Bettors do a 9-1 'safety' dance

Feb 3, 2009 7:34 PM
by GT Staff |

Safeties are rare in Super Bowls, but when Pittsburgh was guilty of holding in the end zone it gave Arizona a safety and paid bettors 9-1 odds (+900).

"We were pleased with how the prop bets went for us except for that safety," said Jay Kornegay, director of race and sports operations at the Hilton SuperBook. "That was one of the best (crowd) reactions I’ve ever seen in sports. I didn’t realize that many people knew the signal for a safety. Even girls wearing Ben Roethlisberger shirts knew it."

Proposition wagers were born with the 1985 Chicago Bears and William "The Refrigerator" Perry when a bet was made as to whether the defensive lineman would score a touchdown in the ’86 Super Bowl against New England. Perry did in a 46-10 victory and the phenomenon grew, fueled in part by Kornegay who took prop bets to the next level during his days as race and sports director at Imperial Palace.

"We are always going for more props," Kornegay said. "I can’t even count how many props we did (well over 400 on 22 downloaded pages), but you can bet the menu will increase. I think the fans enjoy betting props equally to the Super Bowl game itself. I know if I came to town, I would bet a lot of props."

As for the game and the 6½-point closing line at the Hilton, Kornegay was very pleased at the result. "At 6½ you most likely needed the Cardinals, while at 7 you probably needed Pittsburgh," he said. "The line was good for bookmakers because it got equal action. We were very fortunate to get the money we wanted and could control our liability. We needed the Cardinals and got very fortunate."

There was the threat of overtime with Arizona up 23-20 in the final minute, normally a scary prospect for the books since there has never been OT in Super Bowl history dating back to 1966. But, the books got lucky. "Normally there is a lot of liability for overtime, but this year we got some play for the no (-1300) so there was sort of a bailout," Kornegay said.

Overtime would have paid +800 or 8-1.

The next round for prop bets is March Madness, but even the college basketball tourney comes in second to the Super Bowl. "We’ll put up a lot of props, but it doesn’t have the same ring as the Super Bowl. An example of one we might do for the tourney is ‘Will Marist ever have the lead against Connecticut?’ Those are always fun bets."