The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

82° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pac-12 gambling breakdown: No one believes in Wildcats in Las Vegas

Shane Bekian

Sean Miller yells at his team during the Arizona vs. USC men’s basketball game on Feb. 23 in McKale Center.

The Pac-12 Tournament is underway in Las Vegas and you know what that means. It’s time for many to place their hard earned money on a sure thing, college kids playing basketball.

Ok, it’s obviously not a sure thing, but plenty of people will wager on the Pac-12 Tournament this weekend. Gambling, primarily sports wagering, is synonymous with Sin City – and with four different conference tournaments taking place in Vegas, there’s plenty of action to get in on.

The Daily Wildcat caught up with Jay Kornegay, Vice President of Race & Sports Operations at the Westgate LV Resort & Casino. Kornegay discussed the big bets on the tournament and gave away an interesting tidbit about the Arizona Wildcats.

“Surprisingly enough, this is interesting, we have yet to take one wager on Arizona to win the Pac-12 tournament,” Kornegay said.

Huh? The Wildcats are the third favorite according to the Westgate Sportsbook with 5-2 odds. The Oregon Ducks are the favorite at 6-5 and the UCLA Bruins have 3-2 odds. Kornegay even mentioned that Pac-12 cellar dwellers Oregon State and Washington have wagers on them to win the Pac-12 Tournament.

Why no love for Arizona? Maybe it’s because Tucsonans had yet to make their way out when we spoke to Kornegay on Wednesday afternoon. Kornegay mentioned that the Pac-12 is one of the most popular conference tournaments wagered on because it takes place in Vegas.

“Being in proximity to a lot of these schools, especially Arizona which has the largest contingent of fans come to Vegas, it’s one of the more popular conferences that we have,” Kornegay said. “The Pac-12 would rank right up there with the popular ACC and Big Ten.”

In terms of what everyone’s betting on, Kornegay said the most popular events simply come from the individual games. Futures bets are not as popular for conference tournaments and Kornegay cited this as the likely reason no one has wagered on Arizona yet. He expects that “at some point” a wager will be placed on the Wildcats.

Right now, the public likes the Bruins for the Pac-12 title, as well as the national championship. Someone out there is so confident in UCLA to win the Pac-12 title that they put down a few Benjamins on the Bruins.

“Usually you’ll have a four-figure wager and so far that’s the largest wager and it was on UCLA,” Kornegay said.

UCLA has 7-1 odds to win the national title, and they hold the most number of tickets purchased so far.

The Wildcats will be unaware of the little support they have in the sportsbooks, and will be focused on positioning themselves for the NCAA Tournament next week. Vegas is always ready for the NCAA Tournament.

“This is the one event that is more popular at the beginning of it than at the end of it,” Kornegay said of the NCAA Tournament and how it is wagered on in Las Vegas. “The first four days of the tournament, we’ll handle more tickets than we will for the Super Bowl.”

The Wildcats have 20-1 odds to win the national title according to Kornegay’s line at the Westgate book. That means a $50 wager would net a cool $1,000 if the Wildcats were to cut down the nets.

Kornegay isn’t worried too much about someone hitting it big during the NCAA Tournament.

“It feels like every bet during March Madness is like 20 bucks,” Kornegay said with a laugh.

So there you have it, the Pac-12 Tournament is up and running, and ready to take your bets.

Choose wisely.

Follow Christopher Deak on Twitter

More to Discover
Activate Search