and the title track of Coldplay's record is the favorite in the running for Song of the Year.
6. The Oscars
If you're not up with the Grammy races, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences threw out its Oscar nominations last week, and the lines are already up at sportsbook.com. In the early going, Slumdog Millionaire is a -300 favorite, meaning that to win $100, a bettor would have to put up a $300 bet. Mickey Rourke's lauded performance in The Wrestler is a -150 favorite to win Best Actor honors, while Kate Winslet's turn in The Reader is a -125 favorite in the Best Actress betting.
7. American Idol
You may not know exactly who's going to win this season's singing reality show, but do you at least have a hunch what gender they'll be? If so, pull out your credit card, because it's not too tough to book a bet on whether the winner will be male or female.
8. The Tour de France
The Tour de France doesn't start until summer, but you can already bet on the outcome. BetUS has 2007 champ Alberto Contador going off at +120, but fresh-out-of-retirement Lance Armstrong is no long shot himself at +250.
9. The 2012 Presidential Election
President Obama may only have been in office for a week, but speculation is already running rampant about who will run against him in the 2012 race. Sportsbook.com is offering wagers on who will win the White House in just under four years, and of course Obama's the heavy favorite at -125. The candidate with the next-best odds? Sarah Palin at +1000.
A Palin presidency may seem a bit far-fetched to some, but if you're willing to entrust an online sportsbook with your money for almost four years, you're probably willing to take some leaps of faith.