Friday, January 8, 2010

Las Vegas Sports Book Moves for the NFL Wild Card Weekend

by Micah Roberts

The Sports Books in Las Vegas will look to turn the tide on Saturday and Sunday with the NFL Wild Card weekend. Before I get into where and why the Sports Books are at the numbers they are now, we need to go back to Sunday night and Monday morning when most of Vegas put the lines up.

Wild Card weekend is the major exception to setting NFL playoff lines that has to have past history taken into serious consideration. Underdogs rule in this round, especially games where the favored number is set from 1 to 3 points.

As documented by Bruce Marshall of The Gold Sheet, Underdogs getting 1 to 3-points in the Wild Card round have gone 24-16-2 since 1978. As it turned out, two of the four games would be in that area with the other two very close.

The strategies and lines that went out on Sunday and Monday were vastly different throughout the city with a wide array of numbers for the shoppers. When I saw all the differing numbers, it reminded me of the old Vegas days before off-shore wagering when no one moved on air and there was nothing called a market number.

There were lots opinions out there and you could see the respect for the number “3”. The book I like to reference the most when following lines is the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book because their shades on games generally seem to be more correct than most and they rarely use a market number. Jay Kornegay, Ed Salmons, and Jeff Sherman lead the staff of bookmakers at the Hilton and are the sharpest group in town.

Many of the Las Vegas Books opened the Bengals game 3-flat. Las Vegas Sports Consultants recommended the Bengals -4. The boys at the Hilton anticipated where the line was going to be, while respecting the number “3” and tested the waters with Bengals -3 (+105) which basically baits any sharp out there, “If you think the Bengals have value at 3 and you think the game will go to 3.5 or higher, come and get some plus money laying it.“

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