Super Bowl XLVIII Prop Bet Extravaganza!
by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz
Tom: It is time for perhaps the greatest tradition associated with Scramble for the Ball: the Super Bowl prop bets column. This is the 11th annual Scramble for the Ball Prop Bet Extravaganza. It's been a feature of the column since the beginning of Football Outsiders -- here's a link to the first one from January 2004 -- and has survived writer change after writer change after writer change.
In case some of our readers are not familiar with how prop bets work, Mike, why don't you tell people what we're doing here anyway.
It's that time of year again, the time of year when your Scramble writers
run out of ideas amuse one and all with Super Bowl odds that people are actually betting on. I'll spare you the lecture about how this demonstrates the evils of gambling (ha ha, see what I did there?) and go straight into Scrambler Emeritus Al Bogdan's perennially-stolen explanation, adapted for the tenor of our times:
Most of these bets are whether a proposition is over or under the "line," usually total. For example:
Number of brain cells reading this week's entire column will kill (9.5)
Here, you would be betting on how many brain cells this week's column will destroy. You would have to choose either more or less than 9.5. Since football stats are generally whole numbers, most propositions won't have "push" as a viable option. If you were to bet that more than 9.5 of your little dudes would croak, you would have to wager a hypothetical $115 to win $215: your $115 that you wagered plus $100 more (hence the "-115"). If you wanted to take the under, you would wager a hypothetical $100 to win $205: your $100 back, plus $105 (hence the "+105"). Since I imagine your Scramble writers have almost certainly killed a number of your brain cells purely through fright at this point, 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 "Enrico Palazzo +500," meaning that if you wager a hypothetical $100 on him and he scores the first touchdown, you'd win $600. The line would probably be even higher, however, given that he's dead, and never played professional football in the first place.
For the purposes of determining a winner of this column, we're laying down 100 quatlus down on any of these "pick from a crowd" bets, and for over/unders we're wagering 100 on any overs where we're receiving positive odds (e.g. anything above +101) and wagering whatever it takes to win 100 on any overs where we're receiving negative odds (e.g. anything below -101).
Tom: Thank you, Mike. Now on with the show.
Super Bowl XLVIII Odds
Seattle Seahawks +3 (-115)
Denver Broncos -3 (-105)
Tom: An in-depth examination of
Coke stains before I cleaned them up from my carpet statistics and film of the Seahawks and Broncos has led me to the firm, rock-solid, spend-absolutely-no-money-on-it conviction that the Broncos will win, 27-20. 7>3, therefore Broncos -3.
Mike: I hate the even-number spread on this, since I think the Broncos have a higher chance of winning, but it very well might be by 3 points. I think the game will be close, however, so I have to take Seattle Seahawks +3.
Super Bowl MVP – Odds to Win
Peyton Manning (DEN) QB 6/5
Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 15/4
Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB 9/2
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR 18/1
Percy Harvin (SEA) WR 20/1
Knowshon Moreno (DEN) RB 20/1
Wes Welker (DEN) WR 20/1
Eric Decker (DEN) WR 25/1
Richard Sherman (SEA) CB 25/1
Golden Tate (SEA) WR 25/1
Julius Thomas (DEN) TE 25/1
Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR 33/1
Earl Thomas (SEA) FS 40/1
Champ Bailey (DEN) CB 66/1
Montee Ball (DEN) RB 66/1
Kam Chancellor (SEA) SS 75/1
Steven Hauschka (SEA) K 75/1
Matt Prater (DEN) K 75/1
Michael Bennett (SEA) DE 100/1
Duke Ihenacho (DEN) SS 100/1
Zach Miller (SEA) TE 100/1
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DEN) CB 100/1
Danny Trevathan (DEN) LB 100/1
Field (Any Other Player) 22/1
Tom: Notwithstanding my conviction, which is indubitably inerrable (reminder: I picked the 49ers last year), the MVP pick depends on odds. If the Broncos win, Peyton is overwhelming likely to win the award again and the odds understandably reflect that. Given the odds, I will take my chances with Russell Wilson instead.
Mike: Since I have already gone with Seattle, this one is easy. Richard Sherman, if only for the post-game interview!
Will it snow during the game?
Tom: It would be a neat story, but no, no snow during the game.
Mike: Weather Underground says 50% chance of precipitation on Super Bowl Sunday, so I'll take yes at +300.
What will be the temperature at Kickoff?
Over 34 degrees Fahrenheit -120
Under 34 degrees Fahrenheit -120
Tom: According to the possibly reliable WUnderground, the average maximum and minimum temperature for the closest site to East Rutherford are 38 and 24. Kickoff will be after sunset, so I’m assuming a temperature below the daily average and, based on the weather to date, assuming a winter cooler than the daily average. Under.
Mike: POLAR VORTEX! RUN! PLAYERS' WIVES AND AD EXECUTIVES FIRST! Under
What will be the lowest temperature during the game?
Over 31 degrees Fahrenheit -120
Under 31 degrees Fahrenheit -120
Tom: Under, for the same reasons I chose the Under on the temperature at kickoff.
Mike: Three degrees ain't no thang. Under.
How long will it take Renee Fleming to sing the official US National Anthem?
Over 2 minutes 30 seconds EVEN
Under 2 minutes 30 seconds -140
Tom: As someone who strongly believes that the National Anthem should be sung in 1:10 and has proposed capping the Anthem at 1:15, maybe 1:30, I’ll be rooting for under the insanely long 2:30 rendition unless Fleming is planning on singing the entire song, not just the standard first verse. More seriously, though, noted Chicago Anthem singer Jim Cornelison, like Fleming, is a Real Singer and regularly sings the Anthem in about 1:30. Under, please!
Mike: 2:30 is really, really long. Even for a non-real singer, that is toward the high end. This should be an easy under.
Will she forget or omit at least 1 word of the official US National Anthem?
Tom: Fleming is a Real Singer. Of the bets on this list, No here may be about the only one I would be willing to put real money on.
Mike: I'd love to see your big list classifying people as "real singers" and "non-real singers." Most importantly, I want to know where Zinyak falls. No.
Will Renee Fleming wear gloves when she starts singing US National Anthem?
Tom: According to me, kickoff temperature will be under 34 degrees at kickoff. In that kind of weather, wearing gloves is a perfectly sensible precaution even if Fleming will not necessarily be standing outside for the rest of the game. Yes.
Mike: Since we have established she is a Real Singer, we should note that Real Singers are super-classy, so duh, gloves. Yes.
If Renee Fleming wears gloves when she starts singing the US National Anthem, what color will they be?
Any Other Color 3/1
Mike: And white is the classiest of colors for Real Singers. Non-Real Singers, naturally, wear red.
Tom: Black is a perfectly fine color for gloves.
Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the signing of the National Anthem?
Mike: Really, you think lightning will strike twice? Consider that the Anthem shots will be: Manning, Wilson, crowd, Seattle lineup, crowd, Denver lineup, and the chance of actually catching him crying seems miniscule. No.
Tom: This feels like a prop FOX will be sensitive enough to avoid letting us determine, though it could be a great marketing thing for him to do so. Yes.
How many times will Archie Manning be shown on TV during the game?
Tom: The lesson from past props: People are not on TV nearly as much as you think they might be, especially given that every spare moment will be taken up by promos for other shows on the channel broadcasting the game. Under.
Mike: If it were Eli-Peyton, definitely. Not even Bob Kraft gets 3 shots during the game, however. (For reference, Kraft will still get 2 shots during this game.) Under.
How many times will Eli Manning be shown on TV during the game?
Tom: Were I interested in hedging, though, I would go Over on Archie and Under on Eli on the basis that they are likely to be sitting in the same box and thus likely to both appear on TV at the same time. Under.
Mike: This seems even easier than the Archie prop. Under.
