Super Bowl LIV is approaching fast, now just a little over three weeks away.  It seems like just yesterday that the season was started, and a lot has happened since last September.  This NFL championship contest is going to make history as the first Super Bowl ever played with legal sports gambling available beyond the borders of Nevada, both in-house and mobile.

Always a favorite with gamblers, the expanded legal sports gambling scene in the US is going to be closely watched to see what kind of numbers are produced.  As the clock ticks down to Sunday, February 2, oddsmakers are taking a closer look at the lines and analysts are exploring what’s on fans’ minds across the country.

There are now just eight teams still in the hunt.  While this means that a lot of fans won’t be rooting for their favorite team, it hasn’t stopped them from putting their support behind their runner-up options ahead of the big game.

Ravens and 49ers Most Popular Picks

A recent review of Twitter posts conducted by Sportsbetting.ag resulted in the creation of a map of who is rooting for whom and where allegiances now lie.

Sportsbetting.ag took all geotagged data it could gather related to the teams that are still alive in the playoffs, and analyzed the information to figure out preferences.  The results show an interesting picture, with no clear favorite appearing across the country.  While certainly not a scientific analysis, aggregating geotags such as #ChiefsKingdom, #ravensflock and more, the site was able to visually show what’s on people’s minds.

Leading the pack are the Baltimore Ravens, who seemed to be the most popular picks in 13 states and next up, the San Francisco 49ers followed with ten states seemingly showing their support. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers tying at eight states a piece.  From there, the Seattle Seahawks and four states, the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans had three and the Houston Texans just had one – it should be obvious which state that is.

Surprisingly, the New England region has put its support behind the Niners, with all six states in the area apparently pulling for the team.  The New England Patriots were eliminated from the playoffs last week and, instead of backing a team closer to home, the region went all the way across the country to support. Most likely, this was simply to back Kimmy Garoppolo, the former quarterback of the Pats who went to San Francisco in 2017.

NFL and Super Bowl Wagering

Before the US Supreme Court reversed PASPA in May of last year, about $4.7 billion was wagered on NFL games.  That figure, provided by the American Gaming Association, accounts for legal and offshore sportsbooks, but doesn’t include things like office pools, friendly bets, etc.

Sports gambling is now legal in 15 states, but many more are going to follow soon.  As a result of the continued rollout – seven more states have legalized the activity but have not yet come to market – and the expectation that the activity will ultimately be legal across the entire country, the amount spent gambling is predicted to skyrocket into the stratosphere.

In addition to Nevada, which saw $148 million in wagers for Super Bowl LIII, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Montana now have legal sports gambling markets.  New York has one, as well, but it is limited.  Because of the expanded number of states that allow legal wagers, this year’s Super Bowl could see over $1 billion in action.

Last month, legal states saw a combined handle of $15.7 billion, according to Legal Sports Report.  Of this, the win for the sportsbooks was $1.1 billion.  Given the history of NFL sports bets and the popularity surrounding the Super Bowl, this year’s race for the Lombardi Trophy is going to see an entirely new era of legal wagers.  It will also prove to be the impetus to attract even more gamblers who have been hesitant to join in on the action due to current habits or a certain amount of trepidation with the new legal platforms.

Either way, Super Bowl LIV is about to rewrite the book on NFL sports wagers. Whether the people’s picks of the Ravens and 49ers becomes reality is another matter.