To celebrate the first Super Bowl of the open online Ontario sports betting market, I decided to place a handful of small wagers and document the experience for your amusement.
This wasn’t about the money. Though to quote Stillwater lead singer Jeff Bebe from the movie Almost Famous: Some money would be nice.
The point was to see if doing this augmented my Super Bowl experience, was phenomenally soul sucking or was the equivalent of cold nachos — hey, they’re still nachos, but they would be much nicer warmed up.
Of course, I’m hoping for maximum augmentation in a non-Madonna way.
In has to be better than last year’s Proline experience, right?
Last year I wrote about placing $55 worth of Super Bowl bets through Proline, Ontario’s legacy sportsbook operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
I ended up with a $42 profit and that was kind of fun.
However, the experience of actually placing the bets was so frustrating I eventually abandoned trying to bet online. Instead, I trudged out in a snowstorm to make my eight Proline bets at a variety store.
So, this year, I wanted to know if trying a bunch of different operators would improve the experience. I even threw in Proline again to give them another chance.
Before we go any further, some context:
- I am a life-long sports fan that was once a long-time Detroit Lions season ticket holder (** hold here for laugher **). But, at least I know football.
- My entire adult life has been spent writing about sports as a career — particularly horse racing, which survives on gambling. So, I am in no way anti-gambling.
- I’ve never believed betting on sports or participating in fantasy sports enhances the experience. I realize this makes me some kind of wingnut — or simply old — but the game itself is enough for me.
- Knowing the house wins the vast majority of the time has always curtailed my gambling to the point of some fun bets here and there. This is always a wise strategy, especially for a novice.
- Writing about sports means I have more knowledge than most about sports that I’m writing about. Conversely, I don’t have nearly enough information about those I’m not writing about. I may not know much, but I do know this can be extremely bad for handicapping. And this is bad for the bankroll.
Above all, I have the betting acumen of bratwurst. So I don’t bet a lot because that would be astoundingly unwise.
Plus, you should never bet more than you can afford to lose.
$80, four Ontario sportsbooks and a lot of prayer
I deposited $25 in four different sportsbooks, picked at random — DraftKings, PointsBet, BetRivers and Proline.
Then I loaded PlayCanada’s Ontario Super Bowl betting page.
In the end, I bet $80 total. I wanted to save a little for some live betting to test that out.
I started with DraftKings because I was intrigued by their Super Bowl squares promotions. Considering the Super Bowl is sports betting Christmas, I was a little surprised DK didn’t have it front and centre on their page. Instead, I had to hunt for the big game in the lefthand “Popular” column where the Super Bowl was listed third under the NBA and College Basketball, presumably because there are basketball games happening sooner.
The DK Squares page was also hard to find, but once I did, I was presented with a choice of picking by any quarter or the game’s final score. I placed a $5 bet on each. For any quarter, I went with the score ending in 0 for the Eagles and 3 for the Chiefs at +500 to pay $30.
For the final score, I tried to apply logic. Most sportsbooks have the game’s over/under set at 56 and a spread in favour of the Eagles at 1.5 points. So, if it’s a close game as expected and the total score hovers around 56 points, I guessed the final score might be 31-28 for Philly. So, I picked an Eagles 1, Chiefs 8 square at +3000 to potentially pay $155.
I’m not expecting to cash either, because the odds are phenomenally against me.
Picking some crazy DK prop bets for fun
The point of this was more fun than analytics. I didn’t have the time for a deep dive on stats.
So, DK’s jersey number prop bet intrigued me. The choices were:
- Combined jersey number of all touchdown scorers over/under 160.5
- Jersey number of 1st touchdown scorer o/u 11.5
- Jersey number of last touchdown scorer o/u 11.5
QB Jalen Hurts has scored the most touchdowns for the Eagles this year in the regular season (13). He is #1 so I was just about to go with $5 on the first TD scorer being a jersey number under 11.5 at -130 for a possible payout of $8.84. But then I thought better of it. If I was so sure Hurts would score the first TD, why not bet on him exactly to do so +700 for a potential return of $40? So, I did.
