Betting in Popular Televised Sports


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The Super Bowl game between the Kansas Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday was the center of attention during the week. How much do you think was wagered on it?

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

“What are the odds of Liverpool eliminating Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final?” This is the headline of a article dating back to May 7, 2019, that provides the probability of a soccer club’s comeback win for potential bettors eyeing an opportunity to rake in cash from the results of the soccer match. In such a high-stakes match –Liverpool had 90 minutes to score at least 3 goals and salvage the chance to progress to the finals of the prestigious Champions League– bettors see the exchange of immense amounts of gambling money. According to Bet365, a British online gambling company, Liverpool had a 50/1 chance of winning 4-0 that match, meaning that per £1 placed on Liverpool, the win would see returns of £50. Sports betting is popular but is not limited to the worldwide soccer fanbase; other sports, like football, basketball, and baseball also fuel gambling among viewers as well.

In particular, the Super Bowl, which stole the show on Sunday, has its own share of high sums spent on betting. According to the American Gaming Association (the “Gaming” in the name refers to gambling), an estimated 6 billion dollars was wagered on the Super Bowl in 2019. The organization further approximated that 4.3 billion dollars will be wagered on this year’s Super Bowl game, with another 7.6 million people estimated to game with an online sportsbook due to the pandemic.

Despite the worsening conditions of the American economy caused by the coronavirus, Amber Han (11) predicts that the Super Bowl will see a turnout of more bettors this year. “People who are inclined to gamble and like the Super Bowl don’t have many options for leisure open this year,” she says. “So they see sports betting as another form of entertainment to replace the normal types of amusement they lost during quarantine.”

Betting in football shares similarities with betting in basketball; both employ multiple types of gambling, with the most popular being money line and point spreads ( describes baseball as having 3 basic types of betting: money line, betting on which of two teams wins the game; run line, which is more complicated and the equivalent of football’s point spread gambling system; and totals, which is based on the total number of runs scored in a game.

Betting in soccer is also just as complicated as its popular counterparts. According to, the most popular type of soccer betting is that of three-way money lines, where bettors place their money on the chances of Team A winning, Team B winning, or a draw.

There’s no doubt that watching sports is a popular pastime and some fans have fun placing money behind a team, feeding into the gambling industry enormous sums. However, in the end, while the experience of betting on sports teams can be exhilarating for some, responsibility while gaming remains a number one priority.