Nevada books eke out slim win off record Super Bowl betting

Big bets on Eagles in SB LII (2:43)

Doug Kezirian joins OTL to discuss some of the seven-figure bets that were placed on the Eagles for this year's Super Bowl. (2:43)

A record $158.58 million was bet on Super Bowl LII at Nevada sportsbooks.

The books won $1.1 million when the Philadelphia Eagles upset the New England Patriots 41-33. It's the smallest win for the books on the Super Bowl since 2011.

The $158.58 million wagered shattered the previous high set last year by more than $20 million.

The books have come out ahead in 26 of the 28 Super Bowls since the Nevada Gaming Control began tracking the action in the NFL's title game in 1991. The books' only two previous losses came in 1995 (San Francisco 49ers vs. then-San Diego Chargers) and 2008 (New York Giants-Patriots). The books lost $2.5 million in Super Bowl XLII between the Giants and Patriots, their worst Super Bowl defeat.

The Patriots opened as high as 6-point favorites over the Eagles. The bulk of the early money came in on the Eagles and drove the line down to as low as New England -4 at some casinos. There was also a series of big money-line bets on Philadelphia to win straight up, including a $3 million bet placed Jan. 24 with MGM. In total, five bets of $1 million or greater were reported, four of them on the Eagles.

While the state came out ahead overall, several sportsbooks reported losses.

William Hill, which took four of the $1 million bets, reported suffering a "multimillion-dollar" loss on the game. Sportsbooks Boyd Gaming, CG Technology, Station Casinos and the Wynn also suffered losses.

"If I had to do it again, I would book it exactly the same way," said Johnny Avello, executive director of Wynn race and sports operations and a 30-plus-year Las Vegas bookmaker, who acknowledged that Sunday's game was the worst Super Bowl of his career.

Art Manteris, another veteran bookmaker and vice president at Station Casinos, felt the same way.

"The crowd, the atmosphere, the handle were all great," Manteris said, "but the results were disappointing."

Caesars Palace, in contrast, was one of the books to come out ahead and reported a seven-figure win.

"We had a few large wagers on the Patriots come in late that helped offset the avalanche of Eagles money we were taking early on," Frank Kunovic, director of specialty games for Caesars Entertainment, said Monday morning. "As a bookie, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning, because we had multiple offsetting wagers that could buy some very nice size houses in Vegas."

The Westgate SuperBook, South Point and MGM said they were small winners, mainly thanks to a flurry of halftime bets on the Patriots.

The Eagles capped a hot run by underdogs in the playoffs. Underdogs went 10-1 against the spread this postseason, the best record against the spread for 'dogs in a postseason in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Philadelphia was the sixth underdog to pull an outright upset this postseason, and it was costly for the books.

The best-case scenario for the majority of Las Vegas sportsbooks was a Patriots win in a lower-scoring game than expected. The game, instead, soared over the total of 49, with eight different players scoring touchdowns, including Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles.

Foles, who was 8-1 to score, caught a touchdown pass late in the first half.

"That was really bad," Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at the Westgate SuperBook, said. "If I had to make Foles' over/under touchdowns for the whole season, I would probably make it 1½."

Kornegay said his book did worse this year on prop bets than any other year.

The sportsbooks won $248.7 million overall in 2017.