Urban Suburban Mommy

Super Bowl Sunday – what you need to know.

There are three types of mamas – you either LOVE football and Super Bowl is the best day of winter; football’s not your favourite, but you’ll jump on the bandwagon for the party (mmmmmm 7 layer dip – and can’t turn down the opportunity to buy a cute sports shirt once a year); you hate football and Super Bowl Sunday is the one Sunday a year Costco isn’t a zoo, so grab your membership card and go!

Me, I enjoy football. I grew up with a football dad.  And I really do love Super Bowl Sunday. I have a a system for picking teams – the team with the best butts. My husband always laughs at me, but it’s a pretty accurate system.

What you need to know:

Super Bowl LI This year is the New England Patriots vs the Atlanta Falcons. The game is being held in Houston. New England is favoured by +3.

New England Patriots

Colours: Red, white and blue – they’re the Patriots, after all. They’ll be wearing their whites on the field – they’re the visiting team.
Quarterback: Tom Brady He’s won 4 of the 6 Super Bowls he’s played. He’s married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen. What more do you really need  to know?

Atlanta Falcons

Colours: Red and black – they’ll be wearing their reds on the field, they’re the home team.
Quarterback: Matt Ryan. The Falcons have been to the Super Bowl just once, and lost. Matt has never won a Super Bowl, but he’s been having a good year. He’s married to Sarah Marshall, who, while not a supermodel is a pretty impressive athlete and was a point guard on her Boston College basketball team.

Now you might know Super Bowl for the friendly get-togethers and the food. What’s Super Bowl Sunday without guacamole, chips, dip, chilli, chicken wings, meatballs, barbecue and, of course, beer (and indigestion!).

But a big part of the game is the gambling. They bet on EVERYTHING. This is big money and big fun.

I know nothing about Super Bowl gambling, so I went straight to the source to learn. If you don’t know how to gamble, you’re going to find this FASCINATING. I spoke with Joe Gagliano. He made the news in a big way in the 90s. He’s the man behind the biggest point shaving scandal ever to hit ASU basketball. It’s known as the biggest fixing scandal in sports betting. It involved millions of dollars and paying off 2 players – to the tune of $50,000 each a game. They didn’t just throw the game, they made sure that the points spread for the game wasn’t made.

When you bet on a game, it’s not just Win or Lose. One team is always a favourite to win, so they create a points spread. For example, this Super Bowl, New England is favoured by 3. That means even if they win by 2, anyone who bet on them still loses – they must win by at least 3 points. Joe’s ballers made sure only to win by two, in this scenario.

If you’re going to dabble in betting, you generally have 3 options – a bookie, an online gambling site or betting with friends. You can go high stakes or keep it friendly. When I asked Joe where to go to make these high stakes bets he told me that serious gamblers would know where to go.

I’m a rookie. That was a rookie question.

Coming from a man whose gambling career saw big bucks, I’m going to share his best advice: Pick the 50/50 bets. They’re the most likely to pay out. The main ones are betting who will win, and betting on total points. This game is expected to go into high scores. The game total is 59.5. You can bet whether the total scores will be over or under that number.

There are other 50/50 bets:

The coin toss at the beginning of the game.

The outcome of the first half of the game (point spread is New England favoured by 1.5)

Which quarterback will throw the first touchdown pass.

The length of time the national anthem will take to sing.

Yes, how long the national anthem will be. In fact, there are even bets on what Luke Bryan will be wearing when he sings it. Joe said there was even a year when the singer held the final note and hit the exact time being bet on, making him wonder if even the singers can be bought for purposes of fixing a bet.

There are a lot of bets that will seem completely bizarre to the uninitiated. Joe had me laughing, so I looked it up. Sure enough, you can bet on what colour Lady Gaga’s hair will be for the half-time show, how many yards will be run, and even what type of penalties will occur. CBS Sports put together the comprehensive list here.

It was fun finding out about the serious money that goes on behind the Super Bowl. I could have talked to Joe all, day – and that’s precisely why he wrote the book. If you never thought about picking up a sports book to read, check out No Grey nogreyareas.com. I would never have picked it up, but after speaking with Joe, it’s on my nightstand. It’s one of those too-crazy-to-believe, high stakes stories, with a movie also in the works.

I found this vide of an interview with Joe if you’d like to learn more about the ASU point shaving scandal. This isn’t a promoted post and we received no compensation from – or have any ties to – Joe Gagliano, the book or the movie – what started out as simply trying to learn about Super Bowl betting turned into one of the most intriguing interviews I’ve ever had the pleasure to conduct!