Monday, February 7, 2011

Las Vegas Sports Books Get Crushed in Super Bowl; Packers To Over Did Them In

By Micah Roberts

After the Super Bowl score and all the propositions were posted, Las Vegas sports books collectively took a beating as the Packers and over the total of 45 came in. It was the only scenario where the books could lose and it happened. The only saving grace for some of the books was a large reserve with future bets cashing in and the ties-lose parlay card paying dividends. In most instances, the books did very well with either side winning on future odds to win the Super Bowl prior to the final results, but it still didn‘t deflect from the massive parlay handle on the day for the individual game.

Among all the terrible tales of the sports books day, a couple stood out with decent wins because of their strategy to attract Steelers money before anyone else.

The South Point had been giving the best line for both Packers and Steelers supporters leading up to kickoff by offering either minus-2 ½ flat, or plus-3 flat four days before kikcoff and used that action to offset the the winning two team parlays.

Coast Resorts also followed the South Point lead by getting all the Steelers action they could at -3 (EVEN) giving them a cushion for the big public parlay.

The M Resort and their chain of Cantor Gaming sports books reported a small win for the day, but after all was tabulated throughout the state, it was a substantial loser on the day.

The last time the state lost collectively for the Super Bowl was when the Giants beat the Patriots where the loss was $2.5 million. All the results aren’t in yet at this juncture, but the state does require state handle and win to be reported immediately with the overall results likely to come by Tuesday. Based on the sample reports, the loss from form the Giants upset in 2008 could be duplicated or passed.

Most sports books stayed steady at Packers - 2 ½ (-120) for the duration and all would have been well had the game stayed under. At most sports books, the parlay combo with Green Bay to the over was the only losing equation.

Coast Resorts and the South Point had each done a magnificent job in generating action with their attractive Steelers lines at +3. By Sunday, the three major off-shore sports books had all followed suit, but here in Las Vegas, everyone stayed relative calm with their lines. The Wynn started a move to -3 flat an hour before kickoff and Lucky’s went to -2 ½ (-130) while the M Resort was steady at - 2 ½ (-135).

The bottom line was that there wasn’t much large Steelers money to be had. Those who had wanted Pittsburgh +3 had gotten it with the South Point Thursday and Friday. When the weekend rolled around, the action was kind of stale, especially with the majority of the Las Vegas lines at a stalemate.

In the long run, every casino made money on the Super Bowl despite what accounting figures show for the day. You can bet that the majority of the money won by the betting public was returned elsewhere in the casino a couple times over. The party doesn’t stop with the Super Bowl, it’s just an excuse to get down and dirty -- gamble some more -- and forget about all the irritable things going on at home, where ever that may be.

Even though the sports books may have lost, let’s not forget about their contributions to the sagging numbers in table games coming into the weekend which were spiked due to the sudden wealth becoming of several gamblers. The same goes for food and beverage, and slots as well.

The sports book goal is to win money, of course, but it’s also such a small portion of the overall casino revenue. Their value to the overall floor of a casino is more about marketing than expected large contributions. While the sports book numbers for Sunday may look to be down, there should be an accounting wizard for each of the corporations that factor in the rise of other areas of the casino operations that should get transferred to the sports book department.

As you read this, the reality may have finally set in that football season is over. All the sports book Directors are sure to be on their way to a long and much deserved vacation as bettors turn their full attention to college basketball now.

Before we get too sentimental about how poorly the books did for the Super Bowl, let us not forget how they crushed everyone all season long with the bettors only getting the best of the books two times during the NFL’s 2010 regular season. The Packers freight train was coming and everyone liked them. When something like that occurs, no matter how a game is booked, the sports book will lose if the public is right. And there is no bigger stage than the Super Bowl for the public to show their talents.

There will be all kinds of should’ve, would’ve talk regarding the booking of the game, but the bottom line is that it was the small money that won with 13-to-5 parlay action and there wasn’t a spread out there that could have off-set the loss. There was only so much Steelers large money out there to be had and it went quickly to the South Point and then later with Coast Resorts. Had someone went to Packers -3 ½, we’d still be discussing the same topic with the same figures.

