Saturday, January 21, 2006

Props to the conference championships

We'll dispense with any attempt to predict the winners of the weekend's conference championships and instead focus on proposition bets. Prop bets, a favorite topic of writers stretching to fill space in the two weeks of dead time before the Super Bowl, are wagers tied to events within the game rather than the final score. For example, you could lay money on the question of who will score the first points in the AFC Championship Game in Denver. Your best bets might be Jerome Bettis or Jason Elam. Kimo von Oelhoffen would be a long shot. Or you could bet the over/under on the number of passes thrown by Ben Roethlisberger. Say the O/U is 20. If you think the Steelers are going to dominate, then go with the under. If you think the Broncos will have a 10-point lead at some point, go with the over. My favorite screwed-up prop bet came in Super Bowl XVIII, Redskins vs. Raiders. Who would score the first points? Marcus Allen? John Riggins? Mark Moseley? Try reserve tight end Derrick Jensen, who blocked a punt for a touchdown. This teaches us that prop bets are a stupid waste of time. Herewith, our prop bets:

NFC Championship Game
Carolina at Seattle

Interceptions thrown by Jake Delhomme: 2
Passing yards for Jake Delhomme (O/U = 300): Under
Passing TDs by Jake Delhomme: 2
Receptions by Steve Smith (O/U = 10): Under
Receiving yards by Steve Smith (O/U = 100): Over
Rushing yards by Nick Goings (O/U = 75): Under
Sacks by Panthers defense: 2

Interceptions thrown by Matt Hasselbeck: 0
Passing yards for Matt Hasselbeck (O/U = 300): Under
Passing TDs for Matt Hasselbeck: 1
Rushing yards by Shaun Alexander (O/U = 100): Under
Rushing TDs for Shaun Alexander: 1
Sacks by Seahawks defense: 5

Coin flip winner: Carolina
First points scored by: John Kasay
False start penalties on Carolina: 2
Pass interference/illegal contact penalties on Seattle: 3
Total points scored by defense/special teams (excluding kicks): 0

AFC Championship Game
Pittsburgh at Denver

Interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger: 0
Passing yards for Ben Roethlisberger (O/U = 300): Over
Passing TDs for Ben Roethlisberger: 0
Receptions by Hines Ward: 4
Total Pittsburgh rushing yards (O/U = 150): Under
Rushing TDs for Jerome Bettis: 1
Sacks by Pittsburgh defense: 4

Interceptions thrown by Jake Plummer: 2
Passing yards for Jake Plummer (O/U = 300): Under
Passing TDs for Jake Plummer: 1
Touchdowns by Jeb Putzier: 1
Total Denver rushing yards (O/U = 150): Over
Rushing TDs for Ron Dayne: 1
Sacks by Denver defense: 1

Coin flip winner: Pittsburgh
First points scored by: Antwaan Randle El
False start penalties on Pittsburgh: 3
Personal fouls on Denver: 1
Total points scored by defense/special teams (excluding kicks): 6

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