Friday, January 30, 2009

The Most Ridiculous Super Bowl XLIII Props

Not in list form like last year, but I was inspired by our discussion in the comments, and think I found some actual value.

If Barack Obama Picks a team to win Super Bowl XLIII during the Super Bowl pre-game show on NBC will the Presidents pick be correct? (SportsBetting)
Yes: -160
No: +130

Will Matt Millen pick the correct team to win Super Bowl XLIII during the Pre Game Show? (Bodog)
Yes: -225
No: +185

I'm not ready for a world where Matt Millen knows more about football than Barack Obama.

I think the most value here lies in Millen getting it wrong, and not (just) because he's not very bright. According to the Pinnacle moneyline, the Steelers have a 69.1% chance of winning, and the Cardinals are at 30.9%. For +185 to be +EV, you only need to win 35.1% of the time. Arizona has been getting a lot of love over the last couple weeks; there needs to be only an 11% chance of Millen taking the Cardinals for there to be value here*. I think there is.

Will [Larry Fitzgerald] make a one-handed reception in Super Bowl XLIII (No Reception=No Action) (SportsBetting)
Yes: +220
No: -300

You'd have to go with no here, right? This seems like as good a time as any to fade Fitzgeraled, since he's been getting so much love (and deservedly so). But is there really a 1 in 4 chance that he makes a one-handed catch on Sunday? Probably not the type of thing you'd want to lay -300 on, I guess.

During the Singing of The Star Spangled Banner will Jennifer Hudson Lip-Sync any part of the Song (SportsBetting)
Yes: +115
No: -145

Is it really all that common for people to be caught lip-syncing the National Anthem? Does Jennifer Hudson have a reputation for doing this? I have no idea, but I'd have to lean "No" here.

Who will the Super Bowl MVP of the Game Thank First?
Coach: +900
Doesn't thank anyone: +500
Family: +400
God: -125
Teammates: +200

God: -150
Coach: +800
Family: +400
Teammates: +200
Does not thank anyone: +500

God was +250 last year. I wonder what changed. Does anyone even know who Eli thanked? That's the problem with some of these, you never remember what the result was. Last year I was in transit during the pregame show and was frantically texting people trying to figure out if anyone picked the Giants (Caliendo did, apparently).

How Long will it take Jennifer Hudson to Sing the Star Spangled Banner (from starting note to last note sung)
Over 2 minutes and 1 second: -155
Under 2 minutes and 1 second: +125

Over 2m 1s: -160
Under 2m 1s: +130

Over 2m 3s: -115
Under 2m 3s: -115

I'm glad they clarified how it will be timed, I never would've guessed. There would be a nice middle here except for all the juice on the over. Unfortunately I don't have a half-point calculator for this type of things (half-second calculator?), but I'm pretty confident in saying there's no value in going for the middle.

Coin Toss (VIP)
Heads: +100
Tails: +100

VIP is also offering the game itself without juice, but that wouldn't have really fallen under the "props" category. What's interesting to me is that they also have a rewards system based on how much you bet. So why wouldn't you just bet half your account on either side, end up with the same amount of money, and get a bunch of rewards points?

For the record, the coin toss is a 50-50 proposition everywhere except Pinnacle, where the Cardinals are still slightly favored. And I couldn't get a straight answer for Pinny about what happened, beyond "We favor the Cardinals".

Color of Gatorade dumped on the Winning Head Coach
Lime Green: +400
Yellow: +200
Orange: +500
Red: +500
Clear/Water: +700
Blue: -130

Lime Green: +450
Yellow: +200
Orange: +300
Red: +550
Blue: +900
Clear/Water: +115

This is interesting just because of the huge discrepancy at the two books on the "clear/water" option. Thanks to the research of Stock Lemon, we know that "clear/water" has been the winner in each of the last three Super Bowls. I think there is significant value here. And this way you can be sure you'll have a rooting interesting until the bitter end. The maximum you can risk on this prop is $50.

Springsteen- 1st song of the Halftime show (Bodog)
Born in the USA: EV
The Rising: +500
The Wrestler: +700
Radio Nowhere: +800
I'm on Fire: +1500
Born to Run: +200
Glory Day: +250

I have no idea, I just figured I should include something about the halftime show. There is certainly nothing even approaching last year's Tom Petty props.

What Super Bowl Game Betting Line will Al Michaels allude to or mention first during the Game? (Bodog)
Pointspread: -500
Total: +350

Michaels is a fan of alluding to the line. I guess this means something like, "Some folks in Vegas will be happy about that" after a meaningless touchdown at the end of the game counts. No idea if there's any value here, but if forced I'd probably go with total.

How many food items will John Madden mention during the game? (Bodog)
Over 1.5: -280
Under 1.5: +220

The funny part about this is they easily could've put it at a higher number and had steep juice on the Under. However, I'm sure they figured it would be more amusing if the Over on how many food items Madden mentions was a huge favorite. Mission accomplished.

* - .691*.89 + .309*.11 = a 65% chance of him being right, or 35% chance of him being wrong.


  1. The Millen/Obama split is amazing, Vegas has to have some inside info on who each one is taking.

    You missed the difference in "blue" for the gatorade prop. I would max out blue at Bodog and clear at Betus if I were posted at the two. Sounds like free money to me.

    Al Michaels will almost definitely mention the pointspread first. The total usually doesn't really come into play until the second half. The only exception I can think of is a touchdown on the kickoff/first play where Michaels could say something about going over quickly.

    Finally, I had the John Madden food prop o/u at 3.5 based on my years of research/watching tape.

  2. Very strange that "Blue" is -130 at BetUS. It was +1000 there last year, no idea what changed.

  3. I remember reading an advertisement on a bottle of Gatorade, it said that particular flavor was the official flavor for the NYJ. I wonder if Vegas has knowledge specifically about the Cards and Steelers contracts regarding beverages? Just a thought.

  4. So given Obama has picked the Steelers, there could be arbitrage here as you can essentially take them at -160. Is there any way that that wouldn't be the case?

  5. I think Matt's got it right. I'd have to think that each team has their preference as to water or flavor of gatorade, and that's what matters more.

    On the other hand, it is odd that that both Tomlin and Whisenhunt were doused with lime green gatorade after winning their championships, yet it's no lower than +400 at either.

  6. Eli is a heathen, did not thank god.

  7. BetUS took the Gatorade prop off the board. Interesting.

  8. The over on the Madden prop is now -340. That's funny.

  9. Fuck, Millen picked the Cards. Could have had the Steelers at +185 there.