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For Chris Marcione, the extra work paid off.

Marcione, a supervisor at the sportsbook at Jerry’s Nugget, defeated nine others to win Gaming Today’s Playoff Bookies Battle with an 8-3 record. Marcione picked up $500 for his efforts, though he had the wrong side in Super Bowl LIII.

“I didn’t change my approach,” he said of his formula for playoff success. “I stuck with what I was doing.”

Marcione went from the middle of the pack into the top-10 to qualify for the Bookies Battle playoffs and he maintained his hot hand during the postseason.

“As the season went on, I looked at the coaching philosophies, major injuries,” he said. “I had a little more time to get into it, studying the numbers, seeing how the teams start to separate themselves. It led to making more educated selections.

“I look for value. I rarely play teams.”

He believed the Rams +2.5 points was good value in the Super Bowl. In his pregame analysis that went with picking the Rams, Marcione said: “The Rams’ defense should keep Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense in check.”

He was right about that as New England managed just one touchdown. But what he wasn’t counting on was the Rams’ offense being unable to dent the end zone as the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl title with a 13-3 victory Sunday in Atlanta.

“I thought the Rams would play well defensively,” he said. “I never thought they wouldn’t score a touchdown. But that’s (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick. He had his defense ready to play.”

Marcione’s next closest competitor was Rick Whipple of Bally’s. Whipple finished 7-4 and he also had the Rams. Of the 10 contestants, only two had correctly picked New England – Ric Baum of Circus Circus, the regular season Bookies Battle winner, and Jackson Meeker of Palace Station.

Baum, like Whipple, finished 7-4 for the playoffs while Meeker was 5-6.

The rest of the field had J Morton of the Cannery going 6-5, Donna Stoneback of the Park MGM and Brett Vegas of The Cromwell both finishing 5-6, Neil Baron of Baldini’s in Reno ending up 4-7 and Chuck Esposito of Sunset Station and Tony Miller of the Golden Nugget both ending up 3-8.

Marcione said he plans to put his winnings in his child’s college fund. He faces an uncertain future as William Hill will take over the sportsbook at Jerry’s Nugget and he wasn’t sure what the new company’s plans for him are.

“We’ll see what happens,” Marcione, 42, said. “I’m going to keep my options open.

“We’ve been here 20 years and we love it here. I’m not going to rush into any decision.”

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About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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