Super Bowl XLVIII was only 12 seconds old when a bevy of prop bettors across Las Vegas started doing the safety dance.
The Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 blowout of the Denver Broncos might have put many people to sleep Sunday, but those who had action on some of the nearly 400 prop bets posted at local sports books were wide awake for the entire game.
From the opening coin toss (tails was the winner) to the final minutes — when Seattle backup Tarvaris Jackson threw a seemingly meaningless pass that pushed the total number of players to have a passing attempt over 2.5 for a +290 payoff — prop bets were won and lost at a dizzying pace.
With our mortgage payment surely headed offshore after the balmy 49-degree weather at kickoff crushed our hopes to win our wager that the number of times Peyton Manning yelled “Omaha” would exceed the game-time temperature, we decide to keep track of the vast array of props as they unfold during the game in a running diary:
After a premature coin toss by Joe Namath — or it might have been his fur coat — will the first kickoff by Steven Hauschka result in a touchback? No (-175), as Trindon Holliday returns the kick to the 14-yard line.
14:48 — On the first play from scrimmage, Broncos center Manny Ramirez snaps the ball over Manning’s head and the fumble is recovered in the end zone by Knowshon Moreno, giving Seattle a safety while paying +550 to those who wagered there would be one.
Taking action on whether or not there will be a safety in the Super Bowl has been anything but a safe bet for the books in recent years. They’ve lost on the prop in the past three Super Bowls and four of the past six.
There were only five safeties in the first 42 Super Bowls.
Several other props were decided on the play, including will either team score in the first 6 ½ minutes of the game? Yes (-110); will the first score of the game be any score other than a touchdown? Yes (+145); and what will happen first, a Seahawks score (+150) or punt?
13:58 — Will Percy Harvin have a rush attempt? Yes (-200). He rushes 30 yards on Seattle’s second play from scrimmage.
13:14 — Will Russell Wilson’s first pass attempt be incomplete? Yes (+160). He overthrows a wide-open Zach Miller.
10:25 — Which team will be the first to use a coach’s challenge? The Seahawks (-110). Pete Carroll loses the challenge on Wilson’s third-down run.
Will either team make a field goal in the first quarter? Yes (even). Hauschka makes a 31-yard field goal, as the distance of the first made field goal of the game is under 33.5 (+105).
9:45 — Manning completes his first pass (-190) to Demaryius Thomas.
2:21 — Hauschka converts a 33-yard field goal, cashing will either team score three straight times (yes, -175)
0:59 — Manning throws a duck over the middle that’s picked off by Kam Chancellor. This decides several props, including what will Manning throw first, a TD pass (-240) or INT (+200) and will Manning throw an INT (yes, -185).
0:00 — Seattle, 8-0. Will Broncos score in all four quarters? No (-280).
12:00 — Will Marshawn Lynch score a TD? Yes (-145). Will he score a TD in the first half? Yes (+180). He powers his way into the end zone from 1 yard out, becoming the first player to score a touchdown — he was the favorite to do so at 5-1 odds — and, with No. 24, the jersey number of the player to score the first TD was under 79.5 (+105).
The shortest TD of the game was under 1.5 yards (-120) and the first TD of the game was not a passing TD (+150). Seattle also scored for the fourth straight time (+240) and pushed the largest lead of the game by either team over the total of 13.5 (-170).
3:36 — Will there be a special teams or defensive touchdown? Yes (+160), as Malcolm Smith scores on a 69-yard interception return, pushing the total INTs for both teams over 1.5 (-130).
1:01 — Will either team score in the final two minutes of the first half? No (+200), but only after Manning fires incomplete on fourth-and-2 from the 19, infuriating yes (-240) players and those who bet that both teams would make 33-yard-or-longer field goals (+175) as Matt Prater would’ve had a 36-yard attempt.
Those who bet that neither team would make a field goal in the second quarter had a nice +230 winner.
15:00 — Will the first kickoff by Prater result in a touchback? No (-170).
Will Harvin score a TD? Yes (+200), as he opens the second half with an 87-yard kickoff return for the longest TD of the game (over 44.5, -110). The electrifying play also pushes the total number of Seahawks players to score over 3.5 (+160).
1:09 — Wes Welker reels in his sixth reception, pushing his total over 5½ (even).
0:00 — Will Manning throw a TD pass in the third quarter? Yes (+165), but just barely as he fires a TD pass to Thomas with no time remaining.
Will there be a successful 2-point conversion? Yes (+425), as Manning connects with Welker to cash another popular prop.
11:45 — Wilson throws second TD pass to Doug Baldwin, pushing his total TD passes over 1.5 (+105).
2:06 — Jackson, who replaced Wilson, becomes the third player with a pass attempt (+290).
Manning finished 34-for-49 for 280 yards as he sailed over 26.5 completions (-110) and 41.5 pass attempts (-110), but went under 288.5 gross passing yards (-110). With only one TD pass, he also went under 1.5 (+175) total TD passes.
Wilson went 18-for-25 for 206 yards, going over 16.5 completions (-110) while finishing under 27.5 attempts (-110) and under 211.5 yards (-110).
Thomas, with 13 catches for 118 yards and a TD, soared over 5 catches (-125) and 72.5 yards (-110).
Laying 14.5 points with Seattle paid +650, and betting on a margin of victory between 34 and 38 points paid 100-1 odds.
Did Richard Sherman, the self-proclaimed best cornerback in the league, have an INT? No (-250).
Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Kevin Durant were among several athletes involved in cross-sport “Who will have more” props.
Woods’ fourth-round score (71) Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic easily covered a -5.5 (-110) spread over Eric Decker’s receiving yards, as Denver’s wideout had one catch for 6 yards.
Manning’s pass attempts (49) cruised to a cover as a 7.5 (-110) favorite over Durant’s points (26) from Saturday’s loss to the Washington Wizards.
Manning’s pass attempts (49) also prevailed as a 0.5 (+110) underdog to James’ total points, rebounds and assists (45) from Saturday’s win over the New York Knicks.
With any luck, we’ll win our prop of which will be greater — the number of Skittles eaten by Lynch during the game or number of words he utters after it.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.