by Mark Mayer | Kansas was delirious about winning the NCAA men’s basketball title, but the Las Vegas books were even happier.
The Jayhawks opened at most venues as a 1-point favorite, but closed a 2-point underdog in a 75-68 overtime win over Memphis. The losing Tigers led by 9 with just over two minutes left, but blew the game on missed free throws and a last-second three-point shot by Mario Chalmers to send the game into overtime.
From that point on, it was all Kansas. GamingToday columnist and former Stardust Sports Book Manager Richard Saber had both KU and the under in a parlay.
"Anytime you see a favorite suddenly become an underdog, it’s usually a good play to take the team that originally opened the favorite," Saber said. "This is especially true in football, but it worked well in this instance."
John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Resort, installed a first-time betting prop for the championship game consisting of varying lines.
"We would put in-progress odds after every TV and coach’s timeout, which was received very well by our bettors," Avello said. "For example, late in the game we had Memphis -7 at -300 with a +250 takeback. All Memphis had to do was win the game to get the money."
Avello went against the grain, opening Memphis as a 1-point favorite. The Wynn line also closed at 2, which was a positive outcome for the house.
"We opened it at Memphis -1 because bettors were playing them every game," Avello said. "It was a feel on my part on where the money was going to go. When the game went to overtime, I thought it was pretty much assured that it would go over (147) the total. But the teams kept that slow pace. It was a great game with a lot of variety. The cheering was pretty equal in our book."