Rick Price, who held the first round lead after posting a 64 on Thursday, followed with a 71 that dropped him into second place at 9-under 135.
Josh Broadaway (65), James Love (68), Greg Chalmers (68) and Chris Anderson (69) were tied for third place at 8-under 136, while 11 more players were within five shots of Bettencourt's lead.
The Nationwide Tour's first $1 million purse comes in its 554th tournament, offering a $180,000 first-place check that is the largest in tour history -- topping the $148,248 check claimed by Ewan Porter at the Moonah Classic in February.
This week's winner will be guaranteed a place inside the top 25 on the money list at the end of the season, earning him a PGA TOUR card for next year.
All of which was more than enough to occupy the players' minds.
'You obviously think about it,' said Bettencourt, who ranks 92nd on the money list and has never finished higher than third place. 'I'd be lying if I said I wasn't, but right now I can't think about that. I'm just going to go out and try to put myself in a position to have a chance on the back nine on Sunday. That's all I can ask for.'
Bettencourt collected nine birdies and one bogey for his career-best 64, finishing the near-flawless round with five birdies over his last eight holes.
Hitting all 14 fairways, Bettencourt was also accurate again on the Pete Dye Golf Club greens. He needed just 26 putts for the second straight day -- and one was an 80-footer he drained for a birdie.
'Hands down it was the best club in the bag today,' Bettencourt alluded to his putter.
The cut line fell at 1-under 143 with 69 players moving on to the weekend.