LAS VEGAS -- Before participating in Super Bowl VI in 1972, Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas was asked what he thought it would be like to play in the ultimate game. His response: "If it's the ultimate game, how come they're playing it again next year?"
The response to that remark from professional sports bettors and even casual fans just might be that it gives them another chance to try to beat Nevada's sports books in the National Football League's ultimate game. Unfortunately for gamblers, they usually take a collective beating during the Super Bowl.
Records kept by the Nevada Gaming Control Board from 1991 forward show that the books lost only twice since then -- in 1995 and in 2008. Gamblers will get another shot on Sunday when Super Bowl XLVII, which airs on KLAS-TV Channel 8, will be played between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
Here are the top eight Super Bowl wagering handles in Nevada since 1991, with final point spreads as reported by the website VegasInsider.com.
Ford Field on Super Bowl XL Sunday
1. $94,534,372 -- That was in 2006, when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. The books won $8,828,431, a 9.3 percent profit. Pittsburgh was a four-point favorite and the over/under point total for the final score was set by the books at 47. In betting parlance, the result sided with the favorite and the under.
2. $93,899,840 -- The 2012 game saw the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots 21-17. The game produced $5,064,470 in winnings for the books, good enough for a 5.4 percent profit. New England was a two-and-a-half point favorite and the over/under was 53, meaning the results favored the underdog and the under.
3. $93,067,358 -- The Indianapolis Colts topped the Chicago Bears 29-17 in this 2007 contest. That produced $12,930,175 in winnings for the books, good enough for a 13.9 percent profit. Indianapolis was a seven-point favorite and 47 was the over/under. That translated to a win for the favorite and the under.
4. $92,055,833 -- In this 2008 Super Bowl the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14. The books took their biggest beating, a $2,573,103 loss, or 2.8 percent of the handle. The Patriots were favored by 12 points and the over/under was 55, but the results produced sweet music for the underdog and the under.
New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles at the 2005 Super Bowl
5. $90,759,236 -- The New England Patriots edged the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in the 2005 battle. This was the most profitable Super Bowl for the books as they won $15,430,138, good enough for a 17 percent profit. The books established the Patriots as a seven-point favorite with a 46.5 over/under. The result translated to a win for backers of the underdog and the under.
6. $87,491,098 -- In 2011 the Green Bay Packers got past the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. The books scratched out a $724,176 win, barely more than eight-tenths of 1 percent profit. The books had the Packers as a three-point favorite with an over/under of 45. The winning bettors were those who bet the favorite and the over.
7. $82,726,367 -- The New Orleans Saints captured the 2010 Super Bowl by defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. The books saw a $6,857,101 win, or 8.3 percent in profits. The Colts went into the contest as five-point favorites and the over/under was 57. This translated to a win for the underdog and the under.
Coin toss at the 2009 Super Bowl
8. $81,514,748 -- In the 2009 Super Bowl the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23. The books won $6,678,044 for an 8.2 percent profit. Pittsburgh was installed as a seven-point favorite and the over/under was 46. The result paid dividends for those who backed the underdog and the over.