It’s Black Monday for football gamblers, who woke to the annually bleak prospect of a nearly seven-month stretch without any wagering aside from futures. But before we trudge into the offseason, let’s take a look back at how gamblers did during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Via ESPN’s David Purdum, the early reports from the Las Vegas sportsbooks suggest that they’ll take home a small win from Sunday’s 13-3 Patriots win over the Rams, even if the majority of the money was on New England to cover the 2.5-point spread. If that’s the case, the books will have come out ahead in 26 of the past 28 Super Bowls (the 2008 game between the Giants and Patriots and the 49ers’ blowout of the Chargers in 1995 being the exceptions).
At the 100-plus sportsbooks run by William Hill, 55 percent of the money wagered on the point spread was on the Patriots, but 55 percent of betting on the total was on the over, and the 16 points scored fell far below the 56-point total. Plus, 58 percent of the moneyline cash was on the Rams to win as underdogs.
The point-spread percentages were similarly lopsided at other Las Vegas sportsbooks, with CG Technology reporting 65 percent of the money on the Patriots and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook coming in at just under 80 percent, according to Thomas Casale of RotoGrinders. Nevertheless, the books were buoyed by the low-scoring game.
“It’s been the sharp guys betting the under and the public on the over,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management at CG Technology, told Casale. “In fact, all the parlays, whether it’s the Patriots or Rams with the total, it’s all over. Seventy percent of the parlays we’ve taken have the over in it. We’ll certainly be on the sharp side in terms of who we’re rooting for here.”
Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “the under was the key and will probably keep the industry a moderate winner.”
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was named MVP of the game. With 22-to-1 odds, he was the sixth-most popular choice among William Hill’s gamblers, attracting 6 percent of the tickets correctly predicting his big game.
As for the prop bets, William Hill says there were 27 winning tickets predicting that the Rams would score exactly three points, a 100-to-1 long shot, and 16 gamblers took the 30-to-1 odds that the Patriots would score exactly 13. Patriots running back Sony Michel scored the game’s first (and only) touchdown, with 1,307 gamblers making that first-touchdown bet at 6-to-1 odds. Only 14 tickets were written on Rams quarterback Jared Goff not throwing a touchdown pass (6-to-1), and 18 were written on Tom Brady to do the same (7-to-1).
FanDuel, which operates an online sportsbook in New Jersey along with a brick-and-mortar operation at the Meadowlands racetrack, took a $5 million loss, with the Edelman MVP and Michel first-touchdown bets a big factor in that, Casale said.
Jay Kornegay, director of race and sports at the Westgate SuperBook, said the props kept the books' wins to a minimum:
Similarly, the gambler known only as “Bettor X” didn’t fare as well as he did last year, when he followed a $10 million win during the World Series with a number of successful million-dollar wagers on the Eagles to beat the Patriots. According to ESPN, he spread out at least $3.8 million on the Rams to win the game at various Las Vegas sportsbooks, which would have won him $4.56 million.
And even though the offseason has just begun, it’s never too early to start thinking about next season.
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