Baffled by the -120 money lines in pro football

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This bookmaking has really passed me by, and that is probably a good thing.

This past weekend an old timer like myself comes up to me and says, “When you guys were at the ‘Dust’ there were never all the money lines attached to the point spreads.”

“Yes,” I said, “and I don’t get it, but they must have a reason.”

If a game in the NFL is -3 and you don’t want to move it the half point because you can set yourself up for a big middle, I can see the reasoning. But for almost half of the NFL board being covered with -120 attached to point spreads like -2½ -120 and -6½ -120, they befuddle me.

As a young guy at the Stardust I would hook up with Bob Martin and others at Piero’s Italian restaurant for Monday night football, pasta and drinks. When discussing certain moves on games, I wanted to hear what Bob thought. He would always say that in booking football the 11/10 would take care of all things.

I guess you can just throw that logic out the window in today’s world of bookmaking. One other thing he would tell me is you cannot have any fear of numbers when taking bets, especially in the NFL. Martin said the bettors need to pick the winners.

That reasoning was crystal clear this past week in the NFL with the 14 games on the docket, including Thursday’s. There were 13 teams that won and covered the point spread with only exception undefeated Kansas City. The Chiefs beat Houston 17-16 as -6½ point favorites.

The bottom line in the NFL is pick winners and forget about those points unless you are just a bettor looking for a middle or getting even money.

My brother Tom told me this morning the NFL is for entertainment only and if you don’t have a bet on the game you can really enjoy watching the madness. But if you bet the game just go to the movie channel.

You won’t get a good night’s sleep after watching your money go down the drain on a stupid roughing or bad zebra call. But some of us love the pain and need to get used to all the pain inflicted by the NFL. There could be a lot more pain coming down the pike for us in the upcoming months.

Enough venting; let’s see if we can pick just a few winners.

Saturday

It was crazy last week in college football. Just ask LSU, Texas A&M, Louisville. Ohio State got the Buckeye scared off their uniforms by the Hawkeyes but the Urban magic prevailed.

Ga. Tech -10 at Virginia: Really don’t like to lay double digits on the road in a conference game but will make an exception. The Yellow Jackets or as we used to call them way back when, the Rambling Wreck, started fast, winning their first three games. Then they faltered, losing three straight to good teams, with two on the road. They got back on track last week with a 56-0 win over Syracuse. As bowl crunch time closes in they need every win – and beating low level teams like Virginia on the road. GA TECH.

Duke +13 at Va. Tech: Since losing their opener to Alabama, 35-10, the Hokies have reeled off six straight wins, covering the last three. With a win here they will have just one huge game left on their schedule when going to Miami and facing the Hurricanes. VT.

UCLA +21½ at Oregon: The Bruins’ unbeaten streak went down the drain last week at Stanford and they now must travel to Eugene and face the high flying Ducks who look unstoppable. It’s been a long time since the once great Bruins beat the once low flying Ducks. I know I am stepping in it, but I am looking for a major effort by UCLA and the cover. UCLA.

Troy +8½ at W. Kentucky: The Trojans from Troy, Alabama have some firepower while the Hilltoppers just do not have the offense to give all those points. Troy also looks to avenge last year’s 31-26 home loss as a 1-point favorite. TROY.

Colorado St. -5½ at Hawaii: The Rams go island hopping as they party hardy in the Honolulu sun and sea. This will be my get even game of the day. I give the Rainbow Warriors a good shot at getting their first win of the season. The last time Colorado State came to Honolulu was back in 2011 and Hawaii did the Hula, beating them 34-17. HAWAII.

NFL 

Sunday, Oct. 27

Steelers -2½ at Raiders: You can believe me or my friends back in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are not very good. Now crossing the time zone they will remain not very good. Their defense has played well the last two weeks, holding the Jets to 6 and the Ravens to 16, winning on a last second field goal. Both teams are 2-4 and the one that loses will be done! The Raiders won this game last year in Oakland, 34-31, and will do it again this year, but in a very low scoring game. Remember, no points needed, just pick the winner. RAIDERS money line.

Jets +6½ at Bengals: The Jets played their game last week beating the Pats and now go to Cincinnati to face a real good Bengals team that has its sights on the division. BENGALS.

Breeders Cup: Our huge Cup seminar at Palace Station will be coming up again in the race book Thursday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. All the goblins will be out, including Ralph Siraco (Race Day Las Vegas radio show), Paul Truitt from Palace and, of course, me doing the color.

We will cover all the races for Friday and Saturday. There will be free food and cocktail service plus you could get something extra if you come in costume. Do you hear me, Chantal?

You may be walking around lucky and not even know it!

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper.  Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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