Ten of the first 11 World Cup matches prior to Monday’s action went OVER the posted total while the favorites on the goal line went 8-3.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the books got beat up with those combinations. It gets even worse for the books that aren’t using a goal line – using a three-way price only.
There were no draws, a usual big winner for the house, and those books also missed out on cashing in on Argentina’s 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina last Sunday night. Argentina was a 1½ goal favorite at +120 on the goal line.
The less popular Bosnia squad covered, which helped those books. On the three-way, Argentina was -255 to win outright and bettors played it. I don’t think I have ever seen it so easy.
“The World Cup is more popular than ever with bettors,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, a legend in our business. “The perfect example was a parlay that was written Sunday, where the guy said ‘Jimmy, give me a $200 three-team parlay. I’ll take the Spurs, and Jimmy, let’s go with the Braves, and give me Bosnia too.’
“It was just a unique sign of how things have transformed over the years with betting on the World Cup being bigger than ever.”
Raves for Cromwell: I have heard nothing but good things about The Cromwell, a newly renovated hip Caesars Palace property located on the Strip on the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd. that used to be the Barbary Coast and later Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall.
The only negative I have heard is the property does not have a race and sports book, which is a mystery to me.
Sure, Caesars has properties on almost every corner, and I suppose they were willing to take their chances that a Cromwell guest would take their sports betting money to nearby properties they own like the Flamingo next-door or Bally’s and Caesars across the street.
Still, it seems like a dangerous ground to walk on for the possibilities the guest might head to the Bellagio, owned by MGM Resorts, or the Cosmopolitan, which has a book run by CG Technologies (formerly Cantor Gaming). Both have the opportunity to gain the favor of their guests for a small thing like sports betting.
If they bet sports at those competing properties, they might also stay to dine, play table games or hang out all night at one of the night clubs. The new younger crowd that loves the night clubs in Las Vegas is also in the same demographic of those who tend to bet sports most.
A lesson on the corner of Flamingo and the Strip was learned a long time ago, in 1980, by the Caesars people (long before Harrah’s owned it) on just how important a sports book was there.
Caesars had scheduled the Muhammad Ali-Larry Holmes bout for their property, and just as they had thought, everyone wanted to come to Las Vegas to watch it. But the big-money, sought-after visitors also wanted to bet the fight. Michael Gaughan’s little red casino across the street – the Barbary Coast – was the only place nearby that was booking it. At the time, Caesars did not have a sports book.
Vaccaro was running the Barbary book back then and he told me a few years ago bettors lining up on fight night to wager were out the door. And while Caesars didn’t notice how much money they were losing at the time, they soon found out when hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Caesars chips were being redeemed by the Barbary Coast at the Caesars’ cage.
Caesars eventually figured out they needed a book of their own and Gaughan helped them out by recommending one of his brightest pupils, a bright-eyed young Art Manteris, who now runs the Station Casinos chain of books.
Sports betting only accounts for a small portion – in many cases only four percent – of the overall casino win, so the upper brass at Caesars may be willing to concede that variable. However, on certain big sporting events, the sports book is the most lively place in the casino where everyone seems to flock to, and wagers always seem to ensue.
The Cromwell hasn’t been through an NFL season yet, but my guess is they’re already feeling the effects of customer dissatisfaction by not having World Cup odds on the board. “Sorry sir, you’ll have to walk to the Flamingo next-door to wager.”
The Cromwell brand apparently doesn’t need that extra four percent from the sports book, and that’s fine. My only gripe in the entire matter is there are now a few less jobs in the Nevada sports book business, which is already small to begin with.
My hope is Caesars Entertainment hears enough complaints from their guests that it deters them from downsizing the department in the future at their other properties, or the Bellagio starts bringing over hundreds of thousands worth of Cromwell chips to redeem (most don’t redeem others chips anymore).
Visit a legend at South Point: Vaccaro and Gaughan from the old Barbary Coast days are back together again at the South Point. For the past 10 months you may have seen Vaccaro, wearing one of his famed white hoodies, walking through the expansive South Point sports book chit-chatting with all the guests betting at the counter.
It’s a nice touch by Vaccaro to talk with the guests daily. Because of Vaccaro’s status as one of the most instrumental figures in Las Vegas sports book history, being able to talk sports with him is almost akin to the days when Joe Louis would say hello daily to Caesars Palace guests.
It’s not too often you get to talk with someone who is one of the best ever at their professional craft. Vaccaro is definitely that.
Thumbs up GN! Great job by the Golden Nugget’s Tony Miller and Aaron Kessler on their 200 college football “Games of the Year” posted on Friday. Not only because they put in the time and effort to be the first in the world to have numbers on a season of select games, but because their numbers were sharper than ever.
The team ratings compiled in the eighth season the duo has been posting this early season wagering opportunity, nailed it better than ever. They didn’t have one game more than 2½ points, and they had the sharpest college football betting minds in attendance looking to take a swipe at bad numbers.
Oregon is far and away their top rated team, around 2 points better than defending National Champion Florida State. Oregon is a 3-point favorite at UCLA on Oct. 11, an indication of how high they are on UCLA as well. The bettors like UCLA too; they took the points, which dropped the number to 2½.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].