'Worst' results for sports books

Times Staff Writer

While many sports betting houses -- from Las Vegas to Antigua -- might be hurting today, there are a ton of New York supporters wearing smiles, thanks to Eli Manning and the Giants' defense.

That's what happens when a heavy underdog wins as the Giants did Sunday, beating the previously unbeaten New England Patriots, 17-14, in the Super Bowl.

"I'm just cashing tickets," said Jay Kornegay, director of the Las Vegas Hilton sports book.

"It was a good day for Vegas, but not a good day for sports books. Early reports have this being the worst Super Bowl results ever."

Although a good number of people who made wagers on the Giants took the safe road and played the double-digit point spread, smart bettors placed money on New York to win.

And with the money line ranging from +325 to +405, they won big.

"The big underdog payoff for the Giants money-line backers meant a huge loss for Vegas," R.J. Bell of Pregame.com said.

"Some reports had over 90% of the money-line bets backing the Giants."

But that's not the only way bettors made huge gains.

Bets connected with New England's inability to score against the Giants were also money winners.

For example, people who bet on the Patriots' scoring exactly 14 points were paid off at 40-1, according to Bodoglife.com, and bettors who took New England to end the first quarter without a point won as well.

But they had to sweat out the latter.

That's because New England had the ball at the Giants' one-yard line and failed to score on the final play of the opening quarter.

Laurence Maroney ran in for a touchdown on the next snap, but that was in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead.

"The over/under for the first quarter was mostly 10.5, but for those who had 10, the Patriots not scoring when so close at the end of the first quarter resulted in a huge swing," Bell said. "Also, keep in mind the millions of dollars on 'square' grid payouts that changed hands also as a result."

Other large payouts included the bets on the adjusted over/under total of 39 1/2 points that paid +400; the Super Bowl being decided by exactly three points paid at +400; the Giants scoring exactly 17 points at 8-1; and the Giants' scoring first and winning the game at 5-1.

But at the end of the day, it was New York money-line bets that broke the house.

"The 1979 Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Dallas is known in Vegas as Black Sunday," Kornegay said about the Steelers' 35-31 victory in a game that had Pittsburgh favored between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 points.



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