This Super Bowl business in Las Vegas has really taken on a life of its own and grown to heights of popularity never thought possible. The fine dining, partying, drinking and betting with thousands of your newest friends is quite the allure, one the actual Super Bowl site can’t compete with.
While It’s 7 degrees with 9 mph winds in Minneapolis on Sunday as the game is played inside US Bank Stadium, it’ll be 76 and sunny in Las Vegas. So grab a prop sheet from your favorite sportsbook, bring your sun screen and get ready for the best party on the planet.
The big story during the first week of betting has been the large action seen on the Eagles so far, which has dropped the Patriots from a high opener of -6.5 last week to as low as -4 (-120) at Boyd Gaming through Monday morning.
The big bet heard across town took place Wednesday afternoon at MGM Resorts where VP of sportsbook operations Jay Rood confirmed a multi-million dollar wager was placed on the Eagles at +5.5 causing his chain of books on the Strip to bypass the dead number of -5 altogether and go straight to Patriots -4.5, which then was the lowest number in town. The massive wager gave MGM books lots of wiggle room early on to balance things out and it’s also a signal that a record setting handle could be had in Nevada for the third straight Super Bowl. Last year saw a record $138.5 million wagered legally in the state.
Obviously, MGM books are rooting for the Patriots right now, but things can flip real quick for a place that doesn’t blink with seven figure wagers. It was just two years ago when every book needed the Broncos for the first 12 days of Super Bowl betting. Then the late arriving visitors over the final two days and wise guys all jumped on the Broncos and the books closed the game needing the Panthers.
If looking to bet the Patriots, why would you bet it now? You see the number dropping. Maybe it goes to -3.5. Maybe it goes all the way to -3. There’s definitely Patriots money out there, but the smart thing to do is wait it out and then wait for the books to start feeling their nerves rattle while looking at a seven-figure Eagles risk every day on their bookmaking screen.
“This kind of reminds me of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, staring at large risk and waiting for the favorite money to show up,” said CG Technology VP of risk Jason Simbal.
The better value for New England bettors is to watch the money-line keep dropping. All the small money will be on the Eagles getting plus-money where 8-to-5 odds multiplies fast. Large Pats money is waiting for the lowest price.
However, it’s not all small money playing the Eagles money-line. Large money came on the Eagles money-line with $500,000 wagered on Philly at the South Point Thursday spread over four different numbers – +185, +180, +175 and +170. The South Point, CG Technology, Golden Nugget, Stratosphere and Boyd Gaming properties have the lowest Patriots money-line at -180/+160. The best Eagles money-line is at Caesars Palace at +170.
Boyd Gaming’s Bob Scucci has flirted with the high total of 49 a few times and on each occasion when he got to his desired threshold went back to 48.5 and then eventually settled at 48, which is where most books have found they’re now getting decent two-way action. Four of the past five Super Bowls have gone Over the total. The public loves betting the Over and this is the public’s game, so if liking the Under you may want to wait until the weekend to bet it at its highest.
SB 52 trends
The favorites always seemed to win and cover – going 20-10-1 ATS in the first 31 Super Bowls. The 1980s were brutal blowouts with the AFC taking a beating, but something happened when the Broncos finally won a Super Bowl as 11-point underdogs against the Packers in 1998. It changed the tide.
Underdogs have now gone 12-4 ATS in the last 16 Super Bowls, starting with the Patriots’ 20-17 win against the Rams as 14-point dogs in 2002. The underdog has won seven of the past 10 Super Bowls outright, including two wins by the Giants over the Patriots.
Two of the past three Super Bowls have seen the all-way teasers cash – both sides, both totals – and each time the Patriots were involved. We can count on good games in the Super Bowl now and the NFL spread is the most sound rating of any sport, which means getting 6 to the side and total offers nice value on a two-teamer. New England’s 6-point overtime win last season was the largest margin of victory in five Super Bowl wins engineered by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
SB 52 Props
(c/o William Hill)
Rushing yards – Eagles -9.5 (-110): Whenever I play props I always try to stay within the parameters of my vision for a certain team winning and the reason behind it. In this game, I like a close game with the Eagles running the ball and controlling time of possession. And I also like Philly’s No. 1 ranked run defense (79.1 ypg allowed) forcing the Pats to abandon the run and rely on Tom Brady to save the day, like the AFC Championship game. The Eagles averaged 128 ypg on the ground to the Patriots’ 113 ypg rushing this season. The Eagles win this battle and don’t go away from the run even if losing early. If winning, they pound it all game.
Ajayi rushing OVER 57.5 (-110): Jay Ajayi only went Over 57.5 yards in four of his nine games with the Eagles, but he had his most carries with the team in the two playoff wins, including a high of 18 (73 yards) in the win against the Vikings No. 1 ranked defense. Ajayi is a game-breaker and he’s one of the players on the Eagles I think can win MVP (12/1). I’m expecting him to get lots of work and to make a couple game-changing plays.
Eagles rushing TD’s (YES, -170): The Eagles only had nine rushing TDs during the regular season with Corey Clement, not LeGarrette Blount, leading the way with four. But during the playoffs, Blount rushed for the only TD against the Falcons and had another one a week later against the Vikings. The running game will be the Eagles key.
Eagles at +7.5 (-145): This has nothing to do with the fact the Patriots have not won by more than 6 points in any of Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl appearances (5-2), but everything to do with the Eagles defense and not being blown out all season. If getting +7.5 with the Eagles in every game this season, a bettor would be 17-1 this season with the only loss, 24-10, coming at Seattle in Week 13.
The South Point has two massive parties upstairs in their banquet area, one in their showroom and then they have hundreds of seats inside their sportsbook and lounge. They also have two huge bars seating up to a hundred people each and another lounge by the racebook that can accommodate another 200 partiers. Lots of standing room, too.
There’s a little something for everyone and it’s a great place to hang out for a few hours for the other amenities where owner Michael Gaughan doesn’t gouge his guests. He’s the last of the old school bosses in town and gives his customers more bang for the buck with food and beverage.
Something to also keep an eye out for is who is writing your bet ticket when going to the counter. It’s not unusual to see Michael Gaughan himself punching tickets, or his sons, one of which is NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan who will be driving in the Daytona 500 in three weeks (He was 11th and 7th at Daytona last season).
With all the parties located around the casino and bet stations placed within, the sportsbook labor gets a little thin so it’s all hands on deck. And while at the South Point, go find Jimmy Vaccaro in the book, or spa, and ask him to share his Black Sunday memories from Super Bowl 13 in 1979 when he was a young bookmaker from Pittsburgh starting out at Michael Gaughan’s Royal Inn Casino. It’s quite the story and he loves to share it.