Betting on Demi Lovato and the National Anthem odds for Super Bowl LIV

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Three things that America loves are football, the Star Spangled Banner, and a comeback story. All those things collide at Super Bowl LIV as Demi Lovato performs the National Anthem.

We at Covers also love wagering on sports and one of the most popular Super Bowl proposition bets (something even a non-football fan can root for) is the length of the National Anthem. We break down the odds for this always-entertaining Super Bowl betting option: 

First-timers betting this prop should know that most sportsbooks (the ones that allow it. Legal U.S.-based books, like those in Las Vegas, can’t offer betting on the National Anthem) grade the beginning and end time only when the singer begins and ends singing. Any music intro or ending doesn’t tack on to the total run time for the bet.

While the Over/Under for this wager was set at 1:50 last year (and could be had as low as 1:47 when it opened), many were expecting the 74-year-old Gladys Knight to not have the lung capacity she possessed in her younger days. But unlike Peyton Manning in Super Bowl 50, Knight performed like she was in her prime, clocking in at an “official” time of 1:53.

However, the anthem had as much controversy as the infamous “Tuck Rule”. Knight sang the word brave twice, going through her second brave at precisely the O/U time of 1:50. Thankfully, some sportsbooks paid out both Over and Under bettors.

The O/U for how long it takes Lovato to sing the anthem has been set around 1:56 at many operators. We compiled the National Anthem times for the last 20 renditions below, and wouldn’t you know it, the average run time over that period is 116.6 seconds or just over 1:56.

Year Super Bowl Performer Music Genre Time
2019 Super Bowl 53 Gladys Knight Soul, R&B 1:53
2018 Super Bowl 52 Pink Pop 1:52
2017 Super Bowl 51 Luke Bryant Country 2:04
2016 Super Bowl 50 Lady Gaga Pop 2:09
2015 Super Bowl 49 Idina Menzel Pop 2:04
2014 Super Bowl 48 Renee Fleming Opera 1:54
2013 Super Bowl 47 Alicia Keys Pop 2:35
2012 Super Bowl 46 Kelly Clarkson Pop 1:34
2011 Super Bowl 45 Christina Aguilera Pop 1:54
2010 Super Bowl 44 Carrie Underwood Country 1:47
2009 Super Bowl 43 Jennifer Hudson R&B 2:10
2008 Super Bowl 42 Jordin Sparks Pop 1:54
2007 Super Bowl 41 Billy Joel Rock ‘n’ Roll 1:30
2006 Super Bowl 40 Aaron Neville & Aretha Franklin Soul 2:08
2005 Super Bowl 39 US Military Academy Choirs Traditional 1:52
2004 Super Bowl 38 Beyonce Pop 2:09
2003 Super Bowl 37 Dixie Chicks Country 1:36
2002 Super Bowl 36 Mariah Carey Pop 1:56
2001 Super Bowl 35 Backstreet Boys Pop 1:50
2000 Super Bowl 34 Faith Hill Country 2:01

For those who aren’t familiar with Lovato, the 27-year-old award-winning singer is the daughter of a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and got her start on the small screen when she appeared in Barney and Friends at the age of 10 (seriously, we would not make this up).

Lovato released her first studio album just six years later and has since received numerous awards and nominations for her muscial accomplishments while also acting and serving as a judge on The X Factor USA. She has also struggled with substance abuse problems over the years and has been vocal about her ongoing recovery, a journey which has been an inspiration to many.

This is not Lovato’s first rodeo. She has sung the Star Spangled Banner at four MLB games and one boxing event. Of course, being the dedicated researchers (and gambling degenerates) we are, we timed every one of those performances and found her average was 116 seconds.

