Not only is the Super Bowl the single biggest game on the American sports calendar, it's also the best opportunity to place outrageous prop bets. Sure, you could gamble on boring things like the point spread or the game MVP -- bets that can be based on stuff like "stats" and "logical reasoning" -- but it's way more fun to risk large sums of money on the wholly unpredictable: the number of times the announcers say "12th Man," the color of the postgame Gatorade shower, whether Michael Crabtree mentions Richard Sherman on Twitter.
Among the many very absurd, but very real, prop bets offered by Bovada is the number of appearances by Eli and Archie Manning, the brother and father, respectively, of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The Manning clan travels well, and little bro and dad -- along with Cooper, the forgotten eldest brother, and momma Olivia -- will be tucked away somewhere behind the glass of one of MetLife Stadium's climate-controlled suites. The question is, how many times will the cameras find them?
The odds are listed separately for the two men. Eli opened with an over/under of 3½ appearances, but has since moved to 1½. Archie opened at 2½ and has joined his son at 1½.
There are a few conditions, as provided by Bovada. The bet only covers the period from kickoff until the final whistle and excludes halftime. Also important: Appearances are tallied as "live pictures only, any taped pictures or past video does not count toward the wager." That means all those clips of Eli throwing interceptions don't count.
A few (not so) super serious scouting report tidbits:
- The Manning patriarch is a self-professed nervous pacer, which could cut down on his camera availability late in the game. Here's Archie's narration of the final moments of Denver's AFC Championship win, via Broncos.com:
I had to walk out of the suite. I was down -- out in the hall, there is nothing but radio. Getting ready for [the Patriots' fourth-quarter onside kick attempt], I realized I was in the same spot I was last week for the onside kick and I said, ‘I've got to move.' I've got to get out of here, I can't be in this spot.
- A lawsuit was brought against Eli and the New York Giants earlier this week alleging they'd attempted to pass off fake "game-worn" memorabilia*. Possible distraction? Could this lead to Eli sulking in a corner?
- We could also see a dip in Eli's late-game camera availability if the score is tight. If his actions in the suite are anything like his on-field performance, any form of pressure will result in him lying face-down on the ground somewhere toward the back.
* I don't understand how this is difficult to determine. If a "game-worn" Eli jersey isn't covered with dirt and grass stains, it's clearly a counterfeit.