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October 30, 2014

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Super Bowl prop mania begins around town

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Steve Marcus / file photo

Bettors take in a day of action at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook. The Hilton lists Kansas as the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament at 5-to-2.

Today could be considered a holiday in the world of sports betting.

Almost all of the sports books in Las Vegas will have posted their full slate of Super Bowl proposition wagers tonight, including the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook, which plans to release its annual proposition book sometime this evening.

Last year's book contained more than 400 wagers spread out on more than 20 pages. Don't ask Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook, how many bets will be offered for this year's game between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.

He doesn't know.

"It's probably a superstitious thing, but we don't count them," Kornegay said. "We let someone else count them. We keep going until we're too tired to go on."

Kornegay did say, however, that the Hilton usually increases by 20 to 40 propositions each year.

Kornegay described the Hilton's process for putting together the props as exhaustive. He said as soon as the NFC Championship Game ended Sunday night, he and his staff started coming up with bets.

It doesn't stop all week.

"I'm sitting there tallying how many Saints might have a reception while I'm watching American Idol," Kornegay jokingly said.

Although it has waited until today to give out the book, the Hilton already has posted many of its propositions on the betting board.

Included in those propositions are many involving players like Indianapolis' Peyton Manning. The Hilton has installed Manning's over/under passing yards at 305.5 and his touchdown passes at 2.5.

The Colts' quarterback, who threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns last week against the New York Jets, will make for some of the most popular bets in Las Vegas leading up to the Super Bowl.

"We never know which one is going to be the general public's favorite one," Kornegay said. "It's usually one of the most generic ones."

It was a different story last year at Wynn Las Vegas, according to sports book director John Avello. He said some of the more goofy propositions got a ton of action.

One of the most popular wagers was over/under 50 on the average jersey number to score a touchdown. The Wynn will offer that proposition again this year.

Avello said Wynn would post its entire card of props sometime today after the staff got together Thursday evening for an Italian dinner to finalize the available wagers.

"The drunker we get," Avello said, "the more outrageous the props will become."

Avello estimated that Wynn will offer somewhere from 100 to 200 propositions on this year's Super Bowl.

Unlike Kornegay, who described the Hilton's process for putting together the props as stressful, Avello said it was one of the most exciting times of the year.

"I think the staff looks forward to it every year," Avello said. "It's a time we can sit down and figure out some props and spill some red sauce or a little wine on the sheet."

As always, the Hilton prop book will contain everything from cross-sports wagering to obscure player bets.

For example, the Hilton is offering the total points scored by the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant combined Saturday versus the total points scored in the Super Bowl Sunday.

Or a bettor could take Saints punter Thomas Morstead at odds of +220 (risking $1 to win $2.20) to punt a touchback.

"We'll have guys come up and bet five figures on a prop," Kornegay said. "It's just something that he has a strong opinion on. It's funny to be at the betting window and see these bets come in. You've got guys that really think they've found an angle on these things and sometimes, they are right."

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