Super Bowl Bets: No Black Sunday in Ravens vs. 49ers odds

Andy Lyons

Super Bowl betting won't create the same type of sportsbook panic that previous games have, because wagering action is split evenly at most shops. But one shop is cheering for the San Francisco 49ers due to futures and moneyline action.

Barring a late flood of one-sided action, most Vegas and online sportsbooks are content with Super Bowl betting, as a fairly even amount of cash has been placed on the 49ers and Ravens.

That state of relative calm contrasts with Super Bowl XLII five years ago, when the worst-case scenario for sportsbooks materialized when the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots.

And there will be no repeat of the infamous Black Sunday, when Super Bowl 13 betting crushed sportsbooks by paying out winners on the Pittsburgh Steelers at -3.5 and the Dallas Cowboys at +4.5.

Bettors destroyed the books by getting the Giants at whopping 12.5-point underdogs. And the final crushing blow was a huge amount of moneyline action on the Giants.

But one shop is cheering for San Francisco, as some earlier future bets on the Ravens and a steadily growing amount of moneyline action on Baltimore would be a "huge decision" against the house.

"This weekend, we are 49ers fans," said Kevin Bradley of Bovada. He said some wagers on the Ravens at 18/1 and 22/1 a few weeks ago are still in play and could damage the book's bottom line.

Baltimore was riding a 1-4 SU skid and looking like injuries would derail its season until it pulled off upsets in Denver and New England.

"We need the 49ers who would be a big winner for us," said Bradley. "And the Ravens ended up over the last couple week turning into a big potential loser for us."

Most sportsbooks continue to offer the spread at -3.5 for the Niners, but Bovada is one of just a few shops on the planet offering the Ravens at +4.

Black Sunday Remembered

The line opened at -4.5 for the Steelers, but heavy action on the Cowboys eventually pushed the number down to -3.5. The final score -- 35-31 for Pittsburgh -- realized a perfect storm of wagering devastation.

Bettors who picked Dallas early at +4.5 won their bets. Bettors who wagered on Terry Bradshaw's Steelers late at -3.5 won their bets. All the bettors who put down their money while he line was -4 had their bets refunded as a "push."

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