What will be said more during the game?
Reference to Denver Broncos #1 or Best Offense -120
Reference to Seattle Seahawks #1 or Best Defense -120
Tom: This is definitely a prop where I would have come down on the push, were it an option. Since it is not, then go with the more successful unit, which I predict to be Denver offense.
Mike: Whichever team wins, honestly. Regardless of how they win, all credit will be given to one of these units, because football broadcasting. Aikman is in the booth, however, and he loves him some offense, so I think that even with that caveat, a slight edge has to go to Denver offense.
Which coach will be mentioned first by name after kickoff?
Pete Carroll -120
John Fox -120
Tom: Tricky here by Bovada, switching from the first coach to be shown (obviated by a split screen in the past) to first to be mentioned by name (full name? last name only?). Pete Carroll.
Mike: Have we mentioned how smart and relatable and wonderful and smart Pete Carroll is yet? No? Buckle up.
Who will be seen first on TV after kickoff?
Erin Andrews -140
Pam Oliver EVEN
Mike: Erin Andrews should be the most famous sideline reporter of all time now, thanks to aforementioned Sherman interview.
Tom: The FOX camera loves Erin Andrews more. Enough to outweigh the odds? Yes for me.
How many times will "12th man" be said during the game?
Tom: The game is not being played in Seattle. Under.
Mike: Ironically, I could see the 12th man being mentioned a few times if the Seahawks are blown out, possibly more than even if they win big. Neither of those are likely to happen, and three mentions is an awful lot for a non-home game. Under.
How many times will "Beast Mode" be said during the game?
Tom: Joe Buck is much too respectful and proper a broadcaster to use such a déclassé nickname. Yes, we did get to hear Verne Lundquist say "Smaug," but that was part of a promo for the new Hobbit movie. Under.
Mike: Halftime show? Oh yeah. During the broadcast? No. Under.
How many times will Peyton Manning say "Omaha" during the game?
Mike: I remember a stupid featurette about how the city of Omaha had a charity drive based on how many times Manning said Omaha, and the number was roughly 25. This seems like a good line, but on a neutral field I think Manning will be a little less talkative. Under.
Tom: The Broncos have run over 70 plays in each of their postseason games. While I did not bother counting Omahas in either game (as I would before truly wagering money on this prop), assuming they get close to that number again would mention an Omaha mention on less than 40 percent of plays. That seems doable. Over.
Will the announcers say the word "Marijuana" during the game?
Mike: Are you crazy? Buck can't even handle end zone celebrations. No.
Tom: We could get oblique references to the unusual laws in Washington and Colorado, or even more direct ones, but the word itself? No.
Will the announcers refer to Russell Wilson being drafted in the MLB?
Tom: Past Super Bowls taught us that this sort of backstory stuff does not get overdone in the game itself. Now, were the prop about a mention of Wilson's background in another sport just in general, then I think that is more likely than not -- e.g., a mention of him sliding like the former baseball player he was. A mention specifically of him being drafted? No.
Mike: Agreed. Drafted is too specific for this exercise. Which really is saying something. No.
Will any member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during their performance
Tom: See above re: cold weather. Super Bowl acts are mostly old enough that they know to be sensible and it would be very cold to be shirtless in freezing weather. No.
Mike: They'll only be out for 10 minutes or so, and lack of shirts is their thing. Or was their thing. I'll go out on a limb and say at least one of them keeps the faith. Yes.
Will the Halftime show break the record for most watched ever (Record Madonna 114 million viewers)
Tom: For Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers? No, I really doubt it.
Mike: Bruno Mars is probably the performer most relevant to the non-core football demographic the Super Bowl has had in years. He is also, at the time of his performance, probably the most talented. I think he gets there. Yes.
Will Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers play a song on stage at the same time?
Tom: The downside of doing this column is you actually have to pay enough attention to the Super Bowl halftime show to discern whether prop bets come true or not. This means, among other things, between now and halftime, I must figure out what Bruno Mars and the RHCP look like so I can find the answer to this question. Yes.
Mike: Sometimes I forget about all those years you spent as a Tibetan monk. There is usually some small thing the performers play together, so my money's on yes.
Which song will Bruno Mars perform first?
Locked Out Of Heaven 3/1
Just The Way You Are 6/1
Marry You 7/1
The Lazy Song 10/1
Tom: Also on the research agenda: listening to enough of the beginning of each of the listed songs to discern the answer to this prop as well. Perhaps we will get an announced setlist before halftime, as I recall we did with The Who when they did the halftime show. Let's go with Gorilla, since I actually recognize it as a Bruno Mars song.
Mike: Going with Bruno Mars is a sign they're angling hard at the women and girls, so gotta start with an upbeat, romantic song (especially following the RHCP). Marry You.
What will Bruno Mars be wearing on his head at the start of his Halftime performance?
No hat 2/1
Fur Hat 5/1
Tom: Despite my general anti-hat stance, wearing a hat is one of those things even I am willing to countenance in freezing temperatures. Further, Mars seems to have a well-established habit of wearing fedoras, thus the odds and my pick.
Mike: How did tuque even end up on this list? Fedora.
Will Richard Sherman receive a pass interference penalty in the game?
Tom: With Dean Blandino stressing to his charges the need to ensure that this is not the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship Game in New England, an early flag against Seattle's secondary is one thing I am expecting Super Bowl Sunday. Yes.
Mike: Even if they call pass interference the same way they have for Seattle all year, just the added adrenaline and emotion of playing in the Super Bowl is going to lead to a bit of sloppy play early on. Considering Sherman loves to get there at or immediately before the ball arrives, a bit of sloppiness could turn a borderline play into a "gotta flag that." Yes.
Will Michael Crabtree mention Richard Sherman in a tweet during the Super Bowl from kickoff until final whistle?
Tom: This feels like a prop bet ripe for suborning if you get in touch with Crabtree. Will he be watching the game and commenting extensively about it on Twitter? If yes, then this feels like a very likely yes. If not, then no. Not following Crabtree on Twitter but perusing his archives, he does not see to tweet extensively or during games, plus his tweet of January 19 refers to Sherman as "that guy." No.
Mike: Crabtree lost his game. Trash-talking after you lose isn't trash talking, it's being a sore loser. No.
Will Wes Welker drop a pass in the game?
Tom: What I will miss about Dan Dierdorf is his seemingly constant references to Wes Welker catching that pass 100 times out of 100 after one of his drops. Yes.
Mike: Receivers drop passes. All the time. I have no idea where the myth of Wes Welker: Perfect Handed Receiver began, but it's fairly absurd. Yes, he runs high-percentage routes. High-percentage is not perfect-percentage. Yes.
Will Peyton Manning throw a pick 6?
Mike: The great thing about non-predictive events is that they are also non-predictable! I think Manning is going to be fairly conservative against this secondary, so while Seattle will likely pick up an interception, it will likely be over the middle or on a sideline, where the likelihood of return is low. No.
Will Percy Harvin be injured in the game? (Must be injured and reported by broadcasters and not return to game)
Tom: By the wording of this prop bet, it seems that a simple press box announcement of an injury would not be sufficient if it is not then mentioned by FOX. Considering that, no.
Mike: Betting on a player being injured in any particular game is foolish. No.
What Color will the Gatorade (or liquid) be that is dumped on the Head Coach of the Winning Super Bowl Team?
Tom: Fruit punch is still my favorite color of Gatorade, so I will again pick red.
Mike: Green is my favorite color (Gatorade has flavors?), so green.
Who will the Super Bowl MVP of the mention first in his speech?
Other Team or Player of Other Team 7/1
Does not mention any of the above 4/1
Tom: A crucial wording change in this question, which previously was whom the Super Bowl MVP would thank. After several MVPs talking about how much their coaches, teammates, trainers, random passersby, etc. helped them win the game without specifically thanking them, now it is just a mention without requiring a specific thanking. Teammates.
