The Fourth Annual Super Bowl Prop Bet Extravaganza!

by Bill Barnwell & Ian Dembsky

Bill: This week, myself and Ian partake in the column I've been waiting to write all season: Scramble's Fourth Annual Super Bowl Prop Bet Extravaganza. The Prop Bets are one of the many glories of Super Bowl Sunday surrounding what would otherwise be a mere football game between the two best teams in the land.

Part of Football Outsiders' Super Bowl Coverage is this yearly column from whoever happens to be writing Scramble that year. (You can find the previous years' columns here, here, and here.) It was always one of my favorite columns to read all year, and now that I'm lucky enough to be writing it, I'm very excited. Thanks to Bodog for posting their prop bet odds online; when Calvin Ayre is arrested and/or deposed as the king of Costa Rica, I will write him a letter in prison or something. I want to get to the bets, but first, an explanation of how the bets work as per legendary prop-bettor and Scramble-originator Al Bogdan:

Number of pro wrestling references in Scramble for the Ball o/u 4.5 (o -105, u +130)

Here, you would be betting on how many pro wrestling references appear in this column. You would have to choose either more than 4.5 or less than 4.5. (I don't know what 0.5 of a pro wrestling reference would be. Maybe a Sky Low Low mention?) If you were to bet that there would be more than 4.5 pro wrestling mentions, you would have to wager a hypothetical $105 to win $100 (hence the "-105"). If you wanted to take the under, you would wager a hypothetical $100 to win $130 (hence the "+130"). Since we're already at .5 pro wrestling references in this column, the under is less likely to win, therefore you'd get more money if it actually does come through.

The other bets are those with many possible options, like wagering on who will score the first touchdown in the game. The odds there will be something like "Thomas Jones +300" meaning that if you wager a hypothetical $100 on Jones and he scores the first touchdown, you'd win $300. For those bets, "field" means a player or result not listed. We'll explain anything else that needs an explanation as we go along.

Team Bets

How long will it take for Billy Joel to sing the National Anthem?

Over 1m 44s (-110)
Under 1m 44s (+110)

Ian: This really is the perfect way to kick off such a serious article on gambling. I mean, are you kidding me? How the heck should I know? Oh well, I just went ahead and did a throaty rendition of the song, and came out at one minute, fifty-two seconds. I'm pretty sure Billy Joel will find a way to sing it longer than I can. Over.

Bill: I am terrified at that visual. I will say Under solely to avoid encouraging anyone.

Who will win the coin toss? (Indianapolis -105, Chicago -105)

Bill: Anyone who bets this should immediately have all other wagers cancelled and the money put up for said bets donated to charities for those less fortunate. That being said ... I'm feeling Chicago here.

Ian: Are you kidding me? The coin toss will somehow be rigged to get Peyton Manning on the field as fast as possible and make all the fans happy. Indianapolis.

What will the coin toss be? (Heads -105, Tails -105)

Bill: See previous bet. Well, no, because it will clearly be Tails. Duh.

Ian: Can't disagree with you there; Tails is clearly the way to go on this one.

Check out the Football Outsiders comics archive and Jason's wacky Gil Thorp blog.

Who will score first? (Indianapolis -155, Chicago +125)

Bill: I think whoever gets the ball first is going to score first. Since I picked Chicago to win the toss, I pick Chicago to get on the board first.

Ian: Even though I think the Colts will get the ball first, I think Chicago's defense will win "Round One" against Peyton and company, and I expect the first points to come on a Robbie Gould field goal. Also, getting odds to go with Chicago makes this an easy choice.

Who will score last? (Indianapolis -135, Chicago +105)

Bill: This is a more difficult one. With questions like this, you sort of have to go with your broad idea of how the game is going to go and then fill in the gaps from there. I think Indianapolis will be behind, so I'll say that the Colts will be driving late in the game, making a comeback, and get a late non-clutch Adam Vinatieri field goal to finish up the scoring.

Ian: I'm of the opinion that the Colts will get it going in the second half, and put away what was a close game in the third quarter. I also expect them to score last and seal the deal. Indianapolis.

Team to Punt First (Indianapolis -105, Chicago -125)

Bill: My previous bets in mind, I still could see Rex Grossman being a little frazzled on his first series. I'll say Bears roll out the dreamy Brad Maynard for the game's first punt.

Ian: For reasons previously stated, I'm going with Indianapolis here.

Team to get the First First Down (Indianapolis -135, Chicago +105)

Bill: I think Chicago will get the game's initial first down, but it will be on all run plays. The next series, they'll be brave enough to try a pass, Rex Grossman will three-hop it like a Tom Emanski video, and the Bears will punt.

Ian: I'll take a chance on Chicago here as well. If they get the ball first, I think they can get a first down. Even if Indy gets the ball first, I still think Chicago can get the first first down.

First Team to Commit A Penalty (Indianapolis -105, Chicago -125)

Bill: That's kind of a random one. I'll take the better odds and go with Indy.

Ian:Yeah, why in the world is Chicago laying extra odds on this one? Is it because people figure they'll get nailed with a pass interference or something? I'll go with Indianapolis as well and see if Bernard Berrian can draw some downfield contact early.

Team to Score the Longest Touchdown in the Game (Indianapolis -165, Chicago +135)

Bill: Really? Chicago can cover people, people! The Colts, on the other hand, it's pretty easy to imagine them letting Bernard Berrian slip through the Cover-2 once or twice. Very strong bet here on the Bears.

Ian: Yup, especially with the odds, I love Berrian's chances for a long score. Chicago it is.

Team with the Longest Kickoff Return in the Game (Indianapolis +160, Chicago -200)

Bill: This is a spot to go with the conventional wisdom. Indianapolis' kick and punt coverage is abysmal. I don't think Devin Hester's going to score in the game, but he's gonna have two or three 35+ yard returns. Bears here.

Ian: I dunno ... Terrence Wilkins is pretty shifty, and certainly has a chance to make a big play on a kick return. The odds are so skewed that I'm convinced to go with the better money and the Colts here.

Team with the Longest Punt Return in the Game (Indianapolis +130, Chicago -160)

Bill: Their punt return team isn't very good, either. Bears.

Ian: For just $160, however, I'll take the Bears.

First Team to Record A Sack (Indianapolis -150, Chicago +120)

Bill: Chicago's pass rush has disappeared since Tommie Harris went on IR. They only sacked Drew Brees three times in 52 attempts. I like Indy here.

Ian: Manning almost never gets sacked. How can I go with Chicago here? I'm taking Indianapolis.

First Team to Use a Timeout (Indianapolis -115, Chicago -115)

Bill: Who's more likely to be confused and use a timeout, Rex Grossman or Peyton Manning? Right. Bears.

Ian: I agree with you on this one. The odds don't lean either way, so I'll assume that Manning will be as prepared as ever, and Chicago will be the first team to call a timeout out of confusion.

First Team to Use a Coach's Challenge (Indianapolis -115, Chicago -115)

Bill: "Some English MC's get it twisted/Start sayin' cookies instead of biscuits/Anyway, let's commence..." Colts. The way I'm deciding on these useless bets is sort of like the possession arrow in basketball. Chicago gets the next one.

Ian: I like Chicago's chances on this one, especially as Dwight Freeney comes around the end and swipes the ball out of Grossman's throwing hand. But was the arm coming forward??

First Team to Record an Interception (Indianapolis -180, Chicago +150)

Bill: Peyton Manning threw an interception once every 62 attempts in the regular season. Rex Grossman threw one every 24. That tells you what you need to know. Bears!

