“Anticipation,” one of my favorite songs by the great Carly Simon, was a great asset when dealing games from behind the counter. However, it seems the way games are booked in this new corporate marketplace there is no anticipation – just put up the numbers and let the chips fall.
Back when… there were games we just had to take stands on, the most important was the Monday niter. All the parlays would be ending up on, most likely, a big favorite or a big public team. That leads into Sept. 7 when the No. 1 college football team in the country, Ohio State, will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on a good Virginia Tech team.
Last year the Hokies went into Columbus and beat Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes in the second game of the season, 35-21, hanging the only loss of the season on the National Champs. Meyer never forgets and neither does his team.
Urban has suspended four players, the most important being All-American defensive end and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa, for violation of Department of Athletics policy. The three other players were Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and Corey Smith. Marshall and Wilson were both top players at the H-back position where Urban used them in several different ways. Smith is a wide receiver and was expected to be a big part of the offensive flow this year.
At defensive end, Tyquan Lewis was set to start opposite Joey Bosa so he will most likely be the main man vs. the Hokies. Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes will also be stepping into the rotation with no Bosa, so all will not be lost on a defense that will be fired up after allowing 35 points in their home loss last year to VT.
Losing Smith, Marshall and Wilson will hurt but Ohio State just happens to have plenty of big time players waiting in the wings. Remember the name Noah Brown plus redshirts Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin, who figure to play. The secret of Meyer’s offense could be in the hands of Braxton Miller who he has moved to H-back. He will be at that spot with the very talented Curtis Samuel. We could see Braxton tossing a few down the field.
Now if the Monday game was between Purdue and Marshall (they play Sunday, Sept. 6) I would not have much anticipation. The swarm at sportsbook counters will focus on parlays involving Ohio State.
Most spots in Nevada get a line on what the Islands put up on a game and throw the number up. Now we get some suspensions, fear sets in, the line runs down. Come Monday night they look at their computer and low and behold, if Ohio State covers the game they will lose six figures!
The line opened Ohio State -14, which I though was accurate. Once the suspensions were announced it was taken off the board and put back up at -10 or -10½ without anticipation. I believe the line will creep back up to at least -13.
I don’t know what team will cover, but Meyer doesn’t lose revenge games. VT will come out strong and is very tough at home, but the art of bookmaking is to keep your exposure down to the minimum. Now the books will not only be in a bad position come Monday but could also get “hi diddle diddled, caught in the middle.”
Sometimes you need patience and as a past bookmaker I just don’t seem to see it any longer.
I wish the books well. There will be a huge handle and that may take care of it. I will be sitting back and hoping my -10 gets there.
Encore: I was taking in the Haskell at Monmouth Park on NBC and American Pharoah had a million dollar workout with his win. One thing got me though. A talking head said AP is 1-9 in the betting and could even be less than that.
Bet those parlay cards, enter those football contests and if you can’t get out every day just get an app. They are fun, easy to use and most of the books have them available now. Sit back and have an ice cold beer. As Ben Franklin once wrote, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Always remember, you could be walking around lucky and not even know it.
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].