DraftKings Sportsbook Director Talks Super Bowl LIV Betting

The DraftKings Sportsbook app features a banner ad with the words “Over 400 betting options for SB54.”

By the time Super Bowl LIV kickoff arrives at 6:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, that number likely will no longer be accurate.

Johnny Avello, director of DraftKings Sportsbook, explains to NJGamblingSites.com just how insane Super Bowl betting gets.

“It’s definitely going to go higher than that,” Avello said.

“There (are) some other things that need to go up yet. … There will probably be over a thousand ways to bet the game.”

DraftKings even brought back its free Big Game Squares for its customers that are seeking a risk-free option.

Avello and his team have dedicated countless hours preparing for one of the busiest days on the NJ sports betting calendar.

The matchup: 49ers vs. Chiefs

The San Francisco 49ers versus Kansas City Chiefs is what many would consider a pretty even match.

KC opened as a slight 1.5-point favorite with DraftKings. As of Sunday, one week before the big game, it remained the same.

Avello said the game itself is very easy, noting it takes probably less than two minutes to do.

“You’ve already formulated the line for the teams, regardless of who they are. (You) make a couple of adjustments,” said Avello.

He also likes the matchup that developed.

“I thought it was the best possible matchup for betting interest in, not only the game but all the props that we could make using all the offensive players that these two teams have.”

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Prop bets take days

With a sporting event as big as the Super Bowl, prop bets can get a little overwhelming. The ones available at retail sportsbooks this week resemble study guides.

At DraftKings, it’s a process that starts the day after the NFL Conference Championship games. Avello said that coming up with all of the props can take several days.

“You start on Monday, and you put up a bunch then. And then Tuesday, you work on another set. And then Wednesday and then Thursday,” said Avello.

“So, you never stop for the first week. You’re spending probably four hours each day on various props.”

Some of the bets fall under the novelty category:

  • Coin-toss outcome
  • Coin-toss winner
  • Retirement specials
  • Jersey number props

New Jersey is the land of opportunities

New Jersey is known for having more flexibility compared to other jurisdictions.

The wagers available in the Garden State could differ from those on the Pennsylvania side.

” … They’re much more wide open to letting us do some of the novelty. So novelty prop, so to speak,” Avello said.

“Some of those other jurisdictions are still trying to decide what they’re going to allow and what they’re not. Whereas Jersey looks like we’ll be able to do the color of the Gatorade shower.” 

There is a real possibility that there could be wagers tied to the national anthem, too.

Avello notes that customers will wager on the props. From a money standpoint, however, he said the bulk of it would be on the game itself.

“We’re going to probably be 80 (percent) game because we take such big bets,” said Avello.

“You know, six-figure bets are quite prominent. You’re going to see a lot of those. Seven-figure bets are certainly possibilities. So, I don’t think the props can overshadow the game itself.”

The Andy Reid factor

The novelty bets are the fun stuff.

Around South Jersey, rooting for the Chiefs will likely fall under the same category. It’s Philadelphia Eagles country, after all. 

Head coach Andy Reid spent 14 seasons coaching the Birds. However, he has yet to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

But from a betting standpoint, the coaching connection likely will not carry much weight. Avello said he thinks the loyalty goes out the window.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be a bigger attraction from the local markets for him, but I do believe that there (are) going to be people in the local markets rooting for him,” said Avello.

” … But, hey, you know as well as I do, if you like the other side of the game, you bet the other side.”

Super Bowl betting revenue

Next week, the big question will be, how did New Jersey sportsbooks do?

With Super Bowl 53, NJ sports betting customers enjoyed a better outcome than the sportsbooks. The latter took a $4.5 million loss for the night.

The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. It wasn’t exactly an exciting one, either.

But there are several factors that operators, such as DraftKings, consider when measuring success.

Avello said any time you book a game and lose, that’s not a disappointment.

Having happy customers who can get bets in and get paid is important. So is having a system that works correctly throughout Super Bowl weekend.

“The final results are not the success. I mean, if we win the game, we win it. If we lose the game, we lose it. We are not suiting up and playing,” Avello said.

“All we can do is book the game, make the customers happy and the results play out.”

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.