Record handle likely after Super Bowl 50

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All indications across Nevada sportsbooks suggest Sunday’s 24-10 win by the Broncos will set a state record for Super Bowl handle surpassing the $119.4 million handled two years ago when Seattle hammered Denver.

Phil Hevener confirms SB50 record

“We ended up squeaking out a win on the game and the futures win helped us overall,” said MGM Resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood. “It wasn’t as bad as last year, but I think a record handle (for Nevada) is probably going to be set.”

Rood’s 10 MGM properties across the Strip – two others in Reno – are a great barometer for the state because of the sheer volume they do with so many thousands of visitors lodging in the rooms and making wagers on the game at their books throughout the last two weeks.

Unlike the last couple of years, Rood didn’t take a seven figure wager on the game, which is very telling on how much volume they did if exceeding the past two seasons.

Last year’s handle in Nevada, with New England beating Seattle, was $115.9 million with only a $3.2 million win, which comes out to a tiny 2.8 percent hold. Even though reactions were mixed around town on the results, it would appear all the books could collectively have a higher win than that, but will come nowhere close to the record $19.6 million won (16.5%) in 2014 when almost everyone bet the Broncos’ No. 1 ranked offense would beat Seattle.

“It was a small win for us. We won on the props but lost on the game,” said South Point sportsbook director Bert Osborne. “The Broncos to UNDER parlay and teaser came in and was too much to overcome. The good news is that handle was up about 33 percent with us.”

Business was outstanding over the past two weeks. Station Casinos VP of race and sports Art Manteris said on Saturday he had never seen such consistent wagering in the time leading up to the game, and he’s been running books in town since Joe Montana won his first Super Bowl.

The crazy thing about SB 50 was that it was all one sided betting for the first 10 days. Everyone liked Carolina early on after seeing them destroy Arizona, 49-15, in the NFC Championship game.

The public bet the Panthers quickly from a 3.5-point favorite up to -5.5 and eventually -6 where it stayed until Wednesday. That‘s when the big Broncos money came. It was rumored the most successful sports bettor in Las Vegas history, Billy Walters, had all his associates find whatever +6 on Denver they could, and they found it everywhere.

At the time, the sportsbooks needed the money bad. In fact, the only error Mr. Walters made in his masterful plan of crushing Las Vegas was not waiting longer because a few books said they were close to going to +6.5 if they hadn’t gotten those big Broncos wagers.

The disparity from Panthers to Broncos action was huge. William Hill sportsbooks had 91 percent of their action on the spread taking Carolina through Thursday. Then the weekend crowd came in and the gap started closing.

People were betting Denver and they were taking them on the money-line and parlaying them together with the UNDER. On Sunday, Osborne said his South Point sportsbook had completely flipped their stance of needing Carolina after being so heavy on them for the first 13 days of action, which is incredible when thinking about this being the most bet game of the year.

“It was like a good NFL Sunday for us,” said Stratosphere assistant sportsbook manager Hugh Citron. “We had too much late Denver money-line action to weather. We ended up being flat on the props and the two-point conversion happening really hurt us.”

Perhaps one of the biggest roars of the day from the sportsbook crowds was when Peyton Manning completed a two-point conversion pass with just over three minutes to go in the game, which gave the Broncos a 24-10 lead, and also gave bettors a +190 payout. They also wanted overtime (+500) and a safety (+500) to no avail, but did get their successful conversion.

For the first time ever in Nevada, bettors were able to bet on who will win the Super Bowl MVP and if you ask most books after the results, they’ll probably say they wish they could do without it.

“We lost on the MVP prop with Von Miller,” said Rood. “We opened at 60-to-1 and closed at 15-to-1.”

Ouch, that was a big payout.

Overall, for party goers, bettors and the books, it was a win-win experience for all. Las Vegas once again proved no city has the ability to do what it does.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].

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