Chipping the Bowl

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There's more to Super Bowl XLIII than the action on the field.

The game is certainly the primary attraction, but over the years the Super Bowl has come to mean more than two teams facing off in professional football's championship match-up.

It's also about advertising and parties and halftime entertainment. Filling the time between plays has become an important part of the festivities, with everyone from big-business advertisers to the local grocer vying for attention during lulls in the action.

What's interesting is that with all the activity that surrounds the Super Bowl, Vegas odds, for some reason, seem to remain firmly focused on the game itself. Points scored. Yardage gained and lost. Blah, blah, blah.

We at The Augusta Chronicle would like to offer an alternative. Below are a list of Super Bowl bets and some betting advice that have nothing to do with the actual score.

It should be noted that The Augusta Chronicle does not condone gambling - particularly during difficult economic times. So, instead of cash, all bets will be handicapped using the universal currency of the Super Bowl party - the potato chip. Enjoy.

SUPER BOWL XLIII

WHO: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals


WHEN: Pregame starts at 4 p.m., kickoff at 6:18 p.m. Sunday


WHERE: NBC (WAGT, Channel 26)


SUPER BOWL PARTIES

THE BET: How long before the dip runs out?


HANDICAPPING: Rate of consumption is proportional to the number of ingredients. A seven-layer dip will vanish before the end of the first quarter, but expect the bean dip to get scraped into the sink at the end of the evening.

THE BET: How long before the first beverage spill?

HANDICAPPING: A lot of factors to take into account. If there is a disproportionate number of fans rooting for one team, excitement increases and so does spillage. Likewise, if the beverages have a little kick, spills come quicker.

THE BET: How long before someone mentions, in an offhand manner, that Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt grew up in Augusta?


HANDICAPPING: This is the sort of trivia fact that everyone thinks he is in sole possession of. Betting on anything over 10 minutes is just throwing those potato chips away.


ADVERTISING

THE BET: How many ads will be aired before one that features an adorable talking animal?

HANDICAPPING: Bet lots of chips early on this one. The talking animal is a staple of Super Bowl advertising, and it's likely that wisecracking reptiles or back-talking birds will appear early and often.

THE BET: How many ads will air before one utilizes a classic rock tune?

HANDICAPPING: In years past, this has been a favorite maneuver. The most famous example involved Cadillac and Led Zeppelin. Those songs are expensive, however, and with the economy sort of sketchy, money might need to be spent elsewhere.

THE BET: How many ads will air before the first promo for a big summer movie?

HANDICAPPING: Because they are cut from clips, movie ads are often the least expensive spots to produce. Several studios have spots planned. Expect the first no later than the second commercial break.

THE BET: Who will win the Bud Bowl?

HANDICAPPING: The eternal battle of the beers continues. Bud or Bud Light? It's hard to say. Who is going into the game with the most momentum?

THE BET: Which will come first, an ad for beer, cars or anything.com?

HANDICAPPING: Go with the dot-coms. Beer is always part of Super Bowl advertising but it is often dominated by Anheuser-Busch. American automakers have already announced they are making a much smaller investment in Super Bowl ads. That leaves the dot-coms, which seem to come out of the woodwork for the game.


THE BROADCAST

THE BET: How long before the cameras zoom in on a celebrity in the crowd?

HANDICAPPING: Television loves celebrity. It might show some restraint and wait until the game begins, but smart chips are on the pregame.

THE BET: How long before the camera zooms in on a fan with a face or body painted with a team's colors?

HANDICAPPING: The only thing television loves more than celebrity is crazy. Move early and end up with a big bowl of chips before the game even begins.


ENTERTAINMENT

THE BET: How many seconds into her pregame performance of God Bless America will Faith Hill raise her arm, or arms, dramatically?


HANDICAPPING:Do not bet against her doing this. It's a reflexive thing with the country singer. If it were this writer's potato chips, I would bet heavily on right after "land that I love."

THE BET: Which will Bruce Springsteen sing first during his halftime performance - Glory Days or Born to Run?


HANDICAPPING: In concert, the Boss usually holds Born to Run for an encore. Expect it late. Of course, with time for only a few tunes, the high-risk gambler might pull the pot (or bowl, as the potato chip case might be) by betting on an early appearance.

THE BET: Will Bruce Springsteen suffer from an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction?


HANDICAPPING: Uh, no.


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