Mike: I can see the book changing the wording of this prop to avoid ambiguity, but it does make teammates the overwhelming favorite.
What will the TV Rating be for the Super Bowl?
Over/Under Nielsen Rating 47½
Tom: The cold weather Super Bowl seems to be an interesting novelty, plus Peyton Manning, plus the top team in each conference. Over.
Mike: Plus a bump in the largest media market in the country. Over.
How many average viewers will the game have?
Over 112 Million Viewers -140
Under 112 Million Viewers EVEN
Tom: The key to getting viewers to stick around, though, is a competitive and highly entertaining game. Seattle is much more good than interesting to the casual viewer, I think, so I prefer the Under here.
Mike: I think the key to getting viewers to stick around is the ability to endlessly bend every play into one of the broadcaster's stupid storylines. This game is rife with storylines. Over.
Which region will have the higher local TV Rating?
Tom: Based on regular season numbers, the Broncos were decently ahead of the Seahawks in terms of local market rating. Even with the odds disadvantage and accounting for Seattle's fast-growing local popularity, Denver is my pick.
Mike: Denver has a larger fan base, better pedigree, and features one of the NFL's all-time superstars. Seattle is a fine football town, but it's hard to combat that.
What will happen with the Dow Jones the day after the Super Bowl?
Market Up -140
Market Down EVEN
Tom: Market Down, why not.
Mike: Peyton Manning will win the Super Bowl and in celebration buy 30 more Papa Johns franchises, boosting the stock along with local economies across the country as they can enjoy terrible celebrity-endorsed pizza. Market Up.
Player to score the first TD in the game?
Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB 5/1
Knowshon Moreno (DEN) RB 17/2
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR 9/1
Wes Welker (DEN) WR 9/1
Eric Decker (DEN) WR 9/1
Percy Harvin (SEA) WR 10/1
Golden Tate (SEA) WR 12/1
Julius Thomas (DEN) TE 12/1
Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 14/1
Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR 14/1
Montee Ball (DEN) RB 16/1
Zach Miller (SEA) TE 20/1
Jacob Tamme (DEN) TE 22/1
Robert Turbin (SEA) RB 33/1
Peyton Manning (DEN) QB 40/1
No TD scored in the game 66/1
Mike: I'm really tempted to go with no touchdowns, but that is just stupid. I like Julius Thomas in the red zone, however, covered by a linebacker.
Tom: Since Denver will be scoring first, I like the Broncos rushing props and Montee Ball's superior odds are enough for me to pick him over Moreno.
Total Passing Yards - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 199½ (-115)
Under 199½ (-115)
Mike: 200 yards isn't actually that much against a secondary as poor as Denver's. Over.
Tom: If the Broncos have the lead I think they will, then Wilson will be throwing late in the game, which would tend to inflate his yardage totals. Seattle's ability and possible advantage looking for shot plays off play-action could help him get to this total. On the other hand, I do not trust Wilson's ability to put up high numbers or Seattle's willingness to throw the ball a lot. Under.
Total TD Passes - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 1½ (+135)
Under 1½ (-165)
Tom: 20 points, two touchdowns, one of them coming on the ground. Under.
Mike: Every year, you try to construct a fake game in your head for these predictions. Every year, you are way off. When will you learn, Gower? Denver has been playing short games recently and Seattle is a running team against a decent run defense, so I will agree with under, however.
Total Interceptions - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over ½ (-150)
Under ½ (+120)
Tom: What I like about Wilson is not that he tries to make plays, but the plays he leaves on the field rather than attempting to make something. Scrambling over, interceptions under.
Mike: While generally true, weird things happen in the Super Bowl, especially to young players. All it takes is one panicked decision or one route miscommunication from a team that is fairly undisciplined to begin with. Over.
Total Completions - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 16½ (-105)
Under 16½ (-125)
Tom: A good number. Given the game situation according to my crystal ball, I am willing to go over.
Mike: 17 completions seems eminently doable, considering Denver's weakness is the passing game. Over.
Longest Completion - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 35½ (-115)
Under 35½ (-115)
Tom: Shot plays, shot plays, shot plays. The Broncos have a quality run defense, and Seattle will be looking for big chunks of yardage. The Seahawks will look for big plays early, probably more than once if they do not get it the first time. Over.
Mike: Our perception of long play frequency is fairly skewed. 36 yards is a big chunk for a ball control offense, especially one trying to minimize Peyton Manning's opportunities to hurt them. Under.
Total Passing Attempts in the game - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 26½ (-105)
Under 26½ (-125)
Tom: Over. for the same reason as completions.
Mike: 27 really is not a huge number of attempts. Over.
Russell Wilson (SEA) - What will he do first?
Throw a TD Pass -230
Throw an Interception +190
Tom: If he does not throw any interceptions, how can he throw an interception first? Throw a TD pass.
Mike: A bit of a hedge here, but a touchdown first seems much more likely. Throw a TD Pass.
Total Rushing Yards - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 30½ (-115)
Under 30½ (-115)
Tom: I like Denver's man coverage a lot better than their zone coverage. Playing man, then, how do you account for Wilson? Do you put a spy on him? I think Danny Trevathan could be a good spy, but I want him in coverage instead. I think Denver tried to overload the short middle against the Patriots, which would put possible spies in position, but that was probably a function of what I think was their vulnerability there and the Patriots' predilection to attack there. Seattle? Not so much, necessarily. Over.
Mike: For once, I agree with both your reasoning and conclusion! Over.
Total Rushing Attempts in the game - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 6½ (EVEN)
Under 6½ (-130)
Tom: On the other hand, that I think he will have success scrambling does not necessarily mean that I think we will see him scramble a lot. Going over here will depend more, I think, on using him as a designed element in the run game, something I do not think we have seen that much of this year. Will that change since it is, after all, the Super Bowl? No is my guess. Under.
Mike: I think there will be a number of designed runs in order to spread out and break up the front seven and give Lynch some breathing room. They probably will not all be effective, but an important part of the game plan nonetheless. Over.
Longest Rush - Russell Wilson (SEA)
Over 10½ (-115)
Under 10½ (-115)
Tom: Not many scrambles, and while Wilson does not eat up ground the same way Colin Kaepernick does, he will be successful on them. Over.
Mike: All it takes is one picked-up blitz. Over.
Will Russell Wilson (SEA) score a Rushing TD in the game?
Tom: No, he will not.
Mike: I could see a trick play at the goal line, considering how highly regarded Lynch is. Yes.
Total Rushing Yards - Marshawn Lynch (SEA)
Over 87½ (-115)
Under 87½ (-115)
Tom: How effectively the Broncos tackle Lynch is something that, despite my crystal ball for the game itself, I have not yet divined. The Broncos play good run defense. They are physical on run defense. But Lynch is a very physical runner who had success against a very physical run defense in San Francisco and could get half or more of this total on a single big run. Over.
Mike: This is almost exactly Denver's average opponent rushing yards per game. Seattle is a decidedly above-average running team. Over.
Total Rushing Attempts in the game - Marshawn Lynch (SEA)
Over 21½ (-115)
Under 21½ (-115)
Mike: If Lynch doesn't hit the over, then Carroll is mastermindering and things are going to get really ugly.
Tom: It is the Super Bowl. Seattle will try to run the ball as much as they can, because that is what they do. Lynch is their best back. Run your best back as much as you can when you know you will not be playing another real game for over seven months. Over.
Will Marshawn Lynch (SEA) score a TD in the game?
Tom: Of Seattle's two touchdowns, at least one will be a Lynch run. Yes.
Mike: I can't conceive of a situation where Lynch does not get a touchdown. Yes.
