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2/1/06 2:21 PM
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RIDING THE BUS: Bettis popular in proposition bets

Steelers back is favorite to score TD in game

By MATT YOUMANS
REVIEW-JOURNAL


It's prime time for Super Bowl hype, and when it comes to media exposure, few players have a bigger presence this week than Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis.

The smiling 255-pound veteran has returned to his hometown, Detroit, for Sunday's big game against the Seattle Seahawks. It's a tale that will be told countless times because the only thing sportswriters grab more eagerly than free hot dogs are the easy, obvious stories.

But how much of an impact will Bettis have on the outcome of the game?

That's a serious question for bettors to consider as they read the countless -- it's actually 300, give or take a few -- proposition wagers available at the Las Vegas Hilton.

"You never know which prop is going to attract the most action," Hilton sports book director Jay Kornegay said.

Betting on or against Bettis should be popular. The Bus is barely rolling after 13 years in the NFL, but he is the topic of several Super Bowl props.

Will Bettis score a touchdown? He is the favorite to do so at minus-140.

But the props for his total rushing yards (38 1/2) and rushing attempts (13 1/2) indicate he probably won't be the biggest story after the game.

The two quarterbacks, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and the Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck, will be scrutinized for every move they make because of all the prop bets hinging on their play.

Hasselbeck, for example, is a minus-180 favorite to complete his first pass of the game. That price might seem inflated ... before you do research on the subject.

Hasselbeck completed 15 of 18 on his first pass attempt of the game this season, and Seattle's first offensive play was a pass in 17 of 18 games.

The total rushing yards for Seattle's Shaun Alexander opened at 86 1/2 and is headed higher, Kornegay said, because most bettors will want to ride the league's Most Valuable Player.

"Obviously, people know more about the star players, so they have more opinions," Kornegay said. "People want to bet on players to succeed and on things to happen. It's a tendency we've seen over the years."

Some of those people, who wish to remain anonymous, bet on the same three props every year:

•Will there be a safety? "Yes" is plus-800.

•Will there be overtime? "Yes" is plus-700.

•Will the game be decided by exactly 3 points? "Yes" is plus-400.

Stop laughing, because three of the past four Super Bowls were decided by exactly 3 points -- all three of the New England Patriots' victories (24-21 over Philadelphia, 32-29 over Carolina and 20-17 over St. Louis).

Of course, in 39 years, the Super Bowl never has gone into overtime, leaving many bettors empty-handed.

"One of these years they will be right," Kornegay said. "If there is ever a safety or the game goes into overtime, everyone knows the books will take a hit."

Here are some of the proposition wagers available at the Las Vegas Hilton sports book:


Will either team score in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game?

Yes minus-115

No minus-115


Will either team score in the final 2 minutes of the first half?

Yes minus-240

No plus-200


Team to use coaches challenge first:

Seahawks minus-115

Steelers minus-115


The Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck's first pass will be:

Complete minus-180

Incomplete plus-150


Will Hasselbeck throw an interception?

Yes minus-200

No plus-170


Will the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger throw an interception?

Yes minus-160

No plus-130


Distance of the first punt of the game:

Over 42.5 Even

Under 42.5 minus-130


Will there be a safety?

Yes plus-800

No minus-1200


Will there be overtime?

Yes plus-700

No minus-1000


Will the game be decided by exactly 3 points?

Yes plus-400

No minus-600


Will the Seahawks score a touchdown in the first quarter?

Yes plus-150

No minus-180


Will there be a special teams or defensive touchdown?

Yes plus-160

No minus-190


Will there be a successful 2-point conversion?

Yes plus-400

No minus-600


Total gross passing yards by Hasselbeck:

Over 231.5 minus-115

Under 231.5 minus-115


Total rushing yards by the Seahawks' Shaun Alexander:

Over 87.5 minus-115

Under 87.5 minus-115


Total first downs by Seahawks:

Over 18.5 minus-115

Under 18.5 minus-115


Total gross passing yards by Roethlisberger:

Over 218.5 minus-115

Under 218.5 minus-115


Total rushing yards by the Steelers' Willie Parker:

Over 59.5 minus-115

Under 59.5 minus-115


Total receiving yards by the Steelers' Hines Ward:

Over 66.5 minus-115

Under 66.5 minus-115


Jersey number of first player to score a touchdown in Super Bowl:

Over 49.5 minus-115

Under 49.5 minus-115


Will the Seahawks ever have the lead in the second half?

Yes minus-130

No Even


Team to receive opening kickoff:

Seahawks minus-105

Steelers minus-105


•NOTE: The following props involve NBA and Arena Football League games being played Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Who will have more:

Jerome Bettis rushing yards +1/2 minus-115

Kobe Bryant (Lakers) points -1/2 minus-115


Who will have more:

Roethlisberger rushing yards +2 1/2 minus-115

Tracy McGrady (Rockets) free throws made -2 1/2 minus-115

Who will have more:

Alexander rushing attempts +4.5 minus-115

Elton Brand (Clippers) points -4.5 minus-115


Who will have more:

Alexander points +4.5 minus-115

Brad Miller (Kings) rebounds -4.5 minus-115



Who will have more:

Seahawks points +28.5 minus-115

Las Vegas Gladiators points -28.5 minus-115


Who will have more:

*(Tiger Woods must tee off in the Dubai Desert Classic fourth round and complete 18 holes)

Hines Ward receiving yards +4.5 minus-115

Woods fourth-round score -4.5 minus-115


Who will have more:

*(Phil Mickelson must tee off in the FBR Open fourth round and complete 18 holes)

Alexander rushing yards -14.5 minus-115

Mickelson fourth-round score +14.5 minus-115


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