Thursday, November 25, 2010

NFL Betting Notes From Las Vegas: Bettors Bury The Sports Books

By Micah Roberts

Shopping on Black Friday just got a major boost for retailers around Nevada because there was a sudden increase in funds from people all over the state thanks to the NFL and the tide finally turning for the little guy. Sports bettors held their ground in support of their favorite teams after being pummeled by underdogs in nine of the 10 weeks, but week 11 was theirs to own.

“Sunday was the worst day of the season,” said Las Vegas Hilton Super Book Executive Director Jay Kornegay, “I guess we were due.”

Due, they were, and their persistence paid off by not wavering from their strategies and waiting for the favorites to come back.

“We haven’t had that many popular teams come together all at once this season covering the spread,” explained Kornegay. “Through the season thus far, when one of the popular teams would win, then the others would lose or not cover. We kind of had the perfect storm hit us all at once this week.”

The bettors had a tough time this year with some of those perennial favorites, but it’s obvious by the results from week 11 that they hung in there with them, and it paid off.

The Eagles game was the final nail in the coffin for the sports books. The combination of seeing Michael Vick dazzle America last Monday Night and the Giants losing so badly to Dallas had bettors loving Philly. As if the Eagles game wouldn’t be bad enough alone by itself, the sports books had to look at the mounting risk from the previous 13 games on the day with all the accelerated parlay risk magnified at 10 to 1 odds and higher for several tickets.

Overall, the favorites ended up 9-5 for the day, not exactly the type of results you’d expect to bring the house down. However, it was the key games that all got there; the one sided bet games by all the regulars who laid 7-points with Pittsburgh, 13-points with the Ravens, 3-points with the Falcons and 12-points with the Saints. Throw in the Cowboys, Jaguars and Chiefs, and it truly was a perfect storm. You have to wonder what we would have called it had the Jets covered.

“It wasn’t just the sides of our most weighted games that beat us,” Kornegay added, “It was the combination of several of those teams getting there in addition to the totals going OVER. Getting lost in the shuffle the last few weeks has been how strong the OVER has been in the NFL just because the popular teams haven’t been covering."

The total went OVER in 10 of the 13 games in week 10. Week 11 saw only eight games fly over the number, but they were all pivotal games linked to the popular sides creating more jeopardy for the house. Because of this type of risk, local sports books fared much worse than strip properties where there isn’t that constant parlay card action.

The majority of the folks that struck gold this week were those people who bet a few times a week at the same time, same place, every week; the heart and soul of Las Vegas who work at positions throughout various Las Vegas casinos. These are the people who have been struggling all year to wet their beak and it’s finally nice to see those lost gratuities from the first few weeks find their way back into their home pockets.

Congrats, and keep going strong, because it's only going to get better.

Happy Thanksgiving!
After week 11, the sports books are not looking forward to the isolated three games of Thanksgiving where the three-team parlay of the Patriots, Saints and Jets will crush the them. When mixing in the totals, the possibility of paying out odds at 44 to 1 or higher on six-teamers with no out, and a large looming risk for the next three days of games makes sports book Directors a little worried on Turkey day when most of the attention should be focused on family.

The Sports Books would be happy with a split, going 3-3 for the day, which should kill most combinations and alleviate risk. However, I can’t remember the sports books ever making a killing on these Thursday games. It’s always been like the football and turkey gods have always joined and looked upon the bettor to make this weekend plentiful to where the bettor always says, “Thanks for giving us some money” to the books.

Titanic Issues
The Titans will be in trouble this week after quarterback Vince Young basically walked out on the team during their 19-16 home loss to the Redskins. After being pulled late in the game because of aggravating a torn ligament in his thumb, head coach Jeff Fisher pulled him because he didn’t think Young had control of his passes due to the injury. With Kerry Collins out due to a strained calf, Fisher’s choice was to go with Rusty Smith, the rookie from Florida Atlantic. Young got so upset that he threw his jersey and shoulder pads into the crowd, another example in a long line of immature acts by Young over his NFL career.

This week it is doubtful that Young will play against the Texans and Collins is expected to not be available either leaving the way for Smith to make his NFL debut. The difference between the two quarterbacks is about 3-points. For the sake of the fans, and maybe Fisher’s job, the smart move is to play Young if able. At the end of the season, then you dump him.

Betting Keeps the NFL Games Interesting
The Seahawks moved the ball almost at will at New Orleans, but were put into a bad situation by repeated mistakes from Marshawn Lynch who dropped two key passes and fumbled twice. The Saints were winning quite easily throughout, but the Seahawks wouldn’t go away and were on the verge of covering the 12-point spread. With just over 5 minutes to go in the game, down by 18, ball on the Saints 2-yard line, the Seahawks elected to kick a field goal instead of going for it. The spread was in question up until the final ticks of the game until the Saints eventually won 34-19, and covered. This is a further example of what fans love about the NFL, which the league doesn’t acknowledge. An otherwise meaningless game turns out to being gripping until the end, only because of the point spread.

UFL Championship Game
The Las Vegas Hilton opened their UFL Championship game odds Sunday with the Florida Tuskers a 3 ½-point favorite over the Las Vegas Locomotives. The game is scheduled for Saturday with a 9:00 am (PDT) kickoff on Versus TV.

Congrats to Zack!
Palace Station’s Race and Sports Book Manager Zack Goldberg will be moving from the property, but staying within the Station Casinos family, as he has accepted a promotion to become Director of Casino Operations for Wildfire Lanes in Henderson. The Syracuse graduate will be greatly missed by all his fellow team members and guests over at Palace Station, but will be welcomed with open arms with his new team. Goldberg’s leadership skills, intelligence and ability to keep everyone happy with his good natured attitude which were qualities that were obviously noticed by upper management. Those were also the initial qualities that got him hired at Sunset Station five years ago, where it didn’t take long for him to advance there. Three years later, Stations VP of Race and Sports Art Manteris gave him the manager job at Palace Station. The sky is the limit Mr. Goldberg, make the most of it, and congratulations!

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