Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!
Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Vince Verhei and Ben Riley

Depending on who you ask, betting on pro football is either a black mark on the reputation of the NFL, or the reason the league is so powerful in the first place. For the latter, what better way to celebrate the Super Bowl than by making a friendly wager or two? And since this is the biggest game of the year, it seems silly to bet just on the winner, or even the total number of points scored. No, we -- that is, those of us who live in places where gambling is legal -- want to bet on everything. Who scores first. Who scores last. Who scores in a given timeframe. The pregame show. The commercials. Halftime. If it's going to be on TV, we want to bet on how it will turn out.

With that, we turn to's Super Bowl prop bet page. Those friendly chaps have listed bets on 25 different possibilities directly and tangentially related to Super Bowl XLIII. Betting on most of these is closed at, but gambling numbers are listed for entertainment purposes only, anyway.

What will be the result of the Super Bowl XLIII Coin Toss?

Heads: -105
Tails: -105
Vince: How is it that Football Outsiders has never studied this? What if the NFL has been rigging games with specially-weighted coins for years? Tails.
Ben: The coin will be called heads on the field, but reversed after replay review. Tails.

Which Super Bowl commercial will have a higher rating on USA Today's annual Ad Meter?

Anheuser-Busch/Budweiser: 1/1
Doritos: 3/1
Pepsi: 3/1
Coca-Cola: 4/1
McDonald's: 7/1
Go 8/1
Other: 2/1
Vince: Can't go wrong with Budweiser. Clydesdales. Frogs. "But I wanted a Bud Light." Bud Bowl. This is the real Super Bowl dynasty.
Ben: Hey, why aren't there any car manufacturers on this list? Is there something going on I should know about? I'll vote for the clueless advertising executives at Go Daddy, who put the T&A in "domain names."

What Song will Bruce Springsteen sing to begin his Halftime Show at the Super Bowl?

Born in the USA: 2/1
Glory Days: 2/1
The Rising: 4/1
Born to Run: 5/1
The Wrestler: 5/1
Radio Nowhere: 8/1
I'm on Fire: 12/1
Vince: If Bruce comes out before thousands of screaming fans wanting fervently to be rocked, and then sits down with only his acoustic guitar and a piano accompaniment and begins to sing about one-trick ponies and one-legged dogs, it will be my favorite halftime show of all time. Glory Days.
Ben: Is now a good time to revisit your anti-Bruce Audible broadside, Vince? No? I have no idea why "I'm on Fire" is paying on 12 to 1 -- that line should be 100-to-1. It's also unclear to me if that song is about pedophilia: "Hey little girl is your daddy home/did he go and leave you all alone/mmm hmmm/I gotta bad desire..." Kevin Bacon? The Woodsman? Born To Run.

What Super Bowl will average more viewers?

Super Bowl XL: +110
Super Bowl XLIII: -150
Vince: Two similar matchups: The Steelers vs. NFC first-timer Super-Bowlers. I'm assuming that the Seahawks have a more fervent fan base in Seattle than the Cardinals do in Arizona, where the Suns are kings. (Isn't it ironic that in Los Angeles, it is the Lakers, not the Kings, who are kings?). Super Bowl XL.
Ben: The Cardinals fans are much maligned, but they've helped carry their team through these playoffs. Super Bowl XLIII. Speaking of fervent fan bases in basketball, how about them Oklahoma City Whatever-the-Hell-They-Call-The-Team-They Stole? Schadenfreude never felt so good.

Which state will have the largest market share in TV Ratings?

Arizona: +300
Pennsylvania: -500
Vince: As noted, I have Super Bowl experience with Steelers fans. They are as devoted and passionate a fanbase as any team could hope to have, but what makes them unique is their unfailing optimism and complete lack of cynicism. Unlike fans of other high-profile sports teams -- the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Celtics, etc. -- Steelers fans are always HAPPY to be Steelers fans. God, it's annoying. Pennsylvania.
Ben: Yeah, there's some irony in asking two die-hard Seahawks fans to write a column about the Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise that I used to respect and admire, and would still today, if they hadn't blatantly stolen a title that belonged to us. Not that I'm still bitter (or writing letters to Dan Rooney). Pennsylvania.

Will Matt Millen pick the correct team to win the Super Bowl on the NBC Pregame?

