Public holds its own but books enjoy Super Bowl weekend

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Nevada sportsbooks showed a profit with the Patriots’ (-3) amazing come-from-behind 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons in Sunday’s Super Bowl, but the public once again held their own to close out their epic NFL regular and postseason where they routinely beat the house like never seen before.

The sportsbooks’ win was multi-layered with the bulk of the positive revenues coming from Super Bowl futures being posted and parlay cards. While the action on the game itself was well balanced with action on both sides thanks to furious Falcons action on Sunday, the public got the better of the books with in-progress wagering as the Patriots erased a 25-point deficit.

“We’re a winner today, but it could have been a huge day if Atlanta held on and kept the game Under the total (57),” said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “Bettors did well on their second-half bets with the Patriots (-6) and Over (30.5) and they kept betting them a lot with in-progress wagering. At the point when the Falcons were up 28-3, the odds of the Patriots winning straight up was 12-to-1.”

When the score was 28-9 in the fourth-quarter, William Hill books were offering 16-to-1 odds with its in-progress wagering and bettors jumped on it making it one of their biggest losers on the day. They also got beat up on the all-way teaser hitting with both sides and totals.

“It was a peanut win on the day,” said William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich.

“We made a few bucks, luckily.” said Wynn sportsbook director John Avello. “It would have been better for us if Atlanta wins in overtime. We took a bunch of Under money Sunday and that was basically our win to the game. We were a loser on the side with almost half-a-million high on the Patriots (spread). But the Atlanta money-line plays saved us along with the total. We made a few bucks on the props, but nothing big.”

None of the sportsbooks wanted to be on -3, but they stuck with it for two weeks and it proved to be the correct number. There were some worried about the most key number in the NFL landing as the Patriots were making their comeback.

“The bonus for us is that the game didn’t land 3, not financially, but from a standpoint of paying out tickets nonstop for the next week. I started thinking about the possibility of 3 landing and all its effects when it was 28-20,” Kornegay said. “It was an odd game to book because it was so balanced. It was weird because the public and sharps were so split on the game, but then Atlanta support came hard on Sunday.”

The Super Bowl props are normally a source for steady income, but this year things were different, which is only appropriate considering how the entire NFL season has gone for the books.

“We got hurt on several of the props,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick. “Overtime, defensive TD, passing yards, two-point conversion, three players recording a pass and missed extra-point. We also got hurt on the in-game money-line. Futures and the parlay card were solid and we ended up being a small winner on the game itself.”

There was one prop that every book was unified in losing to.

“Overtime was the worst prop for us, but it was certainly due,” Kornegay said. “This is my 31st Super Bowl in Nevada and it’s the first time we lost to the prop.”

It was the first overtime in Super Bowl history and paid out up to 7-to-1 odds.

No word until Monday on overall Super Bowl handle when the Nevada Gaming Commission releases amounts from all over the state, but all indications suggest handle might be larger than last year’s record of $132 million wagered.

“Our handle was way over last year,” said Wynn sportsbook director John Avello. “I’ll go ahead and say it’s going to be record handle for the state.”

Station Casinos and MGM Resorts both reported an increase in handle of about 10 percent over last season. Part of the increases could be due to the frenzied wagering during the Patriots comeback with in-progress wagering. The other part is because it was so equally split with opinions on a game with a short spread.

The overall atmosphere at the books was reported to be as intense as bookmakers have ever seen with such a dramatic start and finish by both teams.

“It was one of the most exciting scenes I’ve ever seen in a book,” said Boyd gaming sportsbook director Bob Scucci. “More people were rooting for the Patriots. and as they were coming back, it got louder and louder with each score.”

The emotional roller-coaster from bettors on both sides was also as extreme as any game ever. It was loaded with bad beats. If you bet the Under, such as several wise guys did a few hours before kickoff, how do you eventually lose when the game was 0-0 after one quarter and the Patriots scored only 3-points in the half? If you had the Falcons to win, you were counting your cash at 28-3 and if you had the Patriots at the same juncture, you might have already left the Super Bowl party, or left the stadium at the actual game like Patriots fan Mark Wahlberg did.

“I can’t believe no one came up to me and said, ‘I threw my ticket away, can you help me’,” joked Stratosphere oddsmaker Hugh Citron about the common ritual of unhappy bettors who think they have no chance of winning before the game is over.

This Super Bowl set a record for largest comeback ever as well as in Patriots history. Tom Brady set a passing record for yards (466) and Super Bowl wins (5). I came away most impressed by New England finishing the season with an all-time record at covering the spread going 16-3 ATS and doing so against mostly inflated numbers, with the exception of its first four games without Brady and then its final game.

Twitter: @MicahRoberts7

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