Contact Us




The Arizona Daily Wildcat Online





News Sports Opinions Arts Classifieds

Wednesday January 17, 2001

Basketball site
Pearl Jam


Police Beat


Alum site

AZ Student Media

KAMP Radio & TV


Heads or Tails?

Headline Photo

By Maxx Wolfson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Illegal betting runs rampant at Super Bowl time

Gambling has become almost as much a part of the Super Bowl as the game itself. It seems like for one day every year, gambling becomes (practically) legal just about everywhere. People will bet on anything: Who will win the coin toss? Who will score first? How horribly long will the national anthem take?

Last year alone, more than $71 million was bet legally on the Super Bowl, ESPN estimated. You can bet that much more money was wagered illegally in the 48 states in the United States that outlaw sports betting.

As soon as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper intercepted Raider backup quarterback Bobby Hoying's pass late in the fourth quarter Sunday to seal up the Ravens victory, the opening line - or point spread - for Super Bowl XXXV was made.

The line for what should be one of the lowest-scoring Super Bowl matchups in recent history has the Ravens favored by anywhere from two to three points with an over/under at 34 points. The over/under, for those of you unfamiliar with gambling, is the total number of points expected to be scored in the game. The gambled picks a simple "over" or "under" depending on whether they think the game will be high-scoring or a defensive battle.

Whether you prefer Super Bowl gaming through office pools, overseas Internet betting agencies, or - my favorite - the friendly bookie down the street, most sports fans will likely make some type of bet prior to the Super Bowl.

One of the most popular types of bets made during Super Bowl Sunday are called proposition bets. A proposition bet is simple: you name the stakes, the bookie makes the odds and money is laid down.

Being a betting man myself, the upcoming Super Bowl gives me the chance lay out all sorts of proposition bets.

For instance, Which show will get higher ratings - Super Bowl XXXV or the season premiere of Survivor II, which will air following the game on CBS? Survivor by about 25 million viewers.

What player will get arrested before the game? Giants quarterback Kerry Collins on a DUI charge or Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis on a murder charge? Pick 'em.

How many times will the Super Bowl XXXV Most Valuable Player "thank God" during the post game interview? Over-under 27.

Will the state of North Carolina execute Rae Carruth before or after the opening kickoff? Pick'em.

How many players will get arrested for soliciting a prostitute? Over/under 10.

Will new Floridian OJ Simpson be found riding along with Ray Lewis in his limo? Yes or no?

How many "recount," "chad," or "disenfranchisement" references will there be in the week leading into the game, which - of course - is being played in Florida? Over/under 1 million.

How many Giant players will Ray Lewis hospitalize during the game? Over/under 7.

How many hot dogs will Raven defensive tackle Tony Siragusa be able to stuff down his face into his 340-pound body? Over/under 50.

Which band will receive louder boos during the halftime show, which is being produced by MTV - Aerosmith or N'Sync? N'Sync by about 20,000 boos.

Which owner will have a heart attack after the game? Giants-Wellington Mara or Ravens-Art Modell. Mara by two hours.

How many times will they play the Baha Men's "Who let the dogs out" during the Super Bowl? Over/under 15.

If these type of proposition bets are not what you are looking for, I got one for you - heads or tails?

Maxx Wolfson is a sophomore majoring in journalism and can be reached at