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Fans bet record $98.9 million in Nevada on Super Bowl

It’s probably a good bet quarterback Colin Kaepernick will lead the San Francisco 49ers back to a Super Bowl in the near future.

Kaepernick came up a little short Sunday in his first shot at the title, but the hype surrounding the 49ers’ first appearance in the game since 1995 helped Nevada sports books set a record.

Less than 24 hours after the Baltimore Ravens upset San Francisco 34-31, the Gaming Control Board released figures showing the state’s wagering handle of $98.9 million to be the highest in Super Bowl history.

"Football betting is unbelievable," said Jimmy Vaccaro, director of public relations for William Hill sports books. "We’ve seen it all year. The interest out there is over the top."

The handle eclipsed the $94.5 million wagered on Pittsburgh’s victory over Seattle in 2006.

"We were confident there was going to be a record set this year, due to the 49ers being in the Super Bowl after a long drought and the fact we were very close to a record last year," LVH sports book director Jay Kornegay said.

A total of $93.9 million was wagered in the state last year – and the books held slightly more than $5 million – when the New York Giants upset New England.

The state’s 183 books held $7.2 million, a win percentage of 7.3, on the Ravens-49ers matchup. Baltimore closed as a 4½-point underdog, and the highest-scoring Super Bowl since 2003 soared over the total of 48.

"There was an influx of 49ers money at Northern Nevada books, and I think those numbers had a huge impact on the state’s handle and the win," Kornegay said.

Several factors are contributing to a spike in Super Bowl betting, including the increasing popularity of propositions. In-progress wagering, a feature in which the books post a new line during timeouts throughout the game, also is catching on with bettors.

"The props are certainly getting a lot of attention, and people are getting more comfortable betting props, which are not viewed as sucker bets anymore," Kornegay said. "People are educated on props and getting more familiar with how to bet them. I think that’s a big part of the equation."

The LVH reported a loss on the approximately 350 props it posted. Vaccaro said William Hill’s books – several of which are located in Northern Nevada – paid out on numerous props related to Kaepernick’s performance. San Francisco fans were betting on Kaepernick to have success, and he did exceed oddsmakers’ expectations in most areas.

"For all of the money we knocked down with straight bets on the 49ers," Vaccaro said, "it was a tradeoff with what we lost on the Kaepernick props."

Still, the state’s books turned a profit on the Super Bowl for the 21st time in the past 23 years.

The 49ers’ presence in the game was a major reason for the record handle. But Vaccaro said the Ravens, who upset Denver and New England on the road en route to the Super Bowl, developed a faithful following of underdog bettors.

"People were getting behind the Ravens," Vaccaro said. "It’s always great to back a winner when you’re getting paid every week."

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.

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