For bettors who played the Pittsburgh Steelers it was disappointing, for those who backed the Arizona Cardinals it was satisfying and for the actual members of the Steelers football team, it was euphoric.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were listed as 6.5-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals heading into yesterday's game and when all was said and done, Pittsburgh won 27-23, allowing Arizona to cover at +6.5 and the Total of 46.5 to go Over.
In terms of first half betting, the Steelers had a 17-7 halftime lead and although the Cards outscored Pittsburgh 16-10 in the final two quarters, they ultimately lost the game.
Arizona did win the coin toss however, electing to kick to Pittsburgh in the first half and receive in the second.
Pittsburgh WR Santonio Holmes caught nine receptions, many of them clutch, for 131 yards, including the game-winning TD. Holmes was rewarded with the game MVP for his efforts.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger went 21/33 for 256 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT while Cardinals pivot 31/43 for 377 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.
LB James Harrison helped the Steelers avert disaster by intercepting a Warner pass just before halftime, returning it 100 yards—the longest play in Super Bowl history—for a TD.
In terms of the Super Bowl XLIII handle, it won't be as high as Super Bowl XL—where a total of $94.5 million was wagered on the same Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks—but Jay Kornegay, the Las Vegas Hilton's sportsbook director, told the Las Vegas Sun that it won't be far removed from last year, where the handle was $92.1 million.
"We don’t have all the numbers in yet, but early numbers indicate it should be similar to last year, which is a lot better than many had anticipated," Kornegay said.
"It says a lot about the event. Despite some things being bad around us, people are willing to forget that for awhile, put some money on the Super Bowl and enjoy the weekend."
Kornegay's counterpart at the MGM Mirage, Jay Rood, was a little more hopeful.
According to Rood, his sportsbook's handle was "right in line with last year, and maybe better than last year."
Unfortunately the actual handle was below forecasts.
On February 4, 2009, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing numbers from the Las Vegas Gaming Control Board, reported that the total amount wagered on Super Bowl XLIII was $81.5 million—down 11.5 percent from last year's handle despite many considering Sunday's game one of the best.
The director of operations for Lucky sportsbooks, Jimmy Vaccaro, said it was a sign of the times.
"It was not the matchup. I just think it was the economy," explained Vaccaro.
The LVRJ went on to say that bookies in the state of Nevada, all 176 of them, won $6.7 million.