The Super Bowl has become a de-facto holiday in North America and sports betting, in its myriad forms, is among the reasons so many people celebrate. While one could argue that sports themselves are inherently meaningless, some outcomes are even more lacking in fundamental worth. Those are the ones we’re about to discuss.
Why would we spend time indulging in such a ridiculous exercise, you ask? There is no other reason than pure fun and a desire to connect with our fellows. Nothing makes for a better conversation piece at a Super Bowl party than chattering about the small ecosystem of novelty props that has evolved around the game.
Plus, it’s nice to feel smart around your friends and family when discussing the weirdest, most random wagers imaginable when the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers line up against each other in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday. To wit:
The Gatorade Bath
If you’re going to bet on these things, waste a few minutes along with your money and do a little research. After all, the event itself might be meaningless, but the money at stake is real enough.
So, let’s start with a bit of history here. The first Gatorade bath – or shower, more accurately – sent a chill down the spine of New York Giants coach Bill Parcells nearly 40 years ago. It was not after a Super Bowl win, but rather a decisive home win over the defending NFC champion Washington Redskins on Oct. 28, 1984. Nose tackle Jim Burt didn’t mean it in a spirit of fun but rather was offering a serving of revenge as it is best served: cold. He was upset about Parcells’ treatment of him that week when he opted to turn over a cooler of Gatorade on the coach’s head.
The treatment continued, with linebacker Harry Carson joining the tradition, all through that season and in 1985, making its Super Bowl debut in 1986 after the Giants pounded the New England Patriots 46-10. John Madden broke it down via telestrator throughout that season.
These days, like many other things, the tradition has splintered and flowered from the simpler early days. It has become a staple of post-game MLB interviews, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. often delighting in ambushing his Toronto Blue Jays teammates. Florida State uses Powerade due to their sponsorship deal with the Coca-Cola Company.
It’s also become one of the most popular yearly novelty props. Orange has been the most popular colour over the years, but the shower Andy Reid got last year was purple and the two before that were blue. Reid wore orange in 2020 while Bill Belichick got blue dumped on him in 2019. Yellow was the choice in 2018 while nobody dumped any in 2017 or 2013.
Doesn’t it seem like there are too many ways for this one to be rigged, with the perpetrating players potentially in on it? Maybe we’re overthinking this.
Last year, purple hit at tasty odds of +1000, so if you like the Chiefs to be the first team to repeat in 19 years, perhaps you bank on the fact that those guys simply enjoy a nice fake grape flavour with their food dye and sugar water?
Total – Odd/Even
This one is kind of fun and should be highly popular in the numerology community. Is there a science to it? Well, yeah, it’s called probability and, according to the tenets therein, odd is appreciably more likely to hit than even. That, seemingly, has something to do with the fact that the primary scoring increments in football, seven and three, both are odd numbers.
With odd at -120 at Bet365, we know those odds imply that odd is 54.5% likely to hit here. If you lay that, you can take comfort in the fact that three of the last four Super Bowls have had an odd-numbered total, including the Chiefs’ 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles last year. The lone exception was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-9 trouncing of the Chiefs back in 2021.
If you ride with even, you’ll be happy to know that every Super Bowl from 2015 to 2019 landed on an even score (Patriots 28-24, Denver 24-10, New England again 34-28, Philadelphia 41-33 and New England yet again, 13-3).
If you’re seriously thinking of betting on this prop, we might say just flip a coin. But we’ll save that advice for those who are considering our next prop play…
The Coin Toss
The ceremonial flip, which also has a real-life bearing on the outcome, determines which team will kick and receive both to start the game and to start the second half. It also has whipped up plenty of interest and money for the sportsbooks over the years.
Last year, the Chiefs – like most teams – chose to defer (and kick) after winning the toss on tails.
Typically, the coin toss ranks in the top 10 in terms of handle and bets for Super Bowl prop bets and the majority of bets and money tend to come in on heads. Does this mean one should look to go against the public? No, not at all. The odds stay locked in the middle so there is absolutely no advantage to picking either side other than feeling smarter (or, more accurately, more intuitive) than your fellow fans. The beauty of this one is that it is absolutely 50-50 (barring a conspiracy), meaning your immigrant grandmother has as good a chance of winning it as that sharp nephew who spends all his time online researching these moronic bets. It, in a sense, gambling at its purest.
Recognizing that the information below is essentially meaningless, here it is anyway: in the 54 Super Bowls with a toss, tails has landed 29 times and heads has hit 25 times. Take that information to the bank, if that’s your thing.
Winning Margin (43 or more +10000)
If you want to pull in a huge return, sometimes you have to take a crazy stance. The point spread in this one (San Francisco -2) has stayed tight since it opened two weeks ago, but you never know. One of the teams just might not show up on Sunday. Maybe the nightlife in Las Vegas will sap the strength and the will to compete from one of the teams?
If you take a stand on a blowout this massive, however, be warned that it has only happened once, back when the 49ers embarrassed the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV 34 years ago. In 57 years, that is the only Big Game that has been as lopsided as this 100-to-1 bet demands. It’s the only time a team has won by 40 or more points. The two next biggest laughers were the Chicago Bears’ 46-10 rout of the Patriots in Super Bowl XX and the Redskins’ 42-10 pounding of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Some of you will recall that the 1980s were a bad era for entertaining Super Bowls.