A duel between two downtown Las Vegas casino owners will be decided Monday night. The odds are that both of them will emerge as winners.
If Michigan beats Villanova in the NCAA championship game, Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta will be on the hook for $1 million to D Las Vegas owner Derek Stevens — who placed a $25,000 futures wager on the Wolverines at 40-1 odds to win the NCAA title on March 3 at the Golden Nugget sports book.
Stevens lost $52,000 in hedge bets on Loyola-Chicago in Saturday’s 69-57 loss to the Wolverines. But he’s guaranteed to end up a winner after placing a $330,000 money-line wager to win $100,000 on Villanova on Monday at the William Hill sports book. The Wildcats are 7-point favorites over Michigan at Las Vegas sports books.
— Derek Stevens (@DerekJStevens) April 2, 2018
If Villanova prevails, Stevens will win $23,000. If the Wolverines pull off the upset, Stevens will pocket $618,000.
“Both parties are in a good spot,” Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller said. “We’re in a good spot because we’ve got a formidable favorite and the No. 1 team in the country going for us. We have a good chance to win the whole thing and not lose anything.
“And Derek’s in a good spot because he (hedged).”
Fertitta posted Monday on Twitter that “today could be the day I make Derek Stevens $1M richer. … #whatwasithinking #GoNova.”
Today could be the day I make @DerekJStevens $1M richer. If @umichbball beats @NovaMBB in the #FinalFour2018 match up – his $25K bet at my @GoldenNuggetLV is a $1M winner! #whatwasithinking #GoNova pic.twitter.com/43oIqIjBZ6
— Tilman Fertitta (@TilmanJFertitta) April 2, 2018
If Stevens wins his wager on the Wolverines, the $1 million payout would be the largest ever at the Golden Nugget sports book.
“We’ve never paid out anything like that before,” Miller said. “You’ve got to hand it to Tilman and Derek. They’re both so good for downtown. Derek’s a good customer of ours and Tilman had no qualms about taking that bet from Derek or anybody.
“I don’t think Tilman would be afraid to take any bet.”
The duel has been a friendly one as Golden Nugget assistant sports book director Aaron Kessler showed up to watch Michigan’s win over Florida State with Stevens at the D Las Vegas dressed in Seminoles colors. And before Michigan’s comeback win Saturday over Loyola-Chicago, Miller tweeted, “I’ve looked all over, can’t find a Sister Jean costume.”
Miller said he and Kessler will join Stevens again for the title game.
“We’ve got our Villanova gear ready,” he said. “We’re going to root our boys home.”
Michigan (+7) over Villanova
Handicapper Bruce Marshall has had a great NCAA Tournament, going 13-5 ATS with his picks in the Review-Journal. The Gold Sheet editor (Goldsheet.com) likes the Wolverines to cover against the Wildcats, who cruised to a 95-79 win over Kansas on Saturday.
“It’s so unlikely that (Villanova) hits all those 3s again like the other day. Kansas tried to play at Villanova’s speed and that didn’t work. There’s no way Michigan is going to let Villanova play at that pace,” he said. “Their defense is really stepping up, they’re running teams off the 3-point line and Villanova shoots so much beyond the arc, they can go cold.”
Marshall noted that the Wolverines have held their opponents to 24 percent from 3-point range in the tournament and 40 percent on 2-pointers. He gives the coaching edge to John Beilein, who is 14-7-2 ATS at Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, and believes Moe Wagner is the best NBA prospect on the floor.
“Wagner could take over this game if he stays out of foul trouble,” he said. “I think Michigan has a shot to win this game. I really do.”