The Super Bowl betting handle record in Nevada survived. But despite the drop in the amount wagered a year ago, Sunday was a good day overall for the state’s sportsbooks.
The state’s Gaming Control Board announced Monday that $145.9 million was wagered on Super Bowl LIII Sunday, which was considerably less than the 2018 record of $158.6 million. But the state’s books won $10.8 million, a 7.4 percent hold.
Last year, despite the record handle, the hold was less than one percent (0.7) as the books managed to win just $1.17 million.
The New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams wasn’t the most exciting Super Bowl and the crowds at sportsbooks around Las Vegas were docile. But most bettors turned out to be correct about the popular Patriots, who closed at most bet shops as 2.5-point favorites with a consensus total at 56.
Rams money from Los Angeles made an appearance over the weekend as expected, which helped add to the Super Bowl handle. But overall, it seemed more like a big wash. Some books did well, while others fared poorly and only a couple being thrilled with the results.
“We had a lot of casino players betting the under on the game so the low-scoring game wasn’t good for us,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook VP Jay Rood. “The Rams scoring just three points was ugly and we got dinged on the prop of the Patriots scoring 2-to-13-points at 175-to-1 odds.
“The game itself we won on, but the props were break even. When the dust settles after all the props are posted I’m expecting about a four percent hold.”
Rood said he had four wagers at $1 million or more, including one wager on the Rams money-line (+120) for $2 million. They also got dinged at 500-to-1 with the Rams scoring exactly three points.
“It was a missed opportunity because we wrote about 10 percent more than last year,” said Rood.
Over at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, VP Jay Kornegay said they held a little over five percent on the game.
“Overall, it was a good day, but nothing great,” Kornegay said. “We took some big hits on props that normally never cash such as no TD in the first half that paid out at 100-to-1 or no TD by the Rams which paid out at 50-to-1.And then there was Julian Edelman to win MVP at 30-to-1. Those type of things don’t usually happen.”
Edelman might have been the only thing super on Sunday with 10 receptions for 141 yards to capture the MVP award. He was the X factor the Rams couldn’t defend and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady kept going to the well.
William Hill’s tally close to game time had 56 percent of the spread cash on the Patriots and 63 percent of the money-line cash on the Rams, including one $1.5 million wager on the Rams.
A couple of bet shops did better than most, including the Wynn where first-year book director Doug Castaneda made a big splash is his Super Bowl debut as boss.
“We’re elated with the results,” said Castaneda, a Los Angeles native. “It was a great game for us.”
Of course, he wouldn’t share how great the results were. But in this era of me getting vibes from my friends around Las Vegas, great is better than good or fair. It’s always vague with a wink. No need to make the big bosses angry with an actual figure. My bet would be they won close to 20 percent.
Station Casinos also reported a positive result.
“It was a great day,” said Station sports book VP Jason McCormick who moved Patriots to -2 twice Sunday.
“The game staying way under went a long way with us giving us great results on the props, cards, and teasers.”
The total went from a high of 59 to as low as 55.5 at Wynn. It was bizarre to see the score 3-3 at the end of three quarters and the in-progress line at the SuperBook being Patriots pick ‘em -210 with a total at 21.5.
Jeff Davis, the boss at the Caesars Palace sportsbook, said they won just “a peanut” which means it’s a cross between not losing and barely winning. But he was the star last season when Caesars had the biggest win the state.
He also gets immediate relief, not with a vacation, but welcoming a new child to his family in four weeks. All the best, Jeff!
Up north in Reno, Marc Nelson at the Atlantis wasn’t bullish about their returns, saying things were about even as he was grading the props.
All in all, it wasn’t Super. But man, it was fun talking about it for two weeks. And while I felt like this Super Bowl with elite offenses was more like Geraldo Rivera teasing me to watch Al Capone’s riches in an empty underground vault in Chicago, it still was kind of cool. It was Bill Belichick pitching the 1-0 game in Game 7 of the World Series.
As years go by, we’ll appreciate this, even though casual readers of a box score will wonder how muddy the game was, or how cold was the wind chill was or how much snow landed. Nope. Dome game. Just a great general as Belichick was at his best.
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