With or without Gruden, it’ll be another busy week for Super Bowl betting | NevadaAppeal.com
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With or without Gruden, it’ll be another busy week for Super Bowl betting

Jeremy Evans

The meeting between Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden and his former team, the Oakland Raiders, in Super Bowl XXXVII on Sunday hasn’t generated any increased action at local sportsbooks, according to the lead supervisor at the Carson Station.

“It’s slow right now, actually,” said Steve Napoletano. “I haven’t even taken a Super Bowl bet yet today (Wednesday).

The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. It is the single biggest (betting) event of the year. Nothing else comes close. March Madness doesn’t even come close. People are going to bet no matter what. The Raiders are obviously the popular bet. It’s a home team thing. When the 49ers were in the Super Bowl, it was the same thing.”

Almost $72 million was wagered on last year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams, according to the Nevada Gaming Commission. At least $70 million has been wagered on each the past three Super Bowls. Other popular events, such as the NBA Finals or the NCAA Basketball Championships, also bring in lots of money. But unlike the Super Bowl, those exact figures aren’t calculated, according to Frank Sreshley, who works in the title and licensing at the Nevada Gaming Commission.

“The only data we keep is on the Super Bowl,” Sreshley said. “There are other events but we don’t have exact figures for them. I would guess March Madness is pretty big but we also have the NBA going on then. We only get the unaudited numbers each month and in March, for example, both of those events would just be under basketball.”

Gruden left Oakland last season after four years with the Raiders. Tampa Bay gave up four draft picks, including two first rounders, and paid Oakland owner Al Davis $8 million for the rights to sign Gruden. After being unable to get Oakland to the Super Bowl during his four years with the Raider Nation, he has taken the Bucs there in only his first season. The Raiders are now coached by Bill Callahan, who was Gruden’s offensive coordinator. The saga is a nice anecdote to the game, but its seems as if Oakland fans are happy to see Gruden gone.

“I’d be interested in the game if he (Gruden) was coaching or not,” said local bettor Louie Sanchez. “It’ll make it sweeter if we do get to beat him, though. Everything’s going for the Raiders. They have (Rich) Gannon and two Hall of Fame receivers in Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. They look like the better team. It’s going to be the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense. They say defense wins championships but we’ll see.”

Oakland, which dismantled the Tennessee Titans 41-24 in the AFC Championship game, opened as 4 1/2 favorites. That number has dipped as low as 3 1/2 points and was at 4 points on Thursday. Napoletano expects that number to rise before the 3:20 p.m. kickoff from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Don’t expect locals to change it, though.

The most amount of money Napoletano has seen wagered on the Super Bowl has been $1,000. The limit for a straight bet is $50,000.

“People that bet with their hearts usually don’t bet a lot of money,” Napoletano said. “Raider fans (everywhere) will bet money all week and that will shoot the number up. That’s when the big money will come in because that’s the best time for the smart bettor to bet big. The big bettors are going with Tampa Bay and they’ll wait until the number goes up. They’re going to take the points.”

Eric Weigar, the manager at the Carson Station, thinks that’s a wise decision.

“Gruden built that team and he knows their biggest weaknesses,” Weigar said. “I think the Bucs are going to win easily and I think it’s going to be a shootout.”

The over/under was 44 as on Thursday, but people aren’t running to lay money on either the spread or the total right now. And that includes the more than 30 propositions bets, things like which team will win the coin toss or who will have more receiving yards, Tampa Bay’s Keyshawn Johnson or Oakland’s Jerry Rice?

“We won’t see most of the money until the weekend,” Napoletano said. “And we don’t make a lot of money on propositions. The biggest money is on a single bet for a team to cover or not. Propositions are for fun.”