Monday, August 23, 2010

Las Vegas Football Betting Notes Through Week 2 Of Pre-Season

By Micah Roberts

NFL Pre-Season Notes
Week 2 of the pre-season saw the largest line move yet with the Giants opening as a pick’em at home against the Steelers. Once all the news started filtering in about Ben Roethlisberger starting, Eli Manning and back-up Jim Sorgi not playing, the Steelers quickly rose to a 6-point favorite. Giants third-stringer Rhett Bomar took all the snaps, but couldn’t overcome the solid second half play of Steelers back-ups Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon. The Steelers won 24-17 negating any possible middle opportunities with such a large line movement.

The total in the Steelers game also dropped 3-points from the opener down to 33 ½. The highest total of the week was the Texans and Saints opener of 40 ½, which was then bet to 41 ½ by game time. Pre-season totals over 40 are rarely seen, but in this case, both the odds makers and players were right as the Saints won 38-20.  

Overall, the sports books did very well with Saturday’s 11 pre-season games. All the action is relatively small, but the small money added up when the players parlays went bye-bye thanks to the Steelers, Rams and Lions winning.  

This weekends games will be as close to regular season games that we’ll see during pre-season. Week 3 is where actual first-string game plans are put into action with all the starters playing through at least half-time. Some of the back-ups and hopefuls to make the team even perform better in the second half as they are now more acclimated within their team system. The effort and hustle of these players during the second half can rarely be questioned during week 3 because most are fighting for their livelihood and dreams of making it in the NFL. For many, this is their last chance to impress, if not for their team, then for all the others who may see something in their style of play.    

I never take pre-season to seriously from abetting approach, but I always look for certain things that stand out and are transferable to the regular season. I like to find the nuggets of gold with the second and third string players while watching the second half of games. I also like to look the early rotations and cohesions of the first-strings play, not necessarily scoring points, but the play calling and the affective nature of those attempting to execute from the linemen, prominent new players and who the quarterback targets.  

Through three pre-season games thus far, the Bengals have looked to get three new receivers involved and acclimated into their offense and they all look better than Chad Ochocinco who has only three receptions and isn’t being looked at by quarterback Carson Palmer. Terrell Owens (9 receptions), Jordan Shipley (8) -- a Wes Welker clone, and tight-end Jermaine Gresham (6) have all looked better than the reality TV star.

The Lions might be a good play to over five wins at local sports books just because of their defensive line with the additions of Kyle Vanden Bosch and second overall pick Ndamukong Suh. In their first two pre-season game the Lions D-line have absolutely beat up on the Steelers and Broncos O-lines. With an improved and more confident Matt Stafford not having to play behind so much due to pressure on the opposing quarterback, the Lions could be a thorn in the side to the NFC North playoff hopefuls.

The Raiders are another team that could be worth a shot at betting over on season total wins at six. It’s been kind of nice seeing the Raiders being able to move the ball after three years of Jamarcus Russell’s game. With Jason Campbell throwing affectively -- and smart -- all over the field and Michael Bush’s hard running, the Raiders offense should be vastly improved to go along with an already stout defense.

I had initially thought that the Bears would be much better under Mike Martz offensive system and almost had visions of Jay Cutler doing some of the things Kurt Warner did, but the combination of inexperienced receivers and a bad offensive line should see the team mimic last years floundering squad. I would look for the under eight wins on the season that the books have posted not only because of the bad Bears offense and defense look, but how vastly improved the Lions within their division appear as well.

I’m still undecided about how the Broncos will fare this year. I’m looking at seven wins while most of the sports books have them at 7 ½ for the season. However, Kyle Orton has looked to be one of the more impressive quarterbacks of pre-season. He looks more confident than he has at any stage of his career, including Purdue. Through two pre-season games at just over three quarters of play, Orton has a 116.5 QB rating with 4 TD passes. His favorite target thus -- taking over for Brandon Marshall -- far has been Jabar Gaffney, a big possession receiver who had 6 catches for 98 yards against Detroit Saturday. For fantasy players, Gaffney could be a nice steal at the late rounds of your draft.

Palms Pigskin Payoff
Last week I falsely stated that the Palms “Pigskin Payout” no points contest had a total of $100,000 prize money that they’ll be giving away. That amount given away in the contest would have still been an overlay based on the amount of entry fees taken in, which won’t come close to that figure for the single property run contest. Race and Sports Director Fred Crespi notified me of the error and informed me that the total amount given away in the contest is a whopping $300,000.

$300,000 is a lot of cheese to be given away by one property that likely will take in only about 20% of that amount in actual entry fees which should make this one of the most attractive contests in the city for anyone to play.

$10,000 will be given away as weekly prize money for picking the most winners. The added bonus this year is that they have split the first 16 weeks into quarters with the winner of each quarter winning $20,000. This format should do as intended and keep players coming back all season and not fade out just because they fell in the tank after four weeks. It’s like a new mini-season every four weeks.

LVSC and Kenny White Part Ways
One of the most respected sports betting minds in Las Vegas over the last two decades is no longer head of operations at Las Vegas Sports Consultants. Kenny White has been creating the initial Las Vegas line that many of the sports books open with for almost a decade. While creating the lines, White used a democratic philosophy with his LVSC staff where the line would be sent out as a consensus among his line and his five odds makers. More times than not though, White’s individual line would be closer to what actually happened in the game and mirror what way the line actually moved.

White’s specialty centers around all college sports, baseball, and pro football. He has an individual rating system for every player on every team that factors into the lines he makes and spends tireless amounts of time accumulating all the data needed to come up with those ratings. In what may seem odd to many, White says he rarely watches games to not have the data misconstrued, but rather lets the box score of every game from all sports tell the story

White will continue to keep track of all his specialized ratings for his next venture which could turn out to help bettors in the same manner he has helped the sports books over the years. White hasn’t officially announced what that venture will be, but with his sharp eye for what the line should be compared to what it actually is, well, let’s just say that type of information is the kind that most bettors would buy to give them an edge. I’ll have updates on White as I talk with him down the road.  
Buckeye Fans Short Term Memory
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was driving back from West Lafayette to Columbus -- following Ohio State’s 26-18 loss to the Boilermakers as a 13-point favorite  -- when we started listening to all the fans and sports talk show hosts bad mouth the Buck-eyes. One host said, “This is the worst Buckeye crew of all-time and what’s worse is we have to sit through another year of mediocrity next year with the same garbage.”

That loss was heartbreaking as it basically took Ohio State out of the National Title hunt, but the team still eventually won the Rose Bowl and finished 11-2. Well, just last week I was listening to the same radio show when the same host was touting them as National Champs with only the Sept. 11 Miami game getting in their way. The host even touted Terrelle Pryor as the best quarterback in the nation; this after saying last year that he wished Michigan would have signed Pryor coming out of high school.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation behind Alabama and have a pretty soft Big 10 schedule compared to what Alabama has to go through in the SEC and could very well be set-up nicely for a Championship game which is why they are the 4 to 1 favorite in Las Vegas to win the title, but if the rug is pulled from under them before that, I hope I’m there to hear banter on that particular day. It’s pure comedy and one of the best things about big time college football.      

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