For those with no dog in the fight, the Auburn Tigers will be the natural team to cheer for when they confront Florida State in the BCS National Championship January 6.
Natural because we love an underdog and because of the news revealed earlier this month by LVH Sports Book Director Jay Kornegay: There are 14 outstanding tickets with 1,000-1 odds on Auburn to win the title.
That’s $1,000 returned for every dollar wagered.
“We do have some liability,” Kornegay says. “But we’ll be in a decent position when the game arrives.” His voice betrays no insecurity. “I’m not stressed,” he adds. “At all.”
The truth, as serrated as ever, is that he need not be. “For one,” says South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, “he’s got a way out.”
And a sizeable way at that. Kornegay’s side of the jackpot, FSU, is the favorite, with the betting market forecasting the Seminoles to win by at least a touchdown at press time. All Kornegay needs to do is slacken his lines on the game to entice more action on Florida State.
It’s harder to hedge your bet when you have the underdog. Nevertheless, Ken Thomson, a veteran sportscaster and handicapper, advises those 14 ticket holders to return to LVH, where, on account of their tickets, they’ll find the most profitable odds on FSU.
“[LVH] could take a chance that FSU would win the game, but if Auburn wins, they would get burned,” says Thomson.
“We’ll see,” says Kornegay, grinning. “We’re in a position to handle our liability. My team and I are very confident.”
Of course, they were also confident last January, when Kornegay and his team had posted those extravagant odds on Auburn. It’s not just that the Tigers were fresh off a pitiful 3-9 season, but such bets—called futures—are akin to finding a needle in a haystack. They’re foolish, say professional sports bettors, a means by which squares hand over their hard-earned money. Examples like Auburn are rare, and the publicity they generate only glamorizes futures, attracting more people to bet them. So even if Auburn wins on January 6, the house won’t necessarily lose. For there’s nothing biblical about Las Vegas; Goliath always emerges victorious.