The current record, $94.5 million for the 2006 Super Bowl XL, is in danger, according to early reports from sportsbooks in Las Vegas. Bookmakers had a good feeling as the game drew closer and the crowds currently building in Sin City suggest that those 2006 figures will be threatened.
“From early reports, I think we’re going to have the biggest handle I’ve ever seen,” veteran oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, of William Hill Sportsbook in Nevada, told Covers. “I can tell you from the business we’ve taken and as I talk to guys around town, according to them, it’s the biggest they’ve seen.”
Vaccaro says the number of people placing bets is the most he can remember, but the size of those bets won’t be determined until after the game is decided and all the tickets counted.
"I think it could get really close to the record," Jay Rood, sportsbook director at the MGM Mirage told Covers. "So far it looks good."
Rood recalls Super Bowl XL, stating that the popularity of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the reason that game posted such a massive handle.
"Teams like that, the popular ones like Pittsburgh and Ohio State (in college football), they seem to bring out the guys who don't mind making the big wagers," he says.
The San Francisco 49ers are currently the popular choice with bettors, with Vaccaro estimating action on the favorite outnumbering bets on the Baltimore Ravens at 2-to-1 heading into the hours before kickoff. Baltimore was the pick of early bettors, but the public has gravitated toward the favorite, which has climbed as high as -4.5 at some books.
“We’ve been steamrolled by 49ers money,” says Vaccaro. “We’ll wait a little longer (before moving to 4.5). We don’t want to bounce around too much. We’re strong at 4 but it’s a California market, that’s for sure.”
The total has also moved in Nevada, jumping to as high as 48.5 with money on the over pushing the number. Vaccaro says the split in action on the total is 65/35 in favor of the over due to its popularity with the public, which ties it into most parlays.
“I would love to see a 24-21 49ers final,” says Vaccaro.
Nevada saw $93.9 million on last year's Super Bowl and earned a healthy take of over $5 million.