February 2007
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Big Game Sunday

In a few hours time, hundreds of millions of people around the world will be starting to watch the Super Bowl.  Or, like me, they’ll be setting Sky+ and bunking off work in the morning to watch it.

Despite the NFL‘s best efforts to keep such unwholesome activities as gambling out of football, today’s the day that you blow you money as you like on one some truly awful prop bets.  Gambling – bad.  Getting paid stupid amounts to bash the living shit out of each other for entertainment – good.  The salary cap allows teams to buy chunks of their players’ life expectancy for an average of $100,000 per game; each game bringing them about one month closer to death.  Obviously, some players fare better than others.

You won’t see it called the Super Bowl in any of those despicable houses of sin in Las Vegas.  It’ll be the Big Game, Super Sunday or the Pro Football Championship.  Despite being arguably the most well known sporting event in the world, it’s still a trademark after all, and the NFL says no.

You can bet $110 to win $100 on who will win the coin toss, in what is one of the few genuine even-money shots in sports betting, but it is also one of the worst bets in the casino.  Obviously it’s a sports bet because you’re backing the team and not heads or tails.  Be sure to shop around if you cant wait for the first snap to get into the action.  Paddy Power are offering these at a dreadful -120 (win $100 or lose $120 – any bet on double zero roulette is nearly five times better!) whereas Bodog has it for a (relatively) healthy -105.

Among the exotic (or, if you prefer, sucker) bets, you might fancy overtime to be decided by a safety.  A whopping 80-1 for that.  Has it ever happened?  Actually yes, but only twice ever.  If it even happened once a season, 80-1 would be way short.  Pinnacle offers odds on "Will there be a score in first 6:27 of game?".  How very precise.  Sporting Index is, as usual, leading candidate for best-named market.  It’s a close one, between "Interceptasaurus Rex" and "All You Need Is Lovie".

They’re also taking action on how long the sixty-minute game actually lasts.  The spread is 225-230 minutes.  With an 11.25pm kickoff, that makes your ETA to bed about 3.10am for anyone in the UK that’s thinking of staying up to watch it all.

Although Jerry’s Nugget wouldn’t be anywhere on my list of places to watch a football game in Vegas, they do have one of the best Big Game ads ever.