Then I took a look at DK’s Super Bowl specials.
Most of those were in the territory of Lions-like longshots.
I almost went with “any defensive player to have 1+ solo sack and 1+ interception” thinking a safety or a corner could record a solo sack on a blitz and also record an interception. But the number of defensive backs on either team that have had both a sack and a reasonable number of interceptions was low.
Instead, I went with: “Either team to kick a game winning walk off field goal at end of normal time” because this is supposed to be a close game, right? Many games come down to a late-game winning field goal. Though, maybe not as time runs out. Hence why my $5 bet will pay me $55 if I cash.
PointsBet had 362 different Super Bowl bets as of Friday
PointsBet was next and, again, I was surprised the Super Bowl was not front and centre on the home page.
Yet, I quickly found that PB was offering 362 wagers on the Super Bowl as of 11 a.m. on Friday. I’m not sure how many DK offered.
My first bet was $5 on both Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce and Hurts to each score a TD in the game at +230 to potentially pay $16.50.
I didn’t want to forget Chiefs’ QB and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes in the mix. So, I bet $5 on him to throw over 2.5 touchdowns at +165. If that happens I will win $13.25.
Then I was jumped over to novelty bets. I’m a music guy, so I wanted to place a few fun bets on the halftime show. I was tempted to go with Rhianna’s last song being B**ch Better Have My Money at +1200. That would be awesome. But it also sounded doubtful for a No Fun League event. Instead, I bet $5 on her last song being an NFL-oh-so-obvious Don’t Stop The Music at +600 to win $30.
BetRivers’ string of promotions
Then using some recommendations from Matthew Lomon’s Super Bowl betting story, I decided to head over to BetRivers to see what Super Bowl specials popped up.
I was greeted with this:
Since I was planning to deposit $25, this squares promotion sounded fun. My random free square was Chiefs 4 – Eagles 9. I bet $10 to get my first (paid for) square which was random, too. I received Chiefs 4 – Eagles 6.
Then, if you bet $5 or more on a same-game parlay, you boosted the squares’ maximum payout from $100 to $10,000. So, I bet $10 on The Chiefs to win and the total points being over 51 at +270 for a potential payout of $37.
That qualified me for a $5 fee bet which I used to bet on the moneyline for the Chiefs to win at +102 for a huge payout possibility of $5.10.
On one hand, BetRivers seemed to continually goad you to bet more, but it was also kind of fun. And, I only bet $20 of my own money, total.
Proline offers some entertainment bets others don’t
Finally, I decided to give Proline one more chance. The OLG’s sportsbook has improved a lot in a year’s time. Though, as the Ontario government sportsbook, Proline’s odds normally aren’t as generous as the independent sportsbooks. So, I decided to just have some fun rather than try to bet game lines.
Right away I was greeted by a promotion that said if you bet $25 on the Super Bowl, among other bonuses that I didn’t care much about, you would be put in a draw where the grand prize was a trip to the 2024 Super Bowl in Las Vegas. So, I bet $25.
Betting on the length of the national anthem is usually disallowed in many US jurisdictions due to the potential for it to be rigged. So, I was surprised to see Proline offer it, especially since the sportsbook had suspended betting on what song Rihanna will play first at halftime.
Anthem singer Chris Stapleton is usually a slow-drawl kind of guy, so I bet $5 on the anthem being over 2 minutes and 5 seconds to potentially win $7.60.
Then I bet $5 on whether Rihanna will wear sunglasses during her halftime performance (potential return of $10.75). This sounded like a coin flip kind of bet with better odds.
Finally, because the entire betting process was taking too long, I wagered $15 on Mahomes and Hurts each throwing over 2.5 touchdowns in the game (potential return $165).
The process took too long
I barely scratched the surface of the Super Bowl betting options. And the length of time it took to make a bunch of fun bets was too long for my liking.
Yes, Ontarians are now blessed with a glut of choice. But, honestly, I’m not sure where people find the time, especially to do some research and think about all this.
Given that, I guess I should be happy if this ends up being the equivalent of a cold plate of nachos. Soul-sucking would be a downer.
I’ll report my findings early next week.