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Vegas Pulling For Pats-49Ers , Dreading Ravens-Falcons !


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Vegas pulling for Pats-49ers Super Bowl, dreading Ravens-Falcons

By Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com

There's no doubt which teams Vegas sportsbooks want in the Super Bowl.

"Pats-49ers would be great for us,” Jeff Stoneback, manager of the MGM Mirage's 12 sportsbooks, said Wednesday. “If it [is] Pats-Falcons, we wouldn't be too disappointed, but we don't want to see Ravens-Falcons.

"The Patriots are the Patriots -- a big public team people have been riding all year long, a high-scoring team and that adds more excitement,” he said. “From the NFC, there's not a big public following on Atlanta like there is on San Fran since [Jim] Harbaugh became the coach. If we get Baltimore against San Fran, you'd have the two brothers' matchup, which would be a big story.”

The Patriots are like the Yankees or Lakers -- they generate strong feelings from casual fans, Stoneback said.

“People love the Pats and people hate 'em, and when you have a situation like that, they tend to bet more for or against,” Stoneback said. “They have a little more invested. Half the country might not have any interest in Atlanta."

Even when the Falcons were 8-0, Stoneback said, the books couldn't entice people to bet them to win it all.

The Super Bowl generates the year's biggest handle regardless of matchup, but Pats-49ers ensures maximum economic impact.

“You get two major markets from opposite coasts involved in the game, and northern Nevada has a huge contingent of 49ers fans,” said Todd Fuhrman, the former Caesars Palace oddsmaker who's an analyst for DonBest.com.

“The match-up really drives people to Las Vegas, not only to bet the game, but for the restaurants, hotel rooms and nightclubs.” The home of the Super Bowl

Last year's Giants-Patriots Super Bowl generated $93.9 milllion in wagers -- the most in five years -- at Nevada's 184 sportsbooks. Books won just over $5 million and have profited in 20 of the last 22 Super Bowls.

Many of those wagers were placed on props. Casual fans familiar with a player involved are more likely to bet whether, for instance, a receiver will catch more than 6.5 passes.

"Everybody bets the Super Bowl," Stoneback said, "and more people know who Wes Welker is than Tony Gonzalez."

Entering Sunday's conference championship games, the Patriots are even-money favorites to win the Super Bowl, followed by the 49ers (15-4), Falcons (11-2) and Ravens (15-2).

Edited by falcon_ace
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