Patriots not only big losers

Times Staff Writer

Actor Todd Thomas is a transplanted New Yorker living in Southern California and he seldom gambles.

But once Thomas found out that the Giants were double-digit underdogs to New England in this year’s Super Bowl, he jumped at the chance to place his money on New York to win.

It turned out to be a great decision when the Giants upset the Patriots, 17-14, on Sunday.


“Most people were blinded by New England’s quest for perfection and overlooked the pure athleticism of the Giants’ defense, particularly up front,” Thomas said. “With New York getting 4-1 [to win outright], I did not have any problem putting my support behind the Giants.”

And so did many others. Although true figures are difficult to confirm, sports betting experts claim that nearly 80% of the sports books lost money on the game.

Jay Kornegay, director of the Las Vegas Hilton sports book, said that the Giants’ victory topped the 1979 Super Bowl, which is known around Las Vegas as “Black Sunday.”

“Vegas was hit hard but only $20 to 25 million was bet on the game,” Kornegay said of the Steelers’ 35-31 victory over Dallas in a game that had Pittsburgh favored between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 points. “This was easily the worst Super Bowl ever for sports books.”

Considering that Sunday’s Super Bowl set a Nevada state record with a handle of more than $100 million, that’s a lot of money won for people who bet on the Giants to win.

“I don’t feel any sympathy for Vegas because it’s not like they couldn’t have seen the signs,” Thomas said. “They still made the odds so strongly behind the Patriots even though they only beat New York, 38-35, at the end of the season. You could see that the Giants gained confidence from that game while New England did not seem to improve at all.

“I’m just glad that [oddsmakers] kept it that way because I won big and I know a lot of New York fans that did too.”

The Giants may be this season’s Super Bowl champions, but they are not favorites to repeat, according to futures lines set by oddsmakers.

At, New England is the favorite at +400, followed by the San Diego Chargers at +600. Even Indianapolis (+1,300), Dallas (+1,600), Green Bay (+2,100), New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville (+2,600) get better odds than New York, which is tied with Cincinnati and Philadelphia at +3,100.

Pro basketball

The Clippers, who ended a nine-game road losing streak with a victory over the New York Knicks on Monday, will play at Boston tonight and the best action for the game may be the over/under combined total.

In the last 10 meetings between the teams, the under is 8-2 and in the Clippers’ last 19 games against a team with a winning percentage of .600 or better, the under is 14-5.

The under is also 7-0 in the Celtics’ last seven games against a team with a losing record overall, and the under is 4-1 in Boston’s last five games versus teams from the Pacific Division.