Column: Sports betting becoming more of a sure thing

LAS VEGAS — No one needed official evidence but it came anyway from the state of New Jersey, where people apparently really like to bet on sports. They put more than $1 billion on their favorites in September, the first time that has happened since the state legalized sports betting a little more than three years ago.

In the city where it all began, oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro doesn’t need official stats to figure out what is happening in the sports betting universe. One look at the line at the hot dog stand in the South Point sports book on a football weekend in Las Vegas tells him everything he needs to know.

“The hot dog stand is America,” Vaccaro said. “It’s amazing what this hot dog stand does. We average 1,400 to 1,600 hot dogs a Sunday during NFL season.”

One of those hot dogs — a longtime loss leader at $1.25 each — ended up on the floor Sunday when a woman who had Dallas to cover the spread leaped from her seat to celebrate a late score over New England that made her a winner. She wasn’t alone as bettors around the country cashed in on the favorites and books paid off untold millions in parlay bets.

Bettors won big, sending some sports books to a rare back-to-back loss during the NFL season.

“Usually, you get two bad weeks out of a whole season. I never saw two in a row,” said Vaccaro, who has booked sports on the Las Vegas Strip for nearly a half century.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the sports betting industry, where the promise of…

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