Nevada sportsbooks need to take a step back

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The evolution of sports betting in Nevada from an old bookie sometimes amazes me when I hear the books lost it.

This past Super Bowl the books had a record handle but many lost money and some won a ham “sangwich” as they call them back in Steubenville, Ohio. The question is why.

Nevada books have become bet takers instead of bookmakers of old when even this lowly Stardust linemaker and mover knew that 11 was bigger than 10.

In the Steubenville/Pittsburgh area betting was a way of life. Back then it was -120 on both sides and totals. You had to go over 47 and under 45 in a game if the total was 46.

As my dear old dad would tell me, the bookmakers drive caddies while we walk or take a bus. But the game has changed since the big corporations have taken over, and the guys running the books have also changed going into games with huge decisions.

They don’t know the word “balancing.” The books will make a game -120 take back even money so as not to move the line for fear of it falling or getting sided, thus losing their 11/10 edge.

Back when bookmakers ran the show we posted limits on games and that was it. We would give someone more than our limit if the guy was a big pit player and one of the big bosses walked up with the bettor to ok the wager. But even then we would move the line, getting some takeback at 11/10, not even money.

If the books knew how much juice they lose each year by not moving the line and giving away bets at even money they would be amazed.

As to the Super Bowl, a guy shows up once a year and wants to bet millions on the game. One time! This just doesn’t make good bookmaking sense to this old fogey but that is what happened.

If a player goes into a book here in Vegas every day making bets, I would say give him or her a little more if they want it. So books will take millions from a once a year player but during football season if you want to bet a college football parlay say on a Wednesday when there may be just two games, taking a team +14 and under 55 for a $20 parlay they will not take it.

They say it’s a correlation with a double digit team and total. That is totally ridiculous, but true. There were a few bright spots for the books, which held well on parlay cards at their usual 30 percent or higher and they did fine on future bets.

Now, parlay cards have saved the books many weeks during the football season but some places are fazing them out – another thing that amazes me. You are holding around 28 to 30 percent on something but you no longer want it?

The main reason could be no one really wants to take the time and thought to do the parlay cards. Also when games move they feel jeopardy. Is it more jeopardy than taking millions from a guy who shows up once a year?

College scene

This past weekend college hoops took some big hits with top teams getting whacked, like Villanova losing to St. John’s. This is going to be one wild March Madness and we are really looking forward to it. We will have more weekly plays.

A team this bettor really liked was Virginia, who we won with last week but after the victory they got beat at home by Virginia Tech as a -10-point chalk. Now we will keep an eye out for surging Xavier.

On Wednesday, Villanova travels to play the Friars from Providence. Villanova comes off a huge revenge win vs. Butler after losing to the Johnnies. Nova depends on hitting the three pointers and will be hard pressed to cover in this spot vs. a team like the Friars who have been a great money winning ATS home dog, going 9-1 ATS. Plus it is a revenge spot. PC remembers an 89-69 blowout at Nova three weeks ago. We will be taking the points.

Horse sense

First, congratulations to GamingToday’s Jon Lindo for his 19th place finish out of 700 players in the National Handicapping Contest last week at Treasure Island.

This week’s play will come on Thursday at Santa Anita in the fourth race. No. 6 Tough It Out exits our HTW list off a flying finish last out going 6½ furlongs on the dirt.

Trainer Phil D’Amato is giving this gelding a confident boost in class and sending him a mile on the grass. This 5yo gelding must really be doing great and the price will be right.

Get out to your favorite book and take a shot. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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