Saints go marching out

Jan 23, 2007 4:26 AM

We all should have known halfway through the regular season that the Colts and Bears would meet in Super Bowl XLI. They were the last unbeaten teams to lose.

"I had Indianapolis at 10/1 to win the Super Bowl and nobody was interested," said John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas. "The prior two years, the Colts were highly favored. That’s the way sports can be. The unexpected happens."

Avello has posted a 10/1 prop on both the Colts and Bears joining the 1972 Dolphins as the only unbeaten NFL teams.

"Chicago was the NFC favorite at the start of the year," Avello said. "They had some key defensive injuries, the QB fell apart yet they still got there. Home field played a large part.

"Indianapolis was written off coming into the playoffs," he continued. "Not because of offense, but that defense couldn’t stop anyone. Remember when the Steelers were on a nice winning streak last year and wound up winning the Super Bowl. That wasn’t the case this season."

The current line of Indianapolis -7 is not far off from what the AFC vs. NFC spread was at both Wynn and Las Vegas Hilton for close to a year.

"At Wynn, I had opened the AFC at -1 and had the Super Bowl prop line as high as -7," Avello said. "We closed it at 6½. Two weeks ago on a neutral field, I would have had the NFC -3½. In the Super Bowl, what’s looked at is what is done that day. When Peyton Manning put up 38 against New England, we felt comfortable at -7."

The house did well at Wynn, particularly on money line wagers.

"The Bears also helped us quite a bit in the first game," Avello said. "Emotionally a lot of people got caught up in the Saints. They were an okay football team. You have to remember they won just three games last year. They had to play in Chicago. Expectations only go so far."

During the idle week, Avello said he’ll gather his staff together Thursday night to discuss Super Bowl plans.

"I would say 85 percent of Super Bowl visitors are booked at Wynn already," he said. "We will definitely be sold out. There’s always dribs and dribs as far as first week wagering, but 95 percent of the money will come in that last weekend."

Avello joked about a prop bet that would gather some interest.

"Will Peyton Manning get into trouble in South Beach?" he laughed. "There’s absolutely no way. I’d say 1000/1."