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That safety in the Super Bowl cost Nevada sports books a lot of money

Feb 5, 2013, 10:31 AM EDT

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Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch runs time down for a safety in the final seconds of the game against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans Reuters

Ah, Super Bowl prop bets. How entertaining you are. Those who bet the “over” on the length of the National Anthem are probably sipping champagne from a skinny glass right now … as are those who bet that the final score of the game would be a safety. Nevada sports books took a bath on that latter one.

On the National Anthem, the line moved from a 2 minutes, 15 seconds opening to 2:05 just before game time, which is a lot of movement for a prop bet. Alicia Keys then came out and delivered a piano concerto of 2:35, sending the overs home happy.

Overall, sports fans bet a record $98.9 million at Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said Monday. A lot of that money was bet by 49ers fans, who usually take Las Vegas and Northern Nevada by storm whenever their team is in the Super Bowl. According to Fox Sports, unaudited tallies show 183 sports books made $7.2 million on Super Bowl action — the 21st time in the past 23 Super Bowls that Nevada sports books have come out ahead of bettors.

The previous record (2006 Super Bowl, Seahawks-Steelers) was $94.5 million.

Book makers said they took a beating this year on proposition bets, including a long-shot on whether there would be a safety. Ravens punter Sam Koch took a safety for the final score with 4 seconds left.

“Everything that could’ve happened yesterday almost did,” Avello said. ”All the props – `Will this guy pass by this much?’ `Will this guy make this many receptions’ – all of those were, `Yes.”’

”The safety was awful,” he said. ”When we cashed last night, it seemed like everyone had a bet on a safety.”

Casinos paid out at 9-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the 49ers’ final score would be on a safety cashed in at 50-to-1.

According to RJ Bell of, Nevada accounts for less than 1 perent of the worldwide handle on the Super Bowl, so assuming that sports books worldwide won at the same rate as Nevada, bettors conservatively lost more $720 million on the Super Bowl.

Fun fact: estimates that more money was bet worldwide on the Super Bowl coin flip
than was bet on any other entire game of the season.