NEW YORK – If there was any question around the appetite for legal sports betting on the East Coast, the feverish action on Super Bowl LIII odds at those brand-new sportsbooks in New Jersey has provided a rather loud – and lucrative – answer.
“We’ve got 10 times the amount of tickets on the (New York) Giants than on any other team except the (New York) Jets and the (Philadelphia) Eagles,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., which operates sportsbooks at Monmouth Park and at Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, told Covers.com.
Since June 14, when sports betting officially launched in the Garden State, bettors have lined up to plunk down their cash on the local teams to win the Super Bowl, creating a very unique situation for sportsbook operators – situated in Nevada – who would normally take mild action on the New York teams from tourists visiting Las Vegas casinos.
“The Giants have three times more tickets than the Jets, and the Eagles are right there with the Jets. The ticket counts on those three are so much higher than anyone else, it’s laughable,” says Bogdanovich.
The amount of money behind those tickets, particularly on the Giants, has forced a substantial shift in odds at both William Hill U.S. and MGM Resorts, which operates the sportsbook at the Borgata in Atlantic City. When William Hill first posted odds on Super Bowl LIII, on January 22, the Giants were 40/1 – meaning a winning $10 wager would net $400. The G-Men are now down to 25/1, so that same $10 bet would land only $250 now.
Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM sportsbooks, says his properties also opened the Giants at 40/1, and those odds are now down to 15/1 - or $10 to make $150. MGM pegged the Jets as hefty 100/1 long shots months ago – meaning a $10 wager would pay out $1,000 – but that number is now 60/1 due to the influx of cash on the J-E-T-S.
“Quite a bit of those moves have been influenced by the action at the Borgata,” Stoneback tells Covers. “In New Jersey, there are three teams that are heavily bet. In terms of tickets written, the Eagles are first, but the Giants aren’t far behind, and the Jets are third.”
Bogdanovich echoes the fact that it’s not Las Vegas money moving those odds, but rather the massive rush of New Jersey bettors backing the home teams.
“No question about it,” Bogdanovich says. “We’re not surprised, but then again, this is brand new, so you never know. Our liability on the Giants is enormous, and the Jets liability is definitely eye-popping, too.”
Like MGM books, William Hill opened the Jets at 100/1 to win the Super Bowl, but didn’t move as much, going only to 75/1 before actually heading back to the original 100/1 odds. Still, with the number of tickets out there on those long odds, even on small wagers, William Hill has serious exposure on the Green and White.
“The Giants have by far the most money bet on them, and the Eagles have by far the second-most money,” Bogdanovich says. “The reason we have Jets liability is because their odds are so high.”
All that said, back when these odds were first posted, neither the Giants nor the Jets were expected to sniff the Super Bowl this season - let alone win it. Sportsbook operators are counting on that proving true.
“Having this much liability is not the end of the world,” Bogdanovich admits. “We have an appetite for that.”
Bettors certainly have an appetite as well, and by season’s end, someone will get to feast on the results.
Editor's note: This article was originally published by Covers.com, a site also owned by Tribune. Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.