Yes: -270
No: +210
Vince: Yes is the favorite? Yes is the favorite. Are we talking about the same Matt Millen? No.
Ben: The weird thing about watching Matt Millen is that it's becoming clear to me how he hypnotized the Ford family. You listen to the guy, and he seems knowledgeable and his arguments are coherent and pretty soon you're thinking, "You know, maybe the Lions should take Michael Crabtree and...WAIT A SECOND." Just say No to Matt Millen, America.

Who will the MVP of the Game thank first?

God: 1/1
Teammates: 2/1
Family: 4/1
Coach: 7/1
Doesn't thank anyone: 3/1
Vince: I would love, love, love to see someone win the MVP award and thank themselves and themselves alone. Just stand up there talking about how great he is and how he carried this sorry bunch of losers to a championship, which he will now take home to a bunch of undeserving fans. More likely, though, he goes with the Big Guy. God.
Ben: Question: if the player thanks "Jesus Christ," does that count as "God" per Bodog policy? And if not, does that raise an interesting theological question? I say President Obama gets the nod.

Who will be tackled by his hair first in the game?

Troy Polamalu: +450
Larry Fitzgerald: -650
Vince: I think the odds for either of these happening is slim, but if it's going to be somebody, it's going to be Fitzgerald.
Ben: I say their hair gets tangled up and they tackle each other. Push/no bet.

What will happen with the Stock Market the day after Super Bowl XLIV?

Simply predict whether the New York Stock Exchange Index will be up or down at the end of trading Monday February 2.
Pittsburgh Wins, Market Up: 7/5
Pittsburgh Wins, Market Down: 7/5
Arizona Wins, Market Up: 3/1
Arizona Wins, Market Down: 3/1
Vince: The Cardinals winning the Super Bowl would be a sign of a coming apocalypse, like rivers turning to blood or frogs falling from the sky. How could the market possibly go up in those conditions? There is only one way to bet on an Arizona win, but still two ways to bet on a Pittsburgh win, so the one Arizona bet seems safer. Right? Arizona wins, market down.
Ben: With logic like that Vince, you should be put in charge of the Treasury! The market is going down, down, down as the flames of the American economy go higher, so I'll go with your pick too. Arizona wins, market down.

Will there be a score in the last 3 minutes, 30 seconds of the game?

Yes: -150
No: +120
Vince: I can see the Steelers getting a late lead and killing the clock, but there are always seem to be wacky plays late in Super Bowls -- turnovers, meaningless kickoff returns -- that put points on the board. Yes.
Ben: Does Leinart hitting on someone in the front row count as a "score"? Then I say Yes.

Margin of Victory

Game must go 55 minutes for action. Overtime counts towards wager.
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 1-6 points: 3/1
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 7-12 points: 7/2
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 13-18 points: 11/2
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 19-24 points: 19/2
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 25-30 points: 27/2
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 31-36 points: 19/1
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 37-42 points: 40/1
Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 43+ points: 30/1
Arizona Cardinals to win by 1-6 points: 7/2
Arizona Cardinals to win by 7-12 points: 13/2
Arizona Cardinals to win by 13-18 points: 27/2
Arizona Cardinals to win by 19-24 points: 25/1
Arizona Cardinals to win by 25-30 points: 50/1
Arizona Cardinals to win by 31-36 points: 90/1
Arizona Cardinals to win by 37-42 points: 150/1
Arizona Cardinals to win by 43+ points: 100/1
Vince: If you place a bet in this category, you're officially addicted. I do think it's interesting that the Cardinals have better odds of winning by 43 points or more than they do of winning by 37 to 42 points. Apparently, once that 43-point margin is hit, there will be no stopping the Cards. Also, "Game must go 55 minutes for action?" Are they worried about a rainout? I'm very undecided about who I think is going to win this game, but I kind of like the 7/2 odds on Pittsburgh Steelers to win by 7 to 12 points.
Ben: Yeah, that 55 minutes thing makes no sense to me either -- is there a typhoon headed to Tampa? I'll take the Arizona Cardinals to win by 43-plus points. Ten dollars wins you a thousand! That's a great bet, right? (Cue chirping crickets.)

How many more of these are there?
Vince: Fourteen.
Ben: Good lord.

