RandBall: Vegas got pounded in 2012 NFL season because all the favorites won

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • January 2, 2013 - 5:19 PM


Nobody roots for the house to win in Vegas. And those shiny casinos weren't built because people win big. As such, rejoice! The big neon oasis in the middle of the desert really took it in the shorts during the 2012 NFL season, the LA Times reports:


The problem for Las Vegas sports books is that many popular NFL teams beat the point spread during the regular season. And with many bettors combining their picks in parlays, $20 wagers turned into payouts of up to more than $1,000, depending on how many winning bets they combined.

The result is what one Las Vegas sports bookmaker called a "staggering" financial hit from the NFL regular season, as bettors handed Nevada sports books their worst year in memory.

"We know the general public now has tremendous sources of information, that the regular player is sharper than the guy 10 years ago, but we've never seen a streak like this before," said Jay Kornegay, a 25-year veteran who heads the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino's 30,000-square-foot Race and Sports book.

Here's where it gets local:

On Sunday evening, Kornegay and a team of bookmakers huddled by text messages to post the first point spreads for this weekend's playoff games.

The number Kornegay most stewed over was how much to favor Green Bay by when it hosts the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the Packers' loss to the same Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. In that regular-season finale, the Packers were favored by three points.

This season, the Packers are the favorite NFL team in the Las Vegas, drawing a wealth of emotional bettors who would gamble on the team whether it was favored by 7½ or 10½ points.

The current line favors the Packers by 7½ points in Saturday's game.

"We know people will bet the Packers regardless, but all it takes is one sharp to say, 'Here's $50,000 on the Vikings,' to counteract making a [quick] line simply for the public," Kornegay said.

Aside from the use of the word "sharp," which we love, we have to say this: We suppose in just this one case it's OK to want Vegas (and the Vikings) to win.

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