Casino Beat: Super Bowl Proposition Bets

The biggest sports event of the year is happening this Sunday and even if you’re not a fan, there are lots of fun ways to get in on the action and maybe even put a little jingle in your pocket!

You don't have to wait until the end of the game to win!
You don't have to wait until the end of the game to win!

Last year the worldwide audience for the Super Bowl was over 90 million viewers. It’s an annual event that brings office workers together in surreptitious betting pools all across the country and it’s an advertiser’s golden opportunity to make a memorable impression on a large audience.

But Nevada residents (and visitors!) are especially lucky on Super Bowl week-end because not only do many casinos pull out all the stops hosting viewing parties, they also offer hundreds of “proposition bets” on the game to attract fans and non-fans alike.

Most casinos typically offer only two or three ways to bet the outcome of most sporting events. Sometimes casino sports books will also offer #1 and #2 type bets on half-time scores on marquee NFL and NBA games.
1) betting for or against the point spread
2) betting the over or under of total points scored
3) betting the money-line (which team will win outright)

But the Super Bowl is different. Sure, the standard bets draw a lot of action. Last year here was over $81M wagered on the game in Nevada casinos alone (they ended up winning just over 8%). But included in that mix are lots and lots of proposition bets. Bets like whether the opening coin toss will be heads or tails, or which team will win that coin toss. There are proposition bets that cover not only which team will score first or last, but also which player will score first or last and whether that score will be a touchdown, field goal or safety. These kind of bets don’t really require any specific knowledge of the game, teams or players. They’re fun to play and they help make the whole game interesting, even if you’re only at a Super Bowl party to hang out with friends.

Plus, picking the last team to score before half-time, or the first team to score in the second half can make you smile even if your team doesn’t ultimately win the game.

Of course for the serious fan, there are also other types of “prop” bets that might require a little more handicapping research, such as the exact points scored by each team (meaning, your team doesn’t have to win, it just has to score the number of points you thought they would) or which star player is likely to score first, last or the most.

The prop bet list covers every facet of the game and if you’re interested I encourage you to rush down to your nearest sports book and see what they’re offering. They’re not all the same. Some casinos, like the M Resort, even offer “in-running wagering” which means you have betting options DURING the game. The Super Bowl is famous is famous for unexpected things and many prop bets offer attractive odds so even a simple $10 bet can result in a win of $80 or more.

Who is your favorite player, or which odds seem the most appealing?
Who is your favorite player, or which odds seem the most appealing?

Caesars Palace is credited with inventing Super Bowl proposition bets over thirty years ago. They were the first to get the bright idea of inviting former players and hosting viewing parties for their patrons. One of the earliest proposition bets to make headlines across the country was when defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry played for the Chicago Bears in the 1986 Super Bowl. Coach Mike Ditka had used Perry in a couple of short yardage situations throughout the season when the Bears were near their opponents goal line. So to spice things up a little Caesar’s offered a 20-1 proposition that Perry would score a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Perry was so loved by fans everyone jumped on that bet and it got bet all the way down to 2-1 by game time. Sure enough, in the third quarter, Ditka put the nearly 400 pound defensive lineman in the game with the ball on New England’s one-yard line. The ‘Frige rumbled in, to the dismay of Caesar’s but to the delight of fans and historians everywhere.

Casinos with extensive Super Bowl proposition bets:
Las Vegas Hilton
M Resort
The Palms
all Harrah’s properties
all MGM/Mirage properties
South Point
all Station casinos
all Boyd/Coast casinos

All the major casinos in Las Vegas will have special promotions going on during the Super Bowl. Of special interest to some will be the Planet Hollywood Super Bowl Party featuring star NFL players, Playboy Playmates and drawings for a wide range of prizes; free South Point parties in the Showroom, Napa and Grand ballrooms with reduced bar and menu prices; and a package deal at the Flamingo which includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, two free pitchers of beer (Miller or Coors) and the Miller and Coors cheerleaders.

If you want to know which prop bets I like, check out my “Best Bets” column on Saturday. In the meantime, I’m liking Reggie Bush in the “Kardashian bet” at the Hilton (Reggie’s total rushing yards versus Laker Lamar Odom’s total points, assists and rebounds). Reggie Bush is married to one Kardashian sister and Lamar Odom is married to the other for those of you who don’t have set as your homepage!

Other prop bets I like:
Saints – 7 1/2 for +400
Player to score first: Marques Colston (NO) at 10/1

So go proposition your favorite bookie today! (but try not to get slapped in the face ;- )