The Super Bowl is always Las Vegas casinos’ busiest day of the calendar year.
It is, without a doubt, bigger than the NCAA tournament final, bigger than the World Series of Poker’s final day and bigger than when Lindsay Lohan and her entourage come riding into town. An estimated $10 billion is projected to be bet on Super Bowl XLVII worldwide, and over half of all adult Americans are expected to bet on the game in some form.
Right now, Las Vegas is in the midst of a purple haze from all the early Baltimore Ravens action. According to RJ Bell at Pregame.com, 65 percent of bets to date have been on the Ravens, moving the opening line of San Francisco favored by five points to the current line of the 49ers favored by 3.5 points.
But it’s early. Way too early, really. Approximately 90 percent of the bets made on the Super Bowl will come either on Saturday or Sunday.
Many of those bets will be proposition bets, or “prop bets.”
Super Bowl prop bets tend to be goofy. They’re weird. They’re way out there. They’re also a lot more fun than betting on the point spread or the over/under (which is 47.5, in case you were wondering).Everyone can enjoy a good prop bet. Though things may change over the course of the week — an injury to a star player, a wrinkle to a game plan revealed, a leaked Beyonce halftime show set list on the Internet prematurely — we wanted to give you an early preview, with my expert analysis, on some of the most popular prop bets of Super Bowl XLVII, courtesy of the gambling web site Bovada.lv.
Here are my stone-cold picks, along with some hard-hitting reasons why I’m leaning one way or another. After all, who needs football when there are prop bets like these?
1. How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the national anthem?
Vegas over/under: 2 minutes, 15 seconds
Schrager analysis: I typed the term “Alicia Keys National Anthem” into YouTube, and this clip of another woman named Alicia singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" atop a horse at an Arizona Adrenaline Arena Football League game came up first in the search results. Her version — this other Alicia’s — was a swift 1:54 long. Knowing Alicia Keys like I do (note: I do not know Alicia Keys), I think she’ll see this version on YouTube at some point during the week and will be motivated by just how fast the Alicia-atop-the-horse sang the anthem. She’ll rise to the challenge and will do it even faster. Of course, the only potential wrinkle in this highly likely scenario is if the weird loner guy from the CitiBank credit card commercials pops up and throws a wrench in everything. You know who I am talking about; he’ s dumped by his girlfriend for being “boring,” then proceeds to use his CitiBank rewards points to go to an Alicia Keys concert alone and stare at her from off-stage. That guy? That guy freaks me out. He’s a wild card. If he’s in the building, stay away from this bet. Too volatile. There’s no idea what crazy loner rewards points guy will do to set things awry.
Schrager pick: UNDER 2 minutes, 15 seconds
2. Will Alicia Keys be booed during or after her rendition of the national anthem?
Schrager analysis: I guess Christina Aguilera heard some boos after her rendition a few years back? I don’t think Alicia Keys is forgetting any lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner." She’s a pro’s pro. This is easy money. No one’s booing Alicia Keys. When they had that benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims at Madison Square Garden last month, Alicia Keys was the one youthful voice (or artist under 60) who went on stage before midnight. She stole the show. She’ll do it again on Sunday. Expect a perfect rendition. And I really don’t care if it’s lip-synced or not.
Schrager pick: NO
3. Will Beyonce be joined by Jay-Z on stage during the Super Bowl halftime ahow?
Yes +110 (11/10)
No -150 (2/3)
Schrager analysis: This is an interesting one. The casual Jay-Z or Beyonce fan may assume this is a gimme and that the two will team up for a “Crazy in Love” performance, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Jay-Z opened up the Barclays Center in Brooklyn back in October with a string of shows. Night after night, fans waited for Beyonce to be brought on stage for a joint performance. Night after night, they never got the return of Bonnie and Clyde. Then, on the final evening, out she came. And … it was glorious. Just an awesome performance. I don’t see it happening for the Super Bowl, though. The other members of Destiny’s Child? I can see that happening. But I think this is Beyonce’s halftime show, not Jay-Z’s. He’ll take the back seat to his lady on this one.
Schrager pick: NO
4. Will Beyonce’s hair be curly/crimped or straight at the beginning of the halftime show?
Straight -140 (5/7)
Curly/Crimped EVEN (1/1)
Schrager analysis: If there’s one thing I’m an expert in, it’s Beyonce’s hair. No, I’m kidding. After Vito, my barber on the corner of Worth and Broadway in Manhattan, gave me the death stare when I asked him what his thoughts were on this, I went to my fiancee, Erica, for her best guess. Her take: “It’ll be curly, but definitely not crimped. Crimped? No. Definitely not crimped. It’ll be curly because it’ll be humid in New Orleans, and she’s going to want to have fun up there. This is the Super Bowl, not the Academy Awards. She’ll be dancing and running around. Straight would be beautiful, but too formal.” Trust the lady.
Schrager pick: CURLY/CRIMPED
5. What predominant color will Beyonce’s top be at the beginning of the halftime show?
Gold (Yellow) 11/4
Silver (Gray) 7/2
Schrager analysis: Again, I go to Erica. “Gold. It’s a fabulous, sparkly color. She’s a fabulous, sparkly woman.” Duh.
Schrager pick: GOLD (Yellow)
6. Will either Jack or Jackie Harbaugh be shown on TV wearing any clothing that has either a 49ers or Ravens logo during the game?
Yes +200 (2/1)
No -300 (1/3)
Schrager analysis: To be honest, I’m not even sure we’ll see Jack or Jackie in the stands during the CBS telecast. Pregame show, sure. Postgame celebrations, of course. But during the game? Don’t be surprised if they’ll take a back seat to actual football. They may request to not be on TV. I think by Sunday we’ll all be a little Harbaugh’d out, too. They’re brothers. We get it. By game time, it’ll be time to play some actual football. And no, they won’t be wearing Ravens or 49ers gear, if they do make a CBS cutaway.
Schrager pick: NO
7. How long will the postgame handshake/hug last between Jim and John Harbaugh?
Over/Under 7.5 seconds
Schrager analysis: I rewatched the postgame handshake/hug after their Thanksgiving game from 2011, and it was fairly epic and about 11 seconds. There was an “I love you” in there, too. This isn’t Belichick/Mangini or Jim Harbaugh/Jim Schwartz. I’m going with the over.
Schrager pick: OVER
8. Will any player on the active roster be arrested before Super Bowl XLVII?
Schrager analysis: Though it feels like there’s an arrest every year, there hasn’t been one in quite some time. The last one I can recall was when an Adrian Awasom of the New York Giants (who was on injured reserve at the time) got a DUI in Glendale, Ariz., back in 2008. Jim and John Harbaugh have both used the term “business trip” to describe this year’s Super Bowl. Do you think a Ravens player is going to mess with Ray Lewis? Do you think a 49ers player is going to screw around with Jim Harbaugh? Then again, it is Bourbon Street …
Schrager pick: NO
9. What will be the highest rate of tweets per second during the Super Bowl?
Schrager analysis: I don’t even know what this means, but I imagine people will be tweeting. A lot.
Schrager pick: OVER
10. Will any player get a penalty for excessive celebration in the game?
Yes +225 (9/4)
No -350 (2/7)
Schrager analysis: I sure hope so. There hasn’t been a truly absurd postseason touchdown celebration since Randy Moss did this in 2004: Yep, I loved the full-moon celebration. I’m thinking, if he gets into the end zone, Moss gives America one more moon, nine years later. We can only be so lucky.