Super Bowl Sideshow: Prop Bets Gone Wild
Since the dawn of covering sporting events live, the primary challenge has always been how to keep viewers or listeners engaged.
It's why sportscasters always stockpile anecdotes, interesting stats, and related issues for discussion, just in case the game they're doing is a blowout.
It's why Roone Arledge added Howard Cosell to his Monday Night Football pitch to ABC. If nothing else, he could rely on Cosell to foment controversy.
However, nothing says keeping viewers engaged quite like money.
Enter point spreads, and for the big events -- the ones where a sport's overlords want to ensure a wall-to-wall viewership so rights fees and advertising rates stay stratospheric -- an eclectic array of prop bets. From who scores the first touchdown to an over/under on how long the national anthem will take to be sung, these quirky little wagers provide the undercurrent of engagement that virtually make the score irrelevant.
Of course, the vanilla stuff engages fans who want some modicum of skill involved in their wagers:
And of course, Bovada features these in abundance. Here are a few more examples you'll see if you have an online account:
Even halftime is fodder for the wallet. So-called special props like these abound:
Bovada even gets the Olympics involved:
And Bovada certainly doesn't ignore the investment community:
Thus, it's plain to see that while many prognosticators expect a close game, many of those viewing don't really care. And from a business perspective, that's just fine with the NFL. Casual viewers are cash cows, no matter what it takes to milk them.