The Super Bowl brings the last opportunity for gamblers to bet on the NFL, and many will be looking for the last chance to score a few bucks. The big game offers several “unique” opportunities when the festivities kick off in February – and that even includes the over/under on the length of the national anthem.
Yes, it’s a real wager and pretty popular — mostly at overseas and offshore sportsbooks. Francis Scott Key might be surprised to learn his “Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics attract plenty of action 205 years after he wrote them.
A quick look at the table below shows there has been a slight trend in the over since 2007 with four under bet winners and one push. However, both Pink and Luke Bryan went long at the last two years.
Another trend is the overall lengthening of the song. What was once a song that hovered around 1:30 and 1:50 in length has morphed into a two-minute aria in recent years. Pink broke a streak of five straight performance of that length.
Super Bowl National Anthem History
|Year||Singer||Over/Under Time||Actual Time|
|2017||Luke Bryan||2:09||2:04 (under)|
|2016||Lady Gaga||2:22||2:22 (over)|
|2015||Idina Menzel||2:02||2:04 (over)|
|2014||Renée Fleming||2:23||2:03 (under)|
|2013||Alicia Keyes||2:15||2:36 (over)|
|2012||Kelly Clarkson||1:34||1:34 (push)|
|2011||Christina Aguilera||1:54||1:53.7 (under)|
|2010||Carrie Underwood||1:41||1:47 (over)|
|2009||Jennifer Hudson||2:04||2:10 (over)|
|2008||Jordin Sparks||1:47||1:54 (over)|
|2007||Billy Joel||1:44||1:30 (over)|
|2006||Aaron Neville/Aretha Frankli||N/A||2:09|
|2005||Choirs of the U.S. military academies||N/A||1:53|
|1995||Kathie Lee Gifford||N/A||1:40|
|1992||Harry Connick Jr.||N/A||2:06|
Betting the banner
Is there really a strategy to betting the anthem or is it just a flip of the coin? It may sound ridiculous, but having a strategy may offer a chance at a real return on investment.
A simple plan based on trends offers a couple choices. Two straight under winners might coax many to hope for three in a row. But with an over/under set at a low 1:47 for Gladys Knight and over bets doing well over the last decade, smart money may go in that direction.
With opera winger Renée Fleming set to perform in 2014, a bloated time of 2:23 was set. In a classy and brilliant performance, she beat that by 20 seconds. Linemakers may have thought an opera star would make for some particularly long notes, but under bettors cashed the tickets.
Interesting betting moments
The national anthem and its singer bring plenty of interest each year. In 2015, some books halted betting on the national anthem after some large bets came in on the over. Figuring bettors may have been privy to some rehearsal numbers by Idina Menzel, these books decided continued action might end on a sour note. Those bettors were rewarded when she went over with the song.
Christina Aguilera awarded under bets in 2011, but received plenty of criticism after completely flubbing a line in the song. Did that screw-up lead to the under performance? It’s possible.
This year – Knight minus The Pips
Soul legend and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Gladys Knight will tackle this year’s anthem with bettors focusing on every second she belts it out. A native of host city Atlanta, the Empress of Soul seems a natural choice for the duty and seems happy to be heading back to her hometown.
— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) January 17, 2019