That said, as any sports fan knows, it’s not always about the average when trying to predict future performance. It’s about what athletes have done lately. Let’s take a look at each one of those renditions:

Event Year Time
Dallas Cowboys Game 2008 1:52
World Series, Game 5 2011 1:49
World Series, Game 4 2012 1:50
World Series, Game 4 2015 1:58
Mayweather vs McGregor Fight 2017 2:11

As you can see, Lovato has ramped up the length of her performances, topping out at an incredible 131 seconds before the Mayweather-McGregor bout. She has also developed a tendency to take a deep breath after “land of the free,” which allows her to hold the final note for a longer period of time. We’re backing a prime Demi Lovato to go Over the number on Super Bowl Sunday.

College basketball odds, picks and predictions: Bet on big first half from Oregon

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Baylor aims to stay at the top of the NCAA men’s basketball rankings as they take on a reeling West Virginia squad on Saturday, while Oregon looks to crush visiting Utah on Sunday night. We break down the college basketball odds for those games and much more as we bring you the best betting notes, picks and predictions across the NCAA this weekend.   


Things don’t get any easier for No. 14 West Virginia as they come off back-to-back losses. The Mountaineers fell to Oklahoma on the road last Saturday before losing at home to Kansas on Wednesday. They scored an average of just 54 points per game in those two contests and now take on No. 1 Baylor who has held foes to 58.3 ppg on 38.4 percent shooting this season.

Generally the best way to attack the 1-1-3 zone defense that Baylor employs is to attack with a pair of guards that can dribble and drive, as well as knock down the occasional jumper. Unfortunately for WVU, while they have strong players down low, they lack scoring punch in their backcourt. Look for the Bears to hold the Mountaineers Under their team total. 


Anyone who has been following the Big Ten this season knows that most schools are killing at home and just getting shredded on the road. Purdue and Ohio State represent this trend probably better than anyone, especially during the first half of games.

The Buckeyes have an average first-half scoring margin of plus-12.2 ppg at home (fifth-best in the country) but that drops to minus-1.8 on the road. The Boilermakers have an average first-half margin of plus-11.7 ppg at home and that falls to minus-1.7 on the road.

With Purdue putting up just 27.6 first half ppg on the road, and Ohio State holding opponents to 25 first half ppg in Columbus, take Ohio State on the 1H spread.


The Zags have the No. 2 team in the country but they might not have the best betting value when they face Pepperdine on the road on Saturday night. Gonzaga is coming off a 30-point rout of Saint Mary’s but prior to that game they failed to cover in three straight contests.

Pepperdine is 25th in the country in scoring with 77.2 ppg and is 7-3 SU over their last 10 contests. They also played well against Gonzaga in the last meeting between the two squads, falling by a score of 75-70 on the road on January 4. A matter of fact, the Waves are 3-1 ATS in the last four games of the head-to-head with the Zags.

With Gonzaga usually a massive favorite, laying at least 10 points in 13 of their last 14 contests (and laying at least 20 points in seven of those), the underdog Waves have value on the spread.   


Utah is 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS on the road in Pac-12 play, losing by scoring margins of 39, 19, 19, 16, 14 and 4 points. A common theme for Utah in those losses has been ice-cold shooting, far too many turnovers and a tendency to fall behind early. In three of those games, including Thursday night against Oregon State, the Utes were down at least 16 points by halftime.

On Sunday the Utes wrap up their Oregon road trip as they face the No. 17 Ducks. The Ducks are tied for first place in the Pac-12 after a come from behind win against Colorado on Thursday.

Led by guards Payton Pritchard (19.3 points and 6 assists per game) and Chris Duarte (14 ppg), the Ducks rank 19th in the country in offensive efficiency. And Pritchard and Duarte are especially effective at home where they shoot a combined 49 percent from the floor and 41 percent from deep. Bet on Oregon to cover the first half spread.  


BYU received 43 votes in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and is currently riding a five-game winning streak. Over their last 17 games the Cougars have gone 14-3 SU and 13-4 ATS. BYU has the best group of outside shooters in the country, connecting on 10.9 made 3-point shots per game while shooting 42.5 percent from deep.

