Sports betting in the US has developed significantly since the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl 44 last year. Nearly 40 million Americans now have the opportunity to bet on sports legally thanks to increased legalization.

They can wager in the 25 states and Washington, DC that permit one or all forms of sports betting: New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, and West Virginia to name a few. Last year, Americans wagered $21 billion, $7 billion more than 2019.

This year, sportsbooks are bracing for a lot of action this Super Bowl weekend. But due to the pandemic, they expect a sharp decline in the amount wagered. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect.

Mobile Betting to Increase by 63%

When the Supreme Court struck off PASPA in 2018, many states that legalized sports betting in the early days shied away from mobile betting. The feared online sportsbooks would create too much competition for land-based bookmakers.

Fast forward to 2021, and a lot of states that allow sports betting now also support mobile betting. In many cases, jurisdictions license physical sportsbooks to create mobile apps, helping limit competition from third-party businesses.

All the same, the rise of mobile betting apps means Americans don’t have to leave the comfort of their homes to bet on sports. They can learn about US sports betting and then use ranked options to wager on all manner of sports through their iPhones and cubicle desktops. 

For this year’s SB precisely, an estimated 7.6 million Americans will bet through their mobile devices. That’s a 63% increase from the previous SB. According to the AGA, this figure is drawn from a study that constituted 2,198 adults. 

Over 23M Americans to Bet $4.3B

The Super Bowl is undoubtedly the biggest single-day sports event in the country. Naturally, it draws the highest number of punters. This year, the American Gaming Association expects over 23 million Americans to wager more than $4.3 billion in the big game. 

Although an enormous amount, $4.3 billion will be a 37% decline from the amount risked in the last SB. Nearly 40 million Americans had the opportunity to bet on the Super Bowl legally. That’s a significant rise compared to the 26 million bettors who wagered $6.8 billion last year.

The explanation is that Americans have less disposable income due to the pandemic. That means were it not for COVID-19, there’s a chance Americans would have set a new record for the amount of money wagered this year.

Bets from 20+ States

Before last year’s Super Bowl, many states were sluggish about legalizing sports betting. Then the pandemic hit and more jurisdictions had their sources of revenue cut. To cushion budget deficits, many states have been looking into authorizing sports betting. 

Seven states have permitted sports betting since the pandemic hit: Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, Colorado, Montana, Illinois, and DC. To be fair, some of these states had bills to permit sports betting months before COVID became a problem.

But there’s a handful of jurisdictions planning to legalize sports betting mainly as a response to the pandemic. They include New York, plans to expand it, South Dakota, Georgia, and Maryland. NY has the potential to become the nation's biggest sports betting market.

But in this year’s Super Bowl, the contenders are New Jersey and Nevada. NJ overtook Nevada as the state with the biggest betting industry in 2019. However, Nevada is where most people place SB bets in-person the most. 

A Sharp Decline for In-Person Betting

In-person betting—Americans love it. For a long time, it was the only form of betting allowed in the country. This year, unfortunately, Nevada and New Jersey sportsbooks are bracing for a sharp decline in the number of people who plan to visit Las Vegas and Atlantic City respectively this weekend.

Unlike last year, when nearly three million people placed Super Bowl bets in person, only 1.4 million people plan to bet the same style this year. Of course, it has everything to do with the pandemic. But there's no denying the increased convenience brought by mobile wagering also plays a role.

It’s not the worst thing for punters, though. Historically, sportsbooks have been the clear winners in every Super Bowl since 1991 except for two occasions. In 1995, Americans outfoxed bookies by backing the 49ers instead of favorites Chargers. And then in 2008 when the Giants upset the Patriots.

The odds are in Favor of Kansas

After Tom Brady proved he can lead a team to the Super Bowl without his New England teammates, you would think people would back him to win his 7 th SB. That’s not the case. According to the AGA, 56% of American punters are backing the Chiefs to defeat the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Odds on leading sportsbooks tell contrasting stories, though. At William Hill, the Chiefs are favorites (-120) compared to the Bucs (+100.) They are also the favorites at FanDuel and DraftKings. However, punters at BetMGM are backing Tampa Bay for the win.

To expound more, the odds at leading sportsbooks in the country indicate this year’s SB will be a tough call. That’s why some people are avoiding a money line wager in favor of alternative wagers. They include:

  • Super Bowl MVP—Patrick Mahomes is the favorite (-120)

  • Team to win the coin toss

  • Parlays

  • Totals

Bookies accepting Bets from $5

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of legalizing mobile betting is that it has enabled a lot more Americans to afford Super Bowl bets. In the past years, it was impractical for many people to drive miles away to wager small $10 bets.

Now, they don’t need to leave their homes to place small SB bets. With the help of online sportsbooks, they can wager as little as $5. Some sportsbooks have even lower minimum limits, allowing bettors to wager as little as $1.

On the flip side, the best sportsbooks accept wagers as high as $1 million. In some cases, bookies reject these enormous wagers. But they can allow you to bet decent amounts of between $10 and $20,000.