Darren Clarke, Japan work for Vegas sports books

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Las Vegas sports books got an unexpected gift last week when two separate sporting events created big bucks for the house.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the sports books, either, because they have been getting regularly pummeled by the bettors for the last three weeks in baseball.

Darren Clarke opened as a 125-1 long shot to win the British Open at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book. Because there were virtually no tickets written on him throughout the time it was up, his odds were raised to 150-1, and still had no takers.

Needless to say, if there aren’t many folks betting an option and that option wins, the house rakes in all the chips.

If that gift win wasn’t enough for the sports books, then the women’s World Cup championship match took care of that as the most weighted play of the day was the USA over Japan.

“We had the best scenario work out for us with the draw after 90 minutes and Japan winning outright,” said Lucky’s sports book director Jimmy Vaccaro. “The handle was a little more than expected by us. The USA team really had the public behind them and it transcended through the bet windows.”

Vaccaro also reported his sports books didn’t have many tickets on Clarke to win the Open Championship, either, helping boost the win substantially for the week.

“I wish we could have two big events like that every weekend,” said Vaccaro.

Up next for the sports books is the wait game on the NFL lockout. There looks to be encouraging news coming from both sides and we could see an agreement happen as soon as Thursday. Football contests and season win totals have all been put on hold at most books, but it’s been business as usual with everything else.

“There’s really nothing we can do,” said Vaccaro, “So we’ll just have to wait it out. Right now we’ve got a few props up, division, conference and Super Bowl odds up and the handle has been about the same as last year. The only thing we have missed thus far is the win totals.”

Reports from sports book all over Las Vegas are similar in regards to futures handle being flat to 2010. It’s kind of surprising from a fan and betting standpoint that the lockout hasn’t disrupted any real pattern. Visitors from all over the world still come to Las Vegas and they have still bet the futures like they would in any other year.

As soon as a few of the key free agents are signed, we should expect to see the season win total up quickly, giving bettors about a month to bet them before the season starts, which should be plenty of time.

If looking for a specific number, try to be one of the first to wager because the prices move very fast and most bettors seem to migrate to the same sides early on.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sherman over at the Hilton was quickly back to work on setting up odds for the 2011 PGA Championship being held at the Atlanta Athletic Club Aug. 11-14. Sherman made Rory McIlroy the 10-1 favorite with Tiger Woods at 20-1. Last week’s winner, Darren Clarke, was posted at odds of 100-1 with Sherman citing that he doesn’t foresee Clarke being able to do it again even in his current form.


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