Vegas sports books project modest Super Bowl win
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Baltimore Ravens won the game but the question in Las Vegas is how much was bet and won on the Super Bowl.
Bookmakers are projecting a moderate profit, despite losing big on proposition bets, including a long-shot on whether there would be a safety. Ravens punter Sam Koch took a safety for the final score with 4 seconds left.
LVH book director Jay Kornegay said he thinks a record number of fans bet on the game this year, in part because California visitors wanted to put money on a local team.
The San Francisco 49ers started out as 5-point favorites for Sunday's game, but gamblers bet the line down to 3 1/2 points.
The 65 points scored in New Orleans easily exceeded the over/under of 49.
Late money poured in for the "over'' wager and for the 49ers, who have built a reputation as a second-half team, Kornegay said.
Johnny Avello, director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas, said the big plays that characterized Sunday's game and made it fun to watch were gloomy news for sports books, which offer a growing list of proposition bets on everything from whether quarterbacks will throw interceptions to whether teams will score in the final two minutes of the first half.
"Everything that could've happened yesterday almost did,'' Avello said. "All the props- `Will this guy pass by this much?' `Will this guy make this many receptions'- all of those were `Yes.'''
"The safety was awful,'' he added. "When we cashed last night, it seemed like everyone had a bet on a safety.''
Casinos paid out at 9-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the 49ers' final score would be on a safety cashed in at 50-to-1.
Sports books also paid out big last year when the New York Giants played the New England Patriots and the first score of the game was a safety. Next year, Avello plans to lower the odds for that outcome.
Nevada sports books have lost only twice on the Super Bowl in the past 20 years, most recently in 2008, when New York beat the Patriots, costing casinos a record $2.6 million.
Last year, Nevada's 184 sports books took in a handle of $93.9 million, the most wagered in the past decade, and made a profit of $5 million.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is expected to release official figures for the state's biggest annual sports betting event Monday afternoon. But sports books are already looking ahead to next year.
Odds makers released numbers for next year's Super Bowl before fans even had time to stumble back to their hotel rooms Sunday night.
RJ Bell of Las Vegas-based Pregame.com made the Patriots 7-to-1 favorites, with the 49ers and Denver Broncos following close behind at 8-to-1.
Fans would like to see the odds for another Super Bowl blackout, Kornegay said, but even Vegas can't offer that action.
"We have to stay on the field of play,'' Kornegay said. "But I'm pretty sure that some of the offshore books will have that bet next year.''
Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier
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