Within a few hours of the 2014 NFL schedule being released on Wednesday, the LVH Super Book posted the first lines in Nevada for Week 1.
On Thursday morning the South Point joined the party and posted their numbers. It’s only April, yet it shows the power of the NFL that everyone is excited about the new season which is five months away. If sports books posted MLB, NBA, or NHL lines five months early, there would be sounds of crickets, but football gets our juices going.
NFL Week 1 Lines
(C/O LVH SuperBook)
Thursday, Sept 4
Packers vs. Seahawks -5/ 45
Sunday, Sept. 7
Saints Falcons -2/ 52
Vikings vs. Rams -5/ 46
Browns vs. Steelers -5/ 41
Jaguars vs. Eagles -11/ 52.5
Raiders vs. Jets -4.5/ 39.5
Bengals vs. Ravens -2.5/ 43.5
Bills vs. Bears -6.5/ 49
Redskins vs. Texans -2.5/ 46.5
Titans vs. Chiefs -5.5/ 44
Patriots -3.5 vs Dolphins 47
Panthers -2.5 vs Bucs 40.5
49ers -3.5 vs Cowboys 48.5
Colts vs Broncos -7/ 55.5
Monday, Sept. 8
Giants vs. Lions -4/ 45.5
Chargers vs. Cards -3.5/ 44.5
The actual action on the games is small, and even if there was a line that appeared off, the books wouldn’t get hurt too much because the limits are far lower than what they are during the season, but the excitement of football is the entire reason for posting numbers so early.
People love to grab the sheet and associate a game with a point spread that show the Seahawks are -5 at home in the Thursday night opener against the Packers.
With that excitement of the season on the horizon, the media in the city associated with the teams help stir that excitement and post the spreads as well, which is a huge marketing winner for the books that can’t truly be measured.
Every time a newspaper, website or TV station around the country – or world, mentions the point spread on a game, the numbers will be associated with the LVH or South Point and the estimated value of the free advertising they’ll get over the next few months is over six figures.
The next big buzz around the sports books will be when the Golden Nugget releases their College Football Games of the Year in June, and book director Tony Miller is throwing a huge release party at the Gold Diggers lounge on the second floor.
Baseball Run-line: When $20 bettors saw Masahiro Tanaka laying -170 at home Sunday night, a large portion of them said “forget that price, I’m laying the run-and-a-half and taking +120.“
And while it works out occasionally, in the long run, the one-run games will be the equalizer for the sports books where they are able to maximize their profits because of the bettors’ greed. All bettors love to bet a little to win a lot, and that theory has kept any kind of gambling arena alive since the beginning of mankind.
The first thing that should be an alert to stay away from the run-line is that you’re already giving away the edge the book has given you in the game itself, where the .10 cent baseball split might be the best value offered in the entire casino.
By laying the -1.5, you’re immediately paying an additional fee for the exotic wager by moving to a .20 cent split. Parlay bettors don’t really care about splits, but for those keeping track of their win-losses on straight bets – no matter the wager amount – those extra few cents are huge in turning a profit or just breaking even over the course of a season.
In my early years as a ticket writer, I would always pay close attention to the way some of the most respected bettors in the city played. And I can’t ever remember sharp money laying the -1.5 in a game.
Taking the +1.5 and laying a short price like -140, as in the case of the Angels Sunday night game they lost 3-2, was a regularity which in turn was an automatic sign that laying -1.5 on a .20 cent line was a bad play.
I can’t remember one respected bettors ever laying the -1.5, so it always stuck with me that if these guys have to make a living off their bets, and they never do it, then why should anyone else. The answer is simple: greed. And the books love it.
NBA playoffs fantastic: After watching the great brand of basketball over the first week, it makes me wish they’d put the entire league into the playoffs and start a best of nine series that begins in February. That way every game would matter, which in turn makes every player compete harder and actually care about what happens.
Now that’s totally unrealistic, but there is an extreme lull in an 82 game season where the product can be garbage, or at least compared to what we’ve seen in the playoffs.
Bettors are getting maximum effort and don’t have to play the guessing game on who will play, or how bad a team really wants it, or a team playing three games in four nights. Their regular season team ratings are diluted, but they hold much truer in the postseason.
Bettors are getting the true version of each team, and when upsets happen, it’s even more spectacular because the favored team gave it all they had.
Betting acceptance growing: You can tell the climate is softening towards sports betting, especially in the way the media covers it.
There was no better example than Sunday night after Blazers 123-120 overtime win against the Blazers, when ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Bill Simmons immediately tweeted: “Incredible ending with the dunk right after the buzzer. Blazers win by 3, Rockets were getting 4 and cover by a split-second. GAMBLING!!!!”
With the game going into overtime it also sent the game OVER the total of 214 which has now occurred in all eight meetings between these two teams this season.
Staycations: This is the perfect time of year to grab your girl and head to one of the many beautiful Las Vegas hotels for a mini-vacation. It’s not too hot yet, you both have worked hard, and why travel out of town for a few days when we have some of the most luxurious hotels right here, not to mention avoiding the ridiculous airline fees.
I’ve come to realize that what is best about any vacation is simply being away from home, not the city, but the actual house where I’ve lived for the past 20 years. Sleeping in a different bed and seeing different walls while getting away from the daily chores at home always seems to be the perfect remedy to satisfy my vacation thirst.
At least once a month I book a staycation at various places around town. When staying on the strip or downtown, I act like a tourist and walk everywhere to see what’s going on and feel the vibe offered by Las Vegas at its fullest.
My regular return visits are at the Golden Nugget and The Downtown Grand. But I’ve found that the truly most relaxing hotels for myself have come at the local places on the outskirts of town.
Red Rock has probably the most beautiful landscape outside your hotel room in the city with a world class spa that your significant other will be pampered in. I stayed there last year and look forward the summer concert series at the pool next month.
The Aliante is far enough from my Green Valley world that it’s almost like a short trip from Anaheim to Laguna, where you have the feeling of being far away from home but it doesn’t take long to get there.
The rooms are modern and the amenities offered throughout are very affordable.
Then there is the South Point at the end of the Strip that is almost like its own city with everything from a movie theater, world class barbers, the finest dining in town at Michael’s and a PBA bowling alley among the dozens of extras.
In all three instances, you can make the most of $500 – including room fee – for the best three-day staycation possible in Las Vegas.
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].