published Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Greeson: A big risk to bet on big game

There is more money gambled on the Super Bowl than any other single sporting game. There also are way more bets on the Super Bowl than any event in the history of the gambling world.

You can bet on anything during the Super Bowl. Anything.

Of course, you can bet on the coin flip, the first person to score, the outcome, the total number of points scored (in the game, in each half or in each quarter), whether Kelly Clarkson will mess up the national anthem, how many times Peyton Manning will be mentioned by the announcers, the first celebrity to be shown on camera and on and on.

The list is crazy and it's fun to look at the wild proposition bets that are out there.

Let's go over a few of the best starting from the gambling options at the beginning of Sunday's Super Bowl between New England and New York.

• The over/under on how long it will take Clarkson to sing the National Anthem is 94 seconds. I like the over here, if for no other reason that big moments normally generate big runs from big talents. I like the over big.

• Give me tails on the coin flip.

The quickest way to determine if someone has a gambling problem is if they answer yes to any of the following questions:

a) Have you ever bet on any preseason game

b) Have you ever caught yourself checking lines before your morning coffee

c) Have you ever bet on a coin flip

There you go.

And if you want some crazy stats to impress your friends, here's a doozy. According to friend of the show RJ Bell of pregame.com, the NFC has won 14 consecutive coin tosses in the Super Bowl. Yes, 14 in a row. How is that possible? The odds against that are 16,383-to-1. And to magnify the run of the NFC's luck on what is the most 50-50 bet of all time, the all-time split on coin flips is 23 heads, 22 tails.

So let's take tails to even the score, and that's right, we officially have a problem. Maybe.

• The passing yards prop bets are major-league interesting. Here are a few of our favorites:

Passing yards over/unders -- Brady 321.5 (over); Manning 311.5 (over);

Will both Brady and Manning top 300 yards -- Yes 35% ($100 bet wins $170); No 65% ($200 bet wins $100). Let's go with yes;

Brady passes for more than 500 yards -- 25-to-1 and I like those odds; Manning passes for more than 500 yards 35-to-1 and I like those odds, too.

• Wes Welker gets more receptions against the Giants than LeBron James' assists total Sunday. This is an even money bet, and with Rob Gronkowski's effectiveness uncertain because of a high ankle sprain, Welker easily could get at least 10 catches.

• Let's go with "No" in the prop bet, "Will Kelly Clarkson show her belly during the national anthem?" Again, another even money pick -- and one we can all root for. Agreed? Agreed.

• As for the game itself, there seems to be a public hugfest for the Giants.

Nevermind that the Pats have Tom Brady. The Pats have Bill Belichick, who we're certain has been making his team watch ESPN hourly and see how much love the Giants have been getting from every talking head from the top of the IQ range (Jay Bilas) to the bottom (Stu Scott).

But most importantly, despite being a 2 1/2-point favorite, the Pats are an overwhelming underdog in the eyes of the betting public.

This is what we know about gambling: The house wins way more than it loses (the casinos in Vegas are really nice, and if you have been there more than once you almost certainly helped pay for them); the house wins way, Way, WAY more than it loses on Super Sunday (Vegas has made money on the straight-line game bet in 19 of the last 21 Super Bowls, meaning the team the public likes is 2-19 against the number the last 21 years); the Giants have been the play by more than 60-percent of the betting public so far, according pregame.com.

To recap, we'll go with the best QB, the best coach and the gambling gods and call it a day.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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