People will bet on anything – including Harvard.
Since opening odds to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament were posted last April, the LVH SuperBook has taken 16 bets on the Crimson to win the championship.
Eleven of those ham-sandwich bets came when Harvard was listed at 9,999-to-1.
"It's just a mix of $5 and $10 bets," said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the SuperBook. "I'm not too worried about Harvard."
But he is a little concerned about Miami and New Mexico, two teams that began the year as big long-shots and could do some financial damage to the SuperBook by winning the whole thing.
"There are always a few teams that we don't need to win. Miami leads that pack this year," said Kornegay. "It's not that bad, but it's something we'd have to work around with our futures going into the Final Four."
Kornegay took nine bets on the Hurricanes when they were listed at 200-to-1 and many more throughout the season at varying odds. Miami began the week in the top 10 in terms of number of bets placed at the LVH. While most of the bets were small, Kornegay did point out a $300 wager was placed on the Hurricanes when they were listed at 100-to-1.
"It's like a Kentucky Derby future for them, because they just kept improving and improving and never dropped off," said Kornegay, a 20-year veteran Vegas book manager. "When you start them off at 200-to-1 – like a lot of Kentucky Derby horses – you just keep lowering, lowering and lowering. But by the time you get to this point of the year, you have a lot of liability on this team.
"It's kind of in the back of my mind right now, but I'm not losing sleep over it," he added. "I'll worry about that when we get to the Elite Eight. It's nothing like the VCU issue that we had a couple years ago."
In the 2011 tournament, Kornegay was facing significant liability on Virginia Commonwealth – including a $10 ticket at 5,000-to-1 odds – when the Rams crashed the Final Four. They lost to Butler in the national semifinals.
After the 2013 brackets were released Sunday, Miami, the No. 2 seed in the East region, re-opened at 8-to-1.
New Mexico, the No. 3 seed in the West, also could prove costly for the SuperBook. Kornegay took one bet on the Lobos at 500-to-1. Most of the bets on New Mexico came when the Lobos were at 300-to-1, including a couple $50 tickets, and a few more $100 wagers at 100-to-1.
The Lobos re-opened at 30-to-1 after the brackets were released Sunday.
"Out of the contenders, New Mexico is our second worst scenario, behind Miami," said Kornegay, who added that North Carolina State, Wisconsin and St. Louis also would be losers for the SuperBook in the futures market.
This article is a reprint from the Sportsing News, Linsemakers column. To view the original story, click here.