Super Bowl 51: Vegas Narrowly Avoids Nightmare Result

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Now that a parade is underway and the confetti has been swept, it’s almost too late to look back on the whirlwind that was Super Bowl 51. But after Vegas reported seven-figure wins on this year’s game, it got me thinking about a near-disaster that was in play in Sunday night.

All week, the betting line of Patriots -3 stayed put. The total didn’t move much either, staying put at 59 for almost two weeks. And with the Patriots driving in overtime, a 31-28 result would have resulted in a massive push for Vegas.

Imagine. The. Lines. Every single wager, whether it be over or under, Falcons or Patriots, would have to be refunded.

Of course Vegas would still finish ahead, as the massive amounts of wagers placed on the Super Bowl virtually prevent the sportsbooks from losing money. But the pushing would have been a massive logistical issue.

“A push is pretty bad,” an MGM executive told before the game. “But a lot has changed since that Rams-Titans Super Bowl. We have considerably more props, so if we do push on the game, there’s still the opportunity to have a decent day.”

To give you a sense of the gambling volume, he’s a photo from Twitter posted at 6:54 a.m. the morning of the Super Bowl. People are in line to make wagers a full eight hours before kickoff.

The result of the Super Bowl has pushed twice in 51 years. The Rams were a seven-point favorite when they beat the Titans, and the Packers were 14-point favorites when they defeated the Patriots 35-21. Neither of those games also pushed on the point total.

“That would have resulted in the most bets in Vegas history being refunded,” founder R.J. Bell told Bloomberg.

“I’m sure that almost gave everyone a heart attack,” a CG Technology executive told ESPN.

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