Books profit in ugly SB53
February 4, 2019
By Micah Roberts
There wasn't much super about Super Bowl 53 in the Patriots' 13-3 win against the Rams other than Tom Brady and Bill Belichick winning their sixth title in nine tries and Belichick completely ripping the Rams offense apart.
But it turned out that the majority of bettors were correct once again in the most wagered event of the year. Most Las Vegas sports books showed a small win, aided by posting of their Super Bowl futures.
"We had a lot of casino players betting the Under on the game so the low scoring game wasn't good for us," said MGM Resorts sports book VP Jay Rood. "The Rams scoring just 3 points was ugly and we got dinged on the prop of the Patriots scoring 2-to-13-points at 175-to-1 odds. The game itself we won on but the props were break even. When the dust settles after all the props are posted I'm expecting about a 4 percent hold."
Rood said he had four wagers at $1 million or more, including one wager on the Rams money-line (+120) for $2 million.
"It was a missed opportunity because we wrote about 10 percent more than last year," said Rood.
Rood said they held close to 4 percent on the game. Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said they held a little over 5 percent.
"Overall it was a good day, but nothing great," Kornegay said. "We took some big hits on props that normally never cash such as no TD in the first half that paid out at 100-to-1 or no TD by the Rams which paid out at 50-to-1, and then there was Julian Edelman to win MVP at 30-to-1. Those type of things don't usually happen."
Edelman might have been the only thing Super on Sunday with 10 receptions for 141 yards to capture the MVP award. He was the X factor the Rams couldn't defend and Brady kept going to the well.
William Hill's tally close to game time had 56 percent of the spread cash on the Patriots and 63 percent of the money-line cash on the Rams, including one $1.5 million wager on the Rams.
A couple of bet shops did better than most, including the Wynn where first-year sports director Doug Castaneda made a big splash is his Super Bowl debut as boss.
"We're elated with the results," said Los Angeles native Castaneda, "it was a great game for us."
Of course, he wouldn't share how great the results were but in this era of me getting vibes from my friends around Las Vegas, great is better than good or fair. It's always vague with a wink. My bet would be they won close to 20 percent. Way to go Doug. Tommy Burgers for you and your crew.
Station Casinos also reported a great day.
"It was a great day," said Station sports book VP Jason McCormick. "The game staying way Under went a long way with us giving us great results on the props, cards, and teasers."
The total went from a high of 59 to as low as 55.5 at Wynn. It was bizarre to see the score 3-3 at the end of three quarters and the in-progress line at the SuperBook being Patriots pick 'em -210 with a total at 21.5.
The boss at the Caesars Palace sports book, Jeff Davis, said they just won "a peanut" which means its a cross between not losing and barely winning. But he was the star last season when Caesars had the biggest win in the state. He also gets immediate relief, with not a vacation, but welcoming a new child to his family in four weeks. All the best, Jeff!
Up north in Reno, my buddy Marc Nelson at the Atlantis wasn't bullish about their returns saying things were about even as he grading the props.
All in all, it wasn't Super, but man, it was was fun talking about it for two weeks. And while I felt like this Super Bowl with elite offenses was more like Geraldo Rivera teasing me to watch no vault of Al Capone's riches in the underground of Chicago, it still was kind of cool. It was Belichick pitching the 1-0 result in Game 7 of the World Series.
As years go by, we'll appreciate this, even though casual readers of a box score will wonder how muddy the game was, or how cold was the wind chill was or how much snow landed. Nope. Dome game. Just a great general. Belichick was at his best.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.
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