Day after the Super Bowl, hangover hits sports books


The Day After the Super Bowl at a Las Vegas sports book reminds me of the day after Christmas when I was young. Except my brother doesn't hog the Etch A Sketch.

A sort of angst/depression sets in for football fans, knowing the season is over, that another Super Bowl is history and 364 days must pass until the next one.

It was 1:05 p.m. Monday at the LVH, formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton, -- what is it with Las Vegas and this pretentious use of initials? --- on the day after the NYG edged the NEP in SB XLVI. Everywhere you turned, there were empty cocktail glasses and empty Styrofoam coffee cups and torn-up checks for the rent (i.e., discarded betting slips listing the Patriots and over 54½) and ashtrays filled to the brim with ashes and butts.

Scorched earth, Las Vegas style.

There also was a fair amount of cigar smoke.

Except for the empty boxes of Pall Mall Orange cigarettes, this is what Finland must have looked like during World War II when the Nazis were beating a hasty retreat to Norway.

On a sheet touting Monday's college basketball games, somebody had circled Wofford, which was getting 10 points at Davidson, and had performed a bunch of arithmetic and computations resulting in a bottom line of $5,000, which also was circled. Alas, whoever had done the math had left the sheet behind, so perhaps circling Wofford did not seem such a good idea after all.

There was a clap of hands from the race book side of the room. A nag named Toast to Jesse had just won the fifth race on a fast track at Louisiana Downs, paying $7.40, $3.20 and $2.80.

On the sports book side of the room, there was nary a clap. English soccer was showing on six of the 11 big screens.  It was Liverpool 0, Spurs 0 -- what else? -- in the 54th minute at Anfield.

A few people were paying rapt attention to the soccer. A lot more people, about 75 or so, were lined up to collect winnings from the previous day. They looked rapt as well. Or irritated. Five windows were open, but the line was moving about as fast as a polar ice cap or the Tottenham midfield.

Some of these same people had been in the Superbook 24 hours prior, when it was packed wall to wall with football fans who roared on virtually every play -- not because the game was all that exciting, but because you could wager on virtually every play.

The LVH had posted a record 354 PBs -- proposition bets -- for the Super Bowl, the results of which were being flashed in a continuous loop on the big board above the betting windows.

I did not wait around long enough to see if a "yes" wager on Madonna wearing fishnets during the halftime show paid off. (This bet was mostly available at online sites. An offshore site called Bovada.lv ruled, but only upon further review, that Madge was indeed sporting fishnets that were barely visible above black thigh-high boots.)

A guy wearing a Brandon Jacobs jersey with a big No. 27 on back and a mostly gray beard in front stepped away from the betting windows to organize a wad of bills. Mitch Narzem, originally of Queens, now of Frisco, Texas, said he has been coming to Las Vegas with about 30 of his air traffic controller pals -- "You don't want to fly into Dallas today," one said -- for the past 10 years.

"You must have had Madonna and the fishnets," I said.

Narzem said no, but he did bet that Wayne Rooney, a soccer star for Manchester United, would have more goals against Chelsea than Jacobs touchdowns or Eli Manning interceptions -- he couldn't remember which. It didn't matter. Rooney scored twice. In a soccer match! Narzem won his bet. He also had the Giants on the money line, parlayed with the under, for $420, and cashed a futures ticket from October when he put down a sawbuck on the Giants to win it all at 22 to 1.

"I did good," Narzem said. "I cashed $1,800, invested $800."

As for those Cessna pilots, well, that's what the instrument panel is for.

By this time, it was 1:35 p.m. It was Liverpool 0, Spurs 0 in the 84th minute. There still were about 75 Giants fans, or Madonna fishnet fans who had come to the wrong place, waiting to cash tickets.

Cessna pilots were on final approach into Dallas, flying by the seat of their pants.

It was the Day After the Super Bowl at a Las Vegas sports book, aka Opening Day of Basketball Betting Season.

In about two hours, Wofford with a circle drawn around it would be getting 10 points at Davidson.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.

 

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