Pittsburgh’s upset of Indianapolis coupled with Denver’s disposal of two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England proved to be a knockout blow to the public over the weekend, sending many parlays and teasers tumbling along with futures tickets.
Last week, Stardust Race and Sports Director Bob Scucci forecast a New England-Carolina Super Bowl to the Professional Handicappers League, believing heavy favorite Indianapolis would stumble on the road to Motown, site of the NFL’s 2006 showcase.
Monday, Scucci crowed to the Las Vegas Review-Jounal, “If I felt there was a time for the Colts to be ripe for the picking, it was this game, and I said it before the game.”
Patrick Daugherty, a Stardust night shift supervisor, and Robert Jaynes, the Stratosphere Tower’s race and sports director, agreed bet shops enjoyed a better Saturday than Sunday, which wasn’t chopped liver either.
“A lot of teasers were blown with Indy,” Daugherty declared, referring to Pittsburgh’s stunning 21-18 victory over the Colts that eliminated them from Super Bowl XL contention.
“We had some run over, but it knocked out others,” Jaynes said.
Jaynes added that the number was so elevated “educated players” considered it “way too much.”
“Some places had it as high as Indy minus 10,” he declared. “We opened at 9 1/2 and went down to 8 1/2.”
Jaynes revealed the Stratosphere took a “giant” wager — mingled with many smaller ones –on Indy earlier in the season, when the Colts were 3 1/2 to 1 to win the Super Bowl.
Carolina’s 29-21 downing of Chicago was bad news for folks holding Bears futures, as well as bookmakers, who saw early bucks on the Bears but more late ones on the Panthers.
“The public and wise guys both liked Carolina,” Daugherty noted. “We went from 3 to 2 1/2.
“Where we did well was with the total.”
The ‘Dust opened the over/under at 31 1/2, the number dropped to 30 1/2 and went off at 31.
“People were betting the under,” Daugherty noted.
The Stratosphere total bounced between 30 and 32, going off at 31.
“The over/under wasn’t what did it to us,” Jaynes said. “It was the money line and points.”
The Seattle-Washington NFC matchup was either a barnburner or sister-kisser, depending on what number you bought — again highlighting the importance of shopping around for that extra half-point.
The NFC champion Seahawks won 20-10.
“Seattle was bad,” Daugherty said succinctly.
“Either you got a small win or a push,” Jaynes observed from behind the counter.
Saturday’s blockbuster was the Broncos.
“Early money was on the Pats, but we started to see more and more parlay money on Denver as the day went on,” Jaynes said.
Stratosphere players were all over the Panthers, so much so that the number slid all the way to Bears minus 2.
“People were saying they thought we had the wrong favorite listed,” Jaynes continued. “We went all the way to 2, though some places had it at 3 and even 3 1/2.”
Daugherty acknowledged futures liability pretty much dissipated over the weekend.
Some stores had jeopardy on the Bears, others on the Redskins. Chicago opened as high as 100/1 in some futures books.
A number of stores still are out on a limb with the Panthers.
“We’ll be rooting against Carolina,” Daugherty said, presumably because the Stardust would clear less on the Panthers than with the other three survivors.