Total Receiving Yards - Golden Tate (SEA)
Over 45½ (-115)
Under 45½ (-115)
Mike: The Seahawks are going to be taking shots with Tate against Denver's porous passing defense. Over.
Tom: Perhaps this is just a reflection of my limitations as an evaluator, but there are some players on teams I watch repeatedly where I never firmly establish who they are in my mind. I notice it a lot during draft season, and sometimes with NFL teams. Tate is one of those players for me. I could blow past that evaluation curve were I to spend a couple hours just watching Tate, but in the absence of a specific writing assignment on Tate and/or the Seahawks, I will instead spend that time watching other players. Short version: I have a hard time handicapping this prop because I have a hard time envisioning just what role Tate will play in the game. Of course, last year I had an idea of how I thought the game would process, went under on Vernon Davis, and a week later, after thinking about the game more, I would have said I was an idiot. Because I was. Under.
Total Receptions - Golden Tate (SEA)
Over 4 (EVEN)
Under 4 (-130)
Tom: Five catches, for Tate? Eh. Under.
Mike: Targets? Definitely. Receptions? No way. Under.
Will Golden Tate (SEA) score a TD in the game?
Tom: No, because Wilson will throw to Luke Willson on a bootleg pass just to spite Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers' selection of the other Rice tight end in the 2013 draft. (That two Rice tight ends were selected by NFC West teams is maybe my favorite fact about the 2013 draft.)
Mike: In a column full of weirdly specific predictions, that has to be the weirdest and most specific. No.
Total Receiving Yards - Percy Harvin (SEA)
Over 40½ (-115)
Under 40½ (-115)
Mike: I'll believe it when I see it. Under.
Tom: As a former Missouri resident, Harvin, as talented as he his, must show me his performance on the field before I will believe in it again. Even if he was cleared on Thursday. Under.
Total Receptions - Percy Harvin (SEA)
Over 4 (-115)
Under 4 (-115)
Mike: I think Harvin will get a lot of attention on third downs, so I can see him reaching five. Over.
Tom: Betting on a Seahawks player to have at least five receptions at even odds (relative to under), especially one the Broncos will surely be very conscious of? Not for me. Under.
Will Percy Harvin (SEA) score a TD in the game?
Tom: If the Broncos have Wilson covered on the would-be touchdown, Wilson will scramble for the score. That is also not a Harvin touchdown. Under.
Mike: Shouldn't this be a Yes/No? If it were over/under it would be TD O/U .5. I'm really confused. Still don't think Harvin scores a touchdown, though. Under.
Total Tackles & Assists - Bobby Wagner (SEA)
Over 9½ (-115)
Under 9½ (-115)
Tom: The big issue on all of the tackle stats is who the official scorer will be, as a healthy helping of assists will do a number on tackle over/under. When Kiko Alonso had 22 tackles against the Bengals in Week 6, he had nine actual tackles and 13 tackle assists. A perusal of late-season gamebooks reveals neither the Giants nor Jets official scorer (if those are in fact different people, and assuming that that will likely be the crew in charge of scoring for the Super Bowl) is nearly as generous when it comes to assists as the Buffalo scorer. Ergo, under.
Mike: We should probably get rid of assists as a statistic, honestly, and use something similar to the DEF1/DEF2 setup we use for charting. Under.
Total Tackles & Assists - Kam Chancellor (SEA)
Over 6½ (-115)
Under 6½ (-115)
Tom: Of course, if an opposing defense wants to target a particular player, and the player may play a key role in what happens in the run game as well, they could still go over. I think Chancellor is a player the Broncos could well look to target, and you know he will be coming up when the Broncos try to run the ball. Over.
Mike: I think Chancellor is going to get a ton of assists helping to put Moreno and Ball down, so this should be an easy over.
Will Richard Sherman (SEA) record an interception?
Mike: If Manning does throw an interception, I think the most likely source is going to be a wobbly throw down the sidelines. That gives us at least a 50 percent chance Sherman is on that target, and he is really quite good at playing the football. Why not, yes.
Tom: I do not necessarily expect Peyton Manning to completely ignore Sherman and hammer the other targets a la the Roc Alexander Game, but betting on an interception is too much for me. No.
Total Passing Yards - Peyton Manning (DEN)
Over 290½ (-115)
Under 290½ (-115)
Mike: 291 is a fairly high bar for passing yards against a good pass defense. Under.
Tom: For a change relative to my spurious justifications of other randomly picked results, a simple under here.
Total TD Passes - Peyton Manning (DEN)
Over 2½ (-115)
Under 2½ (-115)
Tom: I indicated elsewhere I expected the Broncos' first (of three) touchdowns to come on the ground. That leaves two other touchdowns to come through the air. Under.
Mike: Did you write all this down, or something? "Dear diary, I think the first play from scrimmage will be a swing pass to Knowshon Moreno. Seattle will sniff it out, how embarrassing! But not as embarrassing as that time Tod Stockweiler sat at my lunch table and I SO TOTALLY couldn't think of anything to say! Under.
Total Interceptions - Peyton Manning (DEN)
Over ½ (-180)
Under ½ (+150)
Tom: I have confidence in Peyton's ability to play intelligently and conservatively, even against a great pass defense. Under.
Mike: I already said Sherman had an interception, so why not? Do not take this as any sort of newfound consistency or even approval of consistency. Over.
Total Completions - Peyton Manning (DEN)
Over 26½ (-115)
Under 26½ (-115)
Tom: Beyond Lynch's ability to run the ball, one of the other things I have not fixed in my mind yet is how effectively the Broncos will run the ball and how much they will try. The Broncos will likely spend much of the game in 11 personnel and try to run the ball against six-man boxes with six blockers. Will they succeed? Will Peyton keep trying it if they do not have initial success? If not, they will pass more. Over.
Mike: I think Manning has a track record of going with whatever is effective that day. He also has a track record of using the pass to set up the run, so even with a more run-heavy gameplan, I still see the over here.
Total Passing Attempts in the game - Peyton Manning (DEN)
Over 38½ (-115)
Under 38½ (-115)
Tom: Over, for the same faux logic as completions.
Mike: The combination of these two numbers makes me leery. If they both barely make the over, that is a 70 percent completion rate, against a very good defense. Higher attempts would yield a more realistic completion percentage, but 39 attempts is already a significant number. I think I'm stuck with the over, however.
Total Rushing Yards - Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
Over 65½ (-115)
Under 65½ (-115)
Tom: I like what Moreno has done this year and think he plays a valuable role, but I do not see him being a particularly productive runner against a good Seahawks run defense. Under.
Mike: I think the Seahawks game plan will be to stop Peyton Manning, and let Moreno have a bushel of 4- and 5-yard runs. I think the over is attainable.
Total Rushing Attempts in the game - Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
Over 15½ (-115)
Under 15½ (-115)
Mike: Moreno is still the feature back, even with a time-share. He'll also be on the field more and will benefit more than Ball from Manning's audibles, so I think over sound about right.
Tom: See above re: whether Peyton will keep trying. I think the increasing level of trust in Montee Ball will have a lot to do with whether Moreno hits this total. Under.
Will Knowshon Moreno (DEN) score a TD in the game?
Tom: Should I stick to my other bet that Ball will score the first touchdown in the game, or will I hedge and pick Moreno to score? Hedging it is! Yes.
Mike: I think there is some Ball vulturing going on here, so no.
Total Rushing Yards - Montee Ball (DEN)
Over 32½ (-115)
Under 32½ (-115)
Tom: Of course, picking Ball to score the first touchdown does not necessarily mean I expect him to be that productive, or even more productive on a per-carry basis than Moreno. Under.
Mike: The Broncos will not get to 100 yards in this game, so I think I have to go with the under.