Ian: I'm gonna take the odds and go with Chicago on this one. Have you noticed how many picks Manning is throwing in the postseason? Look for Chicago to get to him early, but for Manning to take charge late.

Team To Have The Most Penalty Yards (Indianapolis +120, Chicago -150)

Bill: I'll take Chicago here with the idea that Bill Polian will be poking Roger Goodall with his loaded Colts foam finger each time a Bears defensive back touches a Colts receiver.

Ian: Both teams are very disciplined, and neither is likely to have many penalty yards at all. For that reason, I'm just going to take the odds and go with Indy here.

First Team to Make a Field Goal (Indianapolis -150, Chicago +120)

Bill: I don't know if anyone's noticed, but Robbie Gould's sure been kicking a lot of field goals this season. I like his chances here; first points of the game are a Bears field goal.

Ian: Yup, for the same reason I'm going Chicago as well.

First Team to Miss a Field Goal (Indianapolis -105, Chicago -125)

Bill: So Vegas figures Indianapolis is more likely to have a field goal chance, more likely to make one first, and more likely to miss one? That seems weird. I'll take Indy here with the shorter line.

Ian: Umm ... Vinatieri? Super Bowl? Hello?? Chicago.

First Team to Commit a Turnover (Indianapolis +125, Chicago -155)

Bill: Rex Grossman's still at quarterback? Yup. Bears.

Ian: I'll stick with my guns and wager on an early Manning pick. Besides, we all saw how effective Chicago is at stripping the ball against New Orleans in the NFC Championship game. I‘m going with Da Bears.

Longest Field Goal in the Game o/u 44.5 (o -115, u -115)

Bill: Vinatieri's only kicked three beyond 44 this season; Gould's got four. The nice weather will be more likely to put them on the field, but I don't see either of these offenses hesitating to go for it on fourth-and-short outside the red zone. I'll say Under.

Ian: That's as sound a reasoning as I can come up with. I'll go Under as well.

First Missed Field Goal in the Game Will Miss (Left -125, Right -105)

Bill: Someone needs to explain to me why left is favored here. Until then, I am going Right.

Ian: Because both kickers are righties, and it's more common for a kicker to pull a kick than to push it. At least, that's the only reason I can invent to explain the odds here. That being said, I'll just assume that someone else knows something that I don't and go Left.

Total First Downs by the Indianapolis Colts o/u 21.5 (o -105, u -125)

Bill: Again, my general view of the game sees the Colts getting behind early and coming back. That involves several lengthy drives with four or five first downs. That would put them in line for the Under here.

Ian: I don't care how much Indy struggles in the first half; they're going to light it up in the second half. Over.

Total First Downs by the Chicago Bears o/u 18.5 (o -120, u -110)

Bill: On the other hand, I see the Bears offense being big play-driven. In addition, they're going to have short fields to play with because of their special teams advantage. That all leads to the Bears going Under here.

Ian: I'm thinking the opposite here ... While I expect Chicago to move the ball in chunks via the pass, I think they'll also want to limit throwing bombs to keep the Colts offense on the sideline. I'm going Over here.

Will Indianapolis Score in Every Quarter? (Yes +165, No -210)

Bill: Indianapolis actually did this in ten out of their 19 games this season, including all three playoff games. That makes this a reasonably profitable Yes bet to make.

Ian: It certainly seems reasonable for them to score in every quarter, and I wouldn't want to lay $210 against it. I'm also going with Yes.

Will Chicago Score in Every Quarter? (Yes +210, No -300)

Bill: Chicago's only done this seven of 18 times this season, on the other hand. So why a Yes, then? They're playing the Indianapolis defense. It all boils down to whether you believe in 16 games or three. I choose 16.

Ian: I'm going to say No because I'm guessing that in the third quarter, Indy will run sustained drives while keeping Chicago in check.

Will There Be a Safety in the Game? (Yes +700, No -1400)

Bill: This is a good spot to be conservative. I don't think the Bears will be employing many pass plays deep in their own end, and the Colts have the pass protection to keep the Bears off them deep in theirs. Go No here.

Ian: Funny, I see taking Yes as being more conservative, which is what I'm going to do. A safety means you're out $1,400, which would be a killer blow to your overall finish. In all likelihood, I'm just out $100 here, which I'll live with.

Will a Defensive or Special Teams TD Be Scored? (Yes +160, No -200)

Bill: You do have two pretty opportunistic defenses here. If Mike Brown were in this game, it would be worth 10 or 20 points in the direction of Yes. I'm going to say No because I think Devin Hester will have a good day, but not ever break one. Adam Vinatieri's too clutch to let him run by.

Ian: I'm saying Yes here and anticipating a Manning pick returned for a touchdown. Even if that doesn't happen, Chicago always finds strange ways to score, so I like the odds here.

The First Score of the Game Will Be...

Touchdown (-170)
Field Goal or Safety (+140)

Bill: I still think it's going to be Robbie Gould. Field Goal or Safety.

Ian: I'm surprised that Touchdown gets such bad odds here; I'm also going with Field Goal or Safety. When that safety hits, I'll be rich, I tell you... Rich!

Will The Game Ever Be Tied After the First Score? (Yes +115, No -145)

Bill: This would be a good one to actually do the research on. If I weren't betting simoleans, I'd consider it. I'll trust Vegas here and go No.

Ian: I'll take the odds and go Yes, figuring that a 3-3 score after the first quarter is perfectly within reason.

Will Either Team Convert a Fourth Down Attempt? (Yes -170, No +140)

Bill: You better believe they will. It won't be the Colts, though.

Ian: In the Super Bowl, there's no tomorrow no matter what, so teams do whatever it takes to try and win. That means someone is probably attempting fourth downs late in the game to come back. Yes.

Total Number of Penalties Made by Both Teams o/u 10.5 (o -130, u Even)

Bill: I kinda like the Under here, actually. These are two well-coached teams and their offensive lines should be able to stay together in what should be a pretty calm, quiet atmosphere.

Ian: Yup, I mentioned it before when comparing penalties between teams. I'm a big fan of the Under here.

Total Number of Interceptions Made By Both Teams o/u 2.5 (o +110, u -140)

Bill: If Manning has to throw 50 times, the Bears defense is good enough to get one pick. So then, it comes down to Grossman -- will he throw one pick or two? If he throws two, I think he disappears; I don't think there's a chance in hell he won't throw one. I'll say a late second pick gets the Over over.

Ian: I'm not convinced Manning won't throw two picks in this one. Let's not forget just how good this Bears defense is. Over

Total Number of Pass Completions By Both Teams o/u 40 (o -115, u -115)

Bill: This seems awful low. I think Manning will have 35 by himself. Over seems a very safe bet here.

Ian: 35?!? That's a very, very high number of completions. I don't think he's getting quite that high, but I do think that the high 20s are within reason. Rex can hit low 20s, so I'm also going Over here.

Team to Have the Longest Rush in the Game (Indianapolis -110, Chicago -120)

Bill: Hey, we can use an FO stat for this! Hooray! Indianapolis' line is 28th in Running for 10+ Yards -- that's terrible! Chicago is ... 27th. Great. Gotta go Indianapolis, then.

Ian: Who am I to disagree with Football Outsiders' line stats? I must say Indianapolis as well.

The First Scored Field Goal Will Be ...

1-22 Yards (+350)
23-29 Yards (+260)
30-36 Yards (+200)
37-43 Yards (+300)
44-49 Yards (+380)
50 or More Yards (+500)
No Field Goals in Game (+450)

Bill: If I were betting this for my own purposes, I'd lay $100 on both 30-36 and 37-43. Since I can't do that ... I'll go for the gusto and say 37-43 Yards.

