Super Bowl 2023: How betting markets are viewing the Big Game – Part 2

Super Bowl Stadium
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Ahead of Super Bowl 2023, SBC Americas caught up with a range of industry stakeholders to see how they are preparing for the biggest sporting event in North America. 

With over 50 million Americans set to wager over $16bn on the Big Game, the Super Bowl is undoubtedly big business, meaning operators and suppliers need to be on top of their game to provide a reliable and enjoyable product for players. 

This is the second in a two-part series. To read part one, please click here

Joining SBC Americas for this chat on how best to prepare for Super Bowl 57 is Glen Saville, VP Sportsbook Operations at OpenBet, Alex Dubin, CEO and Founder of BettorOff, and Brad Vettese, CEO of Tally

How do you prepare for the Super Bowl? Do you look at historical trends, or does the formbook go out the window with knockout football? 

Glen Saville

Glen Saville: As one of the biggest sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl requires a unique approach in terms of preparation. It’s all about scaling the content offering to ensure that it’s appealing to existing bettors, as well as recreational sports fans who are interested in elevating the overall experience by placing a wager on the big game. This includes the addition of special betting markets, both pre-match, and in-play, as well as through singles, player props, and same game parlays. For Super Bowl LVII, we’re offering 500-plus markets alone, which gives you a clear indication of the scale of the event. You can bet on a variety of outcomes (depending on local regulations) such as the length of the national anthem, the coin toss result, the first song in the halftime show, or even the color of the Gatorade thrown on the coach.   

The ability to offer such a vast volume of markets is achieved through a balancing act of pricing additional market props using trader expertise, alongside OpenBet’s market-leading sports data feeds from Don Best. The two-week lead time we have can certainly be busy as we build our content offering for our partners, but we’re world leaders in this space and have a team of a ll-stars that are more than prepared to meet the high expectations.  

On game day, our focus shifts towards in-play trading, as all eyes are on the game with little to no other major sporting events taking place. In addition, our platform technology is at the heartbeat of operations to ensure zero downtime for operators, a feat that OpenBet is proud to deliver for every major sporting spectacle.   

Alex Dubin: For me, it is a combination of historical trends and the best current information and data. While the Super Bowl certainly presents more pressure and attention than a normal game, I am still making my bets with an eye mostly toward how the Chiefs and Eagles performed this season. And while we are on the topic, is Vegas really making Patrick Mahomes an underdog in the Super Bowl? I’m not saying KC is a lock, far from it, but if you’re offering plus money on the best QB in the league in the biggest game of the year, I’m taking it.

Does having teams in legalized markets help attract more traffic to major sportsbooks, or is the nationwide appeal enough? Since PASPA was repealed, no winner has come from a legal sports betting state. Would that have a positive effect on betting appetite? 

GS: Super Bowl is a global phenomenon and is consistently one of the most viewed games of the year. Of course, we expect to see a spike of engagement within Pennsylvania, as Eagles fans have an even greater interest in the outcome of the game.  

We know players want to wager with safe, regulated operators as part of their game-day experience. Robust regulatory frameworks create a safe environment for players to responsibly place wagers on a variety of sporting events, and the big game will be no different. 

AD: While the appeal of betting on the NFL has shown itself strongly in states with and without professional teams, there is no question that people love betting on their hometown teams.

And while no winner has come from a legalized sports betting state, there have been participating teams from those states, which has led to their fans betting heavily before and during the games. We will surely see that same this year from Eagles fans in the legal state of Pennsylvania.

Brad Vettese

Brad Vettese: Sportsbooks will inevitably experience a spike in engagement within a specific state when local teams play and progress through to the big rounds of competitions, whether it’s the divisional playoffs or the Super Bowl itself. These big games generate significant excitement amongst a team’s core fan base, as well as bettors who will place wagers regardless of which teams are involved.

We know this through first-hand experience, having developed prediction games on behalf of NFL teams, including the Buffalo Bills. We saw an exponential increase of Bills fans playing this season, and crucially, we collected data from tens of thousands of fans who played the games we produced. This is stored on our fan activation platform, enabling partners such as sportsbooks and teams to utilize such information, while also delivering a premium fan experience.

What is the most important aspect for operators during the Super Bowl? Is it attractive odds? Uptime? Swift resolution of bets? How can suppliers support sportsbooks within this area? 

GS: The most important aspect for our partners is speed to market and an elevated content offering, both of which OpenBet has the capacity to deliver at a market-leading level. Through SportCast’s pioneering BetBuilder product, we are able to offer more props within same-game parlays than any of our competitors on the market, ensuring our partners are equipped with the best possible technology and content for the biggest moments in the sporting calendar. Our reputation for reliability comes from 100% uptime through major sporting events, operators know our technology will never let them down at key times when bettor activity is at its highest.  

Risk management also plays its part. With the additional niche markets in place for the game, our expert traders meticulously monitor the extensive data spreadsheets to provide sportsbooks with the most accurate pricing models to limit the liability of the unique props.  

AD: All of the above. Successful player acquisition and engagement are not tied to any one feature. Suppliers are always most useful to the sportsbooks by driving attention to the lines and betting opportunities, as well as any special offers and promotions the books are offering for the big game.

BV: One of the key factors for us is how sportsbooks engage with fans. Super Bowl presents the biggest opportunity to bridge the gap between sports fans and betting, but operators that fail to provide the relevant content and experiences are missing out on a huge audience. From our experience, immersive prediction and trivia games are proven to resonate with fans and are effective at converting them into first-time depositors. They are simple to engage with and provide operators with a viable and cost-effective solution to direct them to real-money products. 

The key to this type of content is that it helps a broad audience become more familiar with sports betting and how it works. Fans get swept up in the excitement around the Super Bowl and are keen to explore different types of entertainment that elevate the overall experience further. 

Will traditional markets reign supreme, such as handicaps, overs and moneyline, or will we see more appetite than ever for props and microbets? 

Alex Dubin

GS: Following on from previous Super Bowls, props remain in high demand which is why we’ve focused on increasing the amount we provide. This year we anticipate record handle and our ability to offer 500+ props will be a key driver in achieving this growth.  

It’s interesting to think back to the first-ever player prop that was introduced for the 1986 Super Bowl between the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots, centered on William “The Refrigerator” Perry. It was offered for the 300lb rookie defensive lineman to score a touchdown, which he did and in turn, started the highly popular trend we see today. Fast forward to today, and sportsbooks have a full menu of props to explore. In the future, we see this extensive volume of markets being offered across the regular season too, delivering significantly more opportunities for operators and bettors in the long term. 

AD: Microbetting has come on incredibly strong over the last 2-3 years and will doubtless account for a larger portion of the overall handle in this year’s Super Bowl than ever before. With that being said, classic lines and props are still incredibly popular, not to mention live or “in-play” betting, which is still the fastest-growing segment in sports wagering.