Total Rushing Attempts in the game - Montee Ball (DEN)
Over 8½ (-115)
Under 8½ (-115)
Tom: Having noted Ball's increasing use, I have to predict he will do something else. Over on the carry total.
Mike: The over on both of these backs seems just about right for the balanced attack I think Denver will at least try to execute.
Will Montee Ball (DEN) score a TD in the game?
Tom: Do I double down on the idea that Ball will score the first touchdown, or do I hedge with a no here? Remembering how Pierre Garcon helped Mike to a win in our first prop bets column, I will double down. Yes.
Mike: Always be doubling. Yes. Also, I can't believe I bet on Pierre Garcon.
Total Receiving Yards - Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
Over 75½ (-115)
Under 75½ (-115)
Tom: If I am the Broncos, I am content to match up Demaryius Thomas on Sherman all day, hope the Seahawks take that matchup, and take advantage of other matchups. Maybe some wide receiver screens and some crossing work for Thomas, where he could do some damage with his size, but I am not expecting downfield plays that depend on him winning one-on-ones. Under.
Mike: Ahaha, no. Under.
Total Receptions - Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
Over 5 (-130)
Under 5 (EVEN)
Tom: "Hey, DT, go over there and let us play 10-on-10." Under.
Mike: Nope nope nope. Under.
Will Demaryius Thomas (DEN) score a TD in the game?
Tom: The yes is tempting me here, because I can see him being targeted in the red zone. Not enough to actually pick it, though. No.
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Mike: I think Manning will be too terrified of whatever bizarre new thing Sherman has planned if he is involved in breaking up a touchdown play for the second week in a row. Therefore, Manning will not throw to Thomas in the red zone. No.
Total Receiving Yards - Julius Thomas (DEN)
Over 55½ (-115)
Under 55½ (-115)
Tom: My playoff fantasy team (results writeup in next week's Scramble, when we will be picking the annual All-Keep Chopping Wood team) needs a big game from Thomas, though of course that would do nothing to help me close the gap on Sean, who is ahead of me and has Peyton. I do like Thomas as a matchup threat and a guy who could create issues for Chancellor in man coverage (if that happens) or in the middle of the field against that Cover-3. Over.
Mike: I think that, despite their exceptional secondary, Seattle just does not have enough players to keep every Denver eligible under wraps. The benefit, I think, goes to Julius Thomas, who is probably going to get a lot of intermediate stuff with poor YAC, but will receive constant work throughout the game, particularly in the red zone. Over.
Total Receptions - Julius Thomas (DEN)
Over 5 (EVEN)
Under 5 (-130)
Tom: My bullishness on Julius Thomas continues by expecting him to be targeted frequently as well as productively. Over.
Mike: Truly, our bullishness abounds. Over.
Will Julius Thomas (DEN) score a TD in the game?
Tom: That optimism for his numbers does not extend down the goal line, where the Broncos this postseason have used heavier protections, often keeping him in to block and only sending three receivers out in the pattern. Terrible, terrible, awful stuff for fantasy purposes. No.
Mike: O ye of little faith! Yes.
Total Tackles & Assists - Danny Trevathan (DEN)
Over 7½ (-115)
Under 7½ (-115)
Tom: Eight tackles against the Patriots, four against the Chargers. I like Trevathan more as a space player, less against the run-heavy gameplan I anticipate from Seattle. Under.
Mike: Except it's nearly impossible to tackle Marshawn Lynch by yourself, and Trevathan will always be lurking and running in for those all-important assists. Over.
Will Champ Bailey (DEN) record an interception?
Tom: If Russell Wilson is not throwing an interception, how will Champ Bailey get an interception? No.
Mike: Bailey no longer has the quickness required to intercept a quarterback as conservative as Russell Wilson. No.
CROSS SPORT MATCHUPS - What will be higher?
Henrik Zetterberg Points vs Washington -115
Total Interceptions in the game -115
Tom: Cross-sport props are some of my favorite things, and highlighting the Red Wings-Capitals game on NBC earlier on Super Bowl Sunday is a great thing for your two Scramble writers, who are also both hockey fans (Mike: Penguins, Tom: Blackhawks). Zetterberg, as I write this, is averaging just over a point per game, while the Capitals have a below-average defense. That makes this prop bet even easier to handicap. Zetterberg points.
Mike: Sadly, tickets to the Pens-Hawks game at Soldier Field sold out almost immediately. This is a real bummer, because outdoor hockey in March at that stadium would be great (as long as you're not stuck in the UFO-Toilet Bowl annex). With respect to this actual prop, remember that hockey counts assists as points, and goals off your rebound are assists. Zetterberg points.
CROSS SPORT MATCHUPS - What will be higher?
Alex Ovechkin Points vs Detroit EVEN
Seattle Seahawks Sacks vs Denver -130
Tom: Like Zetterberg, Ovechkin is averaging over a point per game. While the Broncos kept a pretty clean sheet against the Patriots, I do not think the same will be true against the Seahawks. Seahawks sacks.
Mike: Seattle will get a better rush, but nobody is better at identifying pressure and getting the ball out quickly than Peyton Manning. Alex Ovechkin Points.
CROSS SPORT MATCHUPS - What will be higher?
Alex Ovechkin shots on goal vs Detroit -115
Wes Welker Receptions -115
Tom: Ovechkin leads the league in shots, averaging over 5.5 per game. That is right where the Welker prop is, so this makes sense. Welker has more than five catches in only two of the seven games he has played since Denver had their bye. He is valuable, sure, and his short area quickness makes him very valuable against Seattle, but I trust Ovechkin's willingness to shoot the puck more. Ovechkin shots.
Mike: Ovechkin is a puck hog. Boo Ovechkin! BOOOO! Ovechkin shots.
CROSS SPORT MATCHUPS - What will be higher?
Total Goals scored in Red Wings vs Capitals game EVEN
Demaryius Thomas Receptions -130
Tom: Since Thomas is not having a very big game, even a low-scoring NHL contest could win this prop. Total goals in Red Wings-Capitals.
Mike: Neither of these hockey teams are particularly high-scoring. Then again, Washington's defense isn't that great, so even the Wings' rather anemic offense will probably net a few goals. Plus Ovechkin (curse his name!) could randomly blow the place up at any time, whereas Thomas is part of the Peyton Manning Receiver Roulette. Total goals in Red Wings-Capitals.
CROSS SPORT MATCHUPS - What will be higher?
Total Rebounds in the game Victor Oladipo vs Boston -130
Golden Tate Receptions EVEN
Tom: What a fantastic prop, maybe my favorite in this entire batch, edging out "Omaha" simply because it is much easier to determine a winner. As of this writing, Oladipo has had at least five rebounds in each of his past four games. Lacking any specific knowledge about how either the Magic or Celtics play or a feel for Tate's role in the game, what Oladipo has done recently is enough for me. Oladipo rebounds.
Mike: I know basically nothing about basketball, so this should be interesting. So I guess I'll go with Golden Tate Receptions. Football rules! Basketball drools!
CROSS SPORT MATCHUPS - What will be higher?
Jeff Green Total Points vs Orlando -115
Russell Wilson Completions in the game -115
Tom: Did I listen to ”Jeff Green’s Mom" while writing this prop? You better believe it, and if I had a couple hours to spare, I would have spent them watching Jeff Green highlights as well. Hoya nostalgia aside, I still know nothing about the NBA. That means being bullish on Wilson is enough for me to pick Wilson completions over Green points. Do not worry, though, Jeff, we still have Rich Chvotkin's seventeen "Hoyas win"s.
Mike: Why did we include these NBA props, again? Right, because we think the readers enjoy us looking stupid. They probably do, honestly. I will once again take the National Hand-Egg Concussion League over the National Time Dilation Association. Russell Wilson Completions.
