A myriad of proposition bets

January 23, 2001 10:04 AM
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For sports betters, the Super Bowl is more than just picking a team against the spread. It’s also a "Super Day" of fascinating prop bet wagering.

Props have sprung up in the past 15 years — and for some books, more money is wagered on prop bets than regular bets. This year’s Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants will be no exception.

The Imperial Palace has built a reputation as the king of props. About 60 percent of wagering will go on 130 different props. Some are comical, such as, "Who will have more:" Ravens touchdowns or Manchester United goals vs. West Ham in a Sunday morning game in Manchester, England. (If interested, the Ravens are minus $130 to United at even.) Another is, "Will anyone score in the first 8:30 of the game?" (Yes is

-$140; no is +$110.)

The history at Imperial Palace dates back to 1989.

"We figured it would be on a small scale (at that time)," current IP race and sports book manager Jay Kornegay said about connecting an NBA game that day to the Super Bowl. "When Magic (Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers) was playing the Detroit Pistons in 1989, we started the betting on props because we were bored."

The NBA (or even NHL)-Super Bowl betting took off in 1996 when a line went up on whether Michael Jordan would score more points than the Dallas Cowboys.

"That became the most popular," Kornegay said.

This year, there’s a line on whether Shaquille O’Neal will have more missed free throws than Trent Dilfer will have completions. Both are minus $115.

Kornegay said the January 1995 Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers was the first where most of the wagers were on props at IP.

"That was because it was a 19-point spread," he said. "People were bored with that spread."

So how do Kornegay and his colleagues come up with these bets?

"On Monday night (after the league championship games), we go over what we’ll have," he said. "Four or five of us have pizza. We go anywhere from six to seven hours. We do argue. If we had all ‘yes’ men, it wouldn’t be any good."

Kornegay said about 60 percent of IP’s wagering was on props last year

What about this year?

"Too early to say," Kornegay said Monday. "We expect it to be the same as last year."

The prop bets are made for the general public, according to Kornegay. "But some smart money goes on the props."

Prop bets are usually geared for a higher success number on the field because bettors want a player or team to succeed. For example, the 1998 Super Bowl (where Denver defeated Green Bay 31-24) was a high-scoring game. Thus, many people will bet on a player to go over on, say, a wide receiver’s receptions. That year, Nevada books won only $470,000. Last year, the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans, 23-16, and Nevada books won about $4.2 million.

"People bet on a player to succeed. They don’t want a player to fail," he said. "These averages (on the betting line) are higher."

So what about parlays? The IP has a parlay card where a better can wager anywhere from $5 to $100 on a three-teamer to a 10-teamer. But Kornegay said parlays outside the card can only be a two-teamer if accepted by the house.

"We minimize to a two-team parlays because they can’t complement each other," he said. "Let’s say you can’t bet Trent Dilfer’s passing yards with Shannon Sharpe’s receiving yards. Obviously, they probably will either go under or over. You also can’t parlay any futures (more than two choices on a prop)."

Last year in Nevada, $71 million was wagered on the Super Bowl. Three years ago, a record $77 million was wagered. Last year, it was $75 million. "We expect about $70 million this year," Kornegay said. "There are a lot of Giants fans here, as there are all around the country. That’s one silver lining. But I haven’t seen one person wearing a Ravens’ jersey."

All lines are thought out with research, even the Manchester United bet, according to Kornegay.

"We talk to some soccer guys (here in the United States)," he said. "We don’t grab it out of the air. There’s a lot of work that goes in. I give my staff credit. I especially give my sports book manager Ed Salmons a lot of credit. He has taken over the imagination. We now have more creative props."

 

NEVADA SUPER BOWL HANDLE

(COMPILED BY STATE OF NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD)

YEAR 

WAGERS  

CASINO  

WIN/LOSS HOLD

   VISITOR

HOME

RESULT

2000

$71,046,751

$4,237,978

5.9%

St. Louis

TEN

St. Louis 23-16

1999

$75,986,520

$2,906,601

3.8%

DEN

ATL

DEN 34-19

1998

$77,253,246

$472,033

0.6%

GB

DEN

DEN 31-24

1997

$70,853,211

$2,265,701

3.2%

NE

GB

GB 35-21

1996

$70,907,801

$7,126,145

10.1%

DAL

PIT

DAL 27-17

1995

$69,591,818

($396,674)

(0.6%)

SD

SF

SF 49-26

1994

$54,483,221

$7,481,541

13.7%

DAL

BUF

DAL 30-13

1993

$56,811,050

$7,174,869

12.6%

BUF

DAL

DAL 52-17

1992

$50,334,277

$301,280

0.6%

WSH

BUF

WSH 37-24

1991

$40,080,409

$3,512,241

8.8%

BUF

GIA

GIA 20-19