Super Bowl bets score big for First State

Dover Downs sports betting room employee Kyle Loretto helps a customer with a wager at Dover Downs on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — So who wins tonight? Niners or Chiefs?

There’s no clear favorite in this year’s Super Bowl showdown.

It’s almost a pick’em, nearly a tossup, close to an even-money bet.

Does cannon-armed Patrick Mahomes end KC’s half century title drought?

Will San Fran revisit the glory days of Montana to Rice 2020 style?

Either way, the First State cashes in, it’s just a question of how much.

If the 49ers prevail, Delaware’s General Fund gains a $230,908 profit; a Chiefs victory rakes in $173,991.

From Aug. 15 forward and with fluctuating odds, the Delaware Sports Lottery took wagers (known as futures) on who would grasp the Lombardi Trophy at the end.

A late $10 Eagles bet would have paid $160, the Ravens $45 and Redskins $75,000. Teams across the NFL were steadily eliminated throughout the season until just two remained alive. There were 8,999 wagers on all the teams combined.

Kansas City was an early one-point favorite, subject to change based on the money coming in on both sides. There are still 667 futures tickets for the Chiefs alive, 317 for the 49ers.

Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Profitable opportunities still remain for those banked on the Cowboys, Bills, Bengals (yes, 37 folks did) and others going all the way. Delaware is offering parlay bets on tonight’s proceedings at casinos and retailers, mostly requiring no deep analysis, including, among others:

• Whether the coin toss is heads or tails.

• First team to kick a field goal, record a sack, punt or score a touchdown.

• Team to commit the first accepted penalty.

• Whether the team’s score an even or odd amount of points.

• Who has the ball last.

The parlays require a minimum of three wagers that brings 6.5 to 1 odds to 10 picks with a payout of 800 to 1. Single bets are available as well.

The state’s sportsbooks — at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway & Casino — are also offering 54 different individual proposition bets.

Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk said about $1 million more than usual will be wagered on Super Bowl week and that “the accounting this week will be monstrous.

“It’s always exciting at this time of year and this season is no exception. You can tell by the amount of wagering that people are excited, it’s a pretty popular time to be sure.”

‘Good TV sport’

Mr. Kirk attributes football’s widespread popularity to “being a really good TV sport. It’s almost historical to sit around on a Saturday or Sunday with others to watch college and pro games.

“It’s a fast moving TV sport compared to say, baseball.”

Overall college and pro football bets took an expected drop this year, said Mr. Kirk, acknowledging the regional challenges of increasing sportsbooks in New Jersey and their launch in Pennsylvania. Football represents nearly 74 percent of all First State wagers (straight bets and parlays) and declined about 10% from $75.8 million in 2018 to $67.9 million in 2019.

The state’s overall profit on sports betting since July 1, 2019 is currently $12.1 million. At the same time last year the state was up $11.7 million.

Mr. Kirk said Delaware made out nicely this season as underdogs continuously outperformed favorites who couldn’t cover the pointspreads.

“It was a great year for us, it really was,” he said.

Multi-bet parlays, available since the sports betting’s 2009 Delaware debut, have remained popular and a great boost, Mr. Kirk said.
“Our customers got used to it early on, learned how to bet parlay cards and still like doing it,” Mr. Kirk said. “It’s the envy of other states.”

Wagering by sport in fiscal year stood at:

• Football parlay cards (pro and college), $35.1 million.

• Pro football (straight betting), $22.0 million.

• College football (straight betting), $10.6 million.

• Baseball, $9.9 million.

• Pro basketball, $6.7 million.

• College basketball, $4.1 million.

• Hockey, $1.9 million.

• Soccer, $692,000.

• Mixed martial arts, $509,000.

• Tennis, $167,000.

• Golf, $148,000.

• Auto racing, $124,000.

• Boxing, $49,000.