The beauty of Super Bowl prop bets is the wide berth they offer for creativity. The circumstances -- a zeitgeist-penetrating phenomenon that captures the entire country's imagination -- provide opportunities that go beyond the standard first-half bets, totals and sides. Because everyone is paying attention, anything you can imagine is fair game.
Take politics, for example. What is everyone in the country talking about other than Rob Gronkowski's ankle? Who will win the Republican nomination for president of these United States? No surprise then that, in my fourth annual Get-Your-Prop-Up-In-Vegas contest, many of the hundreds of submissions revolved around election scenarios. But my favorite, by far, which showed ingenuity, effort, research and a keen nose for what's happening in the conversation came from David Kadonsky. He offered up this thorough gem:
"Prop: Will the sum total 2011 Cap Hit of all players to score in Super Bowl 46 exceed $20,901,075?
"Explanation: My Super Bowl Prop Bet idea this year is titled 'Richer Than Romney.' According to his publicly released tax forms, Mitt Romney's estimate 2011 Adjuted Gross Income was $20,901,075. It's topical, alliterative and carries a line (+150 to +180) that preys on the general public's assumption that all professional athletes make a zillion dollars. I looked into this in some detail and it's not wholly absurd. Given this season's games, there's a 31.5 percent chance of the Over $20.9 Million using a [very] simplified calculation.
"The largest contributing factor, by far, is whether either QB will score a rushing TD since Brady's estimated Cap Hit is $13.2 million and Manning's is $12.9 million (three and one rushing TDs, respectively). This is followed by Brandon Jacobs at $7.0 million and Wes Welker at $4.1 million. The kickers contribute an automatic $3.9 million to the total.
"While there will need to be proper caveats, like the dollar value of a scoring player that isn't in the spotrac.com extensive database, it's still a perfectly legal prop bet."
Seriously, that is brilliant. And when I start my own sports book I am going to create a velvet-rope area just for math geeks who will need to flash their MIT degrees to get in. The board will feature props like this one, that require No. 2 pencils and a tree's worth of scratch paper to determine. I also love that he kicked it by pointing out that, while convoluted, it was still perfectly legal. David, you will be my props manager. But, I am sorry, you did not win.
To read the rest of Chad Millman's blog about his prop bet contest, including who won, you must be an ESPN Insider.