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Super Bowl XLVIII: Bet the over on the opera singer for Sunday’s National Anthem

January 30, 2014 - Matt Wellens

Seven years ago, I wrote an NFL Pick’em column/blog for The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, N.D.

I was inspired by my former sports editor here at The Mining Journal, Renee Prusi, who was the MJ’s Armchair Quarterback when I was a part-timer my senior year of college.

I figured I could pick games way better than she could, because I was picking games better than her in 2006-07.

Then when I began putting those picks online and onto the pages of The Press, I tanked. When I left Dickinson for Wisconsin, I retired as a prognosticator, only to take over for Mining Journal colleague Steve Brownlee this season.

Sure enough, Steve soared this year, going 165-90-1 in private without the pressure. I went 156-99-1 during the regular season, wondering if it’s in The Mining Journal’s best interest to put Steve back under center.

Something tells me he’ll fight that suggestion this offseason. I can’t blame him, especially when he closed with an impressive 34-14 record over the last three weeks. I wasn’t that good.

Like my year picking games in Dickinson, I’m once again closing this season’s edition of Armchair QB by taking a stab at the various Super Bowl prop bets, which have grown mightily since I last did this in 2007-08.

The list of options hasn’t just ballooned, either. They’ve become weirder and weirder.

Here are my Top 10, plus my Super Bowl XLVIII prediction. Thanks for reading this season.


Matt’s Top 10 Super Bowl XLVIII Prop Bets

(From Bovada)

10. Who will Barack Obama pick to win the game?

In order for this bet to count, the President of the United States must publicly announce his pick before kickoff. I love that our country has a commander in chief willing to stick his neck out on the line to make a pick. Most politicians are too scared to do this. I think the President will be siding with Peyton Manning on Sunday. Denver Broncos

9. Will Percy Harvin be injured in the game?

What bugs me about this bet is there isn’t an option allowing me to pick whether Harvin gets injured before the game. If Harvin somehow plays a snap on Sunday, I doubt he’ll finish. Yes.

8. Historical match ups — What will be higher: Peyton Manning passing attempts in Super Bowl XLVIII or John Elway completions and attempts in Super Bowl XXXII (34)?

I love historical prop bets, which in the past have pitted Peyton vs. his brother Eli, and Peyton vs. himself. John Elway completions and attempts in Super Bowl XXXII

7. Will the power go out in the stadium during the game?

Bovada is only taking action on Yes and it must occur between kickoff and the final whistle, and must be clearly shown on TV. Please don’t bet on this, America. No.

6. Will the announcers say the word “marijuana” during the game?

There’s no group of people more annoying in this world than those who complain about Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, especially Packers fans who believe Buck and Aikman are out to get the Packers. I would support Buck and Aikman toking up during the game, and flipping that annoying crowd the bird. Yes

5. Who will be seen first on TV after kickoff: Erin Andrews or Pam Oliver?

Erin Andrews has been known to glam up, but she couldn’t have been more attractive than she was during the Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau Field this year in pig tails, a scarf and warm hat. There’s just something hot about a woman who knows how to dress for the elements. Pam Oliver is not one of those women, so expect Fox to put her and her frozen heels on air first for comedic value. Pam Oliver

4. What will be higher: Alex Ovechkin shots on goal vs. Detroit or Wes Welker receptions?

Of all the cross-sport matchup prop bets this year, I’m actually a bigger fan of “Total Liverpool goals vs. West Brom or Russell Wilson TD passes.” But I felt like the Ovechkin and Red Wings bet would resonate better with my readership and because some of you to go crazy. Wes Welker receptions (and Russell Wilson TD passes)

3. Will any member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during their halftime performance?

I’ve been a big fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers since high school and will actually watch the halftime show because of them. Anything from the album “Californication” will make me happy. Yes and it will be Flea

2. If the Broncos win, will Peyton Manning retire before game 1 of the 2014 regular season?

No matter what happens Sunday, I think and hope Manning sticks around. No.

1. What will be higher: Seconds in the National Anthem sung by Renee Fleming or Peyton Manning passing yards in the first half?

This has always been one of my favorite bets during the Super Bowl, but this version adds a little more spice and excitement to the game. If Fleming is singing the Star Spangled Banner correctly, she’ll be done in under 1 minute, 40 seconds. Manning should win this, but Fleming is an opera singer. Seconds in the National Anthem sung by Renee Fleming

Super Bowl XLVIII: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

6:30 p.m., Sunday, FOX

I’ve bet against Peyton Manning and the Broncos this entire postseason, so why stop now? The Seattle Seahawks were my preseason pick and I’m sticking by them, mainly because I believe their defense can get the job done and deny Manning another title. Seahawks 24, Broncos 21

Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Follow him on Twitter at Email him at



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