After a horrendous July and August in baseball, things look like they are turning around for the Las Vegas sports books based on results from this past weekend.
The house only lost on one of the days (Saturday) in baseball while seeing the full effect of football’s overall power to absorb that negative.
Three scheduled MLB games were wiped out because of Hurricane Irene, but the volume on the games compared to previous weeks was less due to the casual bettor dividing their daily bankroll up a little differently to include the night of football.
Popular teams like the Brewers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Tigers all won on the run-line making the baseball day a loser, but big wins on the preseason football games kept the overall losses to a minimum. In some cases all the losses were absorbed and some profit showed.
The two most heavily bet public games were the Patriots at Detroit and Denver at home against the Seahawks. Sharp money showed up on the Lions and Broncos dictating where most books went with their number.
In the case of the Patriots, the ticket counts were almost 5-to-1 in favor of them, yet the line went the other way from the -4 opener to closing at -3 or -3½ because sharp money was on the Lions. Despite having all kinds of risk on the Patriots, most sports books felt more comfortable being on the side of the sharps and won handsomely in Detroit’s 34-10 victory because of the tactic.
The sharps also bet the Broncos laying -3½ all the way up to -6½, a game the public also liked at a 4-to-1 ratio in ticket counts thanks to Denver looking improved and Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson appearing lost in his first two preseason games.
The Broncos jumped out to a 17-3 lead through three quarters and when Denver’s first string defense came out, the Seahawks scored 17 points in the fourth-quarter. Denver eventually won the game 23-20 on a last second field goal, but in the end, the sports books scooped up almost all the chips from the sharps and public.
When Sunday’s results were posted, roles were reversed as baseball saved the sports books day thanks in part to the Brewers winning by only one run and the Yankees losing as big favorites to the Orioles.
The win was large enough on the day to absorb the losses from the Saints crushing the Raiders 40-20, a game that had every bettor in sports book across town cheering in unison as the Saints scored 21 unanswered points to close the game out and get the cover.
With college football taking center stage this week, along with it being the final week of preseason NFL games, baseball will see even a larger drop off in action as most of the betting public will prioritize their money even more. Baseball is third on the priority list.
This week will also mark the debut of parlay cards at most sports books. The cards always present an opportunity to get better numbers than listed on the boards. The sports books have to post the numbers for print on Wednesdays.
We may not see drastic movement this week because the games have already been bet – having been up at places for over a month – but next week there should be great opportunities.
Even if you don’t like to play parlays, it’s worth taking a look at the differences where sometimes games run three to four points. If you multiply the value on some of those moves in increments of just say .10 cents per half point, the value of a three-team parlay with those old lines is worth far more than 5½-to-1 offered on a three-team parlay.
You also get the comfort of playing sides that sharps like, which was the cause of the games moving on the board.
One of the things I’d love to see changed at sports books across state is the deception of verbiage on the parlay cards. On the cards, a three-team parlay payout offers 6½-for-1, with the key word being ’for’ which means your bet is included in the payout. Off-the-board three-team parlays offer odds at 6-to-1, with the key word being ‘to’, which means you get the initial bet back.
It’s almost like some carnie tactic and has gone on long enough. Plus, it’s confusing to some of the visitors. More importantly, Las Vegas is better than those type of tactics and it’s kind of embarrassing that we have duped unsuspecting guests for so many years that the parlay cards appear to have better payouts than the board.
If getting favorable lines that have moved, yes, the card is better, but it would be the same with proper verbiage.
Next week we’ll talk about one of the best values in town as we get ready for week 1 of the NFL, the two-team 6-point teaser.