June was not a good month for the sports books. Baseball has been a killer and the bettors have also been cashing in on the World Cup.
“We’ve been having great crowds and the handle has been huge for the World Cup, but as each favorite advances it’s been awful for us,” said Jay Kornegay, the LVH Superbook executive director. “I’m in a situation where I’m rooting for Nigeria or Algeria to make the Finals. If it’s Germany, Brazil or Argentina, it’s not going to be good for us.”
There’s only one more month to go until preseason football starts, which has a remarkable way of distracting bettors from baseball, the sport that always offers the best value on the board.
First Supercontest entries: July 1 marks the first date entries can be taken in the LVH Superbook’s Supercontest, which is the top sports handicapping contest in the world. For a $1,500 entry fee, football handicappers can take their best shot at showing everyone how smart they are by picking five games each week against the spread during the regular season.
Last season’s winner, David Frohardt, won $557,850 and etched his name into handicapping history by winning the prestigious contest.
“We’ve attracted the biggest names in the handicapping industry and we’ve seen a tremendous growth over the last few years,” Kornegay said. “In 2010 we had 345 entries. In 2011 we jumped up to 517 and in 2012 we got 745 participants. Last year we jumped up 38 percent with our most contestants ever at 1,034. This is a proving ground for up and coming handicappers and people want to take their shot at getting the recognition.”
The recognition is huge. Winners of the Supercontest are put up on a pedestal and their names are forever etched in history as part of an elite fraternity. Scamdicappers are a dime a dozen, but when someone can boast being a winner of the LVH Supercontest on their resume, immediate respect is given and there’s nothing anyone can say to take that honor away. It’s more prestigious than winning a bracelet in the World Series of Poker.
But it’s not always the professionals that win. Any dog can have their year and in 2012, the Supercontest had their first woman win. She wasn’t using any algorhythms or scientific approach, she was just picking five games a week who she liked the most and she beat everyone, and didn’t want any of the fanfare that comes with winning such a huge contest. She just wanted her winnings.
Kornegay has turned this into a mega-event with a free handicapping seminar scheduled for Aug. 22 and a golf tournament. He will also be giving away a couple of free Supercontest entries to regular bettors as a reward for being so faithful to his property.
Dodgers on Fire! We’ve been waiting all season for the Los Angeles Dodgers to show just how good they are and right on cue, remarkably, in almost the same timeframe of the their incredible run last season, they haven’t disappointed. Last season they made up a 9.5 game deficit in the NL West in 30 days. This season, they have made up 9.5 games in the standings in just 21 days through Sunday.
The Dodgers have won 12 of their last 16 games while the Giants just got swept in a four game series at home against the Reds and have lost 15 of their last 19. The big catalyst of the entire run has been Clayton Kershaw, who not only threw a no-hitter in the month of June, but he’s gone 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA in the month, striking out 61 in 44 innings of work. He’s had 28 consecutive scoreless innings, the eighth longest streak in Dodgers history that is filled with amazing pitching feats.
The Dodgers are currently 5-to-1 to win the World Series, the second choice behind Oakland at 9-to-2, and while there isn’t much value in the future odds, you can make up for it on a daily basis by just riding the winning wave.
The Dodgers have that winning attitude. They’re feeling it and it’s contagious for everyone in the Dodgers uniform. They know they’re going to win every game and come out like champions with loads of confidence every night. The Dodgers are in the type of situation you just keep riding until the well runs dry, and if we use last season as an example, that dry point may not occur until September.
Simon says win: If you would have tried to guess before the baseball season started who would have been the most profitable pitcher at the end of June, one of the last names thought of would have been Cincinnati’s Alfredo Simon. But here he is on top of the charts with an MLB-best +11.2 units of profit through 16 starts where the Reds have gone 13-3 behind him, which is two units better than anyone else.
It’s one of the most amazing transitions I’ve seen in some time. Simon was 3-9 with a 5.15 ERA in spot starts over six seasons prior to this year, and all of a sudden the guy is 10-3 with a 2.81 ERA this season. Johnny Cueto is still the ace of the staff, but the Reds are only 10-7 behind him this season.
The Reds have won Simon’s last six starts and he’s given up three runs or less in 14 of his outings. He has been an underdog in 10 of his starts. Despite his remarkable success this season, his rating hasn’t gone up too much. To give an example of how low his rating is, Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs who are 3-13 behind him (-10.6 units of profit – 2nd worst) was a -115 favorite in a match-up with Simon last week.
Is Simon lucky or is he really this good? Really, does it matter, let’s just ride the streak.
Rock Vault rocks: By no means am I a show expert such as the legendary Monti Rock, but I had such a thrill at the LVH’s “Raiding the Rock Vault” that I feel compelled to share a glimpse from last Saturday night.
This is classic rock concert where the performers are real rock starts. Former band members of legendary acts like Bad Company, Asia and Whitesnake unite together nightly for a jam session of all our favorite tunes. A show expert I am not, but rock music I’m as close in knowledge to Mark Goodman or Richie Baccellieri that you’ll get. And these guys nailed it with power and were surprisingly enthused for a bunch of rockers that do a show five days a week.
The best part wasn’t even the show, and that was great in my humble opinion. No, it was the after party in the lounge next the theater they play in, the theater where Elvis Presley used to shake-rattle-and-roll nightly. All the band members come out and say hello to their guests. They have beers and talk music.
It’s like being at a fantasy baseball camp for rock fans. You just don’t talk music, you get taught lessons in how the music was made. I didn’t want the night to end as I was having a Stella Atrois and talking riffs with former Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, who nailed the dueling banjos piece with Rock-n-Roll hall-of-famer Howard Leese of ‘“Heart” on “Hotel California” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
Aldrich even played his guitar upside down like Jimi Hendrix on that song and used a double-neck guitar as a homage to Jimmy Page on “Stairway to Heaven.”
Everything was brilliant about the night. This show has to be the absolute best value in Las Vegas and I encourage everyone who is stuck in their own music from two decades ago and beyond, like me, to go through a great tour of our past with these guys.
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].