Who will throw the first touchdown pass in the game?

Ben Roethlisberger: -120
Kurt Warner: -110
Vince: Pittsburgh can score via ground or air. Not Arizona. Warner.
Ben: Anquan Boldin will throw the first touchdown pass on a fake reverse! Boldin.

Who will throw more interceptions in the game?

Roethlisberger: +120
Kurt Warner: -150
Vince: Roethlisberger threw one more pick during the regular season, but the Steelers defense topped the Cardinals', 20-13. Warner.
Ben: Must. Supress. Anti. Roethlisberger. Bias. Can't. Do. It. Still. Bitter. Roethlisberger.

Who will have more receptions in the game?

Larry Fitzgerald: -1/2 (-145)
Anquan Boldin: +1/2 (+115)
Vince: I can see Boldin playing the Wes Welker to Fitzgerald's Randy Moss and picking up a dozen somewhat meaningless grabs.
Ben: How can you have 12 meaningless grabs? Is that a new stat we're tracking? I swear, I'm the last to hear about these things. Boldin again!

Player to score the first touchdown for Pittsburgh

Ben Roethlisberger: 9/1
Hines Ward: 3/1
Santonio Holmes: 15/4
Nate Washington: 6/1
Heath Miller: 9/2
Limas Sweed: 15/2
Willie Parker: 5/2
Mewelde Moore: 6/1
Gary Russell: 6/1
Troy Polamalu: 10/1
Field (Any Other Player): 5/2
Team does not score a touchdown in the game: 20/1
Vince: Ridiculously high odds on Polamalu. Can I just bet against him? I'll go with Mewelde Moore.
Ben: I like playing the field -- cue my wink-wink joke -- but I love me some mini-Pocket Hercules too. Moore.

Player to score the first touchdown for Arizona

Kurt Warner: 25/2
Larry Fitzgerald: 5/2
Anquan Boldin: 7/2
Steve Breaston: 5/1
Jerheme Urban: 15/2
J.J. Arrington: 15/2
Tim Hightower: 15/4
Edgerrin James: 15/4
Field (Any Other Player): 5/2
Team does not score a touchdown in the game: 12/1
Vince: Larry Fitzgerald is a pretty good football player.
Ben: So is Anquan Boldin, I tell you.

Total Passing Yards Ben Roethlisberger Super Bowl XL vs. Ben Roethlisberger Super Bowl XLIII

Ben Roethlisberger had 123 Passing Yards in Super Bowl XL.
Ben Roethlisberger Super Bowl XL: +96½ (+140)
Ben Roethlisberger Super Bowl XLIII: -96½ (-170)
Vince: I think we can all agree that Roethlisberger was really, really stinky in Super Bowl XL, when his only meaningful completion came on a jump ball in traffic and it was Antwaan Randle El who threw the clinching touchdown pass. He can't possibly play worse than that, can he? Super Bowl XLIII.
Ben: Agree? Agree? I can't even handle this question. Seriously, I'm moving on. No bet.

Total Passing Yards Kurt Warner Super Bowl XXXVI vs Kurt Warner Super Bowl XLIII

Kurt Warner had 365 Passing Yards in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Kurt Warner Super Bowl XXXVI: -99.5 Yards (-115)
Kurt Warner Super Bowl XLIII: +99.5 Yards (-115)
Vince: Conversely, it will be damned near impossible for Warner to top his prior performance. That's where the 99.5-yard difference comes in. Can Warner hit 266 against the Steelers? Of course, he can, but nobody did it during the regular season. Super Bowl XXXVI.
Ben: I say Warner goes nuts, so make mine that other roman-numeral thingy I'm too lazy to figure out.

Total Passing Yards Kurt Warner, Over/Under 265 1/2

Over: -115
Under: -115
Vince: Didn't we just bet on this exact same issue? Under.
Ben: Yeah, why is this even on here? Over. (Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.)

Player to record the most receiving yards in the game?

Larry Fitzgerald: 1/1
Anquan Boldin: 2/1
Steve Breaston: 11/2
Jerheme Urban: 15/1
Hines Ward: 2/1
Santonio Holmes: 3/1
Heath Miller: 6/1
Nate Washington: 7/1
Limas Sweed: 15/1
Vince: Larry Fitzgerald has not gotten any worse since the last time I wrote that he was a pretty good football player.
Ben: Ditto Boldin.

