The winter Olympics are still going on, and I'm particularly thrilled about the "old" man of 40, Nick Baumgartner, finally winning his first medal after tries in four of the global games. And a gold at that!
It was the second gold for his mixed snowboard cross teammate Lindsey Jacobellis, who until Baumgartner's win, was the oldest winter games winner at age 36.
Congrats, but sorry, Olympics athletes. Here in the United States, we'll be taking a break this weekend. The Super Bowl is Sunday.
And you know what that means. Betting on the National Football League championship game.
Prop bets abound: I'm not a gambler, aside from a lottery ticket (or two) when the national games' jackpots get amazingly huge.
But I do love the prop bets that every year accompany the NFL's biggest show. They range from whether the coin toss will end up heads or tails to how long it will take the singer to finish the national anthem to the color of the winning coach's Gatorade shower.
The myriad prop bets, short for propositions both on and off the field, have become so popular that folks who don't care at all about the game tune in to watch at least part of it to see how the props turn out.
In case you're thinking of putting down a few dollars, the oddsmakers have set the over-under time for country and R&B singer Mickey Guyton to perform The Star-Spangled-Banner at one minute and 35 seconds.
Legal betting + NFL approval = more $: With Super Bowl LVI just a day away, it's a pretty safe bet that all wagers, prop and otherwise, on the Los Angeles Rams-Cincinnati Bengals matchup will hit new heights.
The reason for the rise? More than 30 states have some type of sports betting in the wake of the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed all states to legalize wagering within their borders on college and professional sports.
Plus, this year the NFL has officially embraced betting, posting odds on its website and running ads in games for the league's new betting partners.
Bets could mean better ratings: One betting pinnacle already has been achieved. Houston-area mattress salesman Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, known locally for his World Series bets on his hometown Houston Astros, has placed a $5 million wager with Caesars Sportsbook on the Cincinnati Bengals to win tomorrow.
Mack's money is the largest bet any legal sportsbook has ever taken. He's hoping the tiger team will help him get it and more back by the end of Sunday's game.
The NFL also has wagering-related hopes on this game, specifically that Americans' fixation on betting, combined with the teams facing off in Los Angeles, will lead to better TV ratings than it got for last year's blowout win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs.
In fact, writes Jacob Grubman in a recent Forbes article, "Sports pundits are predicting a massive jump in viewership this year, with up to 20 million more viewers watching this title game than last year's."
That's why Grubman's Super Bowl betting piece gets one of this sports-filled weekend's Saturday Shout Outs. The other shouts go out to, of course, items on the aforementioned Mattress Mack Super Bowl bet, and the goofy and often not-football-related prop bets.
Here's the full shout out list:
- NFL Ratings Rise With Expansion Of Legal Sports Betting from Forbes
- 'Mattress Mack' places record $5M bet on Bengals, has $9.5M total on Cincinnati to beat Rams from CBS Sports
- Super Bowl prop bets 2022: Odds for craziest props, from coin toss to Gatorade shower color from The Sporting News
- Best Super Bowl 2022 prop bets: Joe Mixon, Rams sacks and more from The New York Post
- Predicting the outcomes of 9 fun Super Bowl 56 prop bets that have nothing to do with the game from FTW
Finally, even if you don't bet, you can play along thanks to ESPN.com's Super Bowl 2022 prop bet scorecard. The printable PDF document (excerpt shown below) contains 24 props from the thousands released by Caesars Sportsbook.
Don't forget the taxes: Enjoy the game. I hope your team wins. I also hope your bets pay off. And if they do, I have one more shout out for you.
You can read about how to let the Internal Revenue Service know of your lucrative luck — gambling winnings are taxable income — in my post Reporting all your income, including gambling winnings, on Form 1040 Schedule 1.