Halftime Report

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Halftime Report

Super Bowl Betting Winners, Losers, and Controversy

Key Points
  • The Supreme Court decision and increased legalization led to an uptick in bets ahead of Super Bowl LIII.
  • DraftKings says it took 300,000 mobile app bets in New Jersey alone, with total payouts of $11 million.
  • People weren't only betting on the outcome of the game. There were wagers on everything from the coin flip to how long the National Anthem would last.

It was the first Super Bowl after the Supreme Court paved the way for states to legalize sports gambling. That meant there were more bettors at sportsbooks than ever.

While official numbers won't come out until later, CNBC got an early preview from major firms including Draftkings and Fanduel.

Draftkings told CNBC it recorded over 300,000 mobile sportsbook app bets in New Jersey alone. The company paid out more than $11 million in gross winnings to bettors.

FanDuel said it took 350,000 bets, losing a net of $5 million overall, meaning that customers were net winners. FanDuel also said bettors wagered more than $2 million on prop bets alone. As the most bet on game of the year, there were big bets everywhere you look.

One anonymous bettor, known as "Bettor X", placed $3.8 million in total across multiple sportsbooks. But he bet on the Rams to win, meaning he lost all that money. "Bettor X" is still up more than $20 million after big wins in last year's World Series and Super Bowl.

There were also huge returns on very small bets. One person put down $250 at South Point casino, betting that the Rams would score exactly three points. He won. Big. 400-1 odds means he took home $100,000.

The Action Network said 66% of bettors picked the Patriots to cover, but only 40% correctly took the game's under. That's why on an overall basis, early reports suggest a win for the sportsbooks as a whole.

Big bets on the big game

Early reports suggest that Vegas books took in about 10 percent more volume this year over last.

Among the most popular prop bets: the coin flip, the national anthem and Most Valuable Player. Julian Edelman winning MVP paid out 25-1 while Sony Michel scoring the first touchdown was a 7-1 winner.

"The national anthem was hugely controversial" said Chad Millman, founder of the Action Network.

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"In the final hours before the game, word came that [Gladys Knight] had been going over in rehearsals. She did go over [in the game], but she said the word "brave" twice at the end, so a lot of books initially said she was under, as the second "brave" put her over."

Most books ended up paying out only the under, while some paid out only the over. One offshore book, BetOnline.AG, paid out both sides of the bet, saying it lost six figures in the process.

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As more and more states continue to make sports gambling legal, it will mean more engaged fans and gambling will be more important than ever. Look for this trend to continue even more next year.