Will you be watching the Superbowl tonight? While sports commentators note that viewership during the NFL season has declined for the first time this year, bookmakers particularly in Nevada are expecting this year’s Superbowl to set a record in sportsbetting activity. The teams each have their star players fueling gambling activity in both land-based and online casinos, and betting enthusiasts are laying money on the line in support of their favourite players.
The San Francisco 49ers made it to their first Superbowl since 1994 this year, and received acclaim for their powerful offensive line throughout the entire season. The offense is lead by young quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has had a tremendous season in leading his team to the finals. Before joining the NFL, Kaepernick played at the University of Nevada in Reno, and developed a loyal following for his commemorative years playing college football.
Steve Mikkelson, a sports book manager at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, says fellow sportsbook managers expect this loyal following to translate into record betting activity.
“Without question, I expect for us to exceed all previous Super Bowls, and that’s because of Kaepernick and the 49ers. Anytime you get local teams, it always adds interest. Now, it’s even beyond that.”
However, the Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis has also been an important figure at betting shops and online casinos, after he announced the Superbowl will be his final NFL game regardless of the outcome. Sports books have odds on whether Lewis will actually retire or if a Baltimore loss will put the veteran linebacker out on the field again next season.
Mikkelson says Nevada sports books took just under $94 million in wagers for last year’s Superbowl, and that the record was set in 2006 at $94.5 million. He says the combination of Lewis’ speculated retirement as well as Kaepernick’s local star power could set a new record in total bets for a Superbowl game.
The 49ers are considered the favourites by four points in most betting shops, but the Ravens defense has already stopped two of the toughest quarterbacks in the league during the playoffs. Could they do it again?