Total Receptions Larry Fitzgerald, Over/Under 6 1/2

Over: -135
Under: +105
Vince: Have you noticed that I am a Larry Fitzgerald fan?
Ben: Whereas apparently I am on the downlow with Boldin?

Total Receptions Anquan Boldin, Over/Under 5 1/2

Over: -135
Under: +105
Vince: OK, this is automatic. Boldin could have a half-dozen catches by halftime. Over.
Ben: This is autotext at this point.

Total Rushing Yards Edgerrin James, Over/Under 49 1/2

Over: +115
Under: -145
Vince: Can we talk about Larry Fitzgerald some more? Under.
Ben: It's weird for me that I've played fantasy football for so long, I can remember when guys like Edge James were complete studs. Now, he's but a punchline in an overly long Scramble column. (When are these going to end?)

Will Willie Parker score a touchdown?

Yes: -110
No: -120
Vince: I'd say it's a 50-50 shot, but the odds are (very) slightly better for the yes bet.
Ben: As a FO staffer, I feel contractually obligated to rip on Parker for no apparent reason. So: No.

Will Troy Polamalu get an interception in the game?

Yes: +190
No: -230
Vince: In 2009, I could never bet on any individual player pulling in a pick in any given game. No.
Ben: Why does "pulling a pick" sound weird to me? I say yes, for no apparent reason.

Have you placed all your bets? Money still burning in your pocket? Then head over to Bodog's Super Bowl player prop bet page, where you can find 103 more wagers, including such crucial questions as whether Willie Parker's rushing total will be odd or even.


33 comments, Last at 02 Feb 2009, 12:09am

2 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Why does everyone think that Springsteen is going to play (let alone open with) Glory Days? The first verse is about a guy who played baseball, fer crissakes.

Putting my money on Tenth Avenue Freezeout. Then The Wrestler (got to promote the new one), finishing with Born to Run.

14 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Bruce hasn't played "Born in the USA" in its original form in at least fifteen years. On the occasions he plays it now it's only the sytripped down acoustic version. He really didn't like how that song became a jingoistic anthem and wants to reclaim it and bring it back to its original meaning. He also hasn't played "Glory Days" in years.

It's a good bet he'll play either "Thunder Road" or "Born To Run", but I'd bet he'll start with "Badlands", then play a new song ("Radio Nowhere" maybe?) and close it with "Born To Run" and "The Rising". Bruce was a HUGE Obama backer, and playing "The Rising" now is too great an opportunity to pass up.

I feel very good about this analysis.

17 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Is the bet which of these songs he plays first? 'Cause I doubt he'll open with any of them. Radio Nowhere is possible, only because you want to start up tempo. Born to Run is the closer, for sure.

My only hope is that the Boss shows more energy than Petty did. God, he looked like RifRaff from the Rocky Horror Picure Show.

23 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

What are the odds on Bruce playing Philadelphia? Come on, that's a natural, esp if the Eagles were in it. A song from a movie about a lawyer dying of AIDS--what could be more of a football rah-rah, get the leather-lunged fans screaming song than that?

Oh, in that case, Cadillac Ranch.

3 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Guys, it was three years ago. Get over it.

And anyway, you should be way more upset about:
a) Allowing an untouched Parker to scamper for 75 yards
b) Allowing Ward to be essentially uncovered on a gadget play that had been run 7 or 8 weeks before
c) Horrific clock management at the end of both halves
d) Missed field goals in a dome
e) Dropped passes clanging to the turf

I could go on if necessary. However, nice job on the article.

5 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

I felt this was more snarky than past prop bet extravaganzas, and less real analysis. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I really enjoyed reading two intelligent statheads try to come up with some logic that justified going one way or another on a ridiculously unknowable wager. The absurdity of taking it seriously was the joke.

Instead, this column was a lot of "ha ha Larry Fitzgerald is good and teh Steelers stole it from the Seawhawks". Not your best.

26 Drinking and Writing

Whereas in past columns, they actually discussed what and how much they have consumed, no? Or is that the preseason over/under picks? Few things are more fun than reading, "I probably should have said no that fourth gin and tonic. Okay, I'll take the over." Or something like that.

