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The Tenner Bet

The Tenner Bet has a curious relationship with God.

I was one of the Wise Men in Saintfield Academy Primary School's critically acclaimed production of the Nativity in 1984. Those same critics agreed I was chronically miscast. I was asked to bring myrrh to the crib.

When my teacher relayed this to me in her thick Northern Irish accent I thought she meant the myrrh my mother looked into when she put her make-up on, so I was somewhat surprised when I was handed an empty box of Maltesers wrapped in crepe paper.

In my world, God promised much but delivered little, the missing chocolates merely proved the point. I can still recount most of the parables and some of the miracles but you'll still find me slaving over a computer of a Sunday putting out a paper. I don't thank God for his beneficence. Journalists rarely do.

American footballers on the other hand can't get enough of God's good grace. Tim Tebow, the God-fearing New York Jets quarterback, pencils the biblical reference John 3:16 on his eye grease. He once threw for 316 yards in a game which gave the holy Joes all the proof they needed of evidence of the Almighty.

Strip the logic bare though and you have American footballers giving thanks because they successfully smashed another man's ribs with their playing helmet or for helping them to catch a touchdown pass.

Newsflash: you caught the ball yourself. There is a reason for all of this speculation on matters sacred (or profane, if you prefer) and it is this: a quick trawl of Oddschecker confirms that there are some quirky bets out there for this weekend's Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

FAMILY OR GOD?

The MVP award in the Super Bowl goes to the player who affects the outcome of the game most. It's kind of like the man of the match, except, you know, with a stoopid American acronym instead.

Paddy Power are offering a market on who the MVP will thank first when he picks up the trophy. "Teammates" is 9/2, "Coaches" and "Owners" 10/1 each while "Family" is 8/1 and yes, you guessed it, 'God' is the 7/4 favourite. Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers QB, thinks God to be so omnipotent that He will actually influence the outcome of tomorrow's final.

However, he did point out in a press conference this week that "I don't think he's cheering for one team or another".

For shame. I quite liked the idea of the big man wearing a beer-dispensing 49ers cap, tip-toeing around heaven so as not to wake the missus and generally ranting at the immorality of wall-to-wall advertising.

Still, I've heard He's a fan of Alicia Keys and she's singing the national anthem so no doubt He'll be upstanding for that. God being an American, and all.

the bet

Ms Keys is 4/1 to wear a hat at some point during her performance. And la diva loves a hat almost as much as Colin Kaepernick likes talking crap.

That's basically a 4/1 "yes" against an odds-on "no" and unless she has issued a statement in the 24 hours since I wrote this saying that due to a sudden outbreak of cocklaphobia (look it up, I had to) she will be singing sans headgear, it's a chance worth taking. God willing.

SEASON'S TOTAL

A winner and a loser last weekend but thanks to Hearts' draw with Inverness in normal time the overall loss has been trimmed to a more respectable -£33.18.

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Education

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