This is the second article of a four-part series covering Super Bowl LV prop bet crossovers with political betting. Part one is here: Joe Biden’s SB Interview Betting Odds
I typically cover US politics handicapping for the site, and Super Bowl Sunday is arguably the biggest day of the year for online betting.
After combing through thousands of proposition markets for the big game, we identified 16 unique Super Bowl LV political betting lines. This page deals with three such wagers relating to the Pepsi Halftime Show – and more specifically, The Weeknd’s performance.
Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, is destined to be one of a kind.
Unlike the many performers before him, The Weeknd won’t be taking the stage at the 50-yard-line, surrounded by thousands of cheering fans (I’ve always wondered where they found those people and how they are chosen to run out onto the field for a brief concert every year), or a packed stadium.
Pandemic safety measures dictate that the rapper/singer perform before a mostly empty arena. According to early reports, The Weeknd plans to take advantage of the space.
So, we know to expect something different this year – something geared more towards the television viewing audience.
The open areas and the ability to pre-produce aspects of the concert give the Canadian crooner the freedom to do things that would be impossible in previous years. When you’re wagering on whether the star of the show mentions various political figures, that matters.
I’m only covering the three halftime betting lines that have to do with politics on this page, but you’ll find dozens of other markets pertaining to every conceivable aspect of The Weeknd’s performance at any of the top Super Bowl betting sites.
Will Donald Trump Be Mentioned by The Weeknd?
- Matchup Odds
- Matchup Odds
The Halftime Show Setup
What are the prospects for The Weeknd — real name Abel Tesfaye — mentioning the name of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or Justin Trudeau? — that’s what we need to figure out.
To get a better idea, here’s what we know about the halftime festivities thus far:
For the first time in Super Bowl history, the halftime headliner will perform on a stage set up in the stands, which will be only sparsely populated with fans, following strict coronavirus protocols. However, it sounds like he’ll be moving throughout the stadium during his act, including coming down to the field.
We also know that the presentation will incorporate some of the storylines he’s been creating over the past year, with his red-jacketed man starting with a wild night in Vegas in the “Heartless” music video.
As it’s progressed, the 30-year-old singer has appeared at awards shows and TV appearances with his face in ever-worsening degrees of deformity. The character has gone from beat up to completely mummified with bandages to a disturbingly overdone CGI plastic surgery face.
I don’t want to go too far down that rabbit hole, but Pepsi’s Super Bowl Halftime Show preview video suggests the saga will continue on Sunday.
Furthermore, whatever The Weeknd has planned is ridiculously expensive.
“Abel spent almost $7-million of his own money beyond the already generous budgets to make this halftime show be what he envisioned,” his publicist told The New York Post.
The Super Bowl’s producers covered the standard production costs, so that’s seven million additional dollars to create this spectacle! He must have something extraordinary planned.
- So, we know we’re in for a well-produced, cinematic halftime show; what are the odds it will touch on politics?
- And if there is a social or political message of any kind, will he mention any of the North American leaders featured in our three Super Bowl political halftime props?
Will Joe Biden Be Mentioned by The Weeknd?
- Matchup Odds
- Matchup Odds
The Weeknd’s Political History
To get a better idea of the likelihood of The Weeknd name-dropping Biden, Trump, or Trudeau, I wanted to understand his relationship to politics. Is he outspoken about his beliefs and political affiliations, or does he prefer to keep it about the music?
We’re in luck!
Let’s start back at 2016 – when Tesfaye first felt compelled to use his platform for social and political causes.
“I promised myself that I would never tweet or talk about politics and focus on the music, but I was just so bewildered that we lost more of our people to these senseless police shootings,” explained the Toronto-born singer in an interview with V MAN magazine, referencing the early Black Lives Matter movement.
“It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that there are people who can’t or won’t see what Black Lives Matter is trying to accomplish.”
enough is enough. it's time to stand up for this. we can either sit and watch, or do something about it. the time is now. #blacklivesmatter
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) July 7, 2016
“I feel like it’s such an art and a talent that I admire tremendously, but when I step into the studio I step out of the real world, and it’s therapeutic. It’s an escape, but recently it’s been very hard to ignore, and it’s also been very distracting. Maybe you’ll hear it in my voice, but it is not my forté.”
That same year, The Weeknd canceled a scheduled appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Because it was the same day that Donald Trump was booked to be on the show.
I’d argue that’s a great sign for people betting “Yes” on him mentioning Trump – or maybe Biden – on Sunday. The singer is clearly feeling conflicted about the extent to which he should use his influence.
But that’s from four years ago.
Here’s what Tesfaye had to say about his upcoming album:
If those are the thought processes driving his next project, would The Weeknd spend $7-million of his own money to get in front of an audience of 100-million people and not deliver a socially conscious message?
I doubt it.
So, the question becomes: Will he mention any of their names?
We know he’s got his mind on politics, which is a crucial first step. Now we just need him to get into specifics during the performance.
Will Justin Trudeau Be Mentioned by The Weeknd?
- Matchup Odds
Here are some noteworthy poll results I found while researching this topic:
- A survey of 2,200 US adults found that 75% of the singer’s fans self-identify as fans of the NFL.
- 45% of NFL fans said they also favored The Weeknd.
- 29% said they were fans of both the NFL and The Weeknd.
- Fans of the singer are more likely to watch the Super Bowl for the halftime show (24%) than NFL fans (14%).
- A Morning Consult poll found that 39% of The Weeknd’s fans say it’s appropriate for halftime performers to make political statements, versus 26% of NFL fans.
- In that same survey, 50% of the NFL fans responded that it’s appropriate for halftime performers to promote social justice during their performance; 67% of Weeknd fans said the same.
If you know anything about public relations and pop music, it’s guaranteed The Weeknd’s team has done similar research and is aware of the results.
If he shouts-out anyone, I think it will be Joe Biden, in the context of supporting his handling of the pandemic or as a symbol of the world moving forward after Trump.
There’s no way he mentions the former president; he wouldn’t want to give him the attention on such a large stage.
As for Trudeau? I’m doubtful. Sure, The Weeknd is Canadian, but in what context would it make any sense to bring up the Prime Minister?