You can bet on pretty much anything in Vegas, but gambling over the cover of a video game? That's a new one.
Indeed, oddsmakers are letting die-hard Madden fans put their money where their loyalties are -- and the returns aren't bad.
VegasInsider, which tracks the odds on pretty much everything you can bet on in Sin City, notes that Denver QB Tim Tebow is the odds-on favorite to be the cover boy of Madden NFL 13. Chances of him landing the coveted (and cursed) cover currently stand at 5 to 1. Odds of him Tebowing in the cover shot? Probably a bit lower.
Chasing Tebow are Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, both of whom carry 13 to 2 odds. From there, the pack thins out a little. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is at 12 to 1, while Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Houston's Arian Foster are stuck at 18 to 1.
If you're interested in making a true longshot bet, you've got four choices: Buffalo's Stevie Johnson, Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe, Washington's Brian Orakpo and Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney. All currently have odds of 100 to 1.
Of course, it's always possible that none of these players will make the cover. ESPN and EA are letting fans choose among 64 candidates between now and March 21, when the full bracket of 32 players who are in the official running for the cover will be revealed during a one-hour broadcast on the sports network. Hey… it's possible Denver fans will opt for Von Miller over Tebow, right? Right? Anyone?
As to why you're able to bet on something like a video game cover but not the Academy Awards or Golden Globes when you're in Vegas, there's a pretty simple explanation.
Since the results of this contest aren't yet determined, it's eligible for sports betting. With big awards shows, the winners are selected in advance -- and while they're guarded, it's still conceivable that an insider who knows the results could place wagers on the outcome, basically rigging the bet.