The last time the New England Patriots played at University of Phoenix Stadium, they lost Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants 17-14 as 12-point favorites in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
The Patriots were trying to complete just the second perfect season ever and first at 19-0, but the Giants prevented that scenario from happening and ended up rewarding bettors with their biggest sportsbook win of all-time.
Books in Nevada lost a record $2.57 million in 2008 due to New York backers cashing their tickets on the double-digit underdogs, including many who were confident enough to bet the Giants on the moneyline to earn an even bigger payoff.
[ Check out the All-Time Super Bowl Betting Odds History here at OddsShark ]
The Super Bowl handle on that game was the third-largest ever in the state at the time with $92.1 million wagered overall. That number has since been passed and grown progressively over each of the last three years until rising to a record $119.4 million in 2014.
Previously, the biggest win for bettors took place in 1995 when the San Francisco 49ers knocked off the San Diego Chargers 49-26 as the largest favorites in Super Bowl history. The 49ers closed as 18.5-point favorites against the Chargers and led 28-10 at halftime before quarterback Steve Young threw his record sixth touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach and help cover the point spread.
New England could end up helping bettors break both records in 2015 with a Super Bowl victory against the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots opened as small underdogs but have since taken on the role of favorites due to heavy public wagering on them early on. Super Bowl XLIX is a matchup between the last repeat champion in New England and a Seattle team trying to win consecutive titles for the first time since 2005.
The Deflategate controversy has surprisingly made the Patriots even stronger favorites in early betting, reaching as high as -2 at one sportsbook, while also generating a lot more interest in the big game. The final score will obviously determine whether the books or bettors are on the winning side, but there is no doubt the 2015 Super Bowl has all the makings of becoming at least the most heavily bet game ever in Nevada.