Ian: Wow, the football bets just keep getting better and better. Since the game's in Miami, and I like the idea of going for longshots on these type of bets, I'm going with 50 or more yards and hoping for a quick $500.

The Highest Scoring Quarter Will Be ...

First Quarter (+325)
Second Quarter (+190)
Third Quarter (+325)
Fourth Quarter (+250)
Two or More Quarters Tie (+350)

Bill: I had no idea the second quarter was so score-heavy. I am going to trust Vegas on this one and stick with the second.

Ian: Two or More Quarters Tie gets the best odds? That doesn't seem all that unlikely. I'll take a shot at it.

Will There Be A Score in the First Four Minutes of the Second Quarter? (Yes -135, No +105)

Bill: This is just an example of the many random scoring/timing bets that are available for the game. I guess if I said the most scoring would occur in the second quarter, I would assume that some of those points would go on the board in the first four minutes. I'll grudgingly say Yes.

Ian: Both teams have the potential to run long drives that take six to eight minutes off the clock, so I'll take the odds and go with No.

Team to Score Last in the First Half Will Be ... (Indianapolis -130, Chicago Even)

Bill: The second quarter is where I see Chicago pulling away and opening up their lead. So then, I should assume that the points would be Chicago's.

Ian: Nah, I see the end of the second quarter going a bit like the game between Indy and New England, where Indy gets a motivational score before the half.

What Will Happen First in the Last Two Minutes of the First Half?

Touchdown (+160)
Field Goal or Safety (+120)
No Score (+190)

Bill: I've said a lot about second quarter scoring but I can't resist that No Score line there. You can't see the Bears driving and holding onto the ball with the run just to keep Manning off the field? A missed field goal would work out nicely, too.

Ian: I like the chances of a Field Goal or Safety happening before the end of the half. I wonder why safety is lumped in with field goal?

Alternative Game Lines

Chicago -7.5 (Chicago +400, Indianapolis -700)
Chicago -3.5 (Chicago +250, Indianapolis -400)
Chicago -10.5 (Chicago +550, Indianapolis -1000)
Indianapolis -10.5 (Indianapolis +160, Chicago -230)
Indianapolis -14.5 (Indianapolis +210, Chicago -320)
Indianapolis -17.5 (Indianapolis +250, Chicago -400)
Indianapolis -21.5 (Indianapolis +425, Chicago -800)

Bill: I love these kind of bets and wish that they were available for every NFL game. As for this one? I still think Chicago's winning. With that in mind, I want to get as much money towards that as possible. -10.5 is a little strong, so I'm going to hedge my bets and put $100 on Chicago winning by 7.5.

Ian: I think Indy will pull away at the end and win by at least two scores, so I'll be conservative for once and just say Indianapolis -10.5.

Indianapolis Team Points o/u 28 (-125 o, -105 u)

Bill: Under here. I still like this Bears defense and how it matches up against the Colts.

Ian: I think the Colts offense will top the 28 mark sometime early in the fourth quarter. Over it is.

Chicago Team Points o/u 21.5 (-120 o, -110 u)

Bill: Well, obviously I like the Bears to win the whole thing, so I think that this is a good spot for me to get the Over. They're going to be able to run the ball! A lot! Honest!

Ian: Since I could see Chicago topping this mark in either victory or defeat, but not hitting the Under and still winning, I'm going with Over.

The First Scoring Play of the Game Will Be:

Indianapolis Field Goal (+300)
Indianapolis TD Pass (+250)
Indianapolis TD Run (+400)
Other Indianapolis TD (+2200)
Indianapolis Safety (+5000)
Chicago Field Goal (+380)
Chicago TD Pass (+600)
Chicago TD Run (+450)
Other Chicago TD (+1400)
Chicago Safety (+5000)

Bill: I still think Chicago gets out to the early lead on Robbie Gould's foot. Unless they attempt a drop kick, that will mean Chicago Field Goal.

Ian: Since I already like the idea of a long Berrian touchdown, and it's getting the best odds of all the conventional ways to score, I'll stick with it here. Chicago TD Pass.

The Last Scoring Play of the Game Will Be:

Indianapolis Field Goal (+300)
Indianapolis TD Pass (+400)
Indianapolis TD Run (+500)
Other Indianapolis TD (+1100)
Indianapolis Safety (+3500)
Chicago Field Goal (+400)
Chicago TD Pass (+450)
Chicago TD Run (+500)
Other Chicago TD (+1100)
Chicago Safety (+2000)

Bill: Likewise, Indianapolis will be coming back and get a Manning to Harrison touchdown pass. Indy TD Pass.

Ian: I wonder why the odds for a Chicago safety fell so much. Perhaps they think Indy could pull an intentional safety due to an unusual game situation? Anyway, why not take a chance on Vinatieri here. Indianapolis Field Goal.

Team to Score First and Final Outcome

Indianapolis Scores First and Wins (-175)
Indianapolis Scores First and Loses (+550)
Chicago Scores First and Wins (+250)
Chicago Scores First and Loses (+400)

Bill: We've already covered this. Chicago Scores First and Wins. I'm either going to be really wrong or really right on these bets. Fortunately, since we're not betting real money, I'm going to be really nothing.

Ian: I like the odds on Chicago Scores First and Loses, not to mention I like the chances of it happening as well.

Total Points Scored by Both Teams

0-7 points (+9900)
8-14 points (+7500)
15-21 points (+2500)
22-28 points (+1000)
29-35 points (+525)
36-42 points (+400)
43-49 points (+325)
50-56 points (+300)
57-63 points (+400)
64-70 points (+700)
71-77 points (+1900)
78 points or more (+2500)

Bill: I like the idea of 31-23 as a final score. That would be 54, so 50-56 it is.

Ian: This seems like it could be a high scoring game for both teams, so I'll go after some extra odds and take 64-70 points.

Will Indianapolis get a Rushing Touchdown? (yes -175, no +145)

Bill: Maybe if they can convince the Bears front seven to fall asleep or employ some sort of weird offshoot of the Aaron Brooks Glitch. I say No.

Ian: Manning likes to throw the ball, even right up against the goal line. I'm going No on this one.

Will Chicago get a Rushing Touchdown? (yes -210, no +165)

Bill: Oh yeah. I'll say three.

Ian: Here I've got to go Yes. Chicago loves to pound the ball near the goal line, and Indy's suspect tackling makes you think a Bears running back could break a long one.

Player Bets

Peyton Manning Total Passing Yards o/u 273.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Drew Brees had this many passing yards before the end of the third quarter in the NFC championship game. I think it's safe to say that Peyton will hit this mark. Over.

Bill: I think Peyton's going to throw 45 attempts in this game. He averaged 7.9 yards per attempt in the regular season. 45 * 7.9 = 355.5. That's the Over.

What will happen first? Peyton Manning will throw a (TD -180, INT +140)

Ian: Although I think Manning will end the game with more touchdown passes than interceptions, it's unusual for him to get off to a fast start. I'm gonna take the points and anticipate an early INT before he finds his groove.

Bill: I like that idea too. Chicago's going to have some exotic fronts for him -- well, as exotic as the Cover-2 gets. I can see Urlacher or Briggs grabbing an INT early in the second quarter. Let's say Pick.

Peyton Manning Rushing Attempts o/u 1.5 (o -160, u +120)

Ian: Here's one where the line certainly reflects what I think, but I'm also very confident in laying odds. With defenses tending to gang up on the Colts wide receivers, and Brian Urlacher likely running with Dallas Clark upfield, Peyton will find himself with nowhere to go at times. When the opportunity presents itself, he's willing to take what's there. Oh, and kneeldowns count, so there's always the chance of that being a factor.Over.

