Easy money, right?
We are a divided family here at Poker News Daily. For me as a Green Bay Packers fan, these last couple sports weeks have been awful. For my friend and colleague Earl Burton, however, life has been a joy, as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers just won the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly two decades. You know who else Tampa’s win was good for? The sportsbooks.
When it comes to Super Bowls, the betting public will usually put their money on the favorite and on the over. In this case, both were reasonable bets. Kansas City closed as a 3-point favorite, a fairly small line. They were the defending champs, their offense looked unstoppable most of the season, they had arguably the best quarterback in the game, they had the best tight end in the NFL, and they had one of the best wide receivers in the league.
The over/under was about 55 points, give or take. Both teams were in the top six in scoring, averaging over 60 points per game combined. Tampa Bay’s quarterback was Tom Brady and they had a fleet of receivers. So the over was not a bad bet.
Not so fast, my friend
But the Buccaneers won the game in a rout, 31-9, meaning the underdog won outright and the under hit. Translation: the public lost and the sportsbooks won.
“The game going under [the total] and Tampa [covering the spread] was the preferred outcome,” assistant director of trading for William Hill U.S. Adam Pullen told ESPN. “Not many crazy longshots happened that the public likes to bet on, which was good for us.”
Things were particularly peachy for New Jersey. Garden State sportsbooks made $11.3 million in revenue from the Super Bowl on $117.4 million in handle (handle is the term for total customer wagers, revenue is what the books made after paying winners). That is as quantum leap from last year’s Super Bowl, when the state’s sportsbooks brought in $54.3 million, but paid out $58.6 million for a loss of $4.3 million.
Good news, bad news for Nevada
Nevada was the top state in terms of both handle and revenue, generating $136.1 million and $12.6 million, respectively. Unlike New Jersey, though, both of those numbers were way down from last year. For the 2020 Super Bowl, Nevada sportsbooks attracted $154.7 million in handle and $18.8 million in revenue.
State gaming insiders blame the pandemic for the drop in Nevada betting.
“In Nevada, Super Bowl handle is driven by visitation, and Las Vegas, along with other areas across the state, are destination markets for customers to come and wager on the game,” NGCB senior research analyst Michael Lawton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Naturally, with capacity restrictions and people just generally not nearly as willing to go to a sportsbook while COVID-19 is still raging, a destination-type place like Las Vegas was not going to do as well this past weekend as it has for past Super Bowls.
Lawton added, though, that Nevada still did pretty well, all things considered. The handle number, despite the drop, was the fifth-largest the state has ever had.