Although final numbers haven’t been posted through Nevada Gaming yet, the vibe I got from every sports book I talked with following Super Bowl 48 was that the state should set a record not only for most Super Bowl write ever, but also win.
The previous write record of $98.9 million was set last year and the most win ever came in 2005 when New England beat Philadelphia, 24-21, where the books scooped up $15.4 million while holding 17 percent.
“I can tell you already that we have never won as much in the Super Bowl since I’ve been here,” said Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller, who was booking his eighth Super Bowl for the downtown property. “We had a 20 percent increase in handle overall, and I think that’s a great indication for the state to set a record. People were excited about this game.”
In the case of the record write, yes, it should be shattered simply because business is up. Nevada sports books wrote a record $3.6 billion in 2013, and those yearly numbers always correlate well to the ensuing Super Bowl.
MGM Resorts race and sports VP Jay Rood said after the game he expects the state to collectively write about $105 million. The books may have even left a few million on the table by not moving the Broncos to -3. The South Point was the only book to move, as they briefly went to 3 on Sunday and they got the sharpest money in Vegas fighting to get to the windows to bet the Seahawks.
That window of opportunity was only two minutes.
As for the win, in 2005, the scenario that helped the books win so much was when the “bookmakers dream” came true – the favorite won the game, but didn’t cover and the game stayed UNDER.
That scenario kills the three most popular wagers from the public, but in the Super Bowl 48 scenario we have the favorite getting blown away, 43-8, sending the game OVER the total.
Action was so one sided on Denver laying 2½ – most books reported 3-to-1 Denver ticket counts and cash – and the money line on the Seahawks (+120) didn’t have the appeal – bigger payout – that a usual underdog has in the Super Bowl. If the public sides with the dog, they usually like to sink their teeth into at least a 2-to-1 payday.
The massive amounts of small money on the Broncos drowned out the large plays on Seattle, and the majority of the propositions played were all kind of tilting Denver’s way. The only prop that really burned the books bad on Sunday was the first score being a safety, which paid out at 60-to-1 and netted the bettors an estimated $1.4 million win statewide.
But that was it. There weren’t too many people taking 200-to-1 that the Broncos would score exactly 8 points or taking 100-to-1 odds that Seattle’s margin of victory would be 34-38 points. Most of those types of wagers came from bettors thinking Denver would do that kind of damage.
The large write and expected big win from Super Bowl caps off what was the sports books’ greatest football season ever where they won $89.4 million from September through December on football alone, college and pros combined. That is a lot of cheese and a large unexpected contribution from the books to the overall casino win.
The bean counters of every casino always have a tough time forecasting sports book win and it drives them crazy that they can’t put some type of definitive number like they do for slots or table games, but the books exceeded all expectations this football season and the directors and vice-presidents should all be getting nice bonuses, something that has been scarce over the past seven years due to overall forecasts not meeting expectations.
As for the bettors who were beat up all season by the books, most will tell you they had a good time as the books create an atmosphere for football no place in the world can touch. In reality, sports is just a form of entertainment, and just about everything we do to be entertained, we pay for.
The Las Vegas brand doesn’t charge for all the wonderful games televised, but they make the game more interesting by allowing wagers, which is kind of like a fee that gives you the opportunity to win some money – always attractive – and if the game plays out the way expected, your day of great entertainment was free.
What a fantastic business concept. It’s too bad no other state in America can experience what we have here, but that could be changing soon.
Props to two Vegas sports books
We don’t have an official award for who posted the most brilliant props of this Super Bowl season, but two stood out the most, William Hill and the LVH Super Book, and both deserve some praise.
Just about every book in the city thought outside the box and was creative with a wide array of propositions. And just about every book raised their number of props from the previous year in what has become a very competitive market.
The thing that stood out about LVH and William Hill was the fairness in prices they offered their betting public. Each offered 20-cent splits on the props while most everyone else was dealing a 30-cent line. But where their fairness is even more noticeable is in the low theoretic hold they offered to all their index props, which ask the bettor to choose between three or more options, such as the player to score first.
When they drop odds on an option because of risk, they actually raise the odds on options that don’t have risk. It may seem like something that should be an elementary process, but it’s not always followed.
Several books’ opening prop numbers had a vastly different look from where they ended up by kickoff, where the hold was raised dramatically along the way by just chopping numbers down and not raising others with the same method. In the total props package, William Hill and the LVH stood alone as the best in Las Vegas. Well done, and thanks for raising the bar everyone else will have to try and match even higher.
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. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].