It’s a Super week to bet football |

It’s a Super week to bet football

Michael Schneider

Does anyone know the odds of Atlanta running back Jamal Anderson breaking the nail on his right index finger with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl?

Chances are that’s about the only bet one can’t make at one of the five South Shore sports books on Super Bowl XXXIII. The game will be played by the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos Sunday evening.

The point spread has remained at about 7.5 at most South Shore casinos, with Denver favored. The over/under has been at about 54 total points and the money line has fluctuated with Denver around -270 (meaning one must wager $2.70 to win $1), and Atlanta close to +220 (meaning one will win $2.20 for each dollar wagered). Money line bets are independent from the point spread and are won when one’s chose team wins.

But Super Bowl betting on South Shore isn’t just about the more common bets. Area bookmakers agree, Super Bowl weekend is by far the biggest sports betting weekend of the year on South Shore.

Super Bowl weekend is a time for proposition, or “prop,” bets. Prop bets are based on the old adage that it’s not who wins the game, but rather how it is played.

Perhaps the king of the prop bets on South Shore is Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino. Harveys has had a Sunday/Monday night football proposition card for the whole regular season, as well as many prop bets during the playoffs, which are many of the proposition bets the other casinos are offering for the Super Bowl (longest field gold, total sacks, total penalties…).

“We got some good practice during the championship games for the props,” said Dave Probert, director of the sports book at Harveys.

For the Super Bowl, Harveys has really outdone itself with the “Tahoe Specials” section of its Super Bowl Betting Menu pamphlet.

The Tahoe Specials transcend the sport of football and ask patrons to compare Super Bowl performances with those to come later in the sports year in other disciplines.

“This is probably the fifth or sixth year we’ve done the Tahoe Specials,” Probert said. “We wanted to make something that was an unusual prop.”

Will Jamal Anderson’s rushing total exceed the total wins for the New York Yankees baseball franchise in 1999? Anderson is +110 while the Yankees are -150.

Probert said Harveys consultants in Las Vegas predict that Anderson will have around 100 Super Bowl yards. The Yankees won over 100 games last year, so both numbers are expected to be close to each other.

Will the total points scored in the third quarter exceed the total number of wins garnered this year by 1998 Nascar Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon? Both are -120.

Do you have a feeling as to how the last score of the contest will be achieved?

At Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, betters can choose from either team scoring a field goal, touchdown pass, touchdown run, other touchdown or a safety (kicks after touchdowns don’t count).

“We’ve had ’em (prop bets) all along but it seems every year there are more and more,” said Will Gilliam, sports book supervisor at Harrah’s.

Gilliam said he likes the adjusted point spread bets Harrah’s offers.

“If you think Denver will blow them (the Falcons) out, then that’s a good bet,” Gilliam said. “But I think it will be a tight game. Atlanta wouldn’t be there if they weren’t good.

“It’ll be high-scoring but tight.”

At the Lakeside Inn and Casino, the book offers a money line bet on which team will hold the ball the longest. If one chooses the Broncos, they must hold the ball for a minute longer than the Falcons while the Falcons have a one-minute cushion.

Caesars Tahoe book patrons can get odds on how many catches Falcon’s receiver Tony Martin will have by game’s end. If one thinks Martin will have a huge game, he’s 10/1 to catch nine or more footballs while the odds are 5/1 he’ll have two or less receptions.

Don’t like giving 7.5 points to the Broncos or taking 7.5 with the Falcons? The Horizon Lake Tahoe Casino Resort, like most other South Shore casinos, offers alternative point spreads with money line payoffs.

If sports fans think the Broncos will win by 11 points, they are -135 at the Horizon. On the flip side – Will the Falcons pull a major upset and win by a touchdown? They are +475 to win by 6.5 points at the Horizon.

“We have more alternative spreads,” said Jerry Agar, supervisor of the Cal-Neva sports book at the Horizon. “People like the prop bets. That’s why we keep doing them.”

Super Bowl XXXIII kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at 3:25 p.m.

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