Bill: I don't see Peyton having a reason to go outside the pocket -- it's not like the Bears have a pass rush of any note. I'll go Under.

Peyton Manning Longest Completion o/u 37.5 (o -130, u -110)

Ian: It's pretty rare to hit a big play against the stout Bears' defense. People seem to be leaning toward the chance of a long ball, but I'm going with the Under on this one.

Bill: If this were literally a yard lower, I'd go over since he's had four games this season where his longest completion was either 37 or 38 yards. I'll say Under.

Joseph Addai Total Rushing Yards o/u 65.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: When the Bears were playing the Saints, Lovie Smith asserted that while New Orleans might be able to move the ball through the air, they would not be able to run on them. He was right. No Saints player rushed for even 20 yards in the game. I don't see why things will be any different in Miami. Under

Bill: I agree, Under. I think Addai only gets 10-12 carries in this game, and none of them go for 30 yards. The Bears pursuit is too good and the Colts aren't famous for running the ball for big gains.

Joseph Addai Longest Rush from Scrimmage o/u 14.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: While I don't think he'll reach 66 yards rushing, the chances of him breaking one of those stretch handoffs for a 20-yard gain seems reasonable enough. The speed of the Bears defense will keep him from going all the way, but I'll take the Over here.

Bill: I don't think so! I'm gonna say he hits 11, maybe, but not 14.5. Under.

Joseph Addai Total Receiving Yards o/u 20.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Here's where I think the Colts will attack the Bears defense -- passing to the running backs. I'm going Over here.

Bill: That's all fine and well, but the Bears are third in the league defending against throws to the opposition's running backs. If Addai does get this, it will be from dump-offs when the Colts are behind, but I'll guess that he doesn't. Under.

Dominic Rhodes Total Rushing Attempts o/u 13.5 (o -130, u -110)

Ian: Throughout the season, Rhodes was used mainly for the pupose of keeping Joseph Addai fresh late in the season. As the playoffs arrived however, and Addai was made the starter, Rhodes has shown some excellent power running to help him keep his share of playing time in the Colts backfield. Will he reach 14 rushing attempts though? That just seems too high a number against such a strong rushing defense. Under.

Bill: I don't think Addai will get fourteen attempts, let alone Rhodes. He might not even see four. Under with extreme prejudice.

Dominic Rhodes Total Rushing Yards o/u 50.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: I've got to go Under here. Again, I expect the Colts to move the ball mainly through the air, just as the Saints did.

Bill: Agreed.

Dominic Rhodes Total Pass Receptions o/u 2.5 (o -115, u -125)

Ian: I'm surprised to see that people are leaning towards the under here. I guess Addai is usually the pass-catching back, but if the receivers are covered, and Dallas Clark is covered up the seam, then that will leave dumping the ball off or running as the lone options for Manning. I'm going Over.

Bill: Maybe he can throw it to the moooovers. Under because I don't anticipate Rhodes being on the field enough to get the ball three times out of the backfield.

Marvin Harrison Total Receiving Yards o/u 78 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Strangely, Harrison seems to have transformed from a player who was a lock for 100 yards receiving a game to one who either has a huge game, or vanishes for long stretches at a time. So which Marvin will show up for the big game? I'm going with the Over here, just because after a couple of sub-optimal games, he seems due.

Bill: The one thing the Bears defense struggles against? #1 WR's. They're 21st in the league in defending them so far this year. I'll expect them to put Nathan Vasher up in single coverage against Harrison, which means 120 yards and a touchdown for Marv. Over.

Marvin Harrison Total Pass Receptions o/u 5.5 (o -140, u EVEN)

Ian: I'm not a big fan of laying extra odds here, but look for Manning to try to get Harrison involved early with some quick grabs, which should make six catches a reasonable goal. Over.

Bill: This seems eminently reasonable to me. Over.

Reggie Wayne Total Receiving Yards o/u 76.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Just because I think Harrison will have a good game doesn't mean it will come at Reggie's expense. He's been a consistent threat for the Colts, and should continue his success at moving the chains. Over.

Bill: Manning's got to get his 280 yards somewhere, and I don't think it will be through Clark or Addai. I foresee a long pass interference penalty against Wayne in this game, but I think he can get to 80 ignoring that. Over.

Reggie Wayne Longest Reception o/u 21.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Reggie Wayne's too talented not to catch a big pass in the biggest game of his career. Over.

Bill: I think he actually ends up being held short, since the Bears will probably have safety help deep. I think he'll slip by once, but end up getting taken down for a Pass Interference penalty. I'll say Under.

Dallas Clark Total Receiving Yards o/u 50.5 (o -110, u -130)

Ian: We've seen the job Brian Urlacher can do in pass coverage, which will help out on Clark's intermediate routes, but it's not like he'll be in man coverage on him on every play. Clark's been as active in the passing game as any of the other Colts receivers lately, and it doesn't take too much to top 50 yards receiving. Over.

Bill: No way. Urlacher and Briggs shut Clark down. Chicago is the NFL's best defense against tight ends this season. Clark's good, but Chicago knows how important shutting him down is. Two catches, 19 yards. Under.

Adam Vinatieri Total Points Scored o/u 8.5 (o -130, u -110)

Ian: Given the success I expect the Colts passing attack to have, it's safe to assume that Vinatieri will hit the Over on this one.

Bill: Not feeling it. If Vinatieri misses a game-winning field goal, does that make Tom Brady more clutch? Under.

Dwight Freeney Total Tackles, Sacks and Interceptions o/u 3.5 (o -135, u -105)

Ian: This one strikes me as surprisingly low, especially against a Bears offense that likes to run the ball as much as they do. Freeney isn't exactly a top-notch run stuffer, but given as many opportunities as he probably will get, it seems reasonable for him to top the 3.5 mark. Over.

Bill: It's hard to tackle someone when they've run by you. I'm pretty sure we will be able to characterize some Dwight Freeney pass rushes during this game as "grazing." Under.

Rex Grossman Total Passing Yards o/u 215.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Well, I'd have to say the oddsmakers have picked a nice number here. Seem like Rex could easily go either way. I'm going to guess that the Colts sell out to stop the run, and the Bears offense goes through the air. Over.

Bill: Yeah, for about one series. And they'll run right through the Colts eight-man front. Under.

Rex Grossman Total Passing TDs + Interceptions o/u 2.5 (o +105, u -145)

Ian: Wow, I guess people think that Rex isn't going to do a heck of a lot. I probably would have gone with the Over at the usual -120; I'll definitely go with it now.

Bill: Ooh, ooh, I get to include interceptions. Get me all over this Over.

Rex Grossman Total Times Sacked o/u 2 (o -130, u -110)

Ian: Since I anticipate a lot of dropbacks for the Bears quarterback, I expect more than a couple of sacks for the Indy defense. Over.

Bill: I the opposite! If Grossman only throws 18 passes, that won't give him many chances to get sacked. I'll take the Under.

Thomas Jones Total Rushing Yards o/u 77.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: This will probably happen due to a combination of many short runs, and one or two long ones. Jones has been efficient at evading tacklers, while the Colts have been poor at tackling. Over.

Bill: Definitely feeling this. I think Jones and Benson both see the ball a lot, but Jones is my Super Bowl MVP pick. Over.

Thomas Jones Total Receiving Yards o/u 10 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Since Jones typically doesn't do much in the passing game, this line remains fairly low. That being said, as the Colts will likely do whatever they can to stop the Bears running backs, receiving yards for them likely won't come easily. Under.

Bill: Indianapolis does a decent job of stopping throws to the opposition's running backs. Wide receivers ... not so much. I'll take the Under too.

Will Thomas Jones score a Touchdown? (yes -115, no -125)

Ian: He's been their go-to guy in the red zone, but will he get the chance this Sunday? He probably will, as both offenses seem capable of moving the ball in chunks. I'll say Yes.

Bill: How about two?

Cedric Benson Total Rushing Attempts o/u 12.5 (o -135, u -105)

Ian: Cedric Benson has really come on as of late, earning his fair share of the carries through solid, power running. That being said, he still only earns a share of the carries, and I believe the Bears will take to the air enough so that Benson doesn't make 13. Under.

Bill: Again, I feel that Ian is quite wrong. Benson's going to get the rock in the second half of this game and pick up 60-70 yards. That will take 15 attempts. Over.

Cedric Benson Total Rushing Yards o/u 53.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: I'll stick with my initial instinct that he won't be a big part of the Bears game plan and say Under.

Bill: See above. Over.

Cedric Benson Longest Rush o/u 12.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: This one is tempting to go with the over, just because he's certainly capable of those 10-15 yard power runs he breaks off at times. In fact, I'll go with temptation and say Over.

Bill: I don't really see that happening, even though this isn't a real high number. I'd do it if it were eleven, but it's not. Under.

Muhsin Muhammad Total Receiving Yards o/u 51.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: I haven't been impressed with Muhammad lately; he's been having a tough time getting separation from cornerbacks and making it way for Rex to get him the ball. He's almost become the number three target behind Berrian and Clark. Under.

Bill: Indianapolis is so mediocre against #1 WR's, though! They're 29th! Actually, that's not mediocre, that's abysmal. I gotta say Over.

Will Muhsin Muhammad score a Touchdown? (yes +150, no -200)

Ian: Then again, while he hasn't been much of a threat up and down the field, he's still sure-handed enough to get targets in the redzone, where Berrian usually sits since speed is his biggest asset. I'll take a chance on Yes here.

Bill: Berrian doesn't sit, usually he's the one running through the red zone on the way to the end zone. Muhammad doesn't get in here.

Bernard Berrian Total Receiving Yards o/u 70.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: As I mentioned last week in Scramble, Berrian is the key to the Bears offensive success. He's been both a huge-play player, as well as adept at creating space for mid-range passes. Rex trusts him, and will get him the ball. Over.

Bill: Love love love me some Bernard Berrian. Did you see that deke he put on Fred Thomas last week? You did. Sure, it was Fred Thomas, so it was like dekeing Goldberg the goalie, but it was smooth! Bob Sanders will come out at some point and Berrian will run right by the hole that replaces him. Over.

Bernard Berrian Longest Reception o/u 21.5 (o -120, u -120)

Ian: Bernard's been good for a big play a game at least. I feel pretty confident going with the Over here.

Bill: I don't know how I can make this any clearer. Over.

Robbie Gould Total Points o/u 7 (o -105, u -135)

Ian: The Bears are pretty effective in the red zone, leading often to extra points instead of field goals. I think the Bears will have some nice, sustained drives, but also a fair number of three-and-outs, leading to few medium-range field goal attempts. Under.

Bill: I'm gonna say Under too, mainly because I think he'll be kicking extra points, not field goals. He'll get one figgie, but not two.

Brian Urlacher Total Tackles, Sacks + Interceptions o/u 8.5 (o -135, u -105)

Ian: Not surprising that people are leaning towards the Over, as Urlacher is a fan favorite and someone people want to root for. That being said, reaching nine tackles alone seems perfectly reasonable for the Bears defensive leader. Over

Bill: Well, he's a fan favorite unless you're a stripper. Or Bas Rutten. I don't think the Colts will be putting the ball near him and I'll say Under.

Player to score the first Touchdown of the game:

Peyton Manning (+1800)
Joseph Addai (+700)
Marvin Harrison (+680)
Dominic Rhodes (+1200)
Reggie Wayne (+700)
Dallas Clark (+1000)
Bryan Fletcher (+1800)
Rex Grossman (+3000)
Muhsin Muhammad (+1000)
Cedric Benson (+900)
Thomas Jones (+680)
Bernard Berrian (+1000)
Desmond Clark (+1500)
Rashied Davis (+2000)
Devin Hester (+2000)
No TD scored (+7500)
Field (+750)

Ian: I like Berrian's chances of scoring early, as the Bears will want to establish that they're willing to stretch the field.

Bill: Those are some mighty fine odds on No TD Scored. 7500? Geez. That's three-quarters of the way to my World Series entry. I'll trust my instincts and go with Field here. Maybe Charles Tillman?

Player to score the last Touchdown of the game:

Peyton Manning (+2000)
Joseph Addai (+800)
Marvin Harrison (+600)
Dominic Rhodes (+1000)
Reggie Wayne (+800)
Dallas Clark (+1200)
Bryan Fletcher (+2000)
Rex Grossman (+2500)
Muhsin Muhammad (+1000)
Cedric Benson (+1000)
Thomas Jones (+700)
Bernard Berrian (+800)
Desmond Clark (+1200)
Rashied Davis (+1500)
Devin Hester (+3000)
No TD scored (+7500)
Field (+500)

Ian: Late in the game is when strange things happen, and the field is certainly more tempting. That being said, why not take a shot at winning big? I'll take the chance that Devin Hester comes up with a big play late, whether or not the game is still in question at that point. C'mon, $3,000!

Bill: I think the last score of the game brings the Colts within a few points before a failed onside kick causes the game to all but end. With that in mind, it seems like a good time for Marvin Harrison to get in the end zone.

Player to catch the first reception of the game for Indianapolis:

Marvin Harrison (+180)
Reggie Wayne (+200)
Ben Utecht (+400)
Dallas Clark (+300)
Bryan Fletcher (+250)
Joseph Addai (+350)
Field (+450)

Ian: As I mentioned earlier, it seems reasonable to think that Peyton Manning will want to get Marvin Harrison involved early in the game. He's the favorite here, and I also like his chances.

Bill: I like the odds on Joseph Addai here. I don't think he'll get much during the game, but +350 is way too high.

Player to catch the first reception of the game for Chicago:

Muhsin Muhammad (+180)
Bernard Berrian (+190)
Desmond Clark (+250)
Rashied Davis (+300)
Thomas Jones (+500)
Field (+400)

Ian: Chicago loves to set up early short passes to their tight ends and fullbacks in an effort to ease Rex Grossman into the passing game. For that reason, and because the odds are pretty good, I'm going with the Field.

Bill: Ian brings up a good point: Does Vegas mean "A player who is not listed among the players above," or literally that Rex will throw a pass into the field? If I could bet on the latter, I would without a second's hesitation. Outside of that, I'll go with Desmond Clark.

Player to win the Super Bowl XLI MVP

Peyton Manning (EVEN)
Dallas Clark (+2000)
Marvin Harrison (+900)
Adam Viniatieri (+1100)
Bob Sanders (+2200)
Dominic Rhodes (+1500)
Joseph Addai (+900)
Reggie Wayne (+1200)
Terrence Wilkins (+3300)
Rex Grossman (+550)
Muhsin Muhammad (+2000)
Thomas Jones (+1000)
Bernard Berrian (+1200)
Cedric Benson (+1000)
Desmond Clark (+1800)
Brian Urlacher (+1200)
Devin Hester (+2000)
Robbie Gould (+1500)
Field (+900)

Ian: Even money. Amazing. Of course, it makes a lot of sense. Even if Harrison or Wayne have a huge game, Manning will win MVP on his name alone. Why miss an opportunity to make some real money? If the Bears win, it's conceivable that a lot of players could claim credit. Since I think he's their key to victory, I'll take a chance on Bernard Berrian taking the award home.

