Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pitchers to watch heading into 2016 MLB season

Spring Training only has one full week left in Arizona.
Spring Training - Hot & Cold Pitchers

Opening day is right around the corner and while updating all your 2016 power ratings based on off-season transactions, health, lineups, bullpens and starting rotations, it's also a good idea to glance at a few things happening in spring training.

Some of the eye-opening numbers posted this spring include the Arizona Diamondbackssmoking the ball at a .316 clip, the Detroit Tigers belting 35 homers and the Washington Nationals stealing 27 bases in 30 attempts. The end result for each of those teams has been wins piling up -- Arizona leads spring with a 17-4 record.

You can't put too much weight into spring numbers but you also shouldn't ignore them, especially with the starting pitchers.

Let's take a look at Jeff Samardzija who has given up a spring high 18 earned runs and five homers in five starts (19 innings) warming up for his first season with the Giants.

Maybe he was trying some new pitches in differing situations and it simply didn't work out so well on couple of them. Still, he got roughed up in two straight outings and they were in his last two starts, so it wasn't like he progressed for the better with the bad outings coming early. Spring or not, veteran starters don't want to look bad. No one in baseball wants to look bad, especially in the first year of a $90 million contract.

“Spring training, man,” Samardzija told the San Francisco Chronicle following his performance Monday where he gave up six runs to the A's while serving up two homers.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

More Madness than ever at Vegas books

The first March Madness weekend in Las Vegas is always the busiest four-day stretch the sports books will see all season, but the 2016 version took things up a few notches that surprised even the most veteran bookmakers across the city.

"It was unbelievably busy,"said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback.

"Every year you think it can't be any busier, but it was a sight I've never seen in my 30 years in the business. The crowds were incredible, and our action reflected the growth with ticket counts being up 30 percent on Wednesday before the tournament and then up 20 percent over the same Thursday through Sunday last year. We had lines backed up all the way past California Pizza Kitchen (inside Mirage) at 9 am with only one game starting within the hour on Saturday."

The busy Saturday morning was a continuation from what happened Friday night, when bettors did extremely well on the late results with Notre Dame covering -3 against Michigan and Northern Iowa winning outright as a 4.5-point underdog against Texas.

"We ran out of money Friday," said Stoneback regarding the non-stop payouts. "We had to get two cash fills from the cage, so when Saturday morning came around, bettors were really gung ho about the upcoming games."

The most surprising thing thing about the MGM books having so much additional action is that they didn't offer in-progress wagering or phone wagering like many of the other books in town, who also said handle was way up.

"Handle way up, win down," said William Hill's bookmaking director Nick Bogdanovich. "The first day was good, but the other three were a battle."

It was the same story at Station Casinos 19 books across the city.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Las Vegas sports books have differing values on Osweiler worth

The new CG Technology sports book on first floor of the Cosmopolitan.
LAS VEGAS -- The Super Bowl champion Broncos worst case scenario for the 2016 season was realized on Wednesday when QB Brock Osweiler signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans, just two days after Peyton Manning announced his retirement. With the most important position on the field being a huge question mark now for Denver, a few Las Vegas sports books made some adjustments on their futures.

"We're moving the Broncos from 15-to-1 to win the Super Bowl up to 25-to-1 and we're dropping the Texans from 40-to-1 down to 20-to-1," said Wynn sports book director John Avello. "It's a significant blow to the Broncos chances, and a huge upgrade for Houston. Their (Texans) QB play was awful last year and Osweiler could be their missing piece. They've got the coach, the defense and now they got a QB."

Houston's defense kept it in most games last season, seven of which it allowed opponents to score 10 points or fewer. The Texans also bolstered their running game by signing RB Lamar Miller from Miami to a four-year, $26 million deal.

The Broncos have more trouble ahead. They already lost DT Malik Jackson to Jacksonville which will weaken its No. 1 ranked defense from last year. Linebackers Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall and DB Omar Bolden could be next to depart to the highest bidders. The offense could be in trouble even further as RBs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson are free agents. Starting TE Owen Daniels was also cut.

