By Sam Panayotovich
FOX Sports Gambling Analyst
It's been almost two decades since fThomas Edward Patrick Brady, Patriots sophomore quarterback, did the unthinkable in Super Bowl XXXVI.
After a late touchdown pass from St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, New England got the ball, tied 17:17 and 1:30 left. Brady led the offensive to get Adam Vinatieri's game-winning 48-yard field goal and give the Pats a 20-17 win and one of the biggest surprises in Super Bowl history.
New England was a 14 point underdog in the game, going up to +750 to win instantly, meaning a $ 100 New England Moneyline bet won $ 750 and paid out $ 850.
These longshot odds tell you everything – the bookies didn't give the patriots in hell a chance to win the game. This moneyline price of +750 implies a win probability of just over 10 percent. And even that seems bloated considering what the Pats were up against.
"I didn't like Brady," Las Vegas bookmaker Robert Walker told FOX Sports. Walker saw more than his share of betting on the future Hall of Famer; In the 1990s, he ran the famous sports betting company at Stardust, later managing all of the Mirage properties and currently serving as Director of Operations for the US bookmaker.
"I was a Bledsoe guy," Walker continued. "He's from Walla Walla, Washington, 40 miles from where I was born. Brady wasn't even that good in college. He wasn't anything special. There was no way of knowing what he was going to become. I couldn't have it." was more wrong.
"But the patriots who pissed off the St. Louis Rams (in Super Bowl XXXVI) were a great result for our shop. We placed a $ 4.6 million Rams moneyline bet on the Mirage."
The world has certainly changed since Brady came on stage – and moving from Foxboro to Tampa Bay is more than him. The sports betting room has absolutely exploded.
Legalized sports betting now operates in 20 states and Washington DC. Some industry experts believe the number could climb to 30 states by the end of 2022 and nearly 40 by 2025.
"When Brady entered the NFL, sports betting was only banned to Nevada," legendary Vegas bookmaker Art Manteris, who has been in the sports betting industry for 40 years and is currently vice president of racing and sports at Station Casinos, told FOX Sports.
"We had a stranglehold back then," recalls Manteris. "There were a few very small one-offs. Delaware and several other states had a few things available, but they didn't have a single event sportsbook like Nevada. Obviously, that has changed over the past few years with the discontinuation of the professional amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018.
"The only type of remote betting available at the beginning of Brady was a phone calling system. You would literally call a ticket writer who would take your bet, and that audio discussion would be recorded to serve as evidence of that bet. There were none Apps. We didn't know what an app was. "
At the time, the best apps in Vegas were foie gras, oysters rockefeller, prawn cocktail, and tartar steak. Now every sports betting has a smartphone app that customers can use to place their bets anywhere within national borders. The implementation and use of mobile betting changed the game forever.
Game boards in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania regularly report that over 85 or 90 percent of their legal sports bets are placed on a mobile device each month. It is the way of the future.
"We always knew mobile betting was going to be huge. We just didn't have the technology," joked Walker. "The first time we were mobile, you needed a beeper – and the signal was so weak we knew you were in Nevada. It was that bad."
"In today's world, the mobile sports betting app is such an important part of our business," said Manteris. "The retail business is still a big chunk here in Nevada. We have big, beautiful sports betting, and I'll always maintain that there is no experience like being in a Las Vegas sportsbook for a big event. The books are that best sports bars in the country on steroids. The biggest screens you can imagine, the best audio systems and the best service. "
Live betting or in-play betting is another revolutionary piece of sports betting. When Brady started, you could really only place one bet before the game or at halftime. Now you can shoot many sports bets at almost any moment in a game.
"It was a game changer," explained Manteris. "But I was skeptical at first. About a decade ago I started learning how to bet in-game in Europe. It seemed to me that the games that were attracting a lot of betting interest were European sport, not American sport."
"So I went to London and went to a game between Arsenal and Manchester United. Crowded crowd, exciting atmosphere. They had betting terminals in the stadium, which was fascinating. People were betting like crazy. I sat through there with my wife and child The whole game ended 0-0. And I was like, "If I booked that game in-game I could take a nap and nothing would ever change." Well, that's obviously an exaggeration, but I wasn't optimistic that US sport would be compatible with in-play betting as European sport was.
"That has been proven untrue over time. People like to watch the game and get a feel for what is going on on the field and how they think the rest of the game will play out. There is clearly an interest in the room. I'm glad I was wrong in my early thoughts. "
"All European platforms have been doing this with in-game football for years," said Walker. "More money is wagered on in-game football than before, something we've never seen in Nevada.
"And the algorithms and data feeds are definitely getting better," he said. "I don't even think we're at the top of the first inning when it comes to in-game betting. There is still a long way to go. What you see today will be different in five years, if not earlier than this."
Another new school facet of sports betting is the constantly growing range of betting on offer. I'm almost certain I've placed over 2,500 prop bets on Super Bowl LV in the past week. You can bet on almost anything these days. How long will Patrick Mahomes' first rush last? Will Tom Brady throw 40 passes? Will there be a missed extra point?
"Props are a beast, especially in the Super Bowl," said Walker. “And they've exploded in the last 20 years. We've been hot and heavy on the props since the turn of the century.
"I resisted it for a while. There weren't many props in Vegas (back then), so suddenly it became this insane race to have more props than our neighbors. Westgate took that to the extreme. We also did all these cross- Sports hockey and basketball props published. We were also involved in this wave, but a lot of those props were frivolous. People weren't that interested in many of them.
"The reality is, the more props we put up that the public doesn't like, the more likely we'll just be making professional money and we'll likely lose. It's all a learning curve.
"If you run the MGM / Mirage and manage 13 major properties and only write 10 tickets on a prop, nobody cares. It just doesn't resonate, so we'd take it off next time." Year. And I stopped getting too creative or cute because I'm just not that smart. There would be professional bettors coming in and playing a prop and I knew right away that we had made a mistake.
"Because we make mistakes when we make props."
I have connections to old and new school books. A quick poll of the people behind the counter calculates the same thesis: Las Vegas sports betting doesn't have the strongest track record against Brady in Super Bowls.
"Brady has been driving me crazy all these years," admitted Manteris. "There are two athletes in their careers who have done this. The first is Evander Holyfield. I loved Evander as an athlete. I admired his training, determination and courage. But I have done his entire career wrong and jagged. Between the Tyson fights, the Riddick Bowe fights, and the Michael Moore fight, when I needed him to win, he didn't and when I needed him to lose, he didn't.
"Brady is the same in big games. I finally needed him to win in the 'Helmfang' Super Bowl against the New York Giants and they screwed it up. Then against the Falcons a few years ago when they were way down and way back in the fourth quarter. They went back 28-3. We thought we were winners and we got knocked out. I didn't do well against Brady. He's taken me so much trouble over the years. "
"We took our biggest losses when the Giants pissed them off both times," added Walker. "We usually need the favorite to win, but we don't need cover. We don't usually do well if the dog wins immediately. When the Patriots were 18-0, that was probably the biggest loss we've ever lost at a Super Bowl had."
Finally, I did my best to set the age of Brady's retirement. He turns 44 next August so I set the line to over / under 44.5 years with juice down; FOX Bet has the number at over / under 1.5 more seasons for Brady, -110 on either side.
"If he wins this year, he has to go," said Walker. "This is a brilliant run. Why not be ahead? Very few people can make it. If he loses, depending on the outcome, he has a year left. He's still very, very good. He slows down just that. " Play down so well. If he wins it would be a brilliant time to go.
"In any case, we'll never see Tom Brady again. It's one of the most remarkable sports stories of all time."
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