It was the most-bet Super Bowl in history in Nevada, but the sportsbooks barely eked out a profit as the Baltimore Ravens upset the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
Preliminary data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board shows a record $98.9 million in wagers on Super Bowl XLVII.
The amount bested the previous high of $94.5 million in 2006 when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks.
“You put a team in nearby California in the Super Bowl and you will get plenty of cross-border shopping at Vegas sportsbook windows,” said Jack Randall, referring to the 49ers.
“Put a kid who just graduated from the Nevada Wolfpack in the game as the Super Bowl MVP favorite and you will get plenty of local action filling coffers too,” he said, referring to Colin Kaepernick.
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But with that record handle, why was Vegas not crowing about huge profits? Because lots of small things went wrong that kept the expected profit to roughly $7.2 million.
“I know that online sportsbooks had booked quite a bit of moneyline action on the Ravens and were exposed a bit on futures bets on Baltimore too,” said Randall. “If San Fran had pulled out the win, the profit situation would have been much rosier all around.”
And many Vegas and online shops rued the game-ending safety, which forced them pay out prop bets. It was the second straight year that a safety had dented sportsbook profits. A year ago, a safety on Tom Brady started the Super Bowl with a 2-0 score.
A year ago, Nevada books declared a profit of roughly $5 million as the New York Giants pulled the upset against the New England Patriots.
And maybe next year, prop odds on a safety will be lower and odds on the underdog will be lower. With Baltimore’s win, the underdog is now 9-3 ATS in the past dozen Super Bowls.