Despite the movement, and more that will happen, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook didn't make any changes to their Super Bowl odds.

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Phoenix NASCAR Preview: 2016 Good Sam 500

Brad Keselowski is 10-to-1 this week at Phoenix.
LAS VEGAS -- The fourth race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season takes us to the flat one-mile layout at Phoenix International Raceway, one of the most beautiful backdrops the tour will see all year until making the trip again in November during the Chase. Situated on the base of the Estella Mountains, the combination of Saguaro cacti everywhere, constant sunshine and fun on Rattlesnake hill make it one of a kind.

I love the concept of having three straight West Coast races early in the season, but it's not very practical from a west coast fan perspective. When I was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Sunday I had the opportunity to talk with lots of the fans. There were a couple of parties I met anchored in on the infield with their RV's that will be going to Phoenix this week and Fontana in two weeks. They've taken three weeks out of their lives to live NASCAR -- pretty awesome stuff. I was extremely jealous.

But others I talked to at Las Vegas that don't have the liberty to take off work so long aren't very happy about three straight West Coast races this early. The problem is that NASCAR forces almost everyone to make a destination choice between the three. Where do I go, Las Vegas, Phoenix or Fontana? If the races were spaced out more across the schedule, there would be more people able to attend all three west coast dates. After Fontana next week, the series won't come out west again until late June at Sonoma and then not again until November with Phoenix again.

When I heard multiple fans at Las Vegas tell me this and then I looked around at LVMS and saw less people than ever in the stands, I thought they had some valid points. The wind was hitting 40 mph on Sunday, which may have discouraged some to attend, but there should still be cause for concern. If Las Vegas is having trouble filling the track, with all the city has to offer, there is something wrong with the set-up. The west coast swing thing may sound nice to the NASCAR folks in Daytona making the schedule, and they are saving some fuel with less travel, but it should be called west coast cannibalism.

Okay, that's all I have to say about that. As usual, I'll be watching the race on television, where to be truthful, I actually enjoy more in my older age than being at the race. Phoenix has always been a track I enjoyed watching not just because it's unique, but also because its one of the truest to driver ratings. Drivers expected to do well usually do and that's a big advantage in betting driving matchups.

Read More Here...Top-5 Finish Prediction on

CG Technology sports book at the Cosmopolitan

The new CG Technology sports book on first floor of the Cosmopolitan is diverse, and fun. Look at the Ticker! 

Las Vegas sports books do March Madness Prepatory

South Point sports book and casino will be hopping next week.
Las Vegas sports books get a nice dress rehearsal this week with the college basketball conference tournaments in preparation for next weekends NCAA Tournament, which might be the most stressful four consecutive days the book staff experiences during the entire year.

"It's certainly more challenging than the Super Bowl," said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. "It's the weekend where I tip my hat to all the ticket writers around town who feel the brunt of the pressure right up close, non-stop for 10 or 12 hours a day, four straight days."

Having dozens of games to work with each day through this weekend -- one after another just like next week -- gives the entire staff some practice so the onslaught of bettors next weekend isn't so overwhelming.

The pressure felt to get every wager taken in is felt from the ticket writer to the line supervisor to the bookmaker and then the director. It's a chain reaction and the books that do the best at this process are quite noticeable. The SuperBook is one of those.

"We have a veteran staff -- it's not their first time around, but it's still good to get acclimated a bit for the rush we'll see next week,' said Kornegay.

Communication with the staff and other departments is a big part of his process to be ready for next week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 odds to win NFL Divisions posted in Las Vegas

CG Technology sports book at The Palms.
LAS VEGAS -- The betting public just can't get enough of the NFL.

It's no doubt the king of the jungle in the Las Vegas sports book world. We're only one month removed from the Super Bowl and people are already betting who will win in each of the eight divisions for the 2016 season at CG Technology books.

For goodness sake, MLB division odds were just posted last week as Spring Training was about to start. But that is the power of the NFL and CG Tech's VP of risk analysisJason Simbal is just giving the public what they want.

