One shining weekend for Las Vegas sports books

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The Las Vegas sports books enjoyed a terrific weekend as they did well in both pro and college football. On Sunday, they beat down their four biggest games of the day, which didn’t allow the bettors to gain any momentum heading into the Monday game.

“Sunday was huge, or I should say it was a nice day for us,” said South Point sports book director Bert Osborne. “We had a few breaks late in games that helped us out, and finally had the late afternoon games go our way, something we’ve been getting buried on for the first five weeks.”

The breaks that went their way started early with Baltimore getting a back door cover against the Packers (-2½) in Green Bay’s 19-17 win, and the Texans losing outright to the Rams, 38-13, as 9-point home favorites. While the public and sharps were both on the Steelers (-2) in their 19-6 win against the Jets, there weren’t too many others the public had correct in 3- or 4-team combinations going into the afternoon games.

As for the game that had the highest posted line ever with the Broncos -28 against the Jaguars?

“The Jaguars-Broncos game was kind of a nothing result for us,” said Osborne. “We took a lot of Jacksonville money at +28 when we posted the line early, and with public money on the Broncos side, it all kind of washed out.”

The Broncos closed -26½, and the spread got lots of attention nationally, but most of the hoopla was from people just staring at the number, saying, “Wow,” and not actually betting, except for the sharps who knew the line was ridiculous.

The Seahawks failed to cover 12½ points at home against the Titans in their 20-13 win, and then the Tom Brady-led Patriots (-2) had an improbable comeback to beat the Saints, 30-27. Those two losses by the public really give them something to think about in the upcoming weeks.

The large spreads might be finally catching up with football’s best home money team, as Seattle had covered 15 of their last 18 home games. The public may also be wondering what to do with the Patriots. Once upon a time for decade, the Patriots were bet blindly by the masses no matter how high the number was.

Now with Brady’s new crew of receivers, there is skepticism and the majority of bettors have been on the wrong side three straight weeks with the Patriots. In Week 4, they loved the Falcons, and Brady beat them. In Week 5, they were back to loving Brady again, and the Bengals beat them, stopping his streak of 54 games with a TD pass.

The cycle is trending bad for Brady, right? So in Week 6, they bet against him…at home…even though he was laying less than a field goal.

Marquez-Bradley: Last month we saw truckloads of cash being wagered on the Floyd Mayweather bout, along with a city that was electrified by the event, but Timothy Bradley’s 12-round decision over Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday night never got close to equaling the volume wagered on the Mayweather bout, nor the excitement level.

It’s almost as if the fight came and went without a bleep. Matters surely weren’t helped with the fight being off the Strip at the Thomas & Mack Center; or it could be in today’s short menu of big time boxing, we like the sizzle sold with Mayweather fights.

MGM Resorts vice-president of race and sports Jay Rood said a day before the fight his handle was only one-tenth of what it would have been if it had been at one of his properties. But when the decision came in, most books still found themselves winners despite early sharp action that saw Marquez dropped from a 200 favorite all the way down to as low as -130 a day before the fight.

“Overall, we were a small winner with ‘Bradley by Decision’ on the (5-way) props and ‘pick the rounds,’ but we didn’t write too much to the fight overall,” said Rood who closed Marquez as a 145 favorite.

New MGM parlay card: The highest volume in parlay card action throughout the state is done at the local properties like Station Casinos, Coast Resorts and the South Point chain of books, because those are the locations that are closest to home.

Locals can bet on the way home and collect on their way to work with ease, and not have to deal with traffic on the Strip. But Rood might have given the locals a reason to frequent his MGM Resorts books more often because of his new Premier Payout Parlay Card, which debuted this football season.

All the spreads on the card are half-points, with no ties-lose or ties reduce chances, and the payout chart starts at 6-teams paying out at 48-for-1  and goes all the way up to 12-teams paying out at 3000-for-1. The 10-team payout is also an attractive 850-for-1, but the best part of the card lies within its bad-beat bonus, which pays 75-for-1 for those who hit 11 out of 12 sides correctly.

We’ve all been there, right? Missing one game for a big payout, but still “getting nothing back as a consolation prize despite all the hard work put into your handicapping,” Rood said. “Those type of tickets deserve some kind of recognition, and now there is something that will reward you for being so close, but so far away. And at 75-for-1, it’s a pretty good offer.”

From the locals point of view, I have found the best way to get in and out of an MGM property quickly is to park in the Mandalay Bay garage, or park at the Tropicana along the Strip, and walk to either MGM or Excalibur. It’s all a pretty quick process.

Why fool our public? After writing down all the payouts here for the new MGM card, I still never understood why the sports books have always offered carny-type verbiage on the parlay cards with the payouts where the card may say 7-for-1, but it actually means 6-to-1.

The explanation a ticket writer has to go through to the customer who doesn’t know after they get their payout shorter than expected is routinely like this: “7 FOR 1 says you gave us one for seven, meaning you lose the 1.”

Then the bettor says, “Well, I bet three teams off the board for $10 yesterday, and on the rules and odds posted on the wall it says ‘6-to-1’ and I got $70 back.”

“That’s because it’s 6 TO 1,” says the ticket writer. “You’re putting up 1 to win 6 and you get your 1 back if the bet wins.”

When I worked in the books, I never liked it then either, but it was almost like an unwritten rule where we never changed it, and it’s stood the test of time from when parlay cards first began.

But I think we’re at the stage now of offering fair enough odds due to competition where we don’t need to fool the public anymore to make 700 sound more attractive than 699. Or better yet, just make it 700-to-1.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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