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Top-10 grocery store prop bets

30 March 2015

By Aaron Todd
Over the weekend, I went on an unplanned trip to the grocery store. I just happened to be passing by, so I figured I'd go in and get all the items we needed for the week.

My wife and I split trips to the store on a roughly 50/50 basis, but she's much more efficient than I am. When I go, we invariably end up having to go back mid-week to get three or four items that I neglected to put into the cart. Largely for that reason, however, my trips tend to be a little less expensive than hers.

In fact, I'd be willing to lay down a bet on the fact that my average bill is at least $20 less than hers. Here are 10 great prop bets you can make on your next trip to the grocery store.

10. Total cost
While the average amount spent on food as a percentage of overall spending has fallen dramaticallyover the last century in the United States, seeing the price tag for a week's worth of groceries for a family of five can still be a bit of a sticker shock. Set your over/under high here, and hope that you get underneath it.

9. Number of bags needed
There are a lot of variables to consider when you're guessing how many bags you'll need to transport your groceries. Did you bring big reusable bags? If not, will you be getting paper or plastic? How skilled are the grocery baggers at the store you're going to?

8. Cost per bag
With three kids that are addicted to frozen waffles, I can tell you, we go through a lot of maple syrup. And as someone whose grandfather used to own land that housed a maple syrup shack, there's no way I'm buying corn syrup in a plastic bottle and passing it off as the real thing.

Nothing will drive up your cost per bag more than high-priced items like real maple syrup or exotic spices. Keep in mind how many items like this you might be purchasing before setting a line on cost per bag.

7. Cents in price tag
While you can make an educated guess on how much the final price tag will be if you know what's on the shopping list, there's almost no way you can figure out what's going to come after the decimal point. If you're looking for a real crap shoot on your gambling trip, bet on how many cents you'll have in your price tag.

6. Friendly faces?
I have a vivid memory of seeing my second-grade teacher in the grocery store on a trip I took with my mother when I was eight years old. I was incredibly embarrassed and shy; my worlds were colliding and I was wholly unprepared for the experience. It's one of the dangers/benefits of growing up in a small town.

Depending on where you live, you can either count on running into someone you know, or be pleasantly surprised to see someone you recognize. Keep in mind the timing of the trip when betting on this. If you're going on a weekend, traffic will likely be higher in the store, so you'll have more opportunities to see friends and family.

5. Total time for the trip
There are so many variables that can determine how long your trip to the grocery store will last. How long is your list? Do you know how to navigate the store? Or will you have a hard time finding things? Will the store be relatively empty? Or will you have to fight with dozens of other carts for space in the aisles?

4. Number of forgotten items
As mentioned previously, when I go on trips to the grocery store, I usually end up coming home a few items short. My wife is much more efficient. If I were setting a line for her, I'd take the under on 0.5. But for me, that line would have to be at least 2.5.

3. Time spent in line
Nothing is more frustrating than spending an hour trying to find all the items on your shopping list in a grocery store, only to find a line of 10 people in every checkout line. Get behind the crazy cat lady that has 200 individual cans of Fancy Feast, and it's even worse. At least you can have some fun with it and met a bet on how long you'll be standing in line.

2. Number of bagging mistakes
One of the things I love about my wife is her passionate response to how people bag our groceries. She sets a ridiculously high standard, and when I came home from shopping on Saturday the first thing I told her was "It's a good thing you weren't the one getting the groceries today," and showed the evidence of our high school-aged grocery bagger’s cluelessness. My personal favorite bag was the one that had one box of frozen waffles packed in the wrong direction, and nothing else. Of course, if you get a bagger like this one, your price per bag (see item number eight on this list) goes way down.

1. Number picked in the deli line
Probably the best random bet you can make in the grocery store is the number you pick in the deli line. The over/under here should be set at 50, and my wife and I actually have a prop bet that states that if one of us gets number 44 in the deli line before the start of the 2015 NFL season, we have to yell "Forty-four! That's me!" do the Icky Shuffle and high-five the guy behind the counter.


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Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and (his personal favorite) Badeuci.

Since graduating from St. Lawrence University, Aaron has worked as a journalist covering the gambling industry and as a communications specialist in college athletic departments.

A native of a small town in New York just south of Ottawa, Aaron lives in Needham, Mass., with his wife and three children. Write to Aaron at, and follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.