IN THE BEGINNING
It was 1986 and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” Chicago Bears were about to take on the New England Patriots in the big game. Throughout the course of the season leading up to the Bowl, the only team anyone was talking about was the Bears, especially their Noseguard/Fullback William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who had become a nationwide sensation scoring touchdowns for the Monsters of the Midway.
Someone in Vegas wanted to capitalize on The Refrigerator’s popularity. So they put out a 15-1 bet on if the 300+ pound ball carrier was going to score a TD that day. Much to the bookie’s surprise, bettors flooded them with action backing the long shot. Lo and behold, the Bears mauled the Pats 46-10, The Fridge scored on a 2-yard TD at the end of the blowout, and with that, the sensation of the Super Bowl prop bet sprung into existence.
PROP BETS NOW
Today, an amazing 70% of all betting on the Super Bowl is on prop bets, an incredible number. Fans will bet on anything when it comes to the SB, including real game stuff like which QB will throw for more yards, who will score the first touchdown, which team will have more turnovers, which team will get the first penalty, and which player will be the MVP.
Last year, bookies had to sweat out the end of the Pats-Rams game because multiple bettors had plunked down serious money on the game to have no TDs at odds of 500-1, and they were facing losses in the seven-figure range. Smiles broke-out up and down the strip when “Gronk” scored the game’s first TD in the 4th quarter and all those tickets were ripped in two.
Now, as big as the actual game props, just as many nonsensical props have enthralled punters across the fifty states. Who will win the coin toss? How long will the national anthem last? What will be the first song the half-time performer sings? What will be the primary color of the half-time performer’s outfit? How many times will someone mention Janet Jackson’s name during half-time? And probably the biggest of all, what will be the color of the Gatorade they pour on the coach?
Estimates are that people will bet over $300 million legally on prop bets across the United States on this year’s game and as much as $1.5 billion illegally.
So no matter what the score is, or if somebody has spilled beer all over the nachos, the Super Bowl can be super exciting from beginning to end if you spice it up with a few prop bets.