Historical Matchups - What will be higher?
Peyton Manning Passing Attempts Super Bowl XLVIII -200
John Elway Completions & Attempts Super Bowl XXXII (34 Total) +160
Mike: This is the only historical prop. Seriously. Usually there are a dozen, at least. This year? One. What the crap, Bovada? These are the best props, too! I guess we'll just have to cherish this, although the likelihood of Manning throwing fewer than 34 passes seems extremely unlikely. Peyton Manning Passing Attempts.
Tom: Having already gone over a total higher than 34, consistency compels me to go Manning attempts here.
Tom: When playing my Madden franchise mode, I always called heads in the regular season and tails in the postseason.
Mike: But that is because it is a random number generator, and not our slightly unevenly weighted official ostentatious Super Bowl coin! Which really doesn't make one bit of difference, but the payout's the same so might as well go with the placebo and tails.
Team to win the coin toss
Seattle Seahawks -105
Denver Broncos -105
Tom: Seattle, because why not?
Mike: Denver, just on principle that Tom and I need to have sufficient separation between our picks.
Will the team that wins the coin toss win the game?
Tom: You expect a house odd on these props. The coin toss at -105 is a winner for the house. At -115, this feels like an even bigger winner for the house. Is there an edge associated with getting the ball more frequently in the second half, as both the Broncos and Seahawks deferred in the postseason when they won the coin toss? If so, then you would not expect the same odds on both Yes and No. I will pretend without any evidence whatsoever that there is, expect the winner to defer, and therefore say Yes even though it contradicts my other predictions in this column. No, I am not running for Congress, why do you ask?
Mike: Except Denver's offense goes absolutely bananas in the second half. I suppose that really has nothing to do with this prop, however. Although you go a bit too much into the weeds on it. It is basically a 50-percent proposition, but unlike the other coin flip (the ... uh ... coin flip), this has a delta of -10. On the other hand, I think I'll run with yes and then make it an offseason project to get Peter King to decry the unfairness of the NFL system and make sure the losing team gets an extra, make-up possession after time expires.
Team to score first in the game
Seattle Seahawks -105
Denver Broncos -125
Tom: As noted elsewhere, the Denver Broncos are scoring first.
Mike: I like Denver's offense more than I like the better payout on Seattle. Denver Broncos.
Team to score last in the game
Seattle Seahawks -115
Denver Broncos -115
Tom: Let's go with the Broncos having a multi-score lead and the Seattle Seahawks scoring last to cut it to a 10-point deficit.
Mike: Denver has been leading long, soul-crushing drives to end games the past few weeks, but I don't think that strategy will be effective against a superior defense. I think Seattle gets the last score, if not the last laugh.
Team to score first wins the game
Tom: Yes, as the Broncos are scoring first and will win the game.
Mike: +135 vs. -165? They must have seen some interesting numbers preparing this one. I'll follow the money. No.
Team to score last wins the game
Tom: No, as the Seahawks are scoring last and the Broncos are winning.
Mike: Follow the moooneeeey. No.
The first score of the game will be?
Field Goal or Safety +120
Mike: A conservative game plan for Wilson plus a relatively stout rushing red zone defense on one hand, then an exceptional defense and a quarterback willing to take what the defense gives him on the other. Field Goal or Safety, but only for that extra .5 percent chance there is a safety!
The first score of the game will be?
Seattle Seahawks Field Goal +350
Seattle Seahawks TD Pass +500
Seattle Seahawks Rushing TD +500
Seattle Seahawks Safety +4000
Seattle Seahawks Defensive or Special Teams TD +2000
Denver Broncos Field Goal +350
Denver Broncos TD Pass +300
Denver Broncos Rushing TD +700
Denver Broncos Safety +4000
Tom: Denver Broncos rushing TD.
Mike: I think Denver is probably going to score first, but can't find the end zone early on. Denver Broncos Field Goal.
Will there be a score in the first 6 min 30 seconds of the first quarter?
Tom: An interesting prop in years past at 7:30, this year's full list of props included a range of times up to 7:30. We chose 6:30 because of the even (for either side) odds, though of course -115 both directions indicates a prop you would only bet on because you either had a really strong feeling about it or you do not like your money. In both postseason games, the Broncos held the ball for at least 6:30 before scoring, though of course they did not score against New England until their second possession (and on a field goal rather than a touchdown). No.
Mike: I think this game starts slowly and then gains momentum in the second half, after the two coaches (Carroll and Manning) make some adjustments. No.
Total First Half Team Points - Seattle Seahawks
Over First Half Points O 12 (-125)
Under First Half Points U 12 (-105)
Tom: Under, as half their points will come in each half.
Mike: OK, that is a new level of absurdity, even for you. 12 seems a bit high, here. I could see 10. I could also see 14, but I think I'm more comfortable with 10. Under.
Total Team Points - Seattle Seahawks
Over Points O 23½ (-125)
Under Points U 23½ (-105)
Tom: Under, as 23.5 is greater than 20.
Mike: On the other hand, I'm not comfortable going under 23.5 for the game. Too much weird stuff could happen. Over.
Total First Half Team Points - Denver Broncos
Over First Half Points O 13 (-115)
Under First Half Points U 13 (-115)
Tom: I am rooting for a push here, as I believe it is possible and -115 odds is another great yuck. Over.
Mike: I'm amazed you restrained yourself from pushing, you wuss. That said, a push seems pretty likely. I still think the early game is going to be a ton of field goals, so under.
Total Team Points - Denver Broncos
Over Points O 25 (-115)
Under Points U 25 (-115)
Tom: 27 > 25, so over.
Mike: Have you seen Peyton Manning in the second half of games? Unless Seattle's offense just doesn't show up, he can get to 25 pretty handily. Over.
Longest Touchdown in the Game
Over Yards O 42½ (-115)
Under Yards U 42½ (-115)
Tom: Will a successful Seattle shot play or big Lynch run result in a touchdown? I will go with no, so under.
Mike: I can see Sherman or another member of the extremely aggressive Seattle defense taking a gamble in the heat of the moment and allowing one of the Broncos' many weapons to blow up for a huge play. Calling that play a touchdown is a bridge too far. Under.
Shortest Touchdown in the Game
Over Yards O 1½ (-105)
Under Yards U 1½ (-125)
Tom: Will there be a touchdown from the 1-yard-line, basically? I foresee both teams scoring short touchdowns, but that short? No. Over.
Mike: 1-yard line and in, Tom. That includes the half-yard line, which I feel Seattle will be sitting at during the game, at some point. Under.
Total Touchdowns in the game
Over TDs O 5½ (EVEN)
Under TDs U 5½ (-130)
Tom: The Broncos are scoring three touchdowns, the Seahawks two. Three plus two equals five. Under.
Mike: I think there will be too many drives ending in field goals to predict six touchdowns. Under.
Longest Successful Field Goal in the Game
Over Yards O 44½ (-115)
Under Yards U 44½ (-115)
Mike: 45 yards isn't that long, and whichever team has the ball at the end of the half will have a high likelihood of trying to reach long field goal range. Both kickers are fine and the weather doesn't seem that bad, so over.
Tom: Two solid kickers, some probably cool and possibly ugly weather, swirling winds, coaches that have some idea (or a quarterback with a strong idea) of the danger behind kicking long field goals. That sounds like an under to me.
Total QB Sacks in the game
Over Sacks O 4½ (-105)
Under Sacks U 4½ (-125)
Tom: I like Seattle's pass rush, but maybe not that much against a hard to sack quarterback. Denver has an average pass rush and Wilson takes a lot of sacks. Well, I talked myself into this one. Over.
Mike: Wilson loves him some being sacked, yes. Over.
