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Super Bowl handle of $145.9M falls short of Nevada record

Updated February 4, 2019 - 6:35 pm

A game that set a Super Bowl record for futility fell well short of setting a Nevada record for betting handle.

The state’s 200 sports books took $145.9 million in wagers on the New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, according to figures released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The books won $10.7 million on the game, which was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever, for a 7.4 percent hold, or win percentage.

It ended a run of three straight years of record handles for the state. The Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 win over the Patriots last year generated $158.6 million in bets to shatter the previous record of $138.5 million set in 2017 in New England’s 34-28 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons.

“People are tired of the Patriots,” Westgate sportsbook manager Ed Salmons said. “I really think the Patriots’ fatigue thing played a role.

“Everybody wanted to see the Chiefs against the Saints or the Rams. I’d be willing to bet if the Chiefs were in the game, the handle would’ve blew away last year’s record.”

William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich attributed the drop in handle to a combination of three factors: fewer seven-figure wagers this year, new gaming jurisdictions and a low money line.

There were three $1 million-plus bets placed on Super Bowl LIII after at least five seven-figure wagers were placed last year, when a gambler known as Bettor X won roughly $10 million on the Eagles over the Patriots.

MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jay Rood said the lower handle was caused by “Bettor X mostly.”

The unidentified bettor reportedly wagered $3.8 million on the Rams, or less than half the amount he bet on last year’s Super Bowl.

The books have won more than $10 million on four of the last six Super Bowls, winning a record $19.7 million (16.5 percent) in Seattle’s 43-8 upset of Denver in 2014.

The only two Super Bowls the books have lost since the state started tracking the game in 1991 were the Giants’ 17-14 upset of the Patriots in 2008 and the 49ers’ 49-26 blowout of the Chargers in 1995.

In Super Bowl XLII, the books lost $2.5 million (negative hold of 2.8 percent) when New York spoiled New England’s bid for a 19-0 season as 12-point underdogs.

In Super Bowl XXIX, the books lost $396,674 (negative hold of 0.6 percent) when San Francisco covered as an 18½-point favorite.

New Jersey sportsbooks lost $4.6 million on $34.9 million in wagers on the Super Bowl, the first major sporting event for bettors since sports gambling was legalized in the state last year.

DraftKings reported a loss of a little more than $1 million and FanDuel reported a loss of almost $5 million, much of it from a promotion that offered new customers a $5 money-line bet on either team to win $265 at odds of 53-1.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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