After two weeks of wild betting action in Las Vegas sports books the Super Bowl was finally played and the 21-17 Giants win turned out to be a very favorable decision for most of the bettors.
The Giants opened as 3½ and 4-point underdogs, but closed at 2½ to 3-point underdogs. Despite the majority of the public siding with the Giants, the sports books still came away on the plus side.
"We ended up a small winner on the day," said MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood. "Our best decision would have had the Patriots winning the game, but in the end I think the majority of people on both sides of the counter were happy."
The main story in Las Vegas for the last two weeks was the major differences in lines offered throughout the city in dealing with the most prominent margin of victory number in pro football.
A few major books like Cantor Gaming and Station Casinos held strong at Patriots -3 for the duration while others like Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Resorts and South Point played around with -2½.
In South Point’s case, they bounced back and forth from -3 to -2½ several times over the two week period, but still found themselves in the same boat as the others with a small win.
"We created some large action on each of our moves, but the majority of the betting public didn’t seem to care what the line was," said South Point sports book director Bert Osborne. "Most of the public’s mind was made up on who they liked. The line really didn’t matter to them and it’s the masses like them who control our outcome of a big game like this every year."
Osborne had to have his heart beating faster than most in the final minute following Ahmad Bradshaw’s clinching touchdown. The Giants’ failed two-point conversion after the TD set up the opportunity for the Patriots to win by 3 if they marched down the field and scored, which would have been a disaster for Osborne.
"Let’s just say I was happy with the way it turned out," said Osborne.
Most sports books reported either flat or slightly better numbers than last year, but official state-wide numbers won’t be available until Tuesday.
"We were up close to 2% in handle from last year," said Rood who dealt the game at -2½ (-125) for most of the two weeks.
Last year’s Packers-Steelers Super Bowl handled $87.4 million with a tiny win of $724,176 (0.8%), both numbers that could be eclipsed. If the handle does exceed last season, it would signify the fourth straight year handle has increased, a great sign the economy is turning in Las Vegas.
The game started out with a bang for a few prop bettors who played the first score of the game to be a safety. In the Patriots’ first play of their first possession, Tom Brady was flagged for intentional grounding while throwing out of his own end zone.
"We were in a 100-to-1 hole right off the bat with the first score being a safety, as well as several others having the ‘Yes’ at 8-to-1, but after all the props were graded we still came out a small winner overall," said LVH Super Book executive director Jay Kornegay.
Kornegay says 55 to 60% of his overall handle on the game came from his propositions, which is a much higher figure than most books which generally write about 35% of their overall handle on props.
With everyone saying they had a small win on the day, it can be assumed the majority lost on the game itself minus the props and futures. Las Vegas sports books always do very well on the props and they rarely lose on the futures.
After posting everything and coming away with a small win means Giants bettors got the best of the books on the spread and money-line.
Despite the sports books only being a small overall winner, the bigger picture is that the Super Bowl once again proved to be one of Las Vegas’ biggest draws. Between sold out rooms for the entire weekend, jam packed table games and occupied slot machines, every casino in the city was a big winner.
For everyone who came to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl experience, the hope is they had a good time and take home lasting memories.
Even for the bettors who think they know it all, they will find themselves picking up something of use for their betting strategies between information gained at seminars offered at Sunset Station this Thursday night and the LVH SuperBook on Friday.
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