Betting public buying into Niners

Posted June 04, 2012 @ 1:53 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The 49ers surprisingly emerged as a powerhouse in 2011. Which begs the question: can they do it again?

The bettors at the MGM Resorts International sportsbooks in Nevada have answered with their money.

As of Friday, San Francisco was the 4-1 favorite win Super Bowl XLVII at the MGM hotels, with Green Bay the second betting choice at 9-2.

“They’re by far drawing the most” money, Jay Rood, the vice president of race and sports at MGM, said of the Niners, who won 13 games a season ago and fell in the NFC title game.

By contrast, San Francisco, as of Friday, was 10-1 at the Cantor Gaming-run sportsbooks in Nevada, as well as at The LVH Hotel and Casino. At Cantor, the Patriots and Packers were 6-1 co-favorites on Friday, while the Pats were 9-2 favorites at LVH.

The lesson for future-book bettors, as always, is to shop around for the best price. The overarching theme, however, is the public believes San Francisco, which opened at 10-1 at MGM, is for real. MGM’s hotels dot the Las Vegas strip and draw many travelers.

MGM’s bettors have also steadily backed the Packers, winners of 15 regular-season games in 2011 but disappointments in their divisional-round loss to the Giants. They have drawn the second-most money at MGM. The third-most popular team with bettors at the sportsbook? The Broncos, who were 7-1 off a 75-1 opening line as of Friday. This, of course, has much to do with the addition of Peyton Manning. Incredibly, bettors have made approximately 1,400 Super Bowl bets on Denver at 10-1 or lower, Rood said Friday.

“The money hasn’t stopped, and the liability keeps rolling up,” Rood said.

Future-book odds are a function of that liability — the winnings that bettors will take away if the club wins the Super Bowl. The more money that flows toward one team, the lower the odds move.

Such is the case with 49ers.

“Is this an accurate reflection of what I believe to be the case, that they’re the favorites for the Super Bowl?” Rood said. “No. We’re trying to manage (the) liability at this point.”

Sportsbooks will also adjust a club’s odds upward with an eye on drawing more bets. For instance, the Steelers, despite “drawing good action,” as Rood noted, were 12-1 on Friday, double their opening odds.

The Saints, who opened 10-1, were 18-1 at MGM as of Friday.

“They’re largely getting ignored,” Rood said.

At 18-1, the Saints aren’t an unreasonable gamble — assuming Drew Brees takes the field.

“Drew Brees, that’s the engine,” Rood said. “If Drew Brees is in there, you have a V-8. Anyone else, you have a four-cylinder.”