It gets more hype than any event in North American sports. No, I'm not talking about the annual clash of the titans between Alabama and LSU for SEC West bragging rights. Come Sunday, February 3rd all the build-up, media hype, and anticipation reaches a crescendo when Baltimore and San Francisco compete for the Lombardi trophy. As the Superbowl climbs higher on the de facto national holiday list, so do the 10 figure estimates for dollars wagered legally throughout Nevada and illegally at corner books. While I can't give you the perfect formula for winning the coin toss bet or finding that lucrative first touchdown prop winner, I can share the history as it pertains to gambling and everything Las Vegas surrounding the game.
Fortunately we've seen highly competitive games each of the last few years with 6 of the last 9 Superbowls decided by 6 points or less. That wasn't always the case with the league going through a prolonged stretch where games became blowouts leaving oddsmakers to devote time to the prop market (coming in Monday's column). Of course there's one natural question that people inevitably ask:
How good are oddsmakers at their job you ask?
46 Superbowls: 23 Overs, 23 unders
Favorites are 26-18-2 overall but underdogs are on an 8-2 against the spread run the last 10 years
12 of the underdogs that covered won the game outright including 5 as double digit underdogs; most recently the 2008 New York Giants
Superbowls being played in a stadium with a dome or retractable roof are 12-5 to the Under.
The lowest posted total ever on the Superbowl was 33 and it was used 3 straight years: VII to IX
Nevada state record for money wagered on the game was $94 million back in 2006. Last year narrowly missed breaking the record falling just short at $93.9M
Since 1991, the best year for the house was 2005 when casinos made $15.4M, holding .17 cents out of every dollar wagered.
In the last 21 years, Nevada has reported a loss on the Superbowl only twice: 1995 and 2008.
Your complete pointspread history for every Superbowl