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Bettors wagered $93,899,840 on the Super Bowl in Nevada sports books, the second highest amount ever. Combined, the sports books netted $5,064,470 for a 5.4% “win rate.”

You may be asking a natural question – are these results good or bad? Well, they’re mixed. While books handled the second highest amount ever, the 5.4% win rate was the third lowest in the past 10 years and the $5M net profit was also the third lowest total in the past decade.

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, there were a number of reports that early (public and sharp) money was on the Giants. And then, predictably, there were reports that late money was coming in on the Patriots. By kick-off, most books were reporting pretty balanced action on the side (with slightly more money on the under.) A balanced book is often the goal, of course, as it leads to guaranteed profits for sports books.

Now, these results will likely fuel the tired old adage that “the public always loses and the sports books always win” refrain. But they shouldn’t.

Look at it this way. If sports books had received equal action on all $93,899,840 bet on the game (50% bet the Giants and 50% bet the Patriots), books would have won $4.2M for a “win rate” of 4.5%. Now, Nevada’s “win rate” was slightly higher at 5.4%. Does that mean there was more money on the Patriots than the Giants? Nope, not at all.

Keep in mind, the Super Bowl reporting includes parlays and prop bets. And it’s on those types of bets where casinos have much higher “win rates.” Proof: over the past 12 months, Nevada books have a football “win rate” of just 3.4% but they enjoy a 28.6% win rate on parlay bets. And the prop bet win rate is likely somewhere in between.

So did the public lose and Vegas won? Nope. Vegas won, like it usually does, because of the vig. And most of the public won as 60% of the single wager tickets were on the Giants (per reports from SportsOptions and SportsInsights).  And that crazy guy who bet $1,000 on a safety won. But it would have been better for the vast majority of sports books had the Patriots won the game as Craig Schaffer, Assistant Manager at the MGM Mirage told Bloomberg yesterday.


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