Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2019

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Sports books expected to post win on Super Bowl

Big bets on Colts cancel out losses on props


Las Vegas Sun

Steven Stephenson of Las Vegas waits to make a bet on the Super Bowl at the Las Vegas Hilton sports book Thursday, February 4, 2010. The Hilton was one of the only sports books in Las Vegas to report a losing Super Bowl.

Super Bowl bets

Steven Stephenson of Las Vegas waits to make a bet on the Super Bowl at the Las Vegas Hilton sports book Thursday, February 4, 2010. The Hilton was one of the only sports books in Las Vegas to report a losing Super Bowl. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas sports books didn't score a monumental victory in the New Orleans Saints' 31-17 victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV Sunday.

But most of them didn't lose, either. Although the Nevada Gaming Control Board won't release the official figures until later in the week, sports book directors around the Las Vegas valley reported a small win Monday.

"Overall, I was pleased with the result," said John Avello, race and sports book director at Wynn Las Vegas. "I can say that much."

Avello did say, however, that the Wynn didn't have as much success with prop wagering. That was a trend around town.

A play that particularly hurt sports books occurred in the fourth quarter when Saints quarterback Drew Brees connected with receiver Lance Moore for a 2-point conversion.

Almost every sports book offered at least +400 (risking $1 to win $4) odds on a two-point conversion happening in the game. That's the type of play public bettors love to take a shot and wager "yes" on, said MGM Mirage race and sports book director Jay Rood, which puts sports book in a vulnerable situation.

"That two-point conversion prop hurt everybody," Rood said. "When you are giving those prices, you have a lot of offsetting money that cleans out some of your profit."

The two-point conversion might have served as a jab to the sports books, but they were able to evade a potential haymaker.

With four minutes left in the game, the Colts were driving and threatening to tie the score at 24. The game would have likely gone into overtime, which would have proved disastrous for sports books.

Most books priced the "yes" prop bet on overtime, which has never happened in a Super Bowl, at +800 (risking $1 to win $8) odds. Like the two-point conversion, it was a wager the public loved to bet on for the chance of a big payout.

Avello started to worry when the game became close. He even retreated to his office to look up the numbers on the overtime bet.

"I pulled that up with five or six minutes left and said, 'Oh, that would not be good,'" he said.

At that point, the damage was already done at the Las Vegas Hilton. Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Hilton SuperBook, said the Hilton lost on Super Bowl wagering.

The props didn't help. In addition to the two-point conversion, Kornegay said the Hilton lost significantly on Colts quarterback Peyton Manning going "over" most of his totals and Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey scoring a touchdown.

"Some of the things that took place during that game looked pretty innocent to the naked eye," Kornegay said. "But those things had a big effect on us."

Kornegay couldn't remember the last time the Hilton lost money on props. But they were far from the only problem.

He said the Hilton lost just as much on halftime wagering, where a few major players parlayed the Saints and over, which cashed. The Hilton also didn't get as much money on the Colts moneyline as other properties.

"It comes down to this: If you were one of those books that took a big Colts money-line bet, you came out on the winning side," Kornegay said. "We certainly didn't decline any. Just no one asked."

Many professional sports bettors opted for a Colts money-line play. Adam Meyer, who sells his picks at, confirmed his plan to bet $1 million on the Colts before the game on this radio show. MGM Mirage also took at least one bet that exceeded $1 million on the Colts.

Kornegay said he thought those plays were enough for some books to profit overall.

"It's not a home run or anything," Rood said. "But we're going to post a win."

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