Super Bowl LVI produced a monumental betting scope, unprecedented individual wagers and an all-systems-go message to the gambling community.
It’s all about counting now.
There will soon be a milestone reached for legal Super Bowl gambling totals.
PlayUSA predicted that $1 billion would be wagered legally in the United States and that New Jersey would reach a projected $130 million.
That number will be hit now or in the near future as more states open legalized betting and as New Jersey signs up more players.
There’s even a larger number that’s hard to quantify but is eye-opening. The American Gaming Associated predicted more than $8 billion would be wagered on the game, up nearly double over its $4-4.5 billion forecast last year.
That’s one industry snapshot.
The other is a wired-in vantage point we had throughout the game not only with major sportsbooks but from a slew of New Jersey online sports gamblers.
They had a prop-wagering party during the Los Angeles Rams’ 23-20 triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals that reflected the pattern of the national picture.
Here is a recap of the 2022 Super Bowl betting picture.
Super Bowl LVI winners: New Jersey dog bettors
Garden State online gamblers, who had adopted the Cinderella theme of the Cincinnati Bengals, were again rewarded.
The Bengals covered for the seventh straight week (discounting the regular-season finale, when their starters rested). More than half the spread money at DraftKings Sportsbook went on Cincinnati +4 and +4.5. A missed second-quarter extra point by the Rams helped Bengals bettors immeasurably.
The Rams are only the second team in the last 17 Super Bowls to win and fail to cover, joining the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 as 7-point favorites in Super Bowl XLIII.
The under, 48.5 at DraftKings and 49 at Caesars Sportsbook, was hit for the fourth straight year. Cincinnati nearly reached the position to try a game-tying field goal which would have prompted overtime and most likely changed the outcome, at least at DraftKings.
Of course, the night included several other winners.
Cooper Kupp fan club
There was a feeling that the MVP would not be a quarterback for one of the rare instances.
The Rams receiver took over the final drive and willed the Rams to the game-winning field goal, paying at +600 to +700 at the major books.
Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins had two touchdowns. That was worth +550 at Caesars. He would have been a serious MVP consideration with the two scores. One was a 75-yard catch-and-run giving Cincinnati its first lead at 17-13 on the first play of the second half.
Mixon it up
Several New Jersey bettors hit on the DraftKings prop for anyone other than a quarterback to throw a touchdown pass. Outside of the Philly Special, it almost never happens.
That’s why it paid +1300 at DraftKings when Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon took a toss from Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and tossed a six-pointer to Higgins late in the first half.
Right on the money
Oh yes, he did. PlayNJ managing editor Bill Gelman emphatically predicted Odell Beckham Jr. would notch the first score of the game in the Super Bowl edition of WhyEaglesWhy from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino sportsbook in Atlantic City.
In our 20-some episodes of the program, which I host along with Bill and Pete Amato, it was by far his most forceful prediction. And it was dead on.
All the attention on Kupp elevated OBJ’s presence and he hauled in the first score of the game, as predicted.
Beckham to record the first touchdown of the game was +900 at DraftKings.
It was the second most popular pick behind Kupp and warranted 19.2% of the DraftKings handle.
Other DraftKings Super Bowl LVI bets that were converted
A gambler put $862 on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw an interception. The player got $1,436.70, far less than even money, but Stafford is always a good bet to throw a pick.
Other bets that paid less but were meaningful included the exact winning margin of three points, the over six sacks and the winning margin of under 8.5 points.
Ram-slam thank you, ma’am bettors
Caesars reported that nationwide bettors were not shy about going for the bomb. Even with the Rams at -175 on the moneyline, the book took one bet for $2.1 million that returned $1.2 million and another for over $1 million that paid more than $600,000.
Four other big-Ram slams accounted for more than $300,000 each. It showed the confidence the Rams bettors had on the moneyline.
Big moneyline bettors have been the market few people saw coming in the age of legalized betting.
When forecasting revenue, analysts figured legal books would take bets in the moneyline, spread and over-under total away from illegal books.
What wasn’t considered was that the deep pockets of outfits like DraftKings, Caesars, FanDuel and BetMGM, among others, would allow players to come with higher bets and expensive multi-legged parlays.
It’s the unforeseen golden goose of sports betting.
Mattress Mack sacked
Businessman Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale caught a bad break.
It was a tough setback for the flamboyant big-bettor, loved by the books for his high-profile wager the week of an event that elevates the sports-betting industry.
Mattress Mack went big beyond big, doubling down on an earlier wager and placing nearly $10 million on the Bengals moneyline.
And it was in his pocket most of the second half until the Bengals yielded a late touchdown. He was one play away from winning several times, but the clinching play is always hard to get.
A bettor took $1 million on the Bengals on the moneyline and under 48.5. Tight squeeze. The bet would have paid $5,150,000.
And this gambler almost had it too.
Any one of a number of plays on the Rams’ final drive would have put this huge win in the gambler’s pocket.
That’s why a big bet can be glorious or full of torture.
L.A. Super Bowl LVI spread bettors ‘rammed’
The spread drifted between 3.5 and 4.5 throughout the last two weeks and settled on 4 by game time at DraftKings.
By then, Rams bettors had shown up, as predicted by Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations. Last week, he told PlayNJ he expected late Rams action and it drove the percentage of Bengals action from 59% to 52% at kickoff, at -4.
Without the missed extra point the Rams suffered in the second quarter, this game could have landed right on 4. That would at least have provided a push for many bettors.
AP Photo/Doug Benc