Bookies Off to Solid Start to Kick Off March Madness

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The First and Second Round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament, commonly referred to as March Madness, have yielded mostly lucrative results for bookmakers across the board.


The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that the action at Las Vegas sportsbooks Thursday through Sunday was fast and furious.

“We wrote as much in the first two days as we did on the Super Bowl, which is incredible,” veteran South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro told the LVRJ. “They bet every game, even if they don’t like somebody. Because they’re here and it’s March Madness, they find an excuse to bet a game.”

By comparison, this year’s Super Bowl generated a Nevada record wagering handle of $138.5 million.

In addition to the betting volume, the books also realized a profit thanks primarily to a series of failed covers and dogs upsetting the favorites.

The Tar Heels, Wildcats and Ducks won but didn’t cover, while the Cardinals and Blue Devils each lost outright.

“It’s been fairly quiet in the book as of late,” Caesars Palace sports book director Frank Kunovic told the LVRJ. “Any time it’s quiet in the book, we’re doing good.”

The South Carolina upset over Duke led to a number of futures bets losing, not to mention countless numbers of brackets being broken.

The Las Vegas Review Journal noted that bettor at South Point lost $30,000 in futures wagers that Duke would win the national title.

Kentucky turned out to be the most bet on side of the Tournament thus far, according to Dave Mason of BetOnline.

He tweeted ahead of the Wichita-Kentucky game:

Gulp. Wichita St v Kentucky is our biggest CBB decision of entire season so far. Tons of action. 70% of $ on KY

BetOnline had moved the line to -3.5 from -3 with the Wildcats win by three points, thus helping to deliver additional profit to that popular online sportsbook.

At least one dog bettor seeks to make out big should the Wolverines win this year’s Championship title. 

Detroit native and Las Vegas casino magnate, Derek Stevens, wagered $12,500 on the seventh-seeded Michigan to win the 2017 NCAA Tournament at the Golden Nugget.

On Thursday, Stevens told Brent Musburger (, “This has been brutal. The boys at the South Point, oh, they’ve been right on the number. Isn’t this amazing how great these bookmakers are in Las Vegas?”

- Don Shapiro,

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