On Saturday, BYU heads to the Jenny Craig Pavillion (seriously that’s what it’s called) to take on the San Diego Toreros. The Toreros are at the bottom of the West Coast Conference standings and shoot just 41.2 percent from the floor. That’s right: San Diego shoots worse from the field than BYU does from beyond the arc.


Dayton has been flying up the NCAA futures odds board and is currently listed as high as +1,600 at some books. The Flyers are fifth in the country in scoring (81.6 ppg) and first in shooting percentage (52.3), and haven’t lost a game since December. While detractors might point at the lack of stiff competition in the Atlantic 10 Conference, it’s worth noting that the Flyers only two losses this season occured in overtime and one of them was against No. 3 Kansas.

On Saturday, Dayton is on the road against the Massachusetts Minutemen. The Minutemen allow 72.9 ppg on 46.5 percent shooting (328th in the country) and lost by 28 points to Dayton on January 11.


• The Toledo Rockets are just 1-10 ATS at home this season. On Friday they host the Buffalo Bulls who are 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four games in the head-to-head. The Rockets look like a good fade as 2.5-point favorites.  

• Over the last ten days SEC conference games have gone 13-4 O/U. If you’re looking for a solid Over bet in SEC play this weekend, the matchup between Mississippi State and Arkansas looks good. Arkansas has cashed the Over in eight straight games while Miss State is 7-1 O/U in its previous eight contests.

• The top ATS team in the country are the North Florida Osprey who are 19-6 ATS, including 7-1 ATS over their last eight games. On Saturday, the Osprey host the North Alabama Lions. North Florida is 4-0 ATS in four games against North Alabama dating back to last season.

2020 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge odds to win and betting picks: Don’t fade the big men

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The NBA skills challenge might not be the flashiest event at the All-Star Game, but it has proved to be very profitable for bettors who like to wager on underdogs. We take a look at the odds to win the NBA skills challenge for this year’s field and break down our betting picks for the 2020 event.  


The skills challenge features eight NBA players going through an obstacle course which tests their dribbling skills, passing ability, agility and shooting.

Two players face off next to each other on identical courses on the court. For the first leg, they run down the court while dribbling between five obstacles, before throwing a pass through a target. Then they turn around and dribble back the full length of the court for a lay up. Then they head back up the court before hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The first player to sink his shot from beyond the arc wins.

It’s a single elimination format with three rounds and the brackets won’t be chosen until Saturday.


Spencer Dinwiddie Brooklyn Nets +350
Khris Middleton Milwaukee Bucks +410
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Oklahoma City Thunder +460
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics +550
Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors +550
Domantis Sabonis Indiana Pacers +850
Patrick Beverley Los Angeles Clippers +900
Bam Adebayo Miami Heat +1,200


This year’s event features three former winners: Patrick Beverley (2015), Spencer Dinwiddie (2018) and Jayson Tatum (2019). While Dinwiddie has the best odds to win at +350, if recent history is any indication this is one contest where underdogs have a good chance of coming out on top.

Since the event started including big men in 2016, two players have won with the worst odds (Dinwiddie and Karl-Anthony Towns) while another took home the title with the second-worst odds (Kristaps Porzingis in 2016). Last year, Tatum won with the fifth-best odds at +600.

That said, we’re not taking the player with the worst odds this year. Adebayo is having a terrific season but he’s only connected on one 3-point shot all year (on 11 attempts), so the final step in this event could prove to be a challenge.

We like the +550 payout for Tatum to repeat, but our money is on the player tied with Tatum in the odds department: Raptors forward Pascal Siakam. Siakam is quicker and has better handles than many give him credit for, and he’s really improved his shot from beyond the arc this season (connecting on more than two 3-point shots per game at a clip of 36 percent).

Siakam also seems to play at his best when the pressure is on, so expect him to thrive under the spotlight in Chicago this weekend. We’re betting on the Raptors’ big man.