Alabama has been moved to a 120 favorite at the LVH to win the BCS Championship.
Florida State, their likely opponent in the Jan. 6 game at the Rose Bowl, is 8-5. Baylor, currently outside looking in, is 7-2 with Ohio State at 10-1. If Oregon can still get into the game, you can take 15-1 that they’ll win.
The real interesting look here is Auburn at 60-1. They get Alabama at home next week and are getting 15½-points – a wager you can make now at the LVH and Golden Nugget. If they happen beat the Tide, they’ll have the SEC Championship game.
If winning that one, a one-loss SEC team might have enough clout to still make the BCS Championship game over a no loss team like Ohio State. If doing the math, you can’t get a better price than 60-1 on Auburn, even if betting the money-line on each of their next possible three games and rolling the winnings over.
Week 11 to books: For the ninth Sunday in 11 NFL weeks, the Las Vegas sports books came away with a winning day, which begs the question: How much money does the betting public have to lose?
Apparently there is an endless supply of cash because they keep coming back for more as the weekly handle hasn’t suffered one bit. In fact, by most accounts, the handle is growing compared to the same weekends from 2012.
When looking at the slate of games Sunday and seeing the favorites go 7-4-2 against the spread with eight of the 13 games going OVER the total, it looks like a perfect recipe for the general public to do well.
The public loves betting favorites and OVER on their parlays, but what happened the first 10 weeks of NFL action created no real pattern to follow. Bettors are in some way out-thinking themselves.
Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick reported the public did well with five games – the Seahawks (-13½), Cardinals (-9), Bengals (-4½), Eagles (-4½) and Buccaneers (-2½) – while their books did well in six games with the Bills (+2), Steelers (+3), Dolphins (+2½), Giants (-3), 49ers (+3) and Broncos (-7½).
The one team that looks like it’s in the wrong category above is the books needing the Broncos in the late game. It was a perfect example of the public being crossed-up and changing their philosophy because of having a rough time of it this season.
Four out of five times, the public will bet the favorite – whoever it is – in isolated night games. That figure goes up even higher when talking about an elite team, and even higher when that elite team is at home.
Well, the Broncos are the most elite team in the NFL and would be favored over anyone on a neutral field. But on this particular Sunday for some reason, the public wanted to be contrarian and side with the underdog.
However, the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t your average underdog, undefeated at 9-0 with a respected defense. From the moment the line opened up with the Broncos being 8½-point favorites last Sunday, the majority of public and sharp bettors both took the points all week with Kansas City, dropping the line to 7½.
There were plenty of Broncos supporters as well, but not enough to have the sports books rooting for the Chiefs. For a Sunday night game, the books found themselves in a very unusual situation of rooting for the favorite, and the Broncos got there with a 27-17 win, which also stayed UNDER 49½.
The 27 scored by Denver was its lowest total of the season, down from the 28 scored last week at San Diego. They had come into the game averaging 41.2 points a game, but stayed UNDER for their second consecutive game after going OVER in the first eight.
“We had a pretty solid day,” said LVH Super Book vice-president Jay Kornegay. “We won most of our decisions, including our biggest games with the Steelers, Bills and Raiders.”
The Texans had lost seven straight games coming into their home game against the Raiders, but still opened up as 7-point favorites, and bettors laid it. When it was announced Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor would not start, the adjustment pushed the game up to -9½, and the public still laid it all the way up to kickoff when the game closed -10½. Back-up QB Matt McGloin played well, jumping out to a 14-0 lead, and pulled off a 28-23 upset, the largest underdog of the four dogs that won outright Sunday.
The Jets were bet from an opening 1-point underdog to a 2-point favorite by kickoff at Buffalo, and the Bills ended their three game losing streak to win, 37-14, to up their ATS mark to 5-1 at home. The Lions were a popular public play as well, but lost outright as 3-point favorite at Pittsburgh, 37-27.
“Our most bet game of the day was the 49ers-Saints game,” said Kornegay. “The side was a wash because it landed on 3, but did well because it stayed UNDER the total.”
With the push, the Saints are now 5-0-1 ATS at home this season, and now the 49ers have lost two straight for the second time this season. Prior to the 49ers’ home loss last week to Carolina, they had won and covered five straight following their first two losses.
There are only six more weeks of NFL action for bettors to have an opportunity to get their money back from the first 11 weeks. The tally so far has the books 9-1-1 against the public. It’s too bad there wasn’t a prop, like in baccarat, where you could side with the house.
New Laughlin book: I had the chance to visit Laughlin over the weekend and was thoroughly impressed by the new layout of William Hill’s race and sports book at the Edgewater. My first thought when seeing the book was how clean it was, and then there was the viewing presentation with dozens of flat screens – a few giant ones too – spread out all across the room.
The room was laid out to give the people in the back of the room, standing or sitting at the high table tops, just as good an experience as those in the front of the room. For the race players, they get individual monitors and also the appearance that it’s far enough away from the noisy sports side, something every race player covets.
It’s easily the best looking book in Laughlin, a city that has never had any of their casinos put much effort into their sports books.
I found some great service at the Edgewater bar overlooking the Colorado River that offered 99 different bottles of beer from around the world. The bartender’s name was Kiel. He wore a Clay Mathews Packers jersey and actually kind of looked like him with the long hair. He served up some of my favorites like Kronenbourg 1664, Pilsner Urquell and Carlsberg – all for under $5, which helped me forget about the bad service elsewhere, at least until I started writing this.
Super Clippers: Have you seen what the Clippers have been doing at home lately? Coach Doc Rivers has this team playing to their strength – running – and through Sunday, they have averaged 110 ppg at home, easily going OVER the total in all five home contests.
The best cover team in the NBA is Phoenix at 7-1-1 ATS. They are offered at 500-to-1 odds to win the NBA title by the LVH. A team that could actually do some damage in the West is Minnesota at 30-1 to win it all. They have been covering the spread regularly this season, going 8-3 ATS, and have all the key components to hang with the elite teams.
Aliante: One of the best places to watch games on an NFL Sunday. In particular the bar that offers $2 Bud Lights and has every game wrapped around the bar overhang, on both sides. The part that really set them apart from others in town was the prime rib sliders – two for $5, complete with horseradish and au jus dipping sauce. Very well done; can’t wait to go back.
South Point hot dogs: The best pure value deal in town is the 75-cent Vienna beef hot dogs offered next to the sports book, that is if you can get one. The locals all know a good deal too, and the lines are massive to get one. I don’t know how many they go through in a day, but it’s definitely over four figures.
Perhaps what I like most about them is the price has never gone up. While other hot dog stands around town are trying to make a profit – nothing wrong with that, the South Point has kept the price low as a thank you to their regular guests.
True champion: Six NASCAR Championships in eight seasons puts Jimmie Johnson into an elite category among all sports franchises. With one more, he’ll tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most Sprint Cup titles in NASCAR history. The guy is an absolute machine and he’ll once again be the favorite to win next season.
Odds to win next season’s title will likely be posted soon at the LVH, Aliante and especially the Wynn. In three weeks, the Wynn will host NASCAR’s postseason awards ceremony. The day before, we’ll get to see Johnson and the other top-10 finishers doing dough-nuts on the Strip.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].