Las VegasAll across America the popularity of a sporting event is usually measured by the TV ratings they receive. The closer the game, the higher the ratings. It is estimated that over 108 million viewers tuned in for Super Bowl XLVII last year making it the third most watched Super Bowl of all times. The NFL and their TV sponsors are hoping to top that mark this year with the Broncos and the Seahawks.

Out in Las Vegas, and in a few other parts of the country, the popularity of Super Bowl XLVIII will be measured by the amount of money wagered on the game or the ‘handle’ as it is called in wagering circles.

The big game last year between the 49ers and the Ravens set a new record for wagering on a Super Bowl. When the Steelers beat the Seahawks back in 2006, there was a record $94.5 Million bet on the game. Last year’s handle on Super Bowl set a new mark at $98.9 Million.

There is great anticipation in Nevada that this year’s handle on Super Bowl XLVIII will be in excess of $100 million. After all we have a much talked about rivalry between two great teams, Denver and Seattle. Both have been impressive all year long. Peyton Manning is setting new records every time that he takes the field and young Russell Wilson has been nothing short of phenomenal in bringing the Seahawks all the way to the Super Bowl.

This year’s big game is shaping up to be a great matchup and the opening line of -2.5 for the Broncos has not moved more than a half a point.  Some books are listing the game at -2 while others are offering -3.

When you put Peyton Manning’s awesome offense up against the stingy defense of Pete Carroll’s Seahawks something has got to give but not by much. Don’t look for the spread to open up anymore than 2 or 3 points at the most.

As far as television popularity is concerned, the past four Super Bowls have been the most watched sporting events in TV history. But, in Nevada, it’s the bettors who determine the games popularity. Not the Nielson ratings. The higher the handle the more popular the game.

Back in 2009, Nevada suffered its lowest season in years due to a bad economic climate. Only $81.5 Million was wagered on the Super Bowl.  In fact, the Super Bowl handle in Nevada did not reach over $90 Million until the big Patriots-Giants game in 2012.


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