Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Super Bowl XLVII (47) Prop Bet: The Alicia Keys National Anthem

Leading up to the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII (47) between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, we'll take a look at Super Bowl proposition betting and all the fun, silly prop bets that surround Super Bowl 47 (XLVII). That includes proposition wagers on the Super Bowl coin toss, Super Bowl halftime show (Beyonce), Super Bowl National Anthem (Alicia Keys), Super Bowl Gatorade shower dump and much more. Follow along on the Super Bowl sidebar to the right and follow us on twitter for prop betting updates @stocklemonblog

Pro Bowl weekend is mercifully behind us, and we're down to the home stretch before the Super Bowl, ready to cover all the crazy prop bets you've heard about over the last several days.

One of them that we normally dive deeply into is the National Anthem, as we have done in the past with Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera and Carrie Underwood, to name a few. This year, Alicia Keys has the mike for the rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which is a problem for your usual analysis because she hasn't sang the National Anthem in public before, and thus lacks sufficient Youtube evidence for us to break down the over/under on this prop.

Not that we're going to let a little thing like that stop us from trying.

Without the Youtube evidence to base this off of, our first instinct upon hearing that it would be Keys, given her propensity to freelance at her live performances (see PUT YOUR CELL PHONES IN THE AIIIIIIIR! or OBAMA'S ON FIIIIIIIIIRE!) was that she'd go over the listed total time length given. And then we saw that the time given was 2 minutes and 15 seconds, which is a long damn anthem.

Fortunately for us, the Super Bowl National Anthem length bet has been so popular among prop betters that the length of the song isn't the only aspect of the performance that you can put a wager on. Without the benefit of our annual Youtube research, it may be best to focus a few dollars on the other props associated with Key's anthem. Let's take a look at what's offered and breakdown each anthem proposition, sans embedded video for the first time in years:

How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the US National Anthem? From when the first note starts until she completes saying "Brave" for the 1st time. 
OVER/UNDER 2 minutes, 15 seconds 

As mentioned, this is usually our bread and butter prop, and we have a better idea than most on where it'll fall simply based on the performer's previous anthems. As we said, Keys has none that we know of, and we're pretty damn good at searching for Youtube clips. So this year will be more of a guess than in the past.

To give you an idea of how long a 2 minute, 15 second anthem is, Kelly Clarkson clocked in last year at 1 minute, 35 seconds; Christina Aguilera's botched performance went 1 minute, 45 seconds; and Carrie Underwood went just over 1 minute, 43 seconds. However, Jennifer Hudson went 2 minutes, 13 seconds in a performance that was later discovered to have been lip-syncing of a previous recording.

Keys is so good live that we don't think that will be the case this year, but in her case that might lead us to the over because of her improv rather than the under (many performers sing faster live on the big stage, leading to quicker anthems). Key wording in the prop, though: "from when the first note starts until she completes saying Brave for the 1st time." If there's going to be some heavy Alicia Keys improv--and she's already gone on about doing the anthem "her way"--we could definitely see her repeating Brave several times at the end of the performance. In year's past, props have actually asked whether or not the singer will say brave multiple times. Just remember that the stopwatch ends after the first Brave is uttered--it could very well come down to that.

Given that 2 minutes and 15 seconds is an incredibly long amount of time for the anthem--even with a little improv--we're going to go under on this one. Keys' quote that's been floating around about doing it "her way" has led people to believe we're in for something crazy, and many are fearful she will ruin the thing. We think this is all overreaction. Her full quote, for your reference:

"Oh my goodness, I'm crazy excited about it. Being able to do the national anthem and actually set the whole game off is a dream come true. It's really exciting," she said. "It's a historical moment, that day, so I'm looking forward to really doing it my style and my way, and I'm looking forward to really making it great."

The entire 2 minute, 15 second line has been essentially based off of those choice words. Our first instinct was over--as were many other betters--so the line had to be high enough to scare off that OVER money. It worked, but maybe a little too well for Vegas, as this just seems a little too high. Like we said, more of a guess this year than in year's past, though.
OUR BET: UNDER 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Will Alicia Keys be booed during or after her rendition of the US National Anthem? Book manager's decision is final. Must be clear consensus of boos for Yes to be graded the winner. 
Yes +500 

There is terror in the 50 nifty United States that Keys' rendition of the anthem will go overboard in terms of trying to be unique. People are expecting her to come out and try to do this, but there is only one Marvin Gaye, and we just don't think she's going to go that far. (God forbid she try to do something similar to one of the best anthem performances ever).

Either way, these are the types of bets we rail against every year at this time. All of the Super Bowl props that offer only a yes option at an enticing prop are the suckeriest sucker bets around. Don't fall for this trap. Especially given the wording "must be clear consensus of boos." Anytime you're leaving something like that up to the bookies discretion, it usually won't end in you winning your wager.

OUR BET: Don't do it, stupid

Will Alicia Keys forget or omit at least 1 word of the official US National Anthem? 
Yes +150
No -200

This isn't totally ridiculous to bet Yes on, because there can be a gray area here. What if she starts the anthem by saying "Say can you see" rather than "Oh say can you see"? Then, even though it's not so much her "forgetting" the word, Yes might get the nod. We understand that. But obviously this is in reaction to Christina Aguilera's mess up at Super Bowl 45, and the public heard so much about that that many feel like it is a more common occurrence than it really is.

We're going with the unsexy No here and swallowing the juice that comes with it. Another thing working in our favor, potentially but not likely: If for whatever reason she did go with a pre-recorded version and try to lip-sync the thing, do you think she would have omitted words in that recording?

OUR BET: No (-200)

Will Alicia Keys add at least 1 NEW word of the official US National Anthem? Book manager's decision is final. repeating a word does not count, must be a new word added in.
Yes +200 
No -300 

At -300, this really isn't worth a No bet, but that's where we'll end up. Again, we just think there's an overreaction to the quote we posted above about her doing the anthem "her way." We think she will do it her way, and it will be great and unique, but it will still be the National Anthem. She's taken some creative liberties with her own material to cater to various outings, but we don't see here swapping out the lyrics to the freaking national anthem. "Oh say does that Star Spangled Niner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the Ravens." Not happening.

We are somewhat worried that she adds some spoken word stuff in mid-way through, as she tends to do at her live performances, and if you want to take the chance on yes here, go right ahead. But you're probably better off skipping this one.

OUR BET: No (-300)

We're just getting started here and have a ton more prop bets to get to, so don't stray too far. We plan on providing you with the knowledge you need to win some money on these prop bets. As fun and silly as some of them are, even the National Anthem, this is serious business in Vegas, as it can be for you too if you play it right.