This week’s installment of Inside Gaming is Super Bowl 50-themed, sharing a new report of research conducted by the American Gaming Association regarding Super Bowl viewers’ attitudes toward current sports betting laws and delving into wagering on the game and the various prop bets.
AGA Reports 80% of Super Bowl Viewers Want Changes to Current Sports Betting Laws
With almost two weeks’ worth of hype and buildup nearly done, Super Bowl 50 finally arrives this Sunday, presenting sports bettors with an annual favorite event. This year’s contest pits the AFC champion Denver Broncos led by quarterback Peyton Manning versus the NFC champion Carolina Panthers and their QB Cam Newton.
As noted here last week, $115.9 million was bet in Nevada sportsbooks on last year’s Super Bowl, a total likely to be matched or exceeded this time around. As we also pointed out, the American Gaming Association estimates as much as $4.1 billion more will be wagered illegally on the game this year by Americans.
That latter statistic perhaps makes the findings of another report by the AGA released this week seem somewhat predictable — at least more so than the outcome of Sunday’s game. According to research released on Wednesday, the AGA found that “80 percent of Super Bowl viewers want to change the current sports betting law, and two-thirds (66%) believe states should decide whether or not to legalize sports betting.”
Sharing results from a survey conduced by The Mellman Group that involved 800 interviews conducted during late January, the AGA added that 41% of Super Bowl viewers “say they have bet on the Big Game at some point.”
Reasons for wanting to legalize sports betting cited by those interviewed included protecting the integrity of the games, benefiting communities, enhancing consumer safety, and increasing fun and engagement among fans.
Betting on the Super Bowl and Prop Bets
Continuing with the Super Bowl theme, the Carolina Panthers opened as big favorites at the Vegas sportsbooks when the conference championship games concluded, and the public hasn’t been shy about placing bets on Carolina despite having to give the points to do so.
Most sportsbooks had the Panthers between a 3.5- and 4.5-point favorite when lines first opened, with the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook initially having Carolina at -5.5. Some big bets on the Broncos early on helped settle the consensus line at -4.5 for the first couple of days of wagering, but heavy betting on the Panthers since then has pushed the line to -5.5 or -6 at most sportsbooks as the game draws near.
Most reports show around 71-72% of bets to this point have been on Carolina — in other words, the action has been historically one-sided in the context of Super Bowl betting history.
Besides betting on a team to win — either against the spread or to win outright (the “moneyline”) — wagering on the total points scored in the game is another popular choice among bettors. The over/under total points line now sits at about 45 at most Vegas sportsbooks, a result of the fact that Carolina and Denver are considered the top two defensive teams in the league (with the Broncos first and Panthers second).
Indeed, one has to go back five years to Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers to find a total as low. The over won that day as the Packers triumphed 31-25.
Meanwhile the Super Bowl is also a favorite occasion for prop betting upon other results not tied to the final outcome, such as individual performances, team statistics, and other ephemera like the coin toss, whether or not there will be a safety or missed extra point, which player will win the MVP, and even off-the-field items such as how long it will take to sing the national anthem.
This week’s BookieSmash SuperContest Podcast discussed the game with the hosts offering their thoughts on many of the wagering opportunities being offered by the Westgate where more than 300 prop bets are on the board. You can listen here:
For fun (and while you listen), below are 15 of the prop bets, some of which were discussed on the BookieSmash SuperContest Podcast. Which side are you taking on these? The “+/-” numbers indicate payouts for winning wagers — e.g., “+110” means a $100 bet would win $110, while “-110” means you must wager $110 to win $100. Thus while we aren’t betting real dollars, those numbers give you an idea which side is the favorite and which is the underdog in these props (or if there is thought to be an equal chance of either side winning).
Finally, which team are you taking — Carolina (giving up the points) or Denver (and taking the points)?
Photo: Westgate Resorts Destinations.