Betting action heavy on Super Bowl props, some more than others

Proposition bets have taken the Super Bowl to unbelievable heights, creating opportunities for sharp players while helping bring in many who might previously have never wagered on a game in their lives. The Las Vegas sportsbooks certainly enjoy offering a vast array of exotic options, but there are a few they just might be rooting against when the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons kick off this afternoon.

For example, MGM Resorts has seen a surprising twist on the prop of who will win the MVP. Sure, the quarterbacks are at the shortest odds and are the most likely to lift that hardware after the confetti flies. But last year, Denver’s Von Miller decimated Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to claim the award and clean the sportsbooks’ clocks.

“We got absolutely annihilated on that,” said Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports for MGM Resorts, which operates several major books on the Las Vegas Strip, including The Mirage and the MGM Grand. “That’s probably the prop with the most money on it now.”

And it appears a lot of bettors like another defensive player this year, according to Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at The Mirage.

“Vic Beasley is crazy,” Stoneback said, alluding to the Falcons linebacker. “He opened 80/1, and now he’s 20/1.”

At CG Technology books, including at The Cosmopolitan, M and the Venetian, one of the cross-sport bets was drawing plenty of interest and price movement: Alex Ovechkin’s total points for the Washington Capitals’ home game today against the Los Angeles Kings, vs. LeGarrette Blount touchdowns for the Patriots today against the Falcons.

Bettors are all over Ovechkin in that matchup.

“We opened that a pick ‘em, and now Ovechkin is -150,” said Matthew Holt, COO of CG Analytics.

William Hill US, which operates more than 100 shops throughout Nevada, saw a hefty line swing on its prop of what will happen first in Super Bowl 51: a sack or a touchdown.

“They’re betting the touchdown pretty good. It moved like 80 cents,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US.

Indeed, the line on that prop opened sack -120/touchdown even money, and touchdown is now -180. Bogdanovich added that the under on Atlanta wideout Julio Jones’ receiving yards plummeted from the opening of 107 down to 93.5.

Similarly, at Treasure Island, the price was on the move for the prop on Jones’ total receptions, set at 7.5. Tony Nevill, sportsbook director at Treasure Island, said the under had seen some sharp action, moving the price from -115 to -125.

Stoneback said another popular prop, and disproportionately so, is one of the alternate pointspread offerings.

“They’re taking the Falcons -6.5 points,” he said, noting the price had dropped from an opener of +280 to +240 by Saturday afternoon. “We have 135 tickets on the Falcons at -6.5, and we’ve written two on the Patriots +6.5.”

Of course, at all the sportsbooks, the popular props of whether there will be a safety, a 2-point conversion or overtime – the Super Bowl has never gone to OT – are drawing plenty of public money on “yes,” with bettors rooting for a bigger payout. Rood would love to see the “no” come in on all three of those and more.

“When those goofy bets come in, the crowd goes nuts out here (in the sportsbook), and the bookmakers in back, you know, slam their heads into the table. And they’ve been cashing like crazy, so it’s a tough racket,” he said, alluding to the three straight years – 2012, ’13 and ’14 – when the safety prop hit. “The only one that hasn’t hit was will there be overtime. So maybe this is the year for that one.”

Those prop-crazy public bettors certainly hope so.

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.


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