With the Patriots down 28-9 to the Falcons in the third quarter of Sunday nightâ€™s Super Bowl, a gambler in Las Vegas could have bet that New England would win the game at 16/1 odds. And of course, the Patriots indeed completed the most improbable comeback in Super Bowl history in a 34-28 victory, giving those long-shot bettors a big win while also covering the three-point spread and pushing the over/under scoring total into the over category.
Overall, it was a good-news, bad-news kind of night for the books.
â€œFor Nevadaâ€™s largest sports book operator, William Hill, it was a fitting end to a terrible pro football season,â€ a spokesman told Will Brinson of CBS Sports. â€œThe favorite covered. The total went over. All the popular props cashed.â€
Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal said that William Hill took a six-digit loss on the night, but officials with the Westgate and Golden Nugget books told him they both came out ahead, as did the books at CG Technology, Caesars Palace/Harrahâ€™s/Rio, Boyd Gaming and Station Casinos.
â€œIt was one of the best Super Bowls weâ€™ve had in my 11 years at the Nugget,â€ sports book director Tony Miller said, adding that he was glad that the Patriots won by a touchdown instead of a field goal. Had the final score ended 31-28 in favor of New England, the books would have been forced to shell out refunds to many who bet on the three-point spread and the over/under total, which stood at 59 points for a good portion of the two-week run-up to the game before coming down Sunday.
Recreational gamblers often love to take the favorite and the over, and both of those options cashed Sunday night along with the â€œhundredsâ€ of long-shot Patriots bets made when they were down by double digits. So did a number of other popular prop bets:
â€” The game went into overtime for the first time ever, giving bettors who picked â€œyesâ€ on that prop a +1000 win (in other words, a $100 bet would win $1,000, a $10 bet would win $100, etc.). According to Brinson, 85 percent of the bets on this prop were in the â€œyesâ€ category.
â€” Patriots place kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point, giving those who predicted that would happen a +250 win (87 percent of the gamblers who played that prop were on the â€œyesâ€ side). Plus, the Patriots had to go for two a number of times because of the missed kick. Of the gamblers who played the â€œwill there be a two-point conversion?â€ prop, 96 percent of the tickets were on â€œyes,â€ Brinson reports, adding that it was a â€œvery popular prop.â€
â€” Tom Brady was named MVP of the game at +125. The William Hill spokesman told Brinson that the Brady MVP prop attracted â€œmore than double the total of dollarsâ€ of anyone else on the board.
ESPNâ€™s David Solar had a few more long-shot props that cashed:
MVP: Brady +125
DEF/ST TD: +170
Missed PAT: +250
1st TD: Freeman +850
Gatorade: None +1100
Natl Anthem: Under 130 sec
â€” David Solar (@TheDavidSolar) February 6, 2017
Gamblers had wagered a record $132.5 million in Las Vegas on last yearâ€™s Super Bowl, and Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay told the AP that he expected the betting on this yearâ€™s game to top that number.
Itâ€™s been a trying 2017 for the boys in the desert. Clemsonâ€™s upset of Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game led to big losses for the books, as did the games played during the NFLâ€™s division playoff weekend.
Iâ€™m thinking that somehow, some way, they will muddle through.