Books use ‘Big Game’ label to avoid pro football penalties

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I hate the BIG GAME, I like the name Super Bowl.

This big game deal is crap, but the NFL gestapo will be all over the city looking for someone using the word Super Bowl in any advertising. Thus, the books must be careful or sustain being shut down or getting slapped by the almighty NFL lawyers.

In conversations I am frequently asked what was my favorite Super Bowl? Well, I actually have two. One was my favorite, the other my most memorable.

My most memorable was 1980 at the Rose Bowl when the Steelers beat the Rams 31-19. My friends from Pittsburgh had six tickets on the 50 and I was invited if I would get them a room at the Stardust for two days so they could gamble and bet on the game.

Then we would drive to La La Land for the actual Super Bowl.

Of course I agreed and my friends won big on the crap table and parlayed all the money on the Steelers -11. The trip to L.A. was fine except for the fact my back went out and I could hardly walk.

Our friend who lived in Calabasas came up with a great idea. We would drive the car to the mall as they had buses going to the Rose Bowl, which would take us there and bring us back for only $15. We all agreed.

The game and seats were great, but I missed all the big plays since I couldn’t stand up. All was fine until we got outside and tried to find our bus. There were, I would say, at least 5,000 buses with their motors running out there and no one remembered where we were supposed to be.

It is a long story after that but it ended ok. Believe me, there is no better place to watch the game than on your 50 yard line at home.

My favorite Super Bowl was XXIX at Joe Robbie Stadium in 1995 between the 49ers and Chargers. I was working at the Excalibur with the magical Sid Diamond and Eric St. Clair, the son in law of the legendary Bob Martin.

On Sunday night I was all over town laying -16½ and -17, and making parlays with 49ers -17 and OVER 56. That Monday morning was our huge betting lottery and the room was full with at least 100 bettors ready to plunge. The three of us decided to shoot for the moon, figuring no one was going to bet on the Chargers with Stan Humphries against the great Steve Young and all his super 49ers receivers.

The game was -17 with some -17½ already showing up, so we made the decision to put the game up at -20½ and the total at 57½ – the highest number of any Super Bowl. When I posted the number the bettors went into a frenzy.

We had three windows open and the lines were back to the wall. Players toward the back were yelling to save a piece. We were taking $5,000 on the side and $2,000 on the total. The bettors were firing with both hands.

They went through the line once and then again and again. When the smoke cleared we never moved the line. They just stood there and waited as no one had any more bullets to fire. And then Sid, in one of his mystical moves, got on the speaker and said, “I have one change.”

They all stood in anticipation “make the total 58.”

They just shook their heads and left. When all was said and done the 49ers won a lot easier than the 49-26 score. The book and the three nuts got all the money. In fact, the book won almost $1 million that Super Bowl when the entire state won around 800k.

So, it was the “Three Stooges at the Excalibur” that pulled off one of the biggest coups in Vegas history and it was fun.

Today, with the corporate structure, you could never do it.

The books all want to be in line with all the other spots in the state. Even off shore, and that has become a sad way of doing business but it is what it is.

So who do I like in this years Super Bowl? The question is who will I be betting on as I have gone back and fourth with it. One thing I learned in this game – it is usually a good thing to bet the other side when everyone is on one way. It seems no matter who I talk to they like the Giants.

I will be making a substantial wager on the Pats on the money line. That’s where the value will be. In one of my favorite “Seinfeld” episodes I will go the way of George with the opposite.

What about the total? Well I was sitting with a top notch handicapper who reminds me of Yogi Berra and he makes this statement: “Well, if the game doesn’t go OVER it usually will go UNDER.”

He said if you like defense he would bet the prop UNDER 45½ (+300). I will most likely stay away from the total, but that may be a good prop bet for some.

Good luck and enjoy the game at your favorite book or on the 50 of your living room. That is where I will be with the sound off, some pasta and a big glass of the red in hand. Plus remember, no matter what happens it is just another betting opportunity with more to come as March Madness and the Kentucky Derby are right down the road.

Mentioning the Derby, a colt ran on Sunday by the name of Algorithms in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Algorithims won in scary fashion, running his record to 3-0 beating the Pre Derby favorite and previously undefeated Hansen, who won the BC Juvenile.

This is one serious horse for trainer Todd Pletcher.

 

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