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Wow! NFL preseason football is finally here and there will be parlay cards at a few spots this week. The Boyd group properties and South Point will be offering cards, and we will be betting.

I like to make a few plays here and there on these games, if just to get my feet wet and get ready for the regular season.

Football was the greatest when I ran the Stardust sports book. Our director, Scotty Schettler, had a free reign on me and my assistant Sylvester V. He would just let us do our thing with the legendary football lottery at 5 p.m. every Sunday. We put up the first betting numbers anywhere and the action was fast and furious to say the least.

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We derived our opening numbers in a very different way than the books get theirs today. No Internet; no numbers to check in the Islands back then. The one service we got numbers from was Roxy Roxborough’s, and his were just a start.

The one source we had – and used – was from a bettor called Jerry “The Hat.” His numbers, I think, came from New York. He would fudge them a little and give them to us so he could get in on the phones and make a few early bets. We would limit him to just $500 a game, but his line was worth it.

Once his numbers reached Syl and myself, we would put up the best line possible, not by trying to pick the winners, but buy fading numbers on teams we thought the public would bet and using a number the wise guys who were in line would jump at.

If we got 49ers -1 from Roxy and Jerry gave us -2½, believing the line likely would reach -3 or higher, we would put the game up -3 and let them bang away. Come Sunday, the game would usually be -3 and we would need the dog anyway. Our job had been done.

Back then we never put a money line on the games like -2½ -120. This practice was started by the Islands and the Nevada books followed suit. Most books will not put up lines on any games until they check their computers and see what the lines are in the Islands.

In today’s marketplace, I guess this is the way they need to play the game with the big corporations running the show. Back then it was fun, and a battle between us and the wise guys.

With all the tight betting rules, the wise guys have mostly left the scene in Vegas, but us little guys will still have our parlay cards and a shot to hit a 10-teamer once in a great while. We also have our football contests to take a shot at.

The game may have passed me by as far as bookmaking goes, but we had our time and it was great. Football is here and all is good.

I do have a few plays for this week’s preseason games, and will be hitting those parlay card stands.

Thursday, Aug. 8

Ravens +3 at Bucs: The defending champs will be in deep doo-doo. Bucs have gone 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 preseason openers. BUCS -3.

Bengals +3 at Falcons: Cincy is a team to watch, with a big shot to go far. Falcons 2-7 at home in their last nine preseasongames. BENGALS +3.

Broncos +3 at 49ers: Denver, which looks to go all the way this year, has gone 7-1-1 in their last nine as a preseason road dog. BRONCOS +3.

Jets +3½ at Lions (35½): I really like this game and will be making some straight bets and a parlay. One big factor in preseason is backup QB’s, and the Lions have two good ones. Detroit 9-2 in its last 11 preseason. Look for them to light it up. LIONS -3½/OVER 35½.

Chiefs +3 at Saints: New Orleans will be one angry team this year even with the cheap QB who left a $3 tip with a takeout order of $80 bucks. Why leave a tip at all? Maybe these multimillion dollar players are just above it. Don’t they know they could leave a double sawbuck ($20), which means nothing to them but a lot to the person behind the counter of a takeout restaurant? If I were Drew (Brees) I would go back there and toss a few hundred around. HC Sean Payton comes back, a very angry man I think, after his season-long suspension in the pay-to-hurt scandal. Andy Reid, who takes over at KC, has never been akin to winning in the preseason. A blowout. SAINTS -3.

Saturday, Aug. 10

Giants +3 at Steelers (35½): Tomlin’s crew has been super to say the least in preseason, going 11-1 SU at home and 6-1 OVER in their last 7. They follow the Pirates and keep the winning going in Pittsburgh. STEELERS -3/OVER 35½.

Have fun, and remember not to bet that rent or food money. Make a little bet every day as you may be walking around lucky and not even know it. That’s what my dad, “Broadway” Benny, would tell my mom when she would ask him why he had to go to the track every night!

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper.  Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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