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Super Bowl Odds and Props

Last Updated: 6/3/2014 1:40 PM ET
Tuesday, January 28

LAS VEGAS - Even before the super matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks – the No. 1 seeds in each conference – was set a week ago, Las Vegas knew it was looking at a great Super Bowl Weekend. 

And I’m not just talking about the fact that the teams they defeated, the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, are pretty popular teams, too. No, this year’s Super Bowl was guaranteed of being a success in Las Vegas on May 25, 2010, when the NFL announced the game would be held at the new MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., as the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.

Las Vegas – and its neighbor to the north, Reno – has long been a popular destination for football fans that either can’t get tickets to the big game or prefer watching it at the casinos’ parties with all the legalized gambling. And that’s when the game has been held in traditionally warm-weather cities (or in cities like Detroit and Indianapolis that have domes), so putting it outdoors immediately made Nevada look like a more appealing alternative to a lot of fans.

Last year, Las Vegas had 311,000 visitors in town for Super Bowl weekend (an increase of 3% from 2012, according to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau) and filled 91.5% of our 150,000 hotel rooms. Some travel sites have estimated that hotel rooms are 20% ahead of last year’s rate, though we never know what to make of such numbers as Vegas hotels are known to hold back a portion of their rooms in case some high-rollers (aka “whales”) call looking for rooms at the last minute.

So, we were already looking at big crowds and big betting handle – and then the Broncos-Seahawks matchup just supersized it.
Don’t forget that Nevada set a record last year with total Super Bowl handle of $98.9 million when Baltimore beat San Francisco 34-31. That wasn’t viewed as the most-appealing matchup, but the handle certainly got a boost from prop bets involving 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. Most industry insiders say that if San Fran had beaten Seattle that the first $100 million handle would be a foregone conclusion, but it’s interesting to note that the previous record of $94.5 million was set in 2006 when the Seahawks lost to the Steelers (though that was before the recession hit in 2007 and started the downward trend that has now reversed).
 
Nevada Super Bowl Handle
YEAR HANDLE RESULT WIN/LOSS HOLD %
2013 $98,936,798  Ravens 34, 49ers 31 $7,206,460 7.3
2012 $93,899,840 Giants 21, Patriots 17 $5,064,470 5.4
2011 $87,491,098 Packers 31, Steelers 25 $724,176 0.8
2010 $82,726,367 Saints 31, Colts 17 $6,857,101 8.3
2009 $81,514,748 Steelers 27, Cardinals 23 $6,678,044 8.2
2008 $92,055,833 Giants 17, Patriots 14 ($2,573,103) -2.8
2007 $93,067,358 Colts 29, Bears 17 $12,930,175 13.9
2006 $94,534,372 Steelers 21, Seahawks 10 $8,828,431 9.3
2005 $90,759,236 Patriots 24, Eagles 21 $15,430,138 17.0
2004 $81,242,191 Patriots 32, Panthers 29 $12,440,698 15.3
2003 $71,693,032 Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21 $5,264,963 7.3
2002 $71,513,304 Patriots 20, Rams 17 $2,331,607 3.3
2001 $67,661,425 Ravens 34, Giants 7 $11,002,636 16.3
2000 $71,046,751 Rams 23, Titans 16 $4,237,978 6.0
1999 $75,986,520 Broncos 34, Falcons 19 $2,906,601 3.8
1998 $77,253,246 Broncos 31, Packers 24 $472,033 0.6
1997 $70,853,211 Packers 35, Patriots 21 $2,265,701 3.2
1996 $70,907,801 Cowboys 27, Steelers 17 $7,126,145 10.1
1995 $69,591,818 49ers 49, Chargers 26 ($396,674) -0.6
1994 $54,483,221 Cowboys 30, Bills 13 $7,481,541 13.7
1993 $56,811,405 Cowboys 52, Bills 17 $7,174,869 12.6
1992 $50,334,277 Redskins 37, Bills 24 $301,280 0.6
1991 $40,080,409 Giants 20, Bills 19 $3,512,241 8.8
 
This year’s Super Bowl betting got off to a great start. After the Seahawks held off the 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 19, the LVH SuperBook made the Seahawks a 2-point favorite over the Broncos while most offshore books opened at pick-em with CRIS going with Broncos -1. Most other Nevada books went with the Seahawks as a 1- to 1.5-point favorite, but it was clear right away that early bettors were all over the Broncos, and not just because of Richard Sherman’s post-game remarks. Within 25 minutes, all the offshore books had the Broncos favored and then another 11 minutes (7:27 p.m. PST, according to the Don Best odds screen) before the LVH was the last holdout at pick-em in Vegas.

The Station Casinos, which caters mostly to locals, went as high as 3 that Sunday night but that lasted all of four minutes. The consensus closed at Broncos -1.5 that night, but it didn’t take long on Monday morning for every other book to move to Broncos -2.5. That’s where the number has sat for the past week here in Vegas while the offshore consensus has dropped to Broncos -2. One exception is Bovada, which has been sitting at 3, though that shouldn’t surprise anyone as they often have the highest price on the Don Best screen.

