Thursday, January 13, 2011

Las Vegas Sports Book Betting Moves For The Playoffs & Other Strip Notes

By Micah Roberts

M Resort & Spa Sports Book VIP Seats
I make my weekly rounds of phone calls to different Sports Book Directors around the city to talk about whatever is going in their sports books to get a vibe on what’s happening, but on Thursday, I experienced a definite first. When M Resort & Spa Director Mike Colbert answered the phone, he was extremely preoccupied, but it wasn’t just being busy as normal with booking games. Colbert informed me -- with a proud happiness in his tone -- that he was at the hospital with his wife who had just given birth to his first child, a 9.2 pound baby boy named Michael Alexander.

After exchanges of how happy I was for him, I didn’t want to take any more of his time, but I couldn’t help but ask how he was going to balance the new arrangement in his life. To give an idea of why I would ask such a question like that, it’s only because Colbert is one of the most tireless bosses I’ve ever seen in the sports book industry. Whatever day, or hour of the night it is that I have visited the M, he’s always there. Whenever I call to get a recap on the late Sunday games, he’s always there. I’m still not sure he’s ever taken a vacation, let alone two consecutive days off, since the M opened it’s doors almost two years ago.

Hearing the smile in Colbert’s voice, he simply said, “Michael’s going to make me work harder, because now I have something to really look forward to, keeping me focused for the long term and make his life the best it can be.”

As for when exactly he’s going to be able to find time to sleep, Colbert said, “I‘m already getting practice with the sleepless nights.”

While at the hospital, Colbert also had his computer and cell phone on hand so he could take the occasional glimpses at what was going on within the operation he runs for Cantor Gaming, which now includes the Cosmopolitan and the New Tropicana, and soon will take over the new Hard Rock Hotel race and sports book.

“I’m keeping up to date with what bets we are taking and what direction we want to go with games on sizeable bets.”

Before I could wish him all best, because I didn’t want to take up any more his valuable time, he began talking about the games in our regular normal fashion of discussion. He was probably as excited as I’ve ever heard him, for obvious reasons, but he was also really looking forward to the weekend of games. So we talked a little more.

Colbert sees value with the Jets at New England Sunday
“I think there is value with the Jets this weekend, plus-9 is too many,” Colbert explained, “Even though they got rocked in that Monday night game, the Sharp money was with the Jets at plus-4 in that game. We’ve had minus-7 ½ with the Patriots up all week and have had no takers leading me to believe that is closer to the right number since everyone else is at 8 ½ or 9.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there weren’t even any minus-8‘s out there. If there was anyone out there with large money that liked New England -- regardless of the time of week -- that bet would have been made already at the M, and it hasn’t. It doesn’t mean that the Jets are going to win or cover, but it does definitely give some insight to what the sharpest bettors in town are thinking, people who win more often than not with large straight bets.

Another game Colbert had vastly different from everyone else in town, and the world for that matter, was the Falcons game where he has been steady with the Falcons as a 1-point (-125) favorite while everyone else is either -2, -2 ½, or -3 (even).

“I’m keeping the number down early just to avoid piling up extended risk on teaser action crossing too far over a key number with Atlanta. The public loves the Packers and will be all over them and I would tend to lean that way myself.”

Colbert thinks the biggest blowout of the week will come in Chicago with the Bears as a 10-point favorite.

“Seattle has a very soft defense and just beat a team with a similarly soft defense who was on the road. Whoever the Seahawks put behind center is going to have a rough day against the Bears defense, one that I’d put the closest to the league’s best with the Steelers.”

History shows getting +3 and a hook in this series is nice
The game that has got the most action at the M from the Sharps, of what little has came in already, has been the Ravens who were bet as a 3 ½-point (-115) underdog. The play may have more to do with the fact that over 18% of this years NFL games landed on “3” and the Ravens and Steelers were prominently featured in those statistics with both their games landing. In fact, these two teams rarely play a game where it doesn’t land on “3”.

The M currently has Pittsburgh as 3 ½-point (EVEN) favorites while several books are reluctant to get off the key number placing the Steelers at minus-3 (-120 or -125). The South Point Sports Book is the only place in Las Vegas that is Steelers minus-3 ½ flat. They are the only book in town to use exclusively flat numbers in their football lineup.

Congratulations again to Mr. and Mrs. Colbert and welcome to the world Michael Alexander. And also, much apologies for the intrusion, but thanks as always for the insights.

Cantor Gaming Growing in Las Vegas
Cantor Gaming currently has remote betting stations set up in the Cosmpolitan and New Tropicana giving bettors on the strip a new opportunity for more variety in betting lines among all the other well known places. The Tropicana’s new race and sports book is scheduled to open January 31st along with the Hard Rock’s while the Cosmopolitan’s new site will open in mid-February. I have viewed the plans for the new sites and they will be quite elegant, and very popular with both locals and tourists.

Cosmopolitan, A Force on the Vegas Scene
As for each of the individual properties, and their casino/entertainment layout, I have seen both and I’m very impressed. The Tropicana now has a feel of being at a South Beach resort with everything so clean and white, while the Cosmopolitan doesn’t look like anything I‘ve ever seen.

Chandelier Lounge at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
I was completely blown away by this property. It’s in Las Vegas, right in between the Bellagio and City Center, but it doesn’t feel like Las Vegas. It’s more like being at an exclusively party at some super rich guys modern house in Europe. Between the fashionable chic design of the property, soft tones of the lighting, the beautiful people everywhere and the layers of entertainment on each floor, I hardly noticed that it actually was a casino.

My favorite place was this three layered lounge with spiral staircases adjoining each differing level appropriately called the “Chandelier Bar“ because of the long draping lines of small crystals that form a surrounding sheer curtain. It might be the most relaxed environment, yet upscale, that I’ve ever been in which is saying a lot because I have been to quite a few bars and lounges around the world. The music was perfect, not too low, or too high like a night club, and I didn’t even know who it was playing. It‘s a place you could take any executive, co-worker, family or girlfriend -- like I did -- and all equally find it a quality experience that appeals to all.

For all that a giant Chandelier’s regal beauty represents in class and style for high-end hotels or mansions, the Cosmo got it dead on right with the theme that has never -- to my knowledge -- been tried.

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