Bill: I'm figuring Thomas Jones for something like 130 and two scores. That's Super Bowl MVP range, easy.

Who will have more on Feb. 4th?

Joe Johnson total points -4.5 (-120)
Chicago Bears total points +4.5 (-120)

Ian: I don't like Indy's chances of shutting down the Bears offense, so I wouldn't call this a Joe Johnson slam dunk. He averages about 25 points a game, and he'll be playing in New Jersey, where the Nets are a pretty-much league-average defense. I'm guessing the Bears will crack 20 points, so I'll go with the Bears +4.5.

Bill: I like the Bears here too. I have them penciled in somewhere from 28-31 and I don't see Johnson going for 36. Vince Carter! Contract year!

Who will have more?

Mary J. Blige Grammy wins (-120)
Marvin Harrison pass receptions (-120)

Ian: Good luck to ya Mary, but since I think Marvin will have a prolific affair this weekend, I can't see you out-winning his reception total. I'm going with Harrison.

Bill: I don't see Mary doing very well myself. Her story plays nice, but is Clive Davis really behind her? I don't think so. Marvin gets it.

Who will have more on Feb. 4th?

Zydrunas Ilgauskas total points and rebounds -1.5 (-120)
Peyton Manning total pass completions +1.5 (-120)

Ian: Ilgauskas is averaging 12 points and eight rebounds on the season, but unfortunately for him, he's going up against the Detroit Pistons, who are the second-best defense in the Eastern Conference. It's unlikely for him to have a very productive game, even though Ben Wallace won't be there to help slow him down. Factor in that I think Manning will have a nice game spreading the ball around, and I'm going with Peyton's completions +1.5 on this one.

Bill: Ilgy (as I and I alone like to call him) is hit or miss. The Cavs are going to have to attack with LeBron on the outside, and their interior defense, by then, will be stronger. Go with Peyton here.

You know, we haven't even gotten to the historical matchup between Manning passing yards and Joe Montana passing yards in Super Bowl XVI, Bernard Berrian vs. Tiger Woods' fourth-round golf score, or Dixie Chicks Grammy awards vs. Peyton Manning rushing attempts. But at this point the print version of this column must be getting into the hundreds of pages, so we'll wrap it up. Good luck to all our readers in the Super Bowl -- whatever your rooting interests might be.

Ian: Come on, Over 1 minute 44 seconds!


90 comments, Last at 06 Feb 2007, 3:01pm

#90 by Zac (not verified) // Feb 06, 2007 - 3:01pm

I suck at this. My bad.

Points: 0

#89 by Rick (not verified) // Feb 06, 2007 - 2:17pm

Yeah, the spreadsheet is screwed up. The comment about winning bets paying off $100 too much appears to be spot on. You're also paying off for a Chicago rushing TD, which didn't happen.

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#88 by Pat (not verified) // Feb 06, 2007 - 9:38am

er, more like -$2000 and -$3000, that is.

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#87 by Pat (not verified) // Feb 06, 2007 - 1:14am

#85: Oh, absolutely. By a mile. Both of them hit on well under 50% of their bets. No way they'd make money like that.

It's more like $6000 and $8000 in the hole, respectively.

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#86 by David (not verified) // Feb 05, 2007 - 4:15pm

Also, minor nitpick, but you called Bill's "Chicago scores first and loses" bet a loss.

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#85 by aih (not verified) // Feb 05, 2007 - 2:34pm

Sorry, Zac. I think your spreadsheet is screwed up. On even bets, you gvie $200 in winnings, but only -$100 for getting it wrong. That is, you are treating getting the $100 bet back as winning $100. I didn't look at it so carefully, but I think you need to subtract $100 from every winning bet. I'm guessing Bill and Ian were both losers.

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#84 by Zac (not verified) // Feb 05, 2007 - 10:39am

Re: 79. I didn't see this until this morning, but I believe this (click on my name) is what you were looking for.

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#83 by Zac (not verified) // Feb 05, 2007 - 12:03am

Well, I have it as Bill +2635.08, and Ian +1123.50. If Mary J Blige has less than 6 Grammy wins (she's nominated for 8), you'll both gain $183.33.

Good job guys, I was expecting you both to end up in the negative betting for every single prop bet like that.

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#82 by Bill Barnwell // Feb 04, 2007 - 3:26am

I actually did mean Bears. I was being roundabout and it was too subtle for my mediocre writing.

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#81 by Andrew S. (not verified) // Feb 04, 2007 - 2:59am

For first team to record an interception, I think Bill meant to say Colts (he said Bears).

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#80 by Zac (not verified) // Feb 04, 2007 - 2:50am

Alright, I think I got all the bets entered into a Google Spreadsheet. Click my name to view. I'm assuming that every bet is for $100 (hopfeully I did the calculating right). If you win, you get your money back plus the winning amount (for example, -110 means you would bet 110 to get 100, so betting 100 gets you 100*(10/11) = 90.91). If you lose, you've lost that 100. During the game, I can just change the Y to N if they've lost that bet, and have a running total.

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#79 by DrewTS (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 5:17pm

Re 77

I'm almost positive I've seen that done somewhere. I can't find it though. If anyone has a link, please post away.

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#78 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 4:16pm

Re: 77

For some reason I don't think my Indy(7)/Chi(5) box is going to be very high on that list. :-(

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#77 by Phillip Katz (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 3:53pm

The most interesting analysis would be to see which numbers in a super bowl pool (the boxes game) have the highest probability of winning by quarter. Create a "box" stock market off of it... I'll trade you a first round pick next year for my 3,7 combo

Points: 0

#76 by DrewTS (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 1:14pm

Re: the first team to commit a penalty odds

Chicago had more penalties than Indy this year (112 to 86). I assume that's why the odds are not even. Of course, we know that penalties are as much a function of the specific refs as the team. Perhaps this is an opportunity... No, probably not.

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#75 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 12:31pm

Now that Prince has embraced his Jehovah’s Witness faith, take the under on wardrobe malfunctions/skin being displayed.

I happened to turn to the NFLN right as Prince started a little mini-set during some press conference. The chest hair was in full effect.

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#74 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 10:18am

Re: 73

I love listening to Steve Czaban's show. They just went through some of the bets and what Ian and Bill had to say about some of the more interesting ones (like agreeing that Manning will likely obliterate the total passing yards o/u).

I'm not sure what was the funnier line though, when they called the anthem length the "Janet Gretzky special" cause she needed something to bet on even earlier than the coin flip, or when they referred to Ian and Bill as "experts".

I kid because I love.

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#73 by mactbone (not verified) // Feb 02, 2007 - 10:01am

This morning on First Team on Fox, or whatever they call their national sports radio guys, they referred to FO as the best site for football news, the moneyball guys for football and said after the break they would discuss this article on prop bets. Hopefully someone was able to catch the segment where they talked about the article and relay what they said.

BTW, I think this article was funnier than Gallo's. Now, I am a Bears fan, so that might have something to do with it.

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#72 by White Rose Duelist (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 5:14pm

Has FO done an homage to DJ Gallo yet? If not, why?

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#71 by DGL (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 4:32pm

See the link in my name for the inimitable DJ Gallo's take on Super Bowl prop bets.

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#70 by ABW (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 2:02pm

Re; 61

One year a friend of mine and I bet on how many commercials featuring monkeys there would be in the Super Bowl. We set the over/under at 2(or maybe 1.5), and I took the under, but it turned out that was the year that some dot-com did a whole series of commercials with monkeys and I lost.

