Bears, Browns Hot Super Bowl Bets As Midwest Betting Amps Up
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Are the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns legitimate Super Bowl contenders, or is the heavy Super Bowl betting action on those teams simply a product of the dynamic shift that has occurred in America since the spread of a legal sports betting market?
The Bears (+1900 to win the Super Bowl as of Wednesday) and Browns (+1600) are the public darlings at Las Vegas sportsbooks according to ESPN.
In fact, there are more bets backing those two teams across multiple sportsbooks in Las Vegas than any other team in NFL betting. They are drawing more than the two teams tabbed by online oddsmakers as this year’s favorites, last year’s Super Bowl champion, the New England Patriots (+700), and the team that took them to overtime in the AFC championship game, the Kansas City Chiefs (+850).
Other popular choices in both in Vegas and on top online books are teams generally considered to have nationwide followings: The Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
Those teams notwithstanding – and not even weighing the fact that these numbers are from Las Vegas books, not even Midwest books yet – heavy NFL betting action on teams like the Bears and Browns could continue to skyrocket as Midwest states continue to roll out sports betting programs.
None of those legal, regulated markets existed before May 2018, when a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down the decades-long federal ban on sports gambling.
Midwest Sports Betting Options Growing in 2019
The Midwestern U.S. states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Of those states, only Iowa has begun accepting legal sports bets at sportsbooks across the state, while Indiana is set to launch its program just in time for the upcoming NFL football season in September.
But Illinois isn’t far behind. After signing a robust sports betting bill into law in June, operators are rushing to find sportsbook partners so they can hit the ground running once the governmental oversight structure is in place. It’s reasonable to think that bets backing popular Midwest NFL teams might only continue to surge as more Midwesterners join the betting pool over the coming months.
That same kind of thing already seems to be happening in other regions where sports betting has just recently exposed local bettors to new legal opportunities to back their favorite regional teams and players.
Eagles Garner Heavy Betting in Mid-Atlantic
According to ESPN, almost half of Super Bowl bets at SugarHouse sportsbooks in Pennsylvania have been on the Philadelphia Eagles, with the majority of bets on the NFL MVP prop bet market backing Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
Moreover, the two largest sportsbooks in New Jersey, DraftKings and FanDuel, reported similar action regarding the Eagles and Wentz. In fact, 24% of the public money on the NFL Super Bowl at DraftKings in New Jersey is behind the Eagles and 37% of bets are behind Wentz winning MVP.
Those types of numbers lend credence to the idea that the places in which sports bettors are offered legal pathways to back their favorite teams and players have a drastic impact on the overall betting markets.
"It makes sense," DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello told ESPN. "It matters where you're located and if you're pretty good, and the Eagles look like a pretty good team.”