The odds on The Refrigerator range from 8-1 to 10-1. The burning question is whether he will score a touchdown in Super Bowl XX, either offensively or defensively.
Welcome, friends, to Las Vegas, where the discussion at lunch this week centered on William Perry and his role when the Chicago Bears play the New England Patriots Sunday in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
"If the score is 10-0 and Chicago gets down to the two, (Coach Mike) Ditka will keep Perry on the bench," one of the betting strip's deep thinkers said. "But if it's 17-0, late in the game in the same situation, they might let him carry the ball."
I'll go along with that opinion, but I wouldn't touch the special prices being quoted on The Fridge in many of the legalized sports books here. That 8-1 or 10-1 is as unattractive as the point spread on the game itself. The opening number, 10, went out to 10 1/2 and, at a few places yesterday morning, was up to 11, the Bears favored.
The last time the number on a Super Bowl was that high, the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Los Angeles Rams.
"Ridiculous," Rams Coach Ray Malavasi snapped when informed about the low regard the bettors held for his team.
"Tell Malavasi," a linesmaker responded, "if he could coach as good as we make the line, the Rams would be less of an underdog."
Pittsburgh won by 12.
An estimated $10 million to $15 million will be wagered in Nevada's gaming establishments on Super Bowl XX.
I have a 17-2 record against the spread with Super Bowl predictions, having lost with Philadelphia against Oakland and with Dallas against Baltimore. The Patriots could make it three losses if, as they've been doing lately, they get six turnovers to only one or two for the Bears.
I picked Miami against New England six weeks ago, and lost. I picked the New York Jets, Los Angeles Raiders and Miami against New England in the playoffs the last three weeks, always giving points. Only the Raiders came close.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, you say.
Never. Not, at least, until Craig James sees the whites of Mike Singletary's eyes. Chicago should control New England's running game. That will put pressure, finally, on Patriots quarterback Tony Eason to do something more than hand the ball off to James or Tony Collins, and that's what I've been trying to bet against for more than a month. The trouble has been that the left side of New England's offensive line -- John Hannah, Brian Holloway and Pete Brock -- has been so good that Eason has never had to go to the passing game except under optimal circumstances.
The Super Bowl "proposition" boards here offer Chicago at 5-1 to shut out New England. That's the worst price of all. The Bears aren't that good, are they? Certainly that price stands in contradiction to the 37 total points over-or-under number posted on the game.
Point is, there's something for everybody in the way of Super Bowl betting here. Who'll gain more yards running, Walter Payton (risk $150 to win $100) or James (risk $100 to win $110)? Who'll gain more yards passing, Jim McMahon (risk $160 to win $100) or Eason (risk $100 to win $120)?
What's the price, I wonder, on Tony Franklin kicking off for the Patriots, Chicago's return man fumbling on his own 20, New England recovering and running the ball in for a touchtown? If only Franklin had a stronger leg, he'd kick the ball into the end zone for a touchback, and I wouldn't have to worry about such catastrophes.
You want to bet the game straight up? A $100 wager on the Patriots will yield a $300 profit. To win $100 on the Bears you must invest $450, which happens to be the exact price on Marvelous Marvin Hagler against John (The Beast) Mugabi at Caesars Palace on March 10.
Maybe the Bears' defense hits as hard as Hagler. Unfortunately, giving 10 1/2 is having to find out the hard way. The key to Chicago's covering is whether Payton can run on New England's defensive front. The blocking of his offensive line was neutralized by the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams, and Payton's performance suffered accordingly. I have a hunch that those fronts are stronger than the Patriots'. If so, Payton runs and the Bears cover. If not, the Bears win on their defense, but giving 10 1/2 becomes very much in doubt.
I'll give the 10 1/2. When it comes to The Refrigerator scoring, or any of the other propositions mentioned above, I merely wish you the best of luck.