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July 22, 2014

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Within 15 minutes of number being posted, Denver goes from small underdog to the favorite in Super Bowl 48

The over-under was set at 47 for the Feb. 2, the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city

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Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) points across the line during the second half of the AFC Championship playoff game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Denver.

Updated Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 | 7:55 p.m.

NFC Championship Game

Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson is sacked by San Francisco 49ers' NaVorro Bowman (53) during the first half of the NFL football NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Launch slideshow »

AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the second half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney) Launch slideshow »

Place your bets: This year’s nearly dead-even Super Bowl matchup could generate a record amount of money wagered in Nevada.

It took just minutes today from when the betting number was posted to see some major movement in the point spread with significant wagers placed at multiple Southern Nevada properties.

Las Vegas sports books initially established the Seattle Seahawks as 1- to 2-point betting favorites against the Denver Broncos and set the over/under at 47 for the Feb. 2 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. But, within 15 minutes, and after a majority of gamblers wagered on the Broncos, the line adjusted to make Denver a 1-point favorite, said Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point.

Vaccaro, who has more than four decades of experience in sports-betting industry, said they received a $25,000 bet on Broncos — one of several early wagers on the AFC champions.

"(Peyton) Manning's legacy is on the line and it showed with early betting," Vaccaro said. "Manning is the public's sentimental favorite."

Last year, a record $98.9 million was wagered in Nevada on the Super Bowl when the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers as roughly 4.5- to 5-point underdogs.

This year, with Manning’s Broncos as one of the betting public’s favorite teams, sports book operators say they're expecting wagering to surpass more than $100 million. An ideal matchup for sports book officials would have been Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, but San Francisco couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain in blowing a second-half lead in today’s NFC Championship game against Seattle. Denver earned a Super Bowl berth with a win over New England.

"I believe we'll break all of the records this year. I wouldn't be surprised if we got to $100 million," Vaccaro said.

It sure appeared that way Sunday night. By 8:15 p.m. Las Vegas time, about one hour after the number was posted, Denver was firmly settled in as the favorite — depending on the book, the Broncos are anywhere from 1- to 2.5 favorites.

“Seattle is the stronger team,” said Johnny Avello, the director of Wynn and Encore’s race and sports operations. “According to my power ratings, they were higher than Denver if they played on a neutral field. So, I made Seattle as a 1-point favorite (to open). But then I had to flop to Denver as the favorite.”

This will be the first Super Bowl outdoors in a cold-weather city. Avello says he'll keep an eye on weather forecasts to monitor the over/under number. The total settled around 48 points late tonight.

Sports books held 7.3 percent of the total handle last year, calculating to a win of $7,206,460. It marked the 20th time in the last 22 years — and sixth year in a row — that casinos won money on the Super Bowl.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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