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#69 by mb (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 1:34pm

Rich: Dude, your mom works for Prince? Doees she have any awesome Charlie Murphy-type stories about him? That's probably one of the coolest and strangest jobs I could imagine.

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#68 by BB (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 12:10pm

1: Yeah, I mean come on. The least you could have done is give us the DGOA for Bill and Ian based on previous years?

(that's Degenerate Gamblers' Overall Average to you laymen)

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#67 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 9:40am

Re: 63

That actually makes alot more sense now (from an intuitive perspective). So -155/+125 is kinda like 155 -> 100 -> 125

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#66 by mactbone (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 9:37am

Re 65:
Was it like Home Depot where she mixed the dyes or did he provide a color swatch to find a similar paint?

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#65 by Rich (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 3:34am

Re: assless pants. He was actually wearing flesh-tone tights underneath. My mother-in-law dyed them to match his skin color. I kid you not.

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#64 by JMO (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 2:19am


In university we bet(between ourselves and at bookies) on how many throw ins, corners, yellow cards, red cards, goals, first scorer, last scorer, first player seen spitting, first foul, first dive(hotly debated so had to be dropped), etc etc. This was in soccer. We also bet on pro evo soccer/winning eleven on the PS2 on a Dorm tournament that was taken way too seriously. I'm the proud owner to this day of a white porcelain mug with 'Konami Cup' written on it. I got to keep it after winning it 3 times:>

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#63 by m p baylo (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 1:48am

My understanding is that with a -155/+125 betting line you would put the $100 right in the if the team is favored (-155) you must bet $155 to win the $100 (total=$255) and you must bet $100 to win the $125 (total=$225) on the underdog.

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#62 by DrewTS (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 1:38am

Re 44

Thanks for posting that. That was exactly what I was referring to. I'm proud that I could contribute to a man's ass being discussed here.

Let me show you baby, I'm a talented boy.

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#61 by NF (not verified) // Feb 01, 2007 - 1:17am

What is the strangest real prop bet anyone here has ever seen for a sports event?

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#60 by JMO (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:54pm

sorry for the double post..but it would be easier for the 'negative' bets too. It woukld be 1/2 or '2 to 1' on as its said. ie if you bet a 2 dollars you get one and the two back. This is normal betting terms in Britain/Ireland where I thinkn this type of beting is more popular. I bet all the time on the first scorer in Soccer games.

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#59 by JMO (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:49pm

Someone has probably already said this, but why not say Thomas Jones is 3/1 to score the 1st TD.

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#58 by Peter Libero (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:48pm

4: Challenge him. CHALLENGE HIM! But make sure your people are there, so they can see you get embarassed.

24: Maybe nobody else makes this association, but I first heard that quote followed by: "They can't jump with me, Daunte!" in the thickest WV accent imagineable.

In closing, I would like to thank Bill and Ian for dooming us to a low scoring Superbowl.

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#57 by Zac (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 10:03pm

Sorry Bill, I'm not much of a gambler.

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#56 by BillWallace (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 9:29pm

Oh yeah that reminds me

3) Changing the betting amount based on the odds i.e. $100 to win $120 and then $1400 to win $100 instead of just scaling all bets to $100 is really stupid, if you are actually keeping score.

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#55 by the K (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 8:08pm

#10 wins this comment thread.

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#54 by Larry (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 8:01pm

OK, I just looked and commenter Zac scored the results last year, but Al disputed his calculations without showing his own. Zac appeared to assume that it was $100 staked on every bet, though the implication of the column is that you bet $100 on + odds and bet to win $100 on - odds. That makes a pretty big difference in the calculation.

Anyway, I'm asking for an update after the game.

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#53 by Larry (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 7:54pm

Do you guys ever score these and show the results? I'm curious how the scoring worked out in previous years (partly because I'm really weird and wonder if one of you is fronting a lot more money than the other due to betting on - odds)

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#52 by BillWallace (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 7:35pm

1) These odds are atrocious -115 -115? Yikes

2) Ian I would be surprised if they didn't refuse a bunch of parlays for that exact reason. Parlays are designed to be based on independent events. If the events aren't independent then I expect an entity as smart and greedy as a book to not offer parlays.

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#51 by mb (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 6:23pm

wanker: I wonder if the Bears' 4th quarter DVOA was influenced by garbage time and them lying back in prevent? Of course they did allow the freaking Bucs (apologies to all you Tampa Bay heads) to mount a ridiculous comeback, but still. Someone noted on another thread that the Bears have a big dropoff in red zone defense. I couldn't find the stats but if true that's much more bewildering to me.

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#50 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 6:09pm

According to the DVOA splits, the 4th quarter is Indy's second best offensive quarter (37.0%; 2nd in the league), and it's Chicago's worst defensive quarter (-7.0%; 9th in the league). Just something to keep in mind.

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#49 by Devin McCullen (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 6:08pm

What happens if the field goal is on line but short - or hits the crossbar? Is that a push? Seems like there should be a third option there.

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#48 by mactbone (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 6:01pm

Well, another bet like that is the "Player to score the first Touchdown of the game" and "Player to score the last Touchdown of the game." If you believe in a FG only game then you can make 15000 on 200. Same if you think there will only be one touchdown. Of course you'd also wager on "The First Scoring Play of the Game Will Be" and "The Last Scoring Play of the Game Will Be" etc, etc. So in the end every bet you make coincides with just FGs. Lowish risk, high reward - about like hitting the lottery.

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#47 by Ian Dembsky (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 5:46pm

I remember one year two of the bets were: "Who will win the toss?" and "Who will get the ball first?" It seemed to me that parlaying the two together for both teams (since teams *always* say they want the ball) would be easy money. Of course, I wimped out and didn't win. I wonder if anyone did?

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#46 by Peter (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 5:08pm

I'll never forget last year when my friend (a huge Jet fan) had 200 on heads. As soon as he saw Tom Brady, he didnt even have to look at the result. I would be betting tails this year, but with Marino tossing the coin i know i will lose no matter which i pick.

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#45 by Spoilt Victori… (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 4:56pm

Will The Game Ever Be Tied After the First Score?

This one took me a while.

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#44 by Travis (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 4:02pm

Re: 32, etc.

Here's the video of Prince wearing the infamous pants at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. Not safe for work, and a reminder of the over-the-top nature of early-90's pop.

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#43 by B (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:52pm

Now that Prince has embraced his Jehovah's Witness faith, take the under on wardrobe malfunctions/skin being displayed.

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#42 by Scott Norwood (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:48pm

Ian, what are you thinking! Missed field goals in the Super Bowl always go wide right!

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#41 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:08pm

Re: 38

Cube...shared with another guy...directly across from my boss.

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#40 by mactbone (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:07pm

Re 36:
That's when you invent a number like googleplex.

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#39 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:07pm

Re: 34 & 35

I don't think ass-less chaps is correct. If memory serves, these were normal pants the had the ass cheeks cut out of them. Chaps are completely open in the back.

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#38 by Bobman (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:06pm

wanker79, I just did a spit-take picturing your google search at work. Cube or office? Thanks for the laugh. Maybe I should close my office door before reading any more.

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#37 by Bobman (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:05pm

damn you, mactbone!

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#36 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:05pm

Bill, I'm at a loss for how to google "assless pants" at work without drawing unwanted attention, so I can't get you a picture. But (iirc) at some music award show a few years back, Prince performed in a pair of leather pants that he had cut the ass cheeks out of.

And for the record, our current numerical system doesn't encompass a number large enough (or small enough, I guess) that would make me consider betting against seeing Prince's chest hair during his performance.

