Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 | 2 a.m.
As soon as the referee made the safety signal, my jaw dropped in disbelief.
The Super Bowl officiating crew ruled that New England quarterback Tom Brady’s first-quarter pass attempt in last year’s game was intentional grounding, and since the attempt was from the Patriots end zone, the first points in last year’s Big Game — that’s what the NFL suits like us in Las Vegas to call it, right? — would be two points for the New York Giants. New York 2, New England 0. Unreal.
Every year like clockwork, part of my Super Bowl betting strategy was betting ‘Yes’ on whether there would be a safety. But, after coming up empty each year, I decided last year to pass on the long shot of a safety. Talk about perfect timing.
Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers is Sunday, and for several of us, that means taking a crack at the several proposition wagers posted by Las Vegas-area sports books.
Kornegay and his crew are like mad scientists in coming up with interesting prop bets, including the no-way-this-happens-again safety wager. That is listed at +900, meaning a $10 bet on a safety would net a $90 profit. Trust me, lightning won’t strike twice.
Navigating through the sheets and sheets of prop-bet wagers — I printed out 102 pages (the media get them emailed!) — is like trying to attack the Bellagio buffet: The options are limitless, and there’s a chance several of us will go overboard.
Bets are available for virtually every player and occurrence in the game, including players most people likely haven’t heard of. For example, will Bruce Miller (he plays for the 49ers, according to my Google search) have at least one reception? That bet has a price of -110 for ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’
Here are some prop bets that stood out, including my sure-thing lock. The LVH has alternate lines on the point spread and total, meaning if you are overly confident the 3.5-point favorite 49ers are going to destroy the Ravens, you can bet the 49ers at -10.5 points and +230. That means a $10 wager would profit $23.
As for my lock: I love the total under 37.5 points at +330 because both teams are defensive-minded and I’m convinced it will be a low-scoring affair.
Total number of players to attempt a pass
Line: Over/Under 2.5. Over +290, Under -350
Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick obviously will each attempt a pass, meaning this wager comes down to whether there will be an injury to either quarterback or a trick play such as a halfback pass.
BREWER’S PICK: At +290, I’ll roll the dice on playing the Over. Maybe Alex Smith gets in the game for the 49ers or there is a fake punt. Also, what if there is a blowout and the second stringers play?
Opening coin toss
Line: Heads and tails listed at -102
Don’t you love how oddsmakers create bets to get everyone involved? This is like picking red or black on the roulette wheel.
BREWER’S PICK: I’m all about following trends in my handicapping, and the coin has landed on heads in the past four Super Bowls. Let’s make it five. I’ll take heads.
Will there at least be one scoreless quarter?
Line: YES +240, No -280
Points typically are scored in a majority of second and fourth quarters, meaning the best chance for a scoreless quarter is at the beginning of the game. Teams typically start slow in Super Bowl games.
BREWER’S PICK: I’ll take chance with another Hail Mary and play the "Yes" receiving plus money. Super Bowls are often low-scoring early while both teams get control of their emotions, and both San Francisco and Baltimore are going to try to establish the run. Also, remember that both teams play good defense.
Will Baltimore punter Sam Koch have a touchback?
Line: Yes +180, No -210
BREWER’S PICK: In what oddsmakers feel will be a close game, the battle for field position could help dictate the outcome. My guess is Koch will have a chance to pin the 49ers deep in their own territory. I have to play the plus-money wager again and take the "Yes."
Who will have more: Kobe Bryant points Sunday against the Detroit Pistons or 49ers points?
Line: Kobe Bryant -0.5 and -110, 49ers +0/5 and -110
The LVH also has prop bets involving LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat for their Sunday game with the Toronto Raptors, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin against the Boston Celtics.
BREWER’S PICK: Even though Bryant has posted double-digit assists in the past two Los Angeles Lakers games, his reputation of being a ball hog can’t be ignored. Bryant should score 30 points against the lowly Pistons, and remember, I like the Super Bowl to be low-scoring.
Who will have more: Total points in three Sunday Big East college basketball games or total yards by the Ravens?
Line: The Big East (Providence, Villanova, Marquette, Louisville, South Florida and Connecticut) -45.5 points at -110, Ravens +45.5 yards and -110
Bettors need to have this wager booked by 9 a.m. Sunday, when the Big East games start. Baltimore has averaged 425 yards per game in three playoff contests, but anything can happen in college basketball with overtime and fouls at the end of games.
BREWER’S PICK: I feel strongly about playing the Ravens, especially considering they are getting +45.5 points. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has been great in the playoffs, and there’s a good chance the Ravens will be playing from behind, which means they can pick up several easy yards at the end of the game.
Who will have more: Oregon State-Stanford points in college basketball or 49ers rushing yards?
Line: Oregon State-Stanford +13.5 points at -110, 49ers rushing -13.5 at -110
Credit to the oddsmakers on this one. Oregon State averages 74.2 points per game while giving up 69.6; Stanford scores 69.5 points per game while surrendering 64.4. That means they’ll likely combine to score about 140 points. In the football game, Baltimore is solid in its rushing defense, but San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick could rush for more than 100 yards by himself.
BREWER’S PICK: I like the 49ers to be leading in the second half, which means they’ll try to kill the clock with their ground attack. I lay the 13.5 yards with the 49ers.
Who will have more: Sergio Garcia’s fourth-round score in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic or Torrey Smith receiving yards?
Line: Garcia -2.5 and -110, Smith +2.5 and -110
Talk about a perfect match — golf and football. The LVH also has bets pairing the Super Bowl against English Premier League and Spanish La Liga soccer, as well as the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. Basically, any Sunday sporting event is included in the prop wagers.
BREWER’S PICK: Smith is a deep threat in the Baltimore passing attack and should have a big day in the Big Game. Here’s hoping Garcia can limit his troubles to bogeys.