Total to record more QB Sacks in the game
Seattle Seahawks +120
Denver Broncos -150
Mike: It is really, really hard to sack Peyton Manning. Denver Broncos.
Tom: It feels underappreciated that the Seahawks ranked dead last in offensive Adjusted Sack Rate this year. Denver Broncos.
Will either team score 3 unanswered times in the game?
Tom: When we first did one of these, I did not expect this, but as the odds reflect it tends to keep happening. Yes.
Mike: We tend to dismiss or discount field goals, since two of them don't even cover a touchdown, but experience has shown that three unanswered scores is extremely common. It's merely an issue of perception. Yes.
Race to 10 Points
Seattle Seahawks +110
Denver Broncos -140
Tom: Betting on neither here seems like a great way to make up for a result that could give us a bunch of losers elsewhere in the column. That also feels like the logic that let previous Scramble writers somehow take a bunch of slight loser prop bets and somehow lose thousands of dollars every year. Denver Broncos.
Mike: We are way too responsible with our fake money. Lots of readers should definitely take neither on this one, however. For me, I'll go with the better offense. Denver Broncos.
Total Points - Odd or Even?
Tom: 27+20=47, which is Odd.
Mike: See, generally: money, following. Also, two odd scores makes an even total, because math science. Even.
Will there be a defensive or special teams TD scored in the game?
Mike: Neither of these teams have flashy special teams, and defensive touchdowns are impossible to predict. No.
Tom: How flashy. No.
Will Seattle score a defensive or special teams TD scored in the game?
Tom: No such TD at all means no TD for either team.
Mike: Never going to predict that.No.
Will Denver sore a defensive or special teams TD scored in the game?
Tom: No such TD at all still means no TD for either team.
Mike: Still not predicting that! No.
Half Time/Full Time
Seattle Seahawks / Seattle Seahawks 9/5
Denver Broncos / Seattle Seahawks 15/2
Tie / Seattle Seahawks 14/1
Tie / Denver Broncos 12/1
Seattle Seahawks / Denver Broncos 6/1
Denver Broncos / Denver Broncos 5/4
Tom: The question for this prop is whether the lousy odds on the Broncos leading at halftime and the end of the game make up for the likelihood that is, in fact, what happens. No, it does not. Seattle Seahawks / Seattle Seahawks.
Mike: I think Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos is a happy medium.
Margin of Victory
Seattle Seahawks 1 to 6 points 15/4
Seattle Seahawks 7 to 12 points 5/1
Seattle Seahawks 13 to 18 points 8/1
Seattle Seahawks 19 to 24 points 16/1
Seattle Seahawks 25 to 30 points 28/1
Seattle Seahawks 31 to 36 points 40/1
Seattle Seahawks 37 or more points 33/1
Denver Broncos 1 to 6 points 7/2
Denver Broncos 7 to 12 points 5/1
Denver Broncos 13 to 18 points 15/2
Denver Broncos 19 to 24 points 12/1
Denver Broncos 25 to 30 points 20/1
Denver Broncos 31 to 36 points 33/1
Denver Broncos 37 or more points 25/1
Tom: On the other hand, I like my margin of victory odds. Denver Broncos by 7 to 12 points.
Mike: And I ... find mine palatable. Denver Broncos by 1 to 6 points.
Team to Receive the opening kickoff
Seattle Seahawks (Receive Opening Kickoff) -115
Denver Broncos (Receive Opening Kickoff) -115
Tom: Do I hedge a negative EV bet-picking Seattle to win the toss, thus likely to defer-with another negative EV bet? Nah. Denver Broncos.
Mike: I don't even remember who I picked to win the toss. On the plus side, I took the over on our brain cell killing prop at the beginning, so yay for me! Denver Broncos.
Will the opening kickoff result in a touchback?
Yes (Opening Kickoff Touchback) -175
No (Opening Kickoff Touchback) +145
Tom: Trindon Holliday, this one is on you. Yes.
Mike: Always be touchbacking? Yes.
Team to get First First Down of the Game
Seattle Seahawks (First First Down) +105
Denver Broncos (First First Down) -135
Tom: While the Broncos are likely to get the opening first down, the odds disparity here leads me to take Seattle Seahawks.
Mike: This basically boils down to who gets the ball first. That's another coin flip. Follow the money! Seattle Seahawks.
The First First Down in the Game will happen on a Pass or Run Play?
Passing Play (First First Down) -165
Rushing Play (First First Down) +135
Tom: Passing plays are so much neater than running plays.
Mike: Manning loves to run on third-and-short and Seattle is a run-first team. I'll take Rushing Play and the payout.
Team Offense to Cross the 50-Yard Line First in the Game
Seattle Seahawks (Cross 50-Yard Line First) +110
Denver Broncos (Cross 50-Yard Line First) -140
Mike: On the other hand, Denver's offense is just better. Denver Broncos.
Tom: I like Denver's offense and think they will find a way to move the ball. Denver Broncos.
Team to Enter the Red Zone First in the Game
Seattle Seahawks (Enter Red Zone First) EVEN
Denver Broncos (Enter Red Zone First) -130
Mike: Denver has been methodical lately, so I don't think Manning is going to be aiming for the end zone outside of the red zone. And, as I have stated many times, I like Denver's offense better. Denver Broncos.
Tom: Still a Denver Broncos fan, since they will score first.
Team to score from the Red Zone First in the Game
Seattle Seahawks (Score from Red Zone First) EVEN
Denver Broncos (Score from Red Zone First) -130
Tom: The Denver Broncos will score first from the red zone.
Mike: This includes field goals? I think it includes field goals. Denver Broncos, then.
Will there be a score in the final 2 minutes of the First half?
Yes (Score in Final 2 Minutes of First Half) -275
No (Score in Final 2 Minutes of First Half) +215
Tom: Operating quickly, moving efficiently? These teams are not San Francisco. Yes.
Mike: It's really easy to move the ball quickly at the end of the half, especially if you're happy with a field goal. Yes.
Will both teams have the lead during the first half?
Yes (Both Teams Lead in First Half) +130
No (Both Teams Do Not Lead in First Half) -160
Tom: The Denver Broncos may not always have their opening lead, but they will not lose it. No.
Mike: What does that even mean? Anyway, I feel there will be some field goals tossed back and forth, so Yes.
Team to Score Last in the Game
Seattle Seahawks (Score Last in Game) -105
Denver Broncos (Score Last in Game) -125
Tom: As otherwise noted, the Seattle Seahawks will be the last team to score.
Mike: I also like the Seattle Seahawks trying to make something happen late.
Last Scoring Play of the Game
Field Goal or Safety +145
Tom: Down 10 points, the Seahawks will kick a field goal to cut it to a one-score game. Field Goal or Safety.
Mike: I'm not sure where they came up with these odds. If a team is down by more than a touchdown, they will settle for a field goal. If they absolutely need a touchdown, they will try on every down and have a significant chance of turning it over on downs. I feel this is going to be a close game, anyway, so the game being decided on a field goal is not out of the realm of possibility. Field Goal or Safety.
Which Will be the Highest Scoring Quarter?
1st Quarter +400
2nd Quarter +180
3rd Quarter +250
4th Quarter +180
Tom: The second quarter, the one in which both teams will be trying to score and neither trying to run clock.
Mike: The Broncos have been crazy in the fourth quarter of close-ish games. Fourth Quarter.
Will there be a scoreless quarter in the game?
Yes (Scoreless Quarter) +225
No (Scoreless Quarter) -285
Tom: Scoreless quarters are hard. No.
Mike: Really, really hard. No.
Will there be More Points Scored in the
First Half + ½ Pts +110
Second Half + OT -½ Pts -140
Tom: In the abstract, I like the second half a little bit. At odds, give me the first half.
Mike: Second Half + OT all the way.
