Chris O'Meara / Associated Press
Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 | 10 p.m.
The Not-So Super Bowl got the best of the vast majority of sports bettors.
Approximately 2 out of every 3 gamblers wagered on Denver minus-2.5 against Seattle all the way through Sunday’s kickoff, losing their money after a 43-8 Seahawks blowout victory.
“The patrons went 0-2 — crappy game and lost money,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “It was a good day for the books.”
Casinos will post a profit on the biggest annual betting event for the 21st time in 23 years, since the state began officially tracking the Super Bowl as its own entity. Although the Nevada Gaming Control Board won’t release the official tally until later in the week, the sheer volume of bets on the Broncos all but guarantees a substantial figure for the house.
Sports books should eclipse last season’s game, which marked their biggest win in six years, when they made $7,206,460 and held 7.3 percent of the total handle on the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
After 12 days of over-the-top support on the Broncos, bookmakers expected to attract some buyback on the Seahawks sometime in the final 48 hours. It never happened — at least not to the predicted degree.
“I’ve never seen so much pedestrian traffic in my life,” South Point's Jimmy Vaccaro said. “Not that there were people wanting to bet a large amount of money, but it was person after person of $200, $500, $1,000 on Denver.”
Most of that group couldn’t have liked the way the game started with Denver center Manny Ramirez snapping the ball over Manning’s hand for a safety. Others were ecstatic.
The biggest counter-punch bettors threw at bookmakers came on that opening play, as a safety paid out as high as 8-to-1 and 60-to-1 to be the first score. The proposition wagers might have served as the only thing that kept the books from breaking their record $15,430,138 profit set on the 2005 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
“That safety was a torch job,” Bogdanovich said. “It’s not a fun way to start off the day, getting six figures in the hole.”
“We were down $62,000 on the first play of the game,” Vaccaro reported. “We got dinged pretty good on that one, and a few others as the game went on.”
Other particularly harmful plays included Malcolm Smith’s 69-yard interception return for a touchdown, Percy Harvin’s 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Wes Welker’s two-point conversion catch from Manning.
Props on those types of plays taking place paid out around 4- or 5-to-1. Manning’s lackluster passing day, in which he failed to eclipse his popular over/under totals with 280 yards and one touchdown, helped ease the sting.
South Point wound up a small winner overall on the props, but that wasn’t the case at all shops around town.
“I’ve got to think just about everywhere will be anywhere from a wash to a small loss on the props,” Bogdanovich said.
One of the most gainful props for William Hill was Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch scoring the first touchdown. Sports books listed Lynch as the favorite at around 5-to-1, but gamblers mostly ignored him, seeking a higher payout elsewhere.
There wasn’t much on betting boards left untouched. Super Bowl 48 is expected to surpass last year’s record of $98.9 million wagered on the game.
The action on the field may have disappointed. The action at the counter didn’t.
“The Seahawks covering, winning and holding the Broncos offense under on everything was the best result we could have asked for,” Vaccaro said. “It was the optimum side.”