That's a hat, not a headdress.

Super Bowl XLVI is in the books and, surprise, most sports books came out ahead on the big game.

Squares vs Sharps

What makes the Super Bowl so very super for sports books is that everyone wants a piece of the action. That means there won’t be any sharps or computer syndicates scooping major profits on obscure games no one else cares about. During Super Bowl week people who never bet on a game all year fancy themselves serious handicappers.

To say that Super Bowl bettors wager with their hearts, rather than their heads is a bit of an understatement.  Squares used everything from the unemployment rate to Madden Football simulations to predict winners. These hopeful punters are the folks who bet on the over every year no matter what the odds are. (The under has come in on six of the last eight Super Bowls.)

Prop Action

But the real action on Super Bowl Sunday is in the mind boggling array of side bets, known as props, offered by almost every sports books. The Super Bowl is the only time you can place a wager on the coin flip, the length of the National Anthem, or whether or not Madonna would wear a hat.

This year, the unders won National Anthem props when Kelly Clarkson kept the Star Spangled Banner at a very respectable 1:33. Last year Christina Aguilera’s mangling of Old Glory came in a 1:51, another win for the unders.

One prop bet that paid off big  was strictly game related; will there be a safety in Super Bowl XLVI? Prop junkies rejoiced when the Patriots gave up two points after Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding from the end zone for only the sixth safety in Super Bowl history. That particular prop paid off 8-to-1 in most places. Some shops even went as high as 50-to-1 if you bet on specific team.

Recommended reading: Sports Betting Overview: Definitions and Types of Affiliate Programs

The Big Picture

Of course prop bets only help the bottom line so much; the big game is where the big action is most years. This year two popular, and evenly matched, teams went head to head with the Patriots as a 3-point favorite. Some Vegas sports books brought that down to -2.5, but they were the exceptions.

Generally, Super Bowl betting money was split almost evenly between the Giants and Patriots. With the juice charged by every sports book on the planet, that meant that casinos came out pretty well.

And, by the way, Madonna did wear a hat.


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