6 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Here are my picks (why not):
Coin Toss: Heads (-105)

Commercial: Other (2:1) - Have you seen the ad yet? Seeing a Rhino tear up a family room is hilarious.

Song: Born in the USA (2:1) - What better way to warm up a modern US crowd?

Viewership: XLIII (-150) - People don't go out as much anymore; watching is free

Marketshare: Pittsburgh (-500) - Gotta be.

Matt Millen: No (+210) - This has to be the strangest non-(-105) bet I've ever seen

MVP: Teammates (2:1) - Even Warner could thank his teammates first

Tackled by hair: Fitzgerald (+450) - So unlikely to happen either way, I'll take the points

Stock Market: Pit, Market down (7:5) - Maybe the "double reverse-jinx" will work here

Score in the last 3:30: No (+120) - Seems too likely Pit will be running out the clock

Margin: Arizona 13-18 (27:2) - Love the odds for the chance at a 2 TD Arizona upset

1st TD Pass: Warner (-110) - Gotta believe the long Fitz score is coming

More INTs: Roethlisberger (+120) - Surprised at the odds; Ben tends to get careless sometimes

More receptions: Fitzgerald (-0.5) (-145) - The Cards will go with what got them here

First Pit TD: Willie Parker (5:2) - Playing it safe; he's the surest to have the ball in his hands the most

First Ari TD: Fitzgerald (5:2) - The only name on the list worth putting money on. Decent chance for a long one; everyone else is a crapshoot.

Big Ben pass yds vs 123: Super Bowl XLIII: -96.5 (-170) - Seems like a high-scoring game to me; 220 seems within reach for Ben.

Warner pass yds vs 365: Super Bowl XLIII: +99.5 Yards (-115) - Like I said, I see a high-scoring affair for both teams

Having the duplicate over/under on Warner's pass yards is just stupid.

Most receiving yards: Holmes (3:1) - Taking Fitz at 1:1 isn't worth it; might as well try get some decent odds here

Fitzgerald receptions: Under 6.5 (+105) - He can have a huge impact even with not that many receptions; I'll take the odds

Boldin receptions: Under 5.5 (+105) - Don't trust him coming back from injury and arguing with coaches to lay odds here. Plus, going under on both Boldin and Fitz means I'll probably get one right and win $5. Whoohoo!

Edge rush yds: Over 49.5 (+115) - Am I the only one who realizes that Arizona benched him for Hightower to rest him for the playoffs? And that it worked perfectly?

Will Willie Parker score a TD: No (-120) - Hedging my "Who scores the first TD for Pit" bet from earlier

Will Polumalu get an INT? Yes (+190) - Just seems that it would be a fitting end to the game if he were to get one and take a knee

16 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

By the way, 43+ (for both teams, not just the Cards) gets better odds than 37-42 because it covers a much wider range of numbers. It's obviously far more likely that the margin will be 42 or lower, but 43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53 and onward is more likely than {37,38,39,40,41,42} (since at this range we're talking complete wacked out events either way).

13 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

The most surprising thing in here is the news that Pittsburgh and Arizona are going to be in Super Bowl XLIV as well.

18 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Best bet may be the state viewership. Everybody from Arizona will be on the bandwagon, whereas half of PA is so pissed off that the Eagles aren't in it that we may boycott. Well worth a shot at a 3-1 payoff.

Also, the field looks good for first Steeler TD. They could get one on D by almost anybody if they can get to Warner.

22 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Population of Pennsylvania: 12.4 Million. Population of Arizona: 6.1 Million. Even if only half the poeple in PA watch, they've still got AZ beat.

Also, the reason to bet Fitz will have more receiving yards than anyone else? Same reason you bet on the sun rising in the East Super Bowl morning: because that's what's going to happen.

I have a blog where I post objective, predicive power rankings of NFL teams.

21 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

I would LOVE and absolutely LOVE to see a player thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for the win. That would be so awesome.
Good night Ben. I hope you don't have to cry yourself to sleep this night. I'm sure you will get over it in a decade or 2.
Big hug, a Steelers fan.

24 "Game must go 55 minutes for action"

"Game must go 55 minutes for action"

28 Re: Super Bowl XLIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!

what happens if the first person to interview the MVP leads off with something like "congrats kurt" and he responds with "thanks terry" does that count?