Las Vegas sports book takes a bath on Super Bowl betting

super bowl betting

Super Bowl betting hit the Las Vegas sports book hard when the favored Packers covered the spread and the Steelers covered the second half line. Image: CC MarkyBoy81/Flickr

In the Super Bowl betting arena this year, the house didn’t win. Las Vegas bookmakers took a bath when the favored Green Bay Packers won by a decisive margin. It is expected to be the worst loss for Las Vegas bookies on the Super Bowl since 1993.

Super Bowl doomsday for Vegas casinos

Super Bowl betting turned into a worse-case scenario for the Las Vegas sports book. As 2 1/2-point favorites, the Packers delivered for the betting public in its 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nevada gaming officials won’t release the official numbers until Tuesday, but several factors converged that are expected to result in big net loss for casinos. The Packers were favored and they covered the 3-point spread. There were reports of at least two $1 million bets on the Packers. The Super Bowl over/under was set at 45.5 points and most of the public bet Packers/over in a game that totaled 56 points. Plus, with Pittsburgh showing signs of life near halftime but down by 11, the Vegas second half  line favored the Steelers by 2 1/2-points and they covered.

Vegas book hit by double whammy

The Las Vegas sports book lost on the Super bowl because amateur gamblers tend to bet on the favorite and think the over/under is too low. Sports books hope the favorite wins, but doesn’t cover the spread in a low-scoring game. If the favorites fail to cover in the win, the bet on them loses. Because the Packers were favored by 2 1/2 and won by six, gamblers betting on Green Bay enjoyed a big payday. To make matters worse for the Vegas sports book, it favored the Steelers by 2 1/2 in the second half. Pittsburgh started the second half down by 11. A wave of gamblers realized they could bet on the Steelers, 2 1/2-point underdogs before the game began, as 8 1/2-point underdogs in the second half. Losing by just six, Pittsburgh delivered for those bettors as well.

The house doesn’t always win

Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest gambling day in the year in Las Vegas and usually a big harvest for the casinos. But the Las Vegas sports book found itself getting hit by bets on both teams in Super Bowl XLV. In 2010, $82.7 million was bet on the Super Bowl in Vegas. The Casinos collected $6.8 million. Estimates for Super Bowl betting in 2011 at Las Vegas are as high as $95-$100 million. Las Vegas lost $2.6 million in 2008 when the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots. In the other nine Super Bowls since 2000, the casinos have averaged a take of $9.07 million.


Los Angeles Times

Business Insider

Las Vegas Review Journal

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