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Major wagers pushing Super Bowl handle toward record

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By Matt Youmans

VSiN Senior Editor

It was just after 7 a.m. when Chris Andrews, the South Point sports book director, arrived for work. A few friends were waiting for him.

Lines snaking from the betting windows to the casino door formed around sunrise, and a similar crush of football fans formed at books all around the Strip. Bookmakers are reporting several six-figure wagers, and it appears projections of a Super Bowl record handle in Nevada will be on the money.

“It has been super,” Andrews said. “We’ve had strong business all day.”

The New England Patriots are 3-point favorites over the Atlanta Falcons. In an oddity, the line has not moved since it opened two weeks ago.

A wave of sharp money started to show 48 hours or so before today’s kickoff, dropping the total from 59 to 57, now tying the 2010 game for the highest total in Super Bowl history.

With all eyes in Houston, Las Vegas and parts in between focused on Falcons center Alex Mack and his broken left leg, the wagering public is pushing Nevada sports books to a record take for a single event, a haul that's expected to eclipse last year's total of $132.5 million.

VSiN reporter Ron Flatter reported from NRG Stadium that the Falcons plan to wait as long as they can before giving Mack a shot of pain reliever. He is still expected to play, but his injury could slow the Falcons’ prolific offense.

Even with Mack's injury capturing the attention of the NFL world, the South Point's Jimmy Vaccaro said he doesn't expect the injury to move the line.

Most books are seeing relatively even two-way action with the Patriots getting 55 to 60 percent of the spread money.

MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said several bets are in the $200,000 to $400,000 range, including one for 485,000 on the Patriots minus-3.

A New England win by three points would not be ideal for bookmakers.

“We just don’t want 31-28,” Rood said. “We’ll be refunding tickets until 4 in the morning.”

The largest bet so far on this Super Bowl? A $1 million wager on Atlanta plus-3 at CG Technology sports books.

"This is a no-sweat game for us," CG Technology analyst Matthew Holt said. "We're in a great position on both sides. This game is popular enough to attract some big bets."

To win straight up, New England is minus-134 on the money line, with Atlanta at plus-124. The Falcons are getting 75 percent of the money line action, according to Andrews.

Vaccaro said the wagering at South Point's sports book is split between the spread and prop bets.

Here are some of the popular props, according to tickets written:

Result of the opening coin toss? Heads is getting slightly more action than tails.

Will there be a successful 2-point conversion? Yes at plus-225 is getting the action.

Will there be a missed extra point? Yes at plus-250

Will there be a safety? Yes at plus-500

Will there be overtime? Yes at plus-550 ... though there hasn’t been an overtime in the first 50 Super Bowls.

In Houston, Flatter reported the NFL would like the NRG Stadium roof to be open for the game, and he said odds are 3-1 to rain in the Houston area before kickoff but 9-1 that it will not rain during the game. We’ll keep an eye on it.

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