Game Time: Nibbling Off The Super Bowl Prop-Bet Buffet

Let me say up front that if you're looking for an extensive preview of the Super Bowl that breaks down the various positional matchups, dissects how Peyton Manning tries to pick apart a Cover Two scheme, and surmises which blitz packages the Colts will use to try to rattle Drew Brees, you've come to the wrong place. For mine is a preview for degenerates, those who are looking to get an adrenaline rush from something as simple as a seemingly meaningless first down in the third quarter.

If you're wondering if this preview is going to be for you, understand that every Super Bowl party has four kinds of spectators. They are as follows:

Emotionally Invested Superfan -- This is someone who is a diehard follower of one of the two teams playing in the game. They can easily be spotted at most parties wearing the jersey of a "third or fourth banana" (but still a productive player) from their favorite team (relevant examples for this Sunday -- Dallas Clark Number 44 Colts jersey, Pierre Thomas Number 23 Saints jersey), and likely they are in a corner of the room where they won't be annoyed by random comments from less knowledgable fans when the chips are down.

Once-a-Year Football Fan -- This person is typically either (a) a significaint other of an Emotionally Invested Superfan or (b) a single person trolling the party trying to find....well, anyone with a libido. Typical attire would be the jersey of either quarterback, oftentimes purchased earlier that afternoon. This classification of Super Bowl fan thinks that "playing squares" is considered "big time wagering," and they will call Peyton Manning "Eli" at least twice during Sunday's game.

Happy to be Partying on a Sunday Drunkard -- This is someone, typically male, who doesn't care about the outcome of the game, he just thinks it's cool that there's a huge party on a Sunday. This person can oftentimes be spotted wearing some sort of Affliction or pseudo-chach shirt and jeans and is often found standing next to the keg, until around 8:30 p.m. when it becomes "JAGER BOMB" Time.

True Football Fan Looking for Any Reason to be Interested -- This is the classification of fan for whom I type this preview. If you fall into this category, you're probably in at least one fantasy football league, wear a team jersey maybe once a year just to change things up, and you love football, beer, and any of the commercials that involve an exposed female stomach. To be fair, females can and do fall into this category as well, however finding one that fits this classification is like discovering plutonium by accident.

So for those of you who want to have a rooting interest of some sort in the game, but you don't bleed Colts blue or Saints black, or perhaps you've tired of the Katrina and "hey did you know Peyton's dad played for the Saints?" storylines, I'm here to save you. I'm going to give you a thousand reasons to root for, well, a whole bunch of stuff in the Super Bowl via the mechanism that makes the world go round....GAMBLING!!

Of course, since gambling is illegal in this country except in person in Las Vegas, the dollars I am insinuating are involved here are hypothetical; if you're at a party you can wager honey-roasted peanuts or bottle caps or some other random noun. Uh right....yeah...ok.....

So get out your one thousand random nouns, here we go --

Risk $165 to win $150 -- UNDER 56.5 TOTAL POINTS SCORED (-110):

Conventional wisdom says that with these two offenses involved, there will be lots of points scored. And that's probably correct, but 56.5 is a really high total. If you're wondering how high it is, just remember that in the Saints-Cardinals playoff game, the posted total was 57, the two teams played turnstile defense for the entire first half (49 points scored) and the overs still barely got there. Both offenses are spectacular, the question becomes are the defenses good enough to "bend but not break" a few times in this game, giving up field goals instead of touchdowns three or four times. If they are, the under will get there.

To that point, the website has a stat called "Bendability Index" which, long story short, measures the ability of a team's defense to do just that, "bend but not break." Indianapolis ranks 5th and New Orleans ranks 9th. Good enough for me, under it is.

Risk $195 to win $150 -- OVER SAINTS 21.5 FIRST DOWNS (-130)
Risk $220 to win $200 -- OVER COLTS 23.5 FIRST DOWNS (-110):

While both teams are equipped to win a shootout (hence, the 56.5 point total), neither team wants to get into a shootout. Both will try to keep the other team's offense on the sidelines with a short passing game, which means two things -- first, it means long, time-consuming drives (good for the under), and second, it means lots of first downs. I feel ultra-confident one of these two first-down overs hits, and real good about both hitting. These "offenses will move the ball" bets are also a good hedge against the under, although I think we can get there on both of these prop bets and the under bet.

Risk $100 to win $72 -- OVER J ADDAI 2.5 RECEPTIONS (-140)
Risk $50 to win $50 -- OVER J ADDAI 18.5 YDS RECEIVING (+100)
Risk $100 to win $115 -- OVER D CLARK 6.5 RECEPTIONS (+115):

Ball-control strategy by the Colts combined with the Saints trying to bring heat will mean lots of dump passes to the running backs and quick hitters to the tight end. Thus, I climb aboard the Addai and Clark Express.

Risk $50 to win $50 -- OVER M COLSTON 5 RECEPTIONS (+100):
Someone has to catch all of those Drew Brees passes; I'll go with the Saints' best receiver. I admit, this is strictly a degenerate's play. I just need someone to root for on the Saints' offense.

Risk $50 to win $350 -- FIRST TD OF GAME, D CLARK (+700):

Another degenerate's play. A pure guess, but pretty good value on Peyton's favorite red-zone target.

Risk $50 to win $70 -- LONGEST SCORE OF THE GAME -- Field Goal (+140):

This is basically an educated guess that the longest field goal will exceed the distance of the longest touchdown. I like the value; give me a 45-yard field goal and then hope the touchdowns are all less than 45 yards in length. For +140, I'll take it.

Risk $10 to win $300 -- LAST TD OF GAME, C SIMPSON (+3,000):
If this does turn into a Colts blowout, there's a good chance Simpson will be the running back in there killing the clock at the end. A pure degenerate's play hoping for a garbage touchdown. Little-known fact -- if it weren't for Jacoby Jones' garbage TD in the second Colts-Texans game, both of Simpson's touchdowns this year would have been the last touchdown of the game in which they were scored. So there's that!

That's $990 in risk out there. I would throw the remaining $10 on some outlandish parlay that pays like five grand. In fact, I'll put that out there on Twitter this Sunday morning if you follow me.

Oh by the way, as far as a final score of the game goes...too many people are on the Colts and talking about Peyton in the same breath with Joe Montana, even though Peyton is still three Super Bowls behind him. Bad karma. Katrina gets exposed for the ruthless whore that she was....

Risk $0 to win $0 -- FINAL SCORE PREDICTION -- SAINTS 27, COLTS 23

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the
Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast