Auburn bettors sitting pretty at 1,000-1 odds
Somewhere out there – the best guess would be in Alabama – there
are 14 anxious gamblers with more than just school pride riding on
Auburn winning the national championship.
They’ve got the Tigers at 1,000-1 odds to win the national title
– and they’re only one win in the BCS title game from collecting a
That has the bookmaker who sold the tickets a bit nervous, but
maybe not as much as you might think. In the sports betting
business it’s not just the customers who take all the risks.
”Being in the gambling world every once in a while you’re going
to get in situations that might not be favorable for your
property,” said Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at the LVH
hotel in this gambling city. ”This is one of them.”
Kornegay says all of the bets are relatively small, though they
do add up when multiplied by 1,000. They were taken during the
spring when Auburn had a new coach, was coming off a 3-9 record and
the general consensus was that there were five or six teams in the
SEC alone that were better than the Tigers.
It didn’t take long for Auburn supporters to notice, and put a
few bucks on their team just for the sport of it.
”We’re a player friendly book and are very aggressive with our
futures odds,” Kornegay said. ”I wish we had opened them at
100-1, but we didn’t.”
The LVH had the longest odds for the Tigers, but other sports
books took what looked to be sure money on Auburn, too. One Auburn
bettor posted a picture of his betting slip from the Paris
hotel-casino on Twitter showing a wager of $100 on the Tigers at
That’s a payout of $50,000, though it’s not time to start
counting the cash just yet. Florida State is favored by as much as
9 points in the Jan. 6 game that will decide the final BCS
Longtime oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point hotel-casino
said that bettor – and any others holding big tickets on Auburn –
would be wise to hedge their bets by finding the best price on
Florida State and betting that side. The payoff won’t be nearly as
big, but at least there will be a ticket to cash no matter who wins
”It makes no sense to have a nice little score sitting in front
of you if you don’t collect anything,” Vaccaro said.
Betting on so-called ”futures” has become increasingly popular
in recent years in this gambling city, even though the long odds
almost always favor the house. The chance to win big money off a
small bet is attractive to fans who root for their teams anyway and
don’t mind risking a few bucks on bets that seldom pay off.
Auburn could be the rare longshot that does, though the Tigers
aren’t the biggest potential payday for bettors in recent years.
That honor would belong to Virginia Commonwealth – a team that many
felt didn’t even belong in the tournament – making it to the Final
Four in 2011.
Vegas sports books had the Rams as high as 5,000-1 to win the
national championship that year, and they came within two wins of
doing just that for some lucky bettors.
Like then, though, there’s no reason to feel sorry for the
bookmakers at LVH. They can tinker enough with the lines on the
title game to draw money on Florida State and avoid taking too much
of a bath.
”It’s not like we’re going to have to raise price of our
grilled cheese sandwiches,” Kornegay said. ”Certainly we’re
rooting for the Seminoles at this point but we have a month to
adjust our money lines to make it a softer blow.”
It could be worse. The LVH made Philadelphia 9,999-1 underdogs
to win the NBA championship this season, only to see the 76ers beat
defending champion Miami in their first game and open the season
3-0. Since then, Philadelphia has reverted to form, losing 15 of
And for those looking for another future big payoff? The United
States at 125-1 to win next year’s World Cup will surely draw some
interest, but how about Iran or Honduras at 2,000-1 to win it all
”There’s definitely going to be tickets on both of those teams
and not just a handful,” Kornegay said. ”There will be a bucket
full of tickets on both those teams at those odds.”