In 2014, the Seattle Seahawks helped Nevada sportsbooks to their most profitable result ever following a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII as 2-point underdogs.
Sportsbooks in the state saw a record $119.4 million wagered on the big game, and the Seahawks winning as dogs helped them to a record $19.7 million in profit. Seattle had opened as small favorites in the Super Bowl, but bettors instantly jumped on Denver thinking the team’s record-breaking offense could not be stopped.
Instead, it was the Seahawks who jumped all over the Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning from the start in one of the most lopsided games in Super Bowl history. Manning fumbled the team’s first offensive snap that led to a Seattle safety, and Denver could only muster a third-quarter touchdown and two-point conversion in the blowout. As it turned out, sportsbooks were initially right about the Seahawks, and bettors were ultimately wrong about the Broncos in what was the public’s biggest loss ever.
The big question is, will history repeat itself in 2015? Defending Super Bowl champion Seattle again opened as a small favorite against the New England Patriots, who have since taken over that role due to heavy action on them during early betting.
The Deflategate controversy involving the Patriots along with the storyline of head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady going for their fourth Super Bowl title will likely add even more interest to the big game, perhaps making it the most bet NFL game of all-time.
The previous record profit for Super Bowl betting in Nevada occurred when New England won its last Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2005 with a 24-21 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though the Patriots defeated the Eagles, they did not cover the spread as 7-point favorites, enabling Nevada sportsbooks to make $15.4 million.
Books have also topped $10 million in profit three other times in the state’s history: $11 million in 2001 when the Baltimore Ravens crushed the New York Giants 34-7 as 3-point favorites; $12.4 million in 2004 when New England edged the Carolina Panthers 32-29 as a 7-point favorite; and $12.9 million when Manning’s Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 as 7-point chalk.