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NFL: Anything but Ravens!

Jan 18, 2009 7:44 PM
by Mark Mayer |

Welcome to the NFL’s version of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s not quite the 250-1 payoff the Vegas books sweated out in the World Series, but Harrah’s properties for sure are pulling against the preseason 85-1 Baltimore Ravens.

"The odds are 3-1 in our favor," said Dave Pemberton, race and sports supervisor at the Rio, the hub for Harrah’s books that include Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, Imperial Palace, Bally’s, Paris, Flamingo, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon and Harvey’s (Reno). "At the Rio, we’re hoping the Pittsburgh Steelers win it all."

What a difference a year makes in the NFL. At this time in 2008, the four top teams projected by the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook to reach the 2009 Super Bowl were New England at 9-5, Indianapolis at 6-1 and both San Diego and Dallas at 10-1. New England didn’t even make the playoffs.

The NFC Championship is down to 30-1 Philadelphia facing 40-1 Arizona. Those odds now are down to 11-5 for the visiting Eagles and 5-1 for the host Cardinals. The AFC Championship has 100-1 Baltimore (Hilton preseason odds) against 30-1 Pittsburgh. Now the Ravens are down to 3-1 and the host Steelers are the 8-5 favorite to win it all.

And looking ahead to 2010, you may want to note that Pittsburgh at 10-1 is the only one of the Final Four included among the top five favorites. New England is again the top pick at 8-1 with both Philadelphia at 12-1 and Baltimore at 12-1. Arizona is an inviting 30-1.

"I think the biggest surprises to us were seeing Baltimore get this far and the continued heavy betting support for the San Diego Chargers even though they barely got into the playoffs," Pemberton said. "We were taking $100 bets on the Chargers to get to the Super Bowl and very happy to do so. As for Baltimore, it’s definitely for us like seeing Tampa Bay in the World Series. There’s even a lot of money coming in on Baltimore against the Steelers."

Pemberton said he would have preferred a 10 a.m. starting time instead of noon, but felt there would be a late rush of wagering. "The betting started slow during the week, but picked up nicely on Saturday. We expect a rush of betting just before kickoff, which usually comes in on the favorite."

The house would prefer Philadelphia over Arizona, but there’s a lot of sentiment for the Cardinals. "Arizona has been the laughing stock for so many years that it would be nice to see them in the Super Bowl. A lot people are backing them."

Here’s the early shopping list for the 2010 Super Bowl to be played at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

2010 SUPER BOWL ODDS, c/o Hilton

team open current

New England 8-1 8-1

Pittsburgh 10-1 10-1

Indianapolis 10-1 10-1

New York Giants 10-1 10-1

Dallas 10-1 10-1

San Diego 12-1 12-1

Philadelphia 12-1 12-1

Tennessee 12-1 12-1

Baltimore 12-1 12-1

Carolina 12-1 12-1

Minnesota 25-1 25-1

Green Bay 25-1 25-1

New Orleans 25-1 25-1

New York Jets 30-1 30-1

Jacksonville 30-1 30-1

Atlanta 30-1 30-1

Tampa Bay 30-1 30-1

Arizona 30-1 30-1

Denver 30-1 30-1

Miami 40-1 40-1

Houston 40-1 40-1

Buffalo 40-1 40-1

Washington 40-1 40-1

Chicago 40-1 40-1

Seattle 50-1 50-1

San Francisco 60-1 60-1

Cincinnati 60-1 60-1

Cleveland 60-1 60-1

Oakland 100-1 100-1

Kansas City 100-1 100-1

St. Louis 100-1 100-1

Detroit 100-1 100-1