Americans love to gamble, and our favorite wagering vehicle just pulled up: the Super Bowl.
An estimated $10 billion will be bet on the game worldwide, with just more than 50 percent of American adults having some sort of wager, according to RJ Bell of pregame.com.
You can wager on how many times Peyton Manning barks out “Omaha;” whether Richard Sherman gets a taunting penalty; the possibility a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers goes shirtless at halftime; and whether LeBron James scores more points Saturday against the Knicks than the Seahawks do Sunday against the Broncos.
There are nearly 300 prop bets on the table, including how long it will take Renée Fleming to sing the national anthem. The line is set at 2 minutes, 25 seconds.
“It’s a higher number than we’ve offered in the past,” Bovada oddsmaker Pat Morrow told the Associated Press, “but after seeing some of her performances, we figured as an opera singer she has a tendency of drawing out a note. We had to watch a lot of YouTube to make that line.”
Here’s our annual guesswork at some interesting wagers:
Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the national anthem? Yes. The emotional Broncos back bawled during a lot of regular-season anthems so why not know?
Who does FOX go to first, Erin Andrews or Pam Oliver? Andrews is their shining star, and she’s in the news with the Sherman controversy.
First Bruno Mars song at halftime? The chalk bet is on “Locked Out of Heaven” so that won’t pay much. How about “Treasure,” at 3-1, or a long shot like “Just the Way You Are” at 9-1?
Over/under for largest lead (14 points)? Under. This figures to be tight all the way.
Over/under on Knowshon Moreno’s rushing yards (59)? Over. Denver recognizes Moreno needs his carries to keep the Seattle defense honest.
How many times will Eli Manning be shown on TV (1½)? Got to be over for Peyton’s brother in his home stadium.
“Beast Mode” mentions (over/under 2)? Over. Marshawn Lynch will be a huge part of the Seattle offense.
Will announcers use the word “marijuana” during the game? It’s in the national consciousness, but no. It’ll probably come up in Bill O’Reilly’s pregame interview with President Obama, though.
Will announcers mention Russell Wilson being drafted by an MLB club? Yes. Play-by-play guy Joe Buck is a baseball guy, and he’s bound to mention it. Wilson was drafted by the Rockies, moved to the Rangers and is on the Round Rock Express roster.
TV shout-outs to Seattle’s “12th Man” (over/under 2): Under. Don’t worry, Aggie fans, the Seahawks are on the road and won’t get much “12th Man” love in Jersey.
Will it snow during the game? No. And you won’t get a big payoff here because the forecast is looking brighter and brighter.
Kevin Durant’s points vs. Washington or Manning’s pass attempts? We’re not bucking the former Texas Longhorn during his spectacular scoring spree.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s finish at the Daytona 500 vs. Wilson’s longest rush? Little E, please. Wilson will probably have a 15-to-20-yard run; Earnhardt Jr. should be good for a top-10 finish at one of his best venues Feb. 23.
Will the Liverpool-West Brom match have more goals than there are interceptions in the Super Bowl? Take the soccer. The Reds’ Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge should be good for a couple by themselves.
Super Bowl MVP winner? There’s no money to be made betting Manning at less than even money. If the Broncos win, they’ll find every reason to give it to Peyton. But Lynch, at 6-1, or Wilson, at 4-1, or maybe Sherman, at 22-1, are intriguing. American-Statesman scribe Danny Davis touts a healthy potential game-breaker in Percy Harvin at 25-1.
What will the stock market do the day after? Go up. The game, the parties, the clever ads — they all create investor buzz the next morning.
Oh, yeah, who will win the game? Ah, the tough one. Let’s go Broncos to cover the 2½-point spread. This is Denver’s 30th straight game as a favorite. In the previous 29, the Broncos were 25-4 straight-up and 20-9 vs. the line. Got to like their chances.