The Las Vegas books are rooting for a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl. And why not?
"Patriots games are mini Super Bowls for us," said Jay Kornegay, director of race and sports at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook. "Packers fans are the most loyal in the NFL. They are everywhere and have made Green Bay especially popular here."
If Green Bay-New England is welcomed for Super Bowl 42, obviously Giants-Chargers is not,
"Correct," Kornegay said. "It would be a bit of a letdown not to have New England in the Super Bowl."
New England as of Tuesday was a 14-point favorite over San Diego in the AFC, while Green Bay was a 7-point choice over New York in the NFC. But, both spreads are subject to sizable changes due to weather.
"We hear that both games could be affected by extreme cold weather," Kornegay said. "Especially in Green Bay, which has the late game time on Sunday. It could be around 4 degrees, which is Favre’s number. With San Diego, we’re watching the injuries closely."
Kornegay said betting lately on New England has been 50/50, but that was not the case early on.
"Ever since the Eagles game (the height of Patriots popularity), the support has started to decline. The Ravens game was the end of a certain level of support. It’s been only lukewarm the past few games. The Patriots are 17-0 and the books have lost 14."
The results from last week didn’t hurt the books too bad, although both Sunday underdogs winning outright prevented a very positive take at the window.
"The betting was very good, one of the biggest of the year," said Mike Colbert, race and sports manager at the Plaza. "We did real well with the Giants and UNDER and the San Diego result was great. There were more Colts teasers than I can remember."
Colbert also felt the Patriots-Packers matchup in the Super Bowl would be best for the books.
"We’ve had people betting Green Bay in futures bets all year, so that matchup would certainly create a lot of interest," Colbert said. "Of course, New England would be a good result. A Green Bay victory in the Super Bowl, however, would hurt us bad."
And what’s the best case scenario for the books this week?
"The Patriots and Packers to win, but not cover," Kornegay said.