Taken from Esquire Magazine: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/football-column/super-bowl-xxiii-prop-bets
Sure, everyone knows you can bet on the coin flip, but whether Max Weinberg can keep his shirt on? We break down the absurd world of Super Bowl wagers.
By Peter Schrager
Need to make some quick cash? The Boss has three to one odds on having a wardrobe malfunction at the big game and that shirt looks kinda thin...
As the media endlessly smash and document every single atom in the Super Bowl molecule, from the rates paid for commercial airtime to the less-than-intriguing subplots that come with an Arizona-Pittsburgh matchup, there's one place where the dead week before the big game is still a hell of a lot of fun.
Specifically, those places where you can find "prop bets," also known as proposition bets, where you can wager on just about anything, from the coin flip to the over/under on how long it will take someone to sing the national anthem. (Last year, the over/under was 1:42. American Idol Jordin Sparks belted it out in 1:45.) We talked to Reed Richards, spokesman for the popular betting site BetUs.com, to find the strangest prop bets out on his site this year.
1. Springsteen’s halftime set list.
• "Glory Days", "My Lucky Day", "Badlands", "Born to Run": 5/2
• "Born in the USA", "Thunder Road", "Rosalita", "My Lucky Day": 3/1
• "Glory Days", "Born to Run", "The Rising", "Working on a Dream": 7/2
• "Born to Run", "Dancing in the Dark", "Radio Nowhere", "The Rising": 5/1
• "Born to Run", "Rosalita", "Working on a Dream", "The Rising": 8/1
• "Rosalita", "The Wrestler", "Glory Days", "Born to Run": 8/1
• "The Rising", "Darkness on the Edge of Town", "Working on a Dream", "Hungry Heart": 15/1
The inside scoop: Don't worry. BetUs.com will closely monitor this bet for any suspicious activity coming out of Asbury Park and would cancel the bet if The Boss's set list were to leak — an event that Richards says has never happened. But as for how they are even able to place odds on whether Springsteen is more likely to play "Glory Days" than "Hungry Heart" — BetUs.com has a fleet of cultural oddsmakers and analysts who break this stuff down. "While (our guys) may not be E Street Band experts before the numbers are set, they sure will be by the time the odds are set," says Richards.
2. Number of songs played by Bruce Springsteen during the halftime show.
Over 3.5 songs: 3/2
Under 3.5 songs: 1/2
The inside scoop: While BetUs.com takes a long look at other Super Bowl halftime shows to see how many songs Springsteen will play, Richards stresses that a whole lot more goes into this kind of bet than just the number of songs. In fact, it varies each year, based on the performer. "Last year, we had whether Petty would light up or not during the set," says Richards. "Two years ago whether Prince would fall off the stage, and three years ago whether a set of Mick Jagger’s fake teeth would fall out. Those were fun."
3. The odds on a halftime show "wardrobe malfunction."
Patti Scialfa: 2/1
Bruce Springsteen: 3/1
Clarence Clemons: 4/1
Steven Van Zandt: 8/1
Max Weinberg: 10/1
Garry Tallent: 12/1
The inside scoop: While Scialfa's breasts are likely attracting the action, watch those buttons and accessories closely, especially on Max Weinberg, who could be a dark horse this year because of his proclivity for shirtlessness on The Conan O'Brien Show and the fact that he's a drummer. "When it comes to Max, it could be anything from his gut busting through a vest button, a toupee falling off, breaking his glasses with his drum stick..." says Richards. "As far as the venerable Mr. Van Zandt is concerned, we'll be looking for things like a pinky ring flying off into the crowd, tripping over his do rag, splitting his jeans."
4. First item caught on camera, being thrown on the field.
Hot dog: 3/1
Corn dogs: 5/1
French fries: 7/1
The inside scoop: Don't take the chili. BetUs.com's crack research team did a deep dive into the world of stadium snacks and determined that chili is a long shot for a variety of factors, starting with the weather. "It’s going to be warm, and people are less likely to eat chili," says Richards. "Also, chili may actually be thrown onto the field, but will a camera be able to pick it up as easily as a whole burger or a thing full of popcorn? And would chili actually reach the field from the stands? We say no."
5. The player most likely to get arrested leading up to or after the Super Bowl.
J.J. Arrington: 2/1
Santonio Holmes: 2/1
Anquan Boldin: 5/2
Larry Fitzgerald: 5/1
Matt Leinart : 10/1
The inside scoop: Richards says that this exercise in schaudenfruede is not only one of the most popular prop bets BetUs.com runs each Super Bowl, but something that people bet on throughout the NFL season. (Consider it the NFL's version of the "Death Pool.") With the amount of money placed on this bet, Richards was coy about the research that goes into setting the line, citing past behavior as one of the factors helping determine odds. "We also choose our list based on those players with the highest profiles, and who have been on tape out in the club, or partying," he says.
6. The first end zone celebration.
Touchdown spike: 2/1
Roundoff or backflip: 3/1
Snow angel: 4/1
Chicken dance: 4/1
Dunks football through the uprights: 4/1
Dirty bird: 5/1
Shows his biceps: 7/1
The worm: 8/1
Pulls out cell phone: 8/1
Throat slash: 8/1
Takes cheerleader's pom poms: 10/1
Pulls out Sharpie, signs football: 15/1
Moons fans: 20/1
The inside scoop: Sadly, they didn't include Soulja Boy's "Superman Dance" — a lively number that we feel should have made the list. Looks like you're on your own with this one.