College Basketball Betting Notes From Las Vegas

By Micah Roberts

While most people around the country may not realize how good George Mason and Duquesne are, the betting world can quickly attest for their strength against the almighty spread. The nation has kind of been fixated on No. 3 Texas because they have been blowing teams out regularly in their last 13 games going 10-2-1 ATS, but lets give a little love to George Mason and Duquesne who are doing almost the exact same thing the Long Horns are, just on a smaller scale.

In Saturday’s 17-point win over Old Dominion as a 5-point favorite, George Mason got their 10th straight cover and ninth straight win. Just like Texas, they too have been destroying their opponents and have vaulted to the top of the Colonial conference and the ratings can‘t catch up with them.

This week the Patriots play a very weak Wilmington team before an interesting home matchup against James Madison, a team they beat by two 3 weeks ago on the road. The big game in the conference will take place February 15 when they travel to UVA for a battle between conference heavyweights.

All Duquesne has done this year is compile a 12-3 ATS record while going straight to the top of the Atlantaic-10 as co-leaders. Before losing to St. Bony’s on Saturday, the Dukes had won and covered eight games in a row and have high hopes of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977.

The city of Pittsburgh may be sulking a bit with the Steelers loss, but the basketball team rising to their best play since the Norm Nixon era has the city kind of excited about their poor step-sisters of the Pitt Panthers basketball program like rarely seen. Despite their impressive 16-6 record, they likely will have to win their conference tournament as they are currently No. 78 in the RPI rankings.

This Sunday, Duquesne has perhaps their biggest home game since 1977 when they face Xavier who is tied atop the A-10 with them at 8-1. A win against a quality opponent like Xavier -- No. 25 RPI -- would go a long way in getting them a possible at-large bid. Hopefully, my backing of a Pittsburgh team this Sunday will have better results than I did with the city on Super Sunday.

A team that has no shot of going anywhere, but are consistently making money for bettors is Sacramento State. They have only won six games on the season, but they are playing inspired ball of late as they’ve won three of those six games in their last four, covering the spread in five straight. Over their last 12 games they have gone 10-2 ATS, but still only have those recent three wins to show for it. Up next is a trip up north to Big Sky leader Montana, a team they lost by 16 to last month as a 12-point underdog. Taking the double-digit points might be a good idea based on their recent turnaround.

Just a few weeks ago, despite the poor play, I had Michigan State as a team that would step it up and come up with big wins in conference play -- at least enough to make them a No. 8 or 9 seed in the Tournament, but their inconsistent play over the last four weeks says they are bound for the NIT. Losing to Iowa, Michigan and Penn State should not happen to a team coached as well as they are with all the talent they possess. As for Sparty bettors, they haven’t covered a spread in their last nine games. Their RPI rating has dropped to No. 50 and need a miracle fast. Beating Penn State this week and then upsetting Ohio State next week are absolute musts if they intend to make the NCAA’s.

I hate to put UNLV in any negative light because they hustle harder than most teams, but the results from the sports book show that the Rebels haven’t covered the spread in over two weeks. Their 0-5 ATS streak has a great possibility of being snapped this week as they play at TCU, the second worst team in the Mountain West.

Washington started last week as the No. 20 team in the country but then got beat up on their road trip south to face the Oregon squads, neither of whom had a winning record. Thursday night the Huskies fell straight up at Oregon State as a 13-point favorite. They followed that up two days later with a loss at Eugene as 8-point favorites. Washington has now gone four straight games without covering. They’ll try and get things back together Thursday with a road game at Cal who had won four in a row, including both Oregon teams, before losing to Arizona.

The Ducks, meanwhile, have covered five straight games -- winning four straight up -- and have done so as an underdog in each. Thursday night they‘ll play at UCLA once again as underdog. However, the spread will be quite light compared to two weeks ago due to their terrific play of late.

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