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Archive for Saturday, February 3, 2007

Odds are there’s a wager for everyone

Super Bowl offers up unique betting lines

February 3, 2007

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— Indianapolis Colts reserve defensive tackle Dan Klecko laughed as he calculated the odds he'll score the first touchdown in the Super Bowl.

"Slim to none," Klecko said.

Wrong. They're 50 to 1.

Betting on Klecko is one of the myriad wagers offered by Las Vegas bookmakers for Sunday's game. The Colts are seven-point favorites over the Chicago Bears, but odds are many gamblers won't settle for merely choosing the winner.

There's money to be won - and lost - picking the team that calls the first timeout, the result of the coin toss and the direction of the first errant field goal. Wide left is favored over wide right.

Thanks to hundreds of such exotic propositions, it's a safe bet legal Super Bowl wagering will top $100 million for the first time.

Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, for one, isn't surprised by the variety of wagers that can be placed on the big game.

"Every year I go to Vegas, and I've seen a lot of stuff being bet on," he said. "It's kind of cool to sit back and see people finding other ways to make fun out of the game.

"This is the big dance. They'll probably bet on who has the first fumble. I don't want any part of that bet."

Wayne is a 6-to-1 favorite to score the first touchdown.

"Wow," he said. "Hopefully I can make a lot of people rich."

The 275-pound Klecko's one of the choices to score because he caught two touchdown passes this season doubling as a fullback in short-yardage situations.

"I would probably bet on Reggie before I would bet on Klecko," teammate Dallas Clark said.

Clark seems a pretty savvy oddsmaker. Asked to guess the over-under on his receiving, he said 45 yards.

It's actually 42 1/2.

Clark finds the numerous wagering categories amusing.

"It doesn't surprise me, because people bet," he said. "On this team we have some guys who will bet on which bird will fly off a post first. I'm not going to mention any names."

Gamblers can wager on all sorts of individual performances - total points by Robbie Gould, rushing attempts by Joseph Addai and even whether Rex Grossman throws an interception in the first half. A wager on Bears fullback Jason McKie scoring the first touchdown is available at 40 to 1, even though his most recent TD came in 2004.

The Colts' Dominic Rhodes, whose over-under is 46 1/2 rushing yards, was enthralled to learn people are betting on him - or against him.

"That's crazy. That's absolutely insane, man. Just me? Wow," Rhodes said. "That tells me what we've got here and what I'm a part of. Someday I can tell my grandkids I was a part of something special.

"You can either become very rich or very poor real quick, right? You've got guys betting on touchdowns and coin tosses, man."

Bookies consider the coin toss a tossup. If those odds seem unappealing, gamblers can also put themselves in the hole before kickoff by wagering on Billy Joel's rendition of the national anthem.

The over-under on the length is 1 minute, 44 seconds.

"You have everybody betting in Vegas on who's going to tie their shoe first," Gould said. "It's really crazy as far as what people will bet on. It's fun. If they enjoy it and can make a little extra money, more power to them."

Odds are 5,000 to 1 that the Colts will finish with four points. The Bears are considered more likely to commit the first penalty, and the over-under on the distance of the first punt is 43 1/2 yards.

There are even bets linking the Super Bowl to other sports. Vegas will take wagers on whether Tiger Woods' fourth-round score Sunday at Dubai is higher than Bernard Berrian's receiving yardage total for the Bears.

With hundreds of propositions to choose from, where's the wisest wager?

Bears rookie Devin Hester, who set an NFL record this season with six touchdown returns, might receive the opening kickoff. He said that makes him a good choice to score the first TD at 30 to 1.

"If I get a chance to get my hands on the ball, I could go the distance," Hester said.

You bet.

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