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#35 by Bobman (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:05pm

32 Cowboys might call them chaps. Members of the band Queen call them standard attire. (Yes, a Queen reference means I am old)

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#34 by mactbone (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:01pm

Re 31, 32:
IIRC they'd be more accurately called Assless Chaps.

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#33 by mactbone (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 3:00pm

I need more information if I'm betting on the coin toss. What does the coin look like, how much does it weigh, and who's flipping it?

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#32 by Bill Barnwell // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:52pm

You'll have to excuse me, I'm young.

Ass-less pants?!?

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#31 by DrewTS (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:37pm

Re 30

I think he was asking about the infamous ass-less pants. Or maybe not. If he wasn't then I am.

Points: 0

#30 by Bill Barnwell // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:22pm

Do Prince's nipples count as a malfunction?

I would say that there's something like a -400 line of seeing some chest hair...

Points: 0

#29 by Lincoln (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:20pm

tails never fails!

Points: 0

#28 by mb (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:06pm

oh, and ian/bill. what's the o/u on Prince having a suspiciously convenient "wardrobe malfunction" while he's playing (hopefully) Let's Go Crazy at halftime?

Points: 0

#27 by mb (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:04pm

wanker, goshdarnit, I was just having so much darned fun imagining that guy coming back to post a crazy, crazy rant about the "sweet science" or prop betting, as you so so eloquently described it.

Points: 0

#26 by Will Allen (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 2:01pm

Gosh, I've never been much of a prop guy, but getting +125 on the Bears scoring first, and +135 on the Bears getting the longest touchdown play seem to be very, very, nice opportunities.


Points: 0

#25 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:57pm

mb, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure we're both being so sarcastic that the other one doesn't realize it.

Points: 0

#24 by Mike (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:52pm

Tails never fails.

Points: 0

#23 by mb (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:50pm

wanker79/janet jones g: sorry, dude. i felt like the joke was a little too obscure for anyone else to pick up on unless they witnessed that guy's heinousness. look at it as a deterrent against him tuning back in and ranting about how FO needs to do more research to break down all the lines of the prop bets of this year's SB vs. all the previous SBs and why Tom Brady is greatest prop bet gambler ever because, just off the top of my head, he won 76 of his first 100 prop bets.

Points: 0

#22 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:43pm

Thanks for sucking all the funny outta the room, mb.


I hate when I forget to change my name back. >:-(

Points: 0

#21 by Janet Jones Gretzky (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:40pm

Thanks for sucking all the funny outta the room, mb


Points: 0

#20 by White Rose Duelist (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:34pm

Remember, Billy Joel was the one who stopped his performance of "River of Dreams" at the Grammys to say, "Valuable commercial time being wasted." If he does that Sunday, it'll be to the tune of $83,333 per second. The under has no chance.

Points: 0

#19 by Trieu (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:16pm

First Team to Commit a Turnover ...

Ian: I’ll stick with my guns and wager on an early Manning pick. Besides, we all saw how effective Chicago is at stripping the ball against New Orleans in the NFC Championship game. I‘m going with Da Bears.

Obviously, Ian meant the Bears would force the early turnover, and the Colts would commit it.

And because I like to state the obvious:

Indianpolis at Chicago (+7) (i.e., regular game line)

Bill takes the Bears at +7, and Ian takes the Colts at -7.

Points: 0

#18 by Bill Barnwell // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:11pm


I had food poisoning all week.

Hedging my bets?

Points: 0

#17 by Boots Day (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:04pm


Please explain how the Bears are going to get to 31 points without Robbie Gould scoring at least 7 of them.

Thank you.

Points: 0

#16 by mactbone (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 1:01pm

Re 15:
What's the over/under on a minority winning this Super Bowl?

I mean, Dungy and Lovie can be taken out pretty easily. Then you've got Turner, Rivera, Moore and Meeks. So, it looks like 75% chance of a minority winning the Super Bowl. Or something.

Points: 0

#15 by Mr. Beefy (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:55pm

What's the over/under on the first African-American coach winning a Super Bowl? :).

Points: 0

#14 by mb (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:49pm

for anyone who missed the marathon "does clutch exist and if so how can it be defined?" discussion from as last week's Scramble, comments #1 and 7 are directly quoting or paraphrasing the comment of the random jerk who wrote in to berate Bill and Ian vehemently for the lack of statistical analysis in their column amongst other things. yes, he actually said all that stuff in Wanker79's comment.

Points: 0

#13 by kleph (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:35pm

Tails is clearly ranked too high because using the phases of the moon is way better than this. this is just one more example of you guy's east-coast/new england/anti-america bias LOZERSZZ!!!11!

Points: 0

#12 by MCS (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:34pm


You slay me!

Points: 0

#11 by RobinFiveWords (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:34pm

Gould and Vinatieri both kick with a strong right-to-left draw, meaning they aren't shy about leaving a kick way out to the right and letting it hook back to the middle. If one of them hits the dreaded straight ball and is a little off-target as well, there's your Wide Right.

Points: 0

#10 by Janet Jones Gretzky (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:30pm

All you guys poking fun at the sweet science of prop betting should be ashamed of yourselves.

Points: 0

#9 by B (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:24pm

For Heads vs Tails, it depends on what the coin looks like. If it's one of those coins with two helmets for heads and a trophy for tails, then heads it is. Also, for the total completions & first downs, I think this is going to be a low paced-game with the Bears running a lot to keep Manning off the field and the Colts running a lot to counter the bears nickel defense. That should mean less possessions, which means less completions and first downs.

Points: 0

#8 by steelberger1 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 12:07pm

You guys are f'n nuts...


Points: 0

#7 by mb (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:57am

#1: I would expect to see these prop bets dissected and compared to other prop bets. Should also see how many prop bets were made by the gambler when he was down 5K late in the game. The time frame can be changed, perhaps to prop bets in the final two minutes, or what have you. And I would expect that some of the discussion would have to center on the line's accuracy in that situation, perhaps regardless of who the gambler is (as not all money won is strictly a function of smart, calculated wagering).

Sincerely, AIT's Angrier Cousin

PS-A suggestion for you, Bill and Ian; maybe all future crazy Manning/Brady flame wars should be mandatorily replaced by snarky, stat devoid discussions about the science, nay, the art of successful prop betting.

Points: 0

#6 by Travis (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:48am

Re: 5

You get your original $100 back on any winning bet, so your hypothetical $100 bet would return $185, not $85.

Points: 0

#5 by Darth Goofy (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:45am

Ok... I enjoy these articles as much as the next guy, but I do have a question. I am a relative neophyte to gambling and have always wondered why people would bet on negative lines. There also seem to be a lot of bets above that have a negative line either way you bet. What is the purpose of those, and why would anyone ever take them? I like winning as much as the next guy, but I don't want to place $100 on a bet just to win and have $85 returned to me.

Points: 0

#4 by joel in providence (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:23am

i only have two words to contribute to the awesomeness of the prop bets...
Game. Blouses.

Points: 0

#3 by DGL (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 11:19am

#1: You forgot "First!"

Points: 0

#2 by zip (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 10:49am


What's the over on number of people who take you seriously? If it's less than 10 I'll take it.

Points: 0

#1 by Wanker79 (not verified) // Jan 31, 2007 - 10:45am

Dumbest article I’ve seen on this website in a long, long time. No numbers, no stats, just a couple of goobers and some opinions.

Now, instead of just blathering on, how about doing some research and number crunching boys, to - you know - add what we call FACTS to the discussion. Novel idea, I know.

In any case, the last thing I expect to see from this website is yak-yak-yak with no facts-facts-facts.

Angry Typing Ignoramus

Points: 0

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