Justin Timberlake's Prince tribute at the Super Bowl 'slaughtered' one sportsbook

The reviews of the Justin Timberlake halftime show at Super Bowl LII were mostly mixed. At least one online sportsbook was not a fan, however, because the book got "slaughtered" by a prop bet involving what Prince song JT would sing. 

Timberlake started out slow, but eventually came on strong. In the middle of his performance, he mixed in a Prince tribute, something everyone expected would happen. But his choice of song was not what anyone saw coming. 

Expectations for Timberlake covering Prince mostly involved "Let's Go Crazy" (what could have been an easy opening song), "Purple Rain" (Timberlake has the vocal chops to pull it off) or "1999" (probably the most famous general public Prince song). 

After Timberlake decided to yank a potential Prince hologram -- or after he simply squashed rumors about a potential Prince hologram -- we were left wondering how he might showcase the late Hall of Fame musician. The decision was ultimately to show video of Prince playing while Timberlake performed "I Would Die 4 U" as part of a "duet" with Prince.

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via NFL/YouTube

It was pretty cool. Unless you were someone managing the bets at TopBet.eu, which got "slaughtered" by bettors who took action on "I Would Die 4 U." 

They opened up Prince-related odds for the performance and had "I Would Die 4 U" at 50-1. That prop was opened on Thursday, Jan. 25. On Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl, TopBet.eu got "some unusual activity" on the song, according to a spokesperson. 

Within a span of two hours, they received two different $200 bets on the song -- the maximum allowed on this particular prop -- from one customer in California and one customer in Utah. The action caused the site to move the line for "I Would Die 4 U" down to 25-1.

The same customers came back through and bet on the song again at the reduced odds. (This should be a pretty good hint someone is aware of what Timberlake might have been planning.) The site moved the odds to 18-1 on Sunday afternoon and got two more bets on it from a pair of customers in Minnesota. The site lowered it to 10-1. The same customers who took it at 18-1 also took it at 10-1 and it moved to 8-1.

"We ended up closing it at 5/2, trailing only 'Lets Go Crazy' which was 5/7 favorite," the spokesperson said.

The 50-1 bets cost the site $20,000. The 25-1 bets cost it another $10,000. The 18-1 bets were $7,200 and the 10-1 bets were another $4,000. 

So all told, the decision by Timberlake to cover a song no one saw coming ended up costing TopBet.eu at least $41,000. That's not a deal-breaking, site-crashing situation for a sportsbook, but that is a MASSIVE loss on a fun little prop bet for a halftime show. 

You can watch the full show/tribute on YouTube here:

And just for good measure, here's Prince's Super Bowl halftime performance in the rain from a few years back.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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