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Vegas screwed up the betting for the Super Bowl and it could cost them millions

You see, the bookies don’t always win.

The mistake could cost bookmakers millions.
The mistake could cost bookmakers millions.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

WITH 12 DAYS to go before the Super Bowl, there is no favorite to win the big game. But it didn’t start out that way, and that could spell disaster for Las Vegas sportsbooks.

Shortly after the New England Patriots completed their destruction of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game, the 2015 Super Bowl opened with the Seattle Seahawks as 2.5 or 3-point favorites, depending on where you looked.

However, in the first 24 hours of betting, the line fell all the way to a pick ‘em (no favourite), a surprisingly big move for a Super Bowl point spread and a rare miss by Las Vegas.

Bill Simmons of ESPN discussed the point spread on his podcast, saying that “Vegas really screwed up with that line” and that it is rare for them to miss by that many points.

Keep in mind, point spreads are not designed to predict the winner. Rather, the purpose of a point spread is to find a number where equal amounts of money are being bet on both sides.

When this happens, Vegas wins, as losing bets typically have to pay an extra 10% (i.e., a person placing a $100 bet is actually betting $110 to win $100).

In the case of the Super Bowl, that didn’t happen. About 80% of the bets on the big game in the first 24 hours were on the Patriots, according to PreGame.com.

What is even more intriguing about this big swing is that the early betting action is typically done by the more seasoned and often professional gamblers making big bets while Joe Public usually waits until a day or two before the game or even until game day.

This means the usually smarter gamblers felt the opening line with the Seahawks favoured was a terrible one and immediately put a lot of money on the Patriots, including at least one “six-figure” bet at the MGM Casino, according to ESPN.com.

So when the Super Bowl kicks off there will likely be a lot more money riding on New England so if the Pats win, Vegas is going to lose big time.

- Cork Gaines, Business Insider

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Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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