LITTLE ROCK — Representing opera to pop to rock and roll with an emphasis on funk, Renee Fleming, Bruno Mars, and Michael Balzary are part of proposition bets offered on the Super Bowl.
I have no idea whether Fleming will go with white, black, or red gloves or whether she will don any at all while singing the National Anthem, but white is the 2-1 favorite. A friend well informed about today’s chart toppers guessed that Mars would open the halftime show with “Grenade.” The 2-1 favorite is “Treasure.” All I know is that Mars’ picture is on a billboard, promoting a June appearance in North Little Rock. Googling Red Hot Chili Peppers, I found that Balzary is also known as Flea and plays bass. The prop bet is whether any member of the group will be shirtless during the performance with Mars.
Many prop bets, which account for about 60 percent of the $100 million or so that Las Vegas will handle on Sunday’s game, have nothing to do with Denver vs. Seattle. Of more interest to folks in Arkansas might be some home-grown props related to the Razorbacks’ attempt to break through on the road Saturday at Baton Rouge.
While contemplating the props based on the all-too-familiar Razorback road woes, be sure to factor in an unexpected dynamic. Before Tuesday night, I thought Arkansas would head to Baton Rouge upbeat about a two-game winning streak and LSU would be in a daze after losing a second-half lead to Kentucky.
Instead, the Razorbacks failed down the stretch against Missouri, LSU shot 51 percent from the field, and Kentucky was never even after 2-2.
In Fayetteville, at crunch time, the visiting team did not blink and an uncontested 3 broke a tie at 64. Tall and strong, Missouri’s guards were too much for Arkansas. All three are 6-foot-5 and two of them weigh 215 or more. Also 6-5, Arkansas’ Ky Madden weighs 180.
So, Missouri and LSU are now in the group of four or five trying to nail down the third spot in the SEC and Arkansas is desperate for a road victory to have a shot at 9-9 in league play.
Tying together Arkansas-LSU on Saturday and Denver-Seattle on Sunday, some numbers to crunch:
— Free throws missed by Arkansas vs. pass receptions by Wes Welker. Arkansas has missed 7, 8, and 10 in three SEC road games. Welker has caught at least three passes in every game and as many as nine. Welker must have a big day for Denver to win and a lack of aggressiveness to the basket will provide few opportunities for the Razorbacks.
— Field goals by Arkansas in the second half vs. second-half carries by Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. On the road, Arkansas has made 7, 8, and 11 baskets in the final 20 minutes. Since mid-November, Lynch has carried 16 to 28 times per game and may carry more of a load to keep the pressure off quarterback Russell Wilson.
— Denver touchdowns vs. total number of 3s by Alandise Harris, Anthlon Bell, Bobby Portis, Coty Clarke, and Michael Qualls. In three road games, those players have made five and missed 30. Peyton Manning should be good for at least two or three touchdowns.
— Seattle’s total points vs. Arkansas’ points in the second half. The Seahawks are not a prolific scoring team and the Razorbacks have scored 23 or less in the second half of two road games.
— Total points in the first half of the Super Bowl vs. free throw attempts by LSU. The over-under for the entire game on Sunday is 47. Home teams have shot 21, 39, and 38 free throws against Arkansas.
— Total points on Sunday vs. rebounds by the Tigers. Texas A&M, Georgia, and Tennessee have grabbed 42, 56, and 42 rebounds against Arkansas.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau.