Twenty-one leading handicappers, bettors, oddsmakers
and bookmakers participated in Friday night's
Super Bowl seminar at the Las Vegas Hilton and
the final tally was Pittsburgh 11, Seattle 10.
Some prognosticators picked the
Steelers to win but the Seahawks to cover, some
forecast a Steelers' blowout and a few chose
Seattle in a cliffhanger.
No accord was reached on what
the magic number -- 4, 4 1/2, 5 or higher --
would or should be, or whether a record handle
would be set.
The spead was bouncing between
4 and 4 1/2 Saturday, though, like Elvis sightings,
reports that 5s were available for Seahawks
The total held strong at 47.
Oddsmaker Kenny White, who services
the Hilton as well as most Nevada books along
with offshore clients, said action was good
at 4 and is even better at 4 1/2 -- most of
it on Pittsburgh and the props.
"Four's a good number, 4
1/2 a little more so," said White, who
originally shipped it at 3.
Bookmaker John Avello pointed
out the Super Bowl line normally is a little
"The money's on Pittsburgh,"
Avello said. "Seattle hasn't developed
a following and it's a small market."
"We opened 3 1/2 and quickly
went to 4," said MGM-Mirage's Robert Walker.
"You can feel the Steelers'
"Nobody's buying the Seahawks;
most bettors don't know where Seattle is. Seattle
has no fan base.
"Four of every five bets
over $10,000 we've taken have been on Pittsburgh."
Stardust Race and Sports Director
Bob Scucci said early money was on Pittsburgh
and continued to come in on the Steelers at
a 2/1 ratio.
"We've written about three
times as many tickets on the Steelers as on
the Seahawks," Scucci said. "It's
Jay Kornegay, the Hilton's race
and sports director, advised listeners to watch
what happens on both sides of the counter during
the four to five hours leading up to kickoff.
"The last four hours is
when the money shows," noted veteran bookmaker
Participants observed the Super
Bowl had become an event unto itself -- a national
holiday -- and that people really don't care
"We made it an event,"
That's why some believe handle
will surpass last year's record.
"You have another major
resort this year, Wynn Las Vegas," Walker
said. "You should bring in more people.
"And Pittsburgh's a public
"The thing is, we haven't
taken and I don't forsee getting any seven-figure
"It is what it is,"
conceded Vaccaro. "Well, I don't know how
much of an event that would be, but we're gaining
momentum every year."
Those who were interviewed in
person or on the phone were asked for Super
Here's how some responded:
JIMMY VACARRO (former Las Vegas
bookmaker, offshore consultant and present marketing
director for Leroy's): Pittsburgh 31, Seattle
JOHN AVELLO (former Bally's and
Paris Race and Sports Book manager who joined
Wynn Las Vegas last summer): Pittsburgh 24,
RICHIE BACCELLIERI (Palms race
and sports director, longtime Caesars Palace
employee): Seattle 24, Pittsburgh 17.
JAY KORNEGAY (race and sports
director at Hilton SuperBook; cut teeth at Imperial
Palace): Pittsburgh 31, Seattle 17.
DAVE TULEY (Las Vegas correspodent
for the Daily Racing Form who authors weekly
NFL column): Seattle 23, Pittsburgh 17.
ROBERT WALKER (Race and sports
director for MGM-Mirage, oversees 13 bet shops;
paid dues at Stardust): Pittsburgh 27, Seattle
BOB SCUCCI (Stardust race and
sports director, miving to Atlantic City in
June): Seattle 24, Pittsburgh 21.
KENNY WHITE (owner of Las
Vegas Sports Consultants): Pittsburgh 27, Seattle
Brian Gabrielle is a documented member of The
Professional Handicappers League.
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