Football is finally upon us Thursday

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It’s go-time for Las Vegas sportsbooks this week as football season officially begins with college football action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

This begins the busiest time of the year for sportsbooks where they’ll make their most money as ticket writers will have lines of bettors waiting like they haven’t seen since the first two days of March Madness.

After experiencing one of the tougher baseball seasons in recent years, the revenues football produce will be a welcome sight for most book directors as well as other departments. Football season isn’t just a spike in business for the books, it spreads across the entire casino floor.

Prospective guests across the country are making Vegas vacation plans out of any of the next 18 football weekends right now just because no place does football like Las Vegas. Tailgates at stadiums on game day are nice, but it doesn’t match Las Vegas. Buffalo Wild Wings is a fun spot in any city to watch games, but it’s certainly nothing like being part of the action in a Las Vegas sportsbook.

That excitement and roar of the crowd make the sportsbook the epicenter of any casino on a weekend and it’s good for business all around. Beverage revenues go up, slot revenues jump up and table games see a dramatic rise. It’s all because of the football atmosphere.

Books can expect to hold about 7 percent of the handle over the next four months while writing half the volume they’ll write over the entire year.

As a ticket writer, I remember getting pumped up for football season. It was the entire reason I got involved in the sportsbook business. I figured I was going to be watching games on Saturday and Sunday anyways so I might as well sit in a book and get paid to be part of the atmosphere while punching out a few tickets. Because of all the volume, my weekly tip count went up five times the average during this time of year.

As a supervisor, I always got pumped up for this first weekend of college football because it was a primer for what was to come, kind of a refresher course on dealing with all the comp requests, dealing half-time lines and the rapid line movements an hour before a game kicked off.

It was a fantastic rush that can‘t even be recreated by winning a bet. Being responsible for making the right move with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line gets the blood flowing pretty well.

As a director, my main goal besides winning money and making the bean counters upstairs happy was ensuring that the book was in tip-top shape to give the guest the ultimate experience. Proper staffing levels was always a priority.

Coordinating with internal maintenance and security to have regular sweeps through the book so everything was clean and safe was a must. Checking with beverage to make sure all my guests were getting proper service at their seats. Ensuring every television in the room was up to standards was a priority, and then reviewing with the writers to give every guest the best service possible.

From every level I was at while working in the sportsbook, I loved everything about this first weekend of football, and by the looks of all the books I visited over the weekend, I’d say they’re all excited and ready to roll as well. So enjoy everything Las Vegas has to offer this weekend and be sure to come back a couple times before New Year’s as well.

Eagles Soaring: I know it’s only preseason, but I can’t help but be impressed by what the Eagles have done so far going 3-0 with a 115-63 combined score. The Westgate SuperBook looks impressed as well as they dropped Philly from 12-to-1 to win the Super Bowl down to 8-1 on Monday.

It hasn’t mattered who has been quarterbacking the squad, the offense has looked crisp. On Saturday, Sam Bradford completed all 10 of his pass attempts, including three TD passes as they trounced the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Yes, it’s only preseason, but they’ve embarrassed the Colts, Ravens and Packers so far and they’ll be coming into the regular season running on all cylinders better than anyone else. Last week’s total was set at 49.5, a number I don’t remember seeing so high in the preseason, but it flew OVER which makes Chip Kelly 10-1 to the OVER in his three preseasons as the Eagles head coach.

Who knows how far they’ll go this season, but they are certainly the one team I’ll be focused on the most right out of the gate just because they’re so fun to watch.

South Point Jackpot parlay card: If looking to make a big score for a small amount during week 1 of the NFL season, you might want to head over to the South Point, Rampart, Cannery or the Laughlin Riverside to enter to the Pro Football kick-off weekend Jackpot Parlay Card.

For just $5, if you happen to choose the most winners – straight-up, no point spread – among all entrants, you’ll win a guaranteed $25,000. There are 15 games to choose from beginning with the Sunday’s action.

You can enter as many times as you like and I recommend giving yourself $20 worth of action to mix things up on the tough games. Play your initial thoughts on who will win on the first card, and then change a couple selections on the three other cards.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas sportsbook director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7. Email: [email protected]

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