The Golden Nugget takes center stage in the sports betting world Friday with over 200 spreads on the season’s best college football matchups.
We say the sports betting world, and not just Las Vegas, because there are no numbers posted on these games. The numbers book director Tony Miller and his trusty side kick Aaron Kessler post at 1 p.m. will be as raw as a number can get. Bettors will line up to take a crack at them at a limit of $1,000 a pop.
With no other numbers out there, the Nugget is essentially setting the market and then handing it off to the bettors to do as they like. Most of these bettors waiting in line are the sharpest college football minds in town, just salivating at their chance to jump on any virgin line they feel to be off.
As each limit wager is made, Miller and his staff move the spread accordingly. It’s first come, first served. Each bettor gets three cracks per visit to the window and then goes back to the end of the line. There will be a few teams (like Texas A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel) that the dozens of pro bettors will be looking to play against.
They will keep betting against them until the number finally matches up with their own rating. Last year, that team was Auburn.
In order for Miller and Kessler to feel comfortable about sticking their neck out so far, they had to get their own personal ratings shaped up as best as possible, a process that started right after the bowl season ended.
In between updating all the key roster changes, coaching moves, system changes that shape an initial rating, they also had to factor in situational circumstances such as a team coming off a tough opponent, or looking ahead to a conference rival.
At 12 p.m., one hour before the betting opens, every bettor and curious observer can tune into Sports Book radio with Brian Blessing on Fox Sports 920 AM and listen to Miller give out all the opening numbers.
The early offering from Miller gives us a glimpse into Las Vegas’ past. Before the off-shore books, sports books like the Stardust would offer a lottery for bettors to take a whack at virgin opening numbers. The banks of pay phones would have lines of people waiting so they could get the spreads to bettors and bookies all across America.
It was a magnificent thing to witness, and if you want a little taste of the past, make a visit to the Nugget this Friday. It’s as close and real to the old days as one gets.
Mayweather fight big: William Hill’s Jimmy Vaccaro says the Sept. 14 bout between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather could be the largest handle for a fight in Las Vegas history, and he would know since he’s booked every big fight in town since the late 70’s.
The William Hill books opened “Money” as a -270 favorite, one of his lowest prices in recent years. Because of the low number, and a starving audience for quality boxing, Vaccaro could be right on the mark with his prediction.
This bout will present two undefeated fighters, with one who is older in Mayweather, but doesn’t look like his skills have diminished – kind of a freak of nature. Then you’ve got the 22-year-old Alvarez, who somehow has fought 43 times already with a 42-0-1 record. This has the perfect intrigue to get everyone in the world excited, which makes Las Vegas and the MGM Grand the place to be on Sept. 14.
Earlier in the day, there’s a pretty good football game, too, when Alabama faces Texas A&M. Book your reservations now.
Season win totals: Vaccaro also gave us some insight on what has been bet at the William Hill books with their NFL season win totals. The Broncos (11.5) and Bears (8.5) are the only teams that have seen real action on the OVER, with seven other teams getting good UNDER money. The Bills (6.5), Colts (8.5), Rams (7.5), Eagles (7.5), Steelers (9.5), 49ers (11.5) and Jaguars (5) have all been bet UNDER.
Oscar’s at the Plaza: If you’re looking for a great meal with all kinds of ambience, you need to check out Oscar’s steakhouse at the Plaza where Las Vegas’ former mayor boasts a slogan of beef, booze and broads (his word, not mine).
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].