Super Bowl 53 was a stinker, and frankly, the most interesting part of the day came during Gladys Knight’s rendition of the National Anthem.
Each year, oddsmakers set a line for how long it will take to perform the pre-game National Anthem. This year, the line was installed at 1 minute, 50 seconds. The line saw some movement, with some going as low as 1:45, and some going as high as 1:56 as the pre-game approached. By the time Knight took to the field, over was a heavy favorite at -300 (bet $300 to win $100).
Knight got off to a fast start, but as she came down the final stretch, the R&B legend pulled out the stops in the final third of the song. She hit the “home of the brave” line and as she sang “braaaaaaaaaaave” it appeared she held it well past 1:50, with sportsbooks calling it at two minutes.
The over was paying out, but there was a question as to the length. If you listened closely, she sang the word brave, and then had the slightest of pauses before adding “the brave.” Three years ago, Lady Gaga sang the word brave twice, and sportsbooks decided the official time should reflect the end of the first use of brave.
Midway through the first quarter, BetOnline.ag decided to clock the end of the first “brave” at 1:49. They closed the betting before the Anthem with an over/under at 1:50, but instead of simply paying out under bettors, BetOnline paid out BOTH under and over bettors. There was just enough controversy that they felt it was the right thing to do. In the growing world of sports betting, this is the kind of decision that will generate good will with their customer base, and more importantly it could engender loyalty.
Here is BetOnline’s official statement:
The first half of Super Bowl 53 didn’t offer any fireworks, but Gladys Knight’s rendition of the National Anthem has created quite the buzz in the betting world.
BetOnline.AG sports book set the length of Gladys Knight’s National Anthem performance at 1 minute and 50 seconds. Rules stipulate the clock stops at the end of the very first “brave”. However, after a substantial pause, Gladys kept going.
That’s where the drama starts.
At the conclusion of the first “brave”, Gladys was clocked at 1 minute and 49 seconds. After continuing and finishing the word “brave” for a second time, Knight was clocked at 1 minute 53 seconds. Remember, the Over/Under was 1 minute and 50 seconds.
Most sports books are choosing to pay Under bettors, while some are sticking with their initial ruling on the Over. But BetOnline.ag is going another route, and they’re currently the only sports book paying out both sides of the bet due to the controversial ending.
Remember, money wagered on the National Anthem is far and away the largest bet pregame prop, far exceeding the coin toss and others combined. BetOnline.ag is ruling in the favor of its players, and by doing so, its rumored they’re losing an estimated 6-figures by paying out both sides of the National Anthem bet.