Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14, up to January 28 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
Compare all of the Super Bowl Props on offer.
Make no mistake: Super Bowl XLVIII is an entertainment event. You can say the same thing about any football game shown on television, of course. But this Sunday (6:25 p.m. ET, FOX), over 150 million people in the United States and perhaps a billion people worldwide will be watching the Super Bowl broadcast. How many of those people are actually there to watch football?
An increasingly smaller percentage. The league draws more and more eyeballs to the Big Game every year by adding more and more “entertainment” to the broadcast. That means celebrity singers performing during pregame and at halftime. But that’s not all; there will also be cutaways to celebrities watching from the crowd at the New Meadowlands. And, naturally, there will be ads. Lots and lots of ads.
You can bet on all of these things. Super Bowl prop bets have become so popular in recent years that they’ll make up over half the handle taken in at some sportsbooks. If you’re a sharp NFL bettor who focusses only on the Super Bowl point spread, this will probably get your eyeballs rolling. But there are certain specific Super Bowl entertainment props that have consistently made money for anyone who cares to apply some logic – which, again, is an increasingly smaller percentage of the NFL betting public on Super Bowl Sunday. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite (all NFL odds are from Bodog/Bovada at press time):
How long will it take Renée Fleming to sing the official U.S. National Anthem?
OVER 2:25 EVEN
UNDER 2:25 –140
This has traditionally been a winning prop bet for anyone who understands the “Bleeding Gums Murphy” Rule: The larger the occasion, the more time the singer will take to finish The Star-Spangled Banner. But that’s not the only consideration here. Not every singer has the lung capacity to belt out an extended version of the National Anthem. When Billy Joel performed at Super Bowl XLI, he finished in a brisk 1:30 (UNDER 1:44). When Jennifer Hudson performed at Super Bowl XLIII, it took her 2:10 (OVER 2:03).
In an intriguing and very rare moment of high culture, opera singer Renée Fleming will be singing The Star-Spangled Banner this Sunday. Well, mostly high culture. Fleming is a fantastic soprano who has followed in the lungsteps of Sarah Brightman, appearing on movie soundtracks and covering Leonard Cohen songs. Unlike most of her predecessors, we don’t have a YouTube clip of Fleming singing the anthem, so we’ll have to wing it this year. One other complication: It might be really, really cold out on Sunday, which will hinder Fleming’s stamina. I still expect her to milk this moment for all its worth.
NFL Pick: OVER 2:25
Will Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers play a song on stage at the same time?
Apparently not everyone was pleased that Mr. Mars was named the halftime performer, so he invited the Chilis to be part of the show – or perhaps someone smart told him to. We’ve seen multiple halftime performers on a regular basis now, and they always seem to find something to sing together. My guess is “Snow (Hey Oh).” Although I wish it would be "Special Secret Song Inside."
NFL Pick: YES (–200)
What will Bruno Mars be wearing on his head at the start of his halftime performance?
No hat +200
Fur hat +500
A Google Image search shows Mars wearing a fedora in 12 of the first 20 pictures. Change that search to include “singing” and you get a fedora in 15 of the first 20. It’s his thing. Image trumps weather.
NFL Pick: Fedora (–160)
Will any member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during their performance?
See above. It will be Flea.NFL Pick: YES (EVEN)