SUPER BOWL LVIII: The Biggest Betting Bonanza in History

Putting all off-field distractions swiftly aside, tomorrow’s Super Bowl promises the biggest single-event betting bonanza in history.

According to the American Gaming Association, Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII–being held for the first, and most appropriate, time–given the value of the wagers–in Las Vegas, the capital of world gambling, will generate a fabulous handle of some US$23.10 billion (£18.29bn) – more than the GDP of some small countries.

The AGA says that the betting is pretty evenly split between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Based on survey data collected from 2,204 adults, the association predicts that nearly 80 million people will place Super Bowl-related bets, a 35 percent increase on 2023 and US$16 billion (£12.67bn) more than Super Bowl LVII, won by the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The AGA expects some 42.7 million American adults to place a traditional sports wager: online, at a retail sportsbook, or with a bookie; up 41 percent from 2023.

Another 36.5 million, it’s estimated, plan to bet casually with friends, or as part of a pool; 32 percent more than for the Chiefs-Eagles match-up.

And in good news for the many Safe and Responsible Gambling campaigns running across America, the AGA adds that 75 percent of bettors are reporting that they have seen a Responsible Gambling message in the last year, up from 71 percent in 2023.

This year’s Super Bowl has triggered unprecedented interest in what is essentially the World Gridiron Championship because of the widely-reported romance between pop superstar Taylor Swift and Kansas City’s outstanding Tight-end Travis Kelce.

Mr Irrelevant

But given the contemporary dominance of the Chiefs and their brilliant Quarter-back Patrick Mahomes, who many rate as the greatest Gridiron player of all-time, the narrow betting margins between this year’s two finalists comes as a surprise.

Mahomes is chasing his third Super Bowl ring in five-years; while Brock Purdy, his 49ers counterpart (pictured, below) is the most unlikely starting quarterback in decades, even earning the disrespectful sobriquet “Mr Irrelevant”.

Yet Purdy’s God-fearing, hard-working everyman persona speaks to the Hollywood in all of us.

He drives a beat-up Toyota and shares an apartment with a friend to save money on the sky-high rents in the San Francisco Bay Area, even though he makes six figures.

And while his talents are not as dazzling as Mahomes’, he is surrounded by superb offensive players, among them Running-back Christian McCaffrey, Wide-receiver Deebo Samuel and Tight-end George Kittle.

“People can overlook you or may not think you’re the biggest, the fastest, the strongest,” 24-year-old Purdy announced at a press conference earlier this week.

“But if you believe in yourself and you think that you have what it takes and you truly do believe that and you don’t give up on it, then you can achieve it.”

Mahomes, who had a pretty indifferent regular season by his own exceptional metrics, yet came alive in the postseason, beating the highly-fancied Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens to get to the Super Bowl, for one, agrees:

“I’ve seen Brock play since college, I knew how good he was,” said Mahomes.

“So I wasn’t very surprised he’s had the success that he’s had because he’s a winner and he’s a guy that goes out there and competes, and I’ve always said, more than a football player, you’ve got to be someone who competes, and he’s always been one of those guys.”

Wise and generous words indeed.

But the road to the Super Bowl, arguably the most spectacular event in world sport, still runs through “Ma Man” Patrick Mahomes.

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