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Shutdown Corner

Las Vegas took a beating this NFL season

Jay Busbee
Shutdown Corner

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The Mirage sports book in Vegas. (Getty Images)

Feeling sorry for Las Vegas casinos is a tough proposition, we grant you. But this past NFL season, sports books across Vegas took a bath thanks to a most unlikely scenario: good teams playing even better than expected.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the scoreboard-roasting play of teams like the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers led many bettors to play the "over" — betting that the team will score more points than Vegas projects — and win. And when those bettors combined picks, the Times noted, $20 bets could pay off over $1,000. Nice return, huh?

Vegas was, as a result, beaten down by what insiders called the worst year in recent memory. The toughest run? Week 9, when Vegas underdogs went 2-10 against the spread and seven games topped the over. According to the Times, MGM had to tap emergency cash reserves to cover a seven-figure loss.

"It's like you're a passenger trapped on a train to hell," MGM's Jay Rood said of that weekend. If you've been to Vegas and watched your stash/mortgage payment/kids' college fund vanish into Sin City's maw, try not to break a rib laughing at that line.

The most enticing team to bettors was the Packers, who drew bets no matter how much they were favored by. And when Aaron Rodgers cut loose, well, he and Green Bay paid off big. Still lurking out there: the Super Bowl bets on seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time lines for teams like the Seahawks (75-1) and the Colts (200-1).

So, yes, the house almost always wins ... except when it comes to the NFL. Nobody one-ups the NFL.

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