Homer Bettors Screwed Las Vegas Sports Books in 2012

The worst part about playing poker with people who have no idea how to play poker? If they're not entirely sure what good and bad hands look like, it's pretty much impossible for them to show bluffs. I'm pretty sure my mom chased me out of a hand pre-flop holding a 2-7 offsuit at our last family get-together.

That's sort of what I think about when I hear that Las Vegas sports books are getting cleaned out this year because so many "popular" NFL teams are winning by wide margins. The first rule of sports betting is that you never bet with your heart, right? Well, apparently there are plenty of Americans who disobey that maxim. And because teams like the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots and the always-beloved Green Bay Packers are winning big and covering spreads this year, Vegas is getting killed.

From Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times:

The problem for Las Vegas sports books is that many popular NFL teams beat the point spread during the regular season. And with many bettors combining their picks in parlays, $20 wagers turned into payouts of up to more than $1,000, depending on how many winning bets they combined.

The result is what one Las Vegas sports bookmaker called a "staggering" financial hit from the NFL regular season, as bettors handed Nevada sports books their worst year in memory. 

Pugmire says that after one particular "perfect storm" in Week 9, when the Broncos, Falcons, Packers and a slew of other favorites covered, MGM Resorts had to  "summon emergency stashes of cash to pay off its losses."

Naturally, you'd assume that sports books could remedy this by simply pushing spreads higher when they favor teams that America loves. But therein lies the rub. 

"We know people will bet the Packers regardless," Las Vegas Hotel & Casino sports book director Jay Kornegay told Pugmire, "but all it takes is one sharp to say, 'Here's $50,000 on the Vikings,' to counteract making a [quick] line simply for the public."

I'm not going to pretend to feel sorry for Vegas bookmakers, but you have to hate when herds of sheep somehow end up leading the rest of us down an unpredictable path. The fools are taking money from the intellectuals. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.