Will the game go to overtime?
Yes (Overtime) +600
No (Overtime) -1000
Mike: Nobody wants to play sudden death in the Super Bowl. Overtime often happens when teams play for the tie at the end, and there will be strong motivation to avoid that result. No.
Tom: One day a Super Bowl will go to overtime. I will not bet on it until after it happens. No.
The largest points lead of the game by either team will be
Over (Largest Lead) O 13½ (-115)
Under (Largest Lead) U 13½ (-115)
Tom: Tricky and tempting. Another dual -115 bet I would never touch with my own actual money. Over.
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Mike: 14 is way too many points to give out as a lead in a matchup this close. Under.
Will there be a Lead Change in the Second Half?
Yes (Lead Change in Second Half) +140
No (Lead Change in Second Half) -170
Tom: No. The Broncos will lead at halftime and not lose their lead.
Mike: LEAD CHANGES FOR EVERYONE! Yes.
The first missed field goal of the game will be
Wide Left EVEN
Wide Right EVEN
Short or Blocked +500
Tom: Blame Mike for this prop bet, which I expect to get no action. Wide left.
Mike: Yes, blame me for including this awesome, awesome prop. Short is not really viable, given these teams' philosophies, but I think they will try a long one and that means really kicking the bejesus out of the ball, so wide right.
Will there be a safety in the game?
Yes (Safety) +550
No (Safety) -900
Tom: Neither of these teams has a legendary quarterback who would do something like commit intentional grounding in his own end zone and get flagged for a safety, not that any legendary quarterback who has won multiple Super Bowl titles would do such a thing, right? No.
Mike: I already won the "predict a safety in the Super Bowl" prize, I am going to avoid this particular fallacy and just take the tiny amount of money. No.
Will there be a missed extra point after touchdown
Yes (Missed PAT) +800
No (Missed PAT) -1800
Tom: As much as I want a team to miss a PAT and have it decide the game to screw up Roger Goodell’s latest quixotic quest, any Philadelphia-Detroit-like awful weather conditions that would induce a missed PAT would more likely lead to Philadelphia-Detroit-like not attempting a PAT kick in the first place. No.
Mike: If the weather is really that bad, the league will just move the game. No.
Team to Commit the Most Turnovers in the Game
Seattle Seahawks (Commit Most Turnovers) +120
Denver Broncos (Commit Most Turnovers -150
Mike: Seattle nearly coughed up the game last week, and I think Wilson is going to be hit a number of times, which is always a significant fumble (and recovery) risk. Seattle Seahawks.
Tom: The Broncos cannot go two straight games without fumbling the ball away, could they? No, they could not. Denver Broncos.
Team to Call the First Timeout in the Game
Seattle Seahawks (First Timeout) -115
Denver Broncos (First Timeout) -115
Mike: Manning will dislike a defense he sees early on and take a time out to adjust. Denver Broncos.
Tom: I hope against hope this is a prop that sees no action. Alas, I know of no such NFL teams in which a timeout was called by neither team. Denver Broncos.
Total Number of Penalties Made in the Game by Both Teams
Over (Penalties) O 12½ (-105)
Under (Penalties) U 12½ (-125)
Mike: 13 is not a large number of penalties, but definitely enough that things will have to get really chippy. Or very draconian calls in the secondary. Under.
Tom: While the NFL does not want teams to be able to ignore the rules in the postseason, that does not also mean they want to see a lot of penalty flags. Under.
Will a Roughing the Passer penalty be called in the game?
Yes (Roughing the Passer) -115
No (Roughing the Passer) -115
Tom: Is roughing the passer really so common an infraction it should be at even odds? Not even close, if I checked the right thing. Maybe I am missing something, but no here feels like something I would actually bet real money on.
Mike: If Wilson were a non-running quarterback, I'd go with yes on even odds. Since he is, however, I need to go with no.
Will the team with more penalty yards win the game?
Yes (More Penalty Yards wins) EVEN
No (More Penalty Yards wins) -130
Tom: Another prop where I am rooting for a push so this ends up as simply a line entry on the spreadsheet where I will calculate the results. No.
Mike: Almost certainly not going to happen. Penalty yards do not help you win football games, so with that extremely basic level of analysis, I'll go with no.
What will be the first enforced Penalty in the game?
False Start 5/2
Offside or Encroachment or Neutral Zone Infraction 7/2
Pass Interference 5/1
Delay of Game 11/2
Any Other Penalty 11/2
Any Personal Foul or Unsportsmanlike Conduct 9/1
No Penalty in the game 66/1
Mike: Someone is going to get jittery. False Start.
Tom: Flagging the Seahawks secondary for something early feels likely. If the prop were for pass interference or defensive holding or illegal contact, then I would go with that. As is, defensive holding would be a form of holding, while illegal contact would be any other penalty. In that case, give me any other penalty.
Will a 2 point Conversion be Attempted in the Game?
Yes (2pt Conversion Attempted) +195
No (2pt Conversion Not Attempted) -250
Tom: Two point conversions are functions of the game situation. The game situation I have envisioned and based my prop guesses on does not foresee the need or use for any two point conversions. No.
Mike: Far be it from me to criticize your infallible game situation, but the math for two-point conversions, in a field-goal heavy game, works out quite frequently. Do I think these coaches will take an "early" two-point attempt? Probably not, so we're left with the more standard "trying to make something happen late." I foresee a close game, so that is a strong no.
21 comments, Last at 29 Jan 2014, 12:34am
#1 by Travis // Jan 24, 2014 - 2:46pm
A perusal of late-season gamebooks reveals neither the Giants nor Jets official scorer (if those are in fact different people, and assuming that that will likely be the crew in charge of scoring for the Super Bowl) is nearly as generous when it comes to assists as the Buffalo scorer.
The Dallas scorer (who is instantly identifiable by the amount of extraneous information on certain plays from scrimmage) did Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, so it's very likely to be one of those guys.
#2 by Will Allen // Jan 24, 2014 - 3:02pm
In the old days, the Chili Peppers used to play a set or song, every now and then, while attired only in a single tube sock, placed in a strategic area. In 30 degree weather, physics, the response of the human circulatory system, and a television broadcast, would make such an artistic choice problematic, I suppose.
#4 by Perfundle // Jan 24, 2014 - 3:09pm
"More seriously, though, noted Chicago Anthem singer Jim Cornelison, like Fleming, is a Real Singer and regularly sings the Anthem in about 1:30."
This sentence by itself killed enough brain cells to hit the over. This sentence made no sense the first nine times I read it until I finally realized that "noted" is an adjective and not a verb.
#7 by justanothersteve // Jan 24, 2014 - 5:55pm
If Renee Fleming wears gloves when she starts singing the US National Anthem, what color will they be?
Mike: And white is the classiest of colors for Real Singers.
If I learned one thing from John Waters films, it is that people with class do not wear white after Labor Day. Black.
#10 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Jan 25, 2014 - 10:08pm
As a Broncos fan who would love to see the Broncos score first, I'd like to mention that Denver usually defers if they win the toss. I don't know if the Seahawks defer or not, but that could make a difference in your choice.
#11 by JohnD (not verified) // Jan 26, 2014 - 2:13pm
O/U on intentional grounding penalties for Wilson? Watching the end of the divisional championship, I couldn't believe how utterly indifferent he was to whether there was a Seahawk within a mile of his throws when being chased out of the pocket.
#21 by Will Allen // Jan 29, 2014 - 12:34am
If one of the teams was up substantially at the half, and one of the sideline reporters struck a congratulatory tone with that coach, how great would it be for the coach to do their Harvey Keitel as The Wolf imitation, and say, "Well, we shouldn't start sucking each other's d*cks quite yet."?
This really could be a "Bad NFL lip reading; Pulp Fiction Edition".