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With the NFL Preseason Hall of Fame Game less than two weeks away signaling the start of football, it brings back old memories of late dinner’s and cocktails with my old friend and legendary bookmaker and oddsmaker Bob Martin.

We would usually meet at Piero’s Italian restaurant on the corner of Convention Center Drive and Paradise around 7 p.m. Bob always wanted to sit at the bar and just have casual conversation, telling old stories, hashing over the games, nothing really serious ever came up, just a lot of humor.

Bob would always tell me that behind every successful gambler was a rich woman. He had a lot of other “Martinisms,” too.

I remember one night talking about putting up lines on the NFL preseason and him telling me it was one of the best bets for the sharpies to hook the bookie as they knew more about the game plan of some of the coaches than the guys putting up the lines. That is why they only book those games for $1,000 while in regular season they book the NFL for $20,000 and higher.

Well, those days are gone. The Internet has changed everything and a lot of the edge the sharpies had has also been taken away. The info is out there for the taking, but you will still only be able to get down for a dime on the games, maybe a little more in some spots.

As Bob would say, “Gotta know the backups.”

Whoever has the best reserves wins the games. He would also tell me some coaches just didn’t care if they won or lost. They simply did not want any key injuries.

Do your work and find these things out and you will be able to pick more winners than losers. We intend to do that this year in preseason next week in Canton with the Hall of Fame game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.

The following week in preseason we have a rematch of the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks traveling to Denver. You think it will be noisy at Mile High? I think so!

Watch the Pirates: The second half of the baseball season is underway and some teams have come out smoking while other teams look to have hung it up.

The Pirates swept the Rockies and look to be slowly moving on up to another trip to the playoffs but need to beat some good teams like the Dodgers who are in town. The Tampa Bay Rays also look like they will make a move in the second half. Let’s see how they do at St. Louis where they start a two-game series on Tuesday before heading home; they need at least a split.

Big opening: Del Mar started up this past Thursday with huge fields that brought about some big payoffs. With all the shippers coming to Del Mar looking for the win and ship bonus. It really made the races very hard to handicap, but the racing was good.

There appeared to be a very good inside bias on the main track but it looked like it was changing a little on Sunday. Maybe they did something to the synthetic surface.

One thing we do know is they are going to work on the surface on Monday, so be very careful on Wednesday when handicapping the races on the synthetic. It could play very different as they said they were going to add glue to the surface.

As for myself, I will be a very happy person in November when the dirt comes back at old Del Mar.

Rip city! Sometimes I just wonder what management is thinking when it comes to us lowly horse players. Seems they want to squeeze every dollar out of our pockets.

The management at Del Mar decided to raise the clubhouse admission from the regular $5 price to $10 for opening day. Now tell me why would you want to squeeze the extra five out of a bettor?

It may have been worth it for management but more than 2,000 bettors less than last year’s opening day crowd showed up for the races. It’s almost like our federal government, which thinks if they raise taxes they will get more money into their coffers, but it is actually the opposite. It is a proven fact lower taxes means more money the people can put back into the economy. Tracks should lower the on-track take out, lower prices at the gate to get in.

Just normal prices for food and beverage will create a larger handle and a better experience for the fan and casual bettor who will come back.

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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