It’s here...the Super Bowl has arrived. And the Packers aren’t in it, so it’s far less stressful for me than it could have been. I wasn’t quite sure what to write about but I decided it’s time to come clean on my little secret.

I’ve been gambling (legally!) on sports for most of the NFL season. Colorado legalized sports gambling in 2020, and I’ve been betting on games all season.

I know Wisconsin doesn’t have it yet, but Illinois does, so I figured this might be relevant to some people. First off, Wisconsin is absolutely crazy for not legalizing it. It’s basically free money. I know there are issues with the tribes and the casinos, but that can and should all be ironed out for the benefit of everyone. Especially when the state, like all states, is facing a budget shortfall and legalizing sports gambling (among other things) would add a much needed tax boost.

Second, it’s pretty fun! Look, I don’t bet much. It’s mostly $5 at a time. I put around $100 in and currently sit around $100 in my pot, meaning I’m not super good or super bad at it. But it certainly does make games more interesting!

Who knew I actually cared about a San Jose State vs. Utah State game? And cared very much about it! It’s pretty amazing how much investment you have in a game when you could win $4.17! That’s a beefy five layer burrito and a soft taco, friend! 

I’ve bet on NCAA football and basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and even the presidential election! Baseball is hard to bet on and college basketball is a roller coaster but NFL and college football are where it’s at.

I’ve had some bad losses, like betting an under and having the Badgers foul down 9 with like 30 seconds left to beat the under by a point. I’ve had some good wins, too, like betting UNC to beat Miami straight up in football or winning a four team NBA parlay (meaning all four teams have to win to win the bet). 

Look, I’m not going to become some type of pro gambler. I get most of my advice from different Twitter accounts, websites, and Flickinger, so I can’t pretend like I’m actually good at it. But it’s fun! And during COVID Times (CT), we all need something to occupy our days.

I bring this up because the Super Bowl is kind of, well, uh, the Super Bowl of gambling. See, you can’t just bet on the final results of the game. You can bet on basically everything. Who scores the first or last touchdown, receiving yards for Travis Kelce, or how many rushing yards Patrick Mahomes finishes with. By the way, this was an all-time bad beat last year as Mahomes took three knees to end the Super Bowl last year, accruing enough negative yardage to go under his rushing total. Brutal.

This year, there are some fun prop bets (according to Fanduel). There is an over/under 80.5 for penalty yards with the under getting +105, and a longest penalty over/under of 15.5 yards. If you think there is a long pass interference call, then this bet is for you.

The first offensive play for KC is +100 for a rush and -130 for a pass (I am betting pass) while the first offensive play resulting in a safety is +10000! Can you believe there are enough degenerate gamblers out there that bet on all this? Isn’t it fun?

I do have some props that I like. I like the under 55.5 total points and Mahomes under 329.5 yards passing. I like Brady over 296.5 yards passing and Tyreek Hill to have the most receiving yards (+330). They will probably all fail, but I do like them! And isn’t that half the battle, liking things?

As far as the game itself, I like the Chiefs to win but I don’t think it will be easy. The loss of Eric Fisher has really hurt their offensive line and as we saw against the Packers, the Bucs can get after the quarterback. I think the game is lower scoring than we anticipate because the Chiefs won’t be able to protect Mahomes as well as they did against the Bills.

On the other side of the ball, the Bucs will struggle against the tight coverage of the Chiefs, who can also get after the QB. However, they do have Tom Brady, who has been pretty good in the Super Bowl.

I anticipate the game starting slowly with exchanged punts on the first few possessions as teams figure out how much scouting they can do with an extra week off before the game. A key for the Bucs will be limiting the big play, aka Tyreek Hill, while the Chiefs will need to make the Bucs one dimensional and shut down their running game. The Bucs aren’t a great running team but certainly do enough to keep teams honest, but knowing Brady will pass every down makes it easier to defend him. Ask the Bears.

It’s sad that this is the end of the NFL season. I’ll still have the NCAA tournament to bet on but once I move back to Wisconsin, I’m out on gambling unless I drive across the border to Illinois, which will be a little harder to do from Sun Prairie. But hey, it won’t stop me from placing a bet on the Bears (+6000) to win the Super Bowl next year when the game is over. Once they get Deshaun Watson those odds will be a steal! Please do remember to gamble responsibly and do it for fun—we aren’t going to become overnight millionaires here. But hey, winning $4.17 sure can be nice! Happy betting!

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