Bookmakers in Vegas, particularly Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point, have said they expect the number to get to 3 here by the weekend with the tourists expected to be looking to bet Peyton Manning and the favored Broncos.

The books are also bracing for heavy proposition wagering with those betting on the Broncos expected to also be looking to bet the over on individual player props, while those looking to back the Seahawks are more likely to bet over on their players while looking to bet under on Bronco players.

The first cold-weather Super Bowl (plus the Seahawks No. 1-ranked defense) has the over/under lower than normal at 47. The latest weather reports (see weather.com) has the temperature in the mid-30s around the 6:30 p.m. EST kickoff and dropping into the 20s later in the game, but no snow or wind expected to be a factor. Of course, any changes to that forecast could impact a lot of the betting lines.
As everyone knows by now, there are proposition bets on just about anything you can think of from which team wins the coin toss to who scores first to who scores last and whether or not there’s an overtime (a Super Bowl has never gone to overtime; as of Monday, the LVH had the “no” at -900 with the “yes” at +600). There are also over/under props on yardage for most skill position players (as well a selected rushing attempts/receptions/etc.) as well as head-to-head matchups.

If you’re in Nevada, keep in mind that state gaming regulations require bets be decided on the field and able to be verified by the box score. So that means no wagers on the length of the national anthem, on whether or not it snows., on how many times they show Archie Manning on TV, on whether or not there’s a wardrobe malfunction at halftime, or on the MVP (which is subject to a vote, which Nevada doesn’t allow just like the case with other MVP votes as well as the Oscars, Grammys, etc.). If it wasn’t for those rules, we’d top $100 million for sure!

However, the offshore books are under no such restrictions, so plenty of people will be looking to bet Peyton Manning for MVP (11-10 at Bovada as of early Tuesday morning, which is a better price than laying the money line if you think that’s it a foregone conclusion that Manning will win MVP if the Broncos prevail). Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch as each 15-4 as the lowest-priced Seahawks.
Bovada also has the over/under for opera star Renee Fleming’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at 2 minutes, 25 seconds. As for snow, Bovada has “yes” at +200 with the “no” at -300.

It used to be that props were a novelty, especially in the 1980s and 1990s era of blowouts, but they’ve grown to account for 50% of the handle at most books. If you’re a $100 bettor, it doesn’t take many smaller props to add up, and the same if you’re a $1,000 a game bettor or whatever you see as your typical bet. Obviously, have fun with these, but try to find props where you feel you really have an edge.
However, you decide to bet the game and the props, whether it’s your own handicapping or with the tools at PredictionMachine.com, enjoy the game.

But before we leave, we should take a look at the early future-book odds for next year’s Super Bowl on Feb. 1, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (Vegas won’t benefit from having the game in a cold-weather site, but we’ll certainly get our share of visitors stopping here on the way to the game or taking quick side trips). The Broncos are the 9/2 favorite with Peyton Manning and most of the same team coming back with the Seahawks and 49ers at 6/1 as they’re expected to battle it out again in the NFC West. The Patriots are 7/1 with a huge dropoff to the Packers and Saints at 16/1, and the Bengals, Panthers and Colts at 20/1.
 
SUPER BOWL XLIX futures from LVH SuperBook
 
BRONCOS 6/1
SEAHAWKS  6/1
49ERS  6/1
PATRIOTS 7/1
PACKERS  16/1
SAINTS  16/1
BENGALS  20/1
PANTHERS  20/1
COLTS  20/1
FALCONS  25/1
CHIEFS  30/1
EAGLES  30/1
BEARS  30/1
CARDINALS  30/1
COWBOYS  30/1
STEELERS  30/1
RAVENS  30/1
TEXANS  30/1
CHARGERS  30/1
GIANTS  40/1
REDSKINS  40/1
LIONS  40/1
RAMS  40/1
DOLPHINS  50/1
BUCCANEERS  60/1
TITANS  60/1
JETS  60/1
BILLS  60/1
BROWNS  60/1
VIKINGS  100/1
JAGUARS  200/1
RAIDERS  200/1
 
 
Dave Tuley is an award-winning journalist who has covered the Las Vegas race & sports beat since 1998, first for the GamingToday newspaper in Vegas and has written for Daily Racing Form since 2000. Tuley started his own website, ViewFromVegas.com, in 2007 and has written for other websites, including ESPN.com. In 2006, he won "Best News Story" by the Professional Football Writers of America, the only time a gambling story has won a PFWA award. Tuley, 47, grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is married with children in Vegas. His roots can be seen in the names of his three children: daughters Jordyn and Peyton (named for Walter Payton, not Peyton Manning) and son Maddux. Dave can be followed on Twitter @ViewFromVegas.
 
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