"We're not going to see too much change after the free-agency period, the NFL draft or when the schedule is released, and we're taking low limits ($500), so we're not going to get hurt too much. And plus, most of the smart money that can do some damage to us won't bet the numbers until others show up somewhere else. So from our vantage point, why not give bettors as much NFL as we can as early as possible."

CG Tech books are located at five major casinos on the Las Vegas strip -- Venetian,Palazzo, Tropicana, M Resort and Cosmopolitan (Cosmo's brand new book opened on first level prior to Super Bowl), as well as off the strip at the Palms and Silverton.

They get thousand of new people checking in every day between all their properties and a small portion of them like to take something home in regards to NFL future wagers. In years past at this juncture the only option was odds to win the Super Bowl or conference championship.

Since posting the division odds a week ago, only one team has seen a large chunk of action from those who saw perceived value.

"We took a few big bets on the Jaguars to win the AFC South at 6/1 and it forced a move down to 9/2, which was in line with large action we saw on the season win totals where Jacksonville was one of three teams we moved the actual number instead of the price," said Simbal.

Read More Here.......2016 Division odds posted on

2016 NFL season win totals posted in Las Vegas

CG Technology sports book at The Venetian.
LAS VEGAS -- CG Technology sports books posted 2016 NFL season win totals Thursday afternoon with no team higher than 10.5 wins and a low total of 4.5 on Cleveland. The NFL announced in early January all the home-and-away opponents all 32 teams will play, but when they play on the schedule won't be known until April.

From a scheduling standpoint, here is the breakdown of which divisions face each other in interconference action:
-- AFC East vs. NFC West
-- AFC North vs. NFC East
-- AFC South vs. NFC North
-- AFC West vs. NFC South

Here are the divisions that match up with each other for four games within their respective conferences:
-- AFC East vs. AFC North
-- AFC South vs. AFC West
-- NFC East vs. NFC North
-- NFC South vs. NFC West

The five teams set at 10.5 wins are Carolina (UN -130), Green Bay (-115), New England(OV-120), Pittsburgh (UN -125) and Seattle (-125).

The next highest total was set at 9.5 wins with Arizona (OV -120), Cincinnati (-115) andDenver (UN -120)

The Broncos still don't know who is going to quarterback the team. Peyton Manning and John Elway had a two-hour conversation earlier in the week to discuss the future, but it's still likely Manning won't take another snap for Denver. Brock Osweiler is a free-agent and could opt to leave for big money elsewhere which would leave the Super Bowl champs with a huge question mark at the most important position.

In addition to six games against AFC West opponents, Denver will have home games against Houston, Indianapolis, New England Atlanta and Carolina. They'll play road games at Jacksonville, Tennessee, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The Broncos have won 12 games or more in each of the past four seasons.

Read More here......all 32 totals on

Nevada sports books set record handle in Super Bowl

Caesars Palace book two hours before kickoff.
LAS VEGAS -- All indications across Nevada sports books suggest that Sunday’s 24-10 win by the Broncos will set a state record for Super Bowl handle surpassing the $119.4 million handled two years ago when the Seattle hammered Denver.

“We ended up squeaking out a win on the game and the futures win helped us overall,” saidMGM Resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood. “It wasn’t as bad as last year, but I think a record handle (for Nevada) is probably going to be set.”

Rood's 10 MGM properties across the strip -- two others in Reno -- are a great barometer for the state because of the sheer volume they do with so many thousands of visitors lodging in their rooms and making wagers on the game at their books throughout the last two weeks. Unlike the last couple of years, Rood didn’t take a seven-figure wager on the game, which is very telling on how much volume they did if exceeding the past two seasons.

Last year's handle in Nevada, with New England beating Seattle, was $115.9 million with only a $3.2 million win, which comes out to a tiny 2.8 percent hold. Even though reactions were mixed around town on the results, it would appear that all the books could collectively have a higher win than that, but will come no where close to the record $19.6 million won (16.5%) in 2014 when almost everyone bet the Broncos No.1 ranked offense would beat Seattle.

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