Super Bowl XLIX kickoff is just a few hours away, and bettors are going crazy.
Yes, despite most major league sports officials acting all self-righteous about sports and betting, athletic games and games of chance have been intertwined for ages.
There are, of course, lots of dollars being placed on the actual game between the depending NFL champion Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.
But the most fun wagers are the prop bets. These wagers, short for proposition, can be placed on anything, and I mean anything, that is even remotely related to today's big football game.
My favorite this year concerns halftime, which has gotten more attention since the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction during her Super Bowl XXXVIII performance with Justin Timberlake.
This year, Katy Perry is the headliner (although I'm looking forward to Lenny Kravitz's contribution) and "head" is key. Folks are putting their money down on what color Katy's hair will be.
Odds makers say the best bet is black/brown at 2/1. Pink/red is 3/1, blue/green 3/1, blonde 4/1, and purple is the long shot at 5/1.
But the fun doesn't end with Katy's coiffure.
Clothing, songs and actual game bets: Color comes into play in bets on the hue of the Gatorade sports drink that will dumped on the winning coach. Orange is the betting favorite this morning, followed by yellow, clear/water, red, blue, and green.
Couture, such as it is, also is part of the betting mix. Gamblers are putting their money on Patriots' coach Bill Belichick wearing a gray hoodie, edging out the team colors of blue and red.
What about the opening ceremonies? Will Idina Menzel forget or omit at least one word of the national anthem? You can bet on it. And how long will it take for the Broadway star to sing the Star Spangled Banner?
No word (yet) on any bets concerning six-year-old girls continuing to emulate the Frozen star (and driving parents crazier) by now alternating between rockets' red glare and letting it go.
What? You say you want real game-related bets? We got 'em.
You can wager on what Pat's QB Tom Brady will do first, throw a touchdown pass or an interception. Or whether his first pass attempt will be caught, intercepted or incomplete.
His counterpart, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also is the subject of myriad bets. You can drop a few bucks on how many yards he'll pass; the over/under is 219½ yards. Or how many passes Wilson, who's also a gifted runner, will throw.
All told, online sportsbook Bovada is taking more than 500 prop pets for Super Bowl XLIX. That's a good number for this week's By the Numbers honor, especially since most of those wagers actually are about things that will happen when the teams are on the field.
Mixing sports, wagers: If you're in Las Vegas, you can place your bets in person at the many sportsbooks in casinos throughout town. And you don't even have to stick with just football.
PGA Tour professionals are playing at the nearby TPC Scottsdale Golf Course this weekend. So it's only natural, as PGA.com's Golf Buzz notes, that Sin City bet takers offer a variety of cross-sports wagers.
For example, you can place a bet on how Jordan Spieth's final-round score today in the Phoenix-area tournament will compare to Wilson's rushing yards in University of Phoenix Stadium. If Rickie Fowler is your links favorite, you can bet on his final-round score vs. New England receiver Brandon LaFell's receiving yards.
Don't forget the taxes: Yes, some of the prop bets are totally outrageous. But you never know. One lucky bettor last year cashed in to the tune of $60,000 on what most thought was a crazy safety as the first score prop bet.
I'll take that kind of crazy payout any day of the week! And yes, I'd also happily pay the taxes due on big gambling winnings.
That's right, this is a tax blog so I have to remind you that whatever wagers catch your fancy, if you win, you'll owe taxes.
But until the tax man comes calling when you report your Super Bowl XLIX winnings or any other payouts this year on your 2015 taxes, enjoy the game and the many goofy prop bets.
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