The NFL sure sputtered out of the gate Sunday by cancelling their Hall of Fame Game much to the dismay of several bettors in Las Vegas who were eagerly waiting any kind of sign football season was upon us.
Preseason or not, bettors were ready and the books all across town were filling up for a 5 p.m. PT kickoff, but at 4 p.m., ESPN’s Chris Berman dropped the news of cancellation on the pre-game show in a tone that sounded as if someone had passed. For football fans everywhere, that tone was kind of appropriate.
“When people in the book started hearing about the news of the field conditions causing the game to be cancelled, they were like, ‘wait, what?,’” said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “There was a little confusion, some disbelief because this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. Overall there was just some disappointment among the crowd.”
The Colts had been bet up from a pick ‘em to -3.5 against the Packers at a few books with the total bet down from 36.5 to 34, and the action, albeit smaller wagers because of lower limits, was solid at the SuperBook. All bets on the game were refunded.
“We had just as much wagered on it as the top baseball games of the day,” said Kornegay, who noted the alternative sports viewing at the time on MLB-TV with the Red Sox at Dodger Stadium also couldn’t be seen because of the local black out of Dodgers games, among the six teams MLB considers Las Vegas’ home teams.
“At least we still had the Olympics on TV,” Kornegay said, “and we got to watch a Vegas boy, Cody Miller from Palo Verde high school, win the bronze medal in the breast stroke. So that was kind cool to watch.”
He says Olympic betting action so far has been coming in at a slow pace at the SuperBook.
“It’s very light, as expected. I think we’ll see action pick-up with the golf this week and when the USA (Men’s) Basketball team has some more competitive match-ups.”
The USA beat China, 119-62, in their first real basketball game, covering the 50-point spread.
“We ended up a small loser with the decision,” said Kornegay,” but it was minimal.”
While Sunday was supposed to be the date everyone got themselves into a football mindset by finally seeing a kickoff, Kornegay’s been in a football mode ever since the Super Bowl, getting all his preparations finalized for the famed SuperContest and the SuperContest Weekend, which is set for Aug. 26-27.
So far the $1,500 per entry pro football contest has attracted 344 sign-ups through Sunday night, which is a huge bump from the 247 attracted on the same date last season, which eventually saw a record 1,727 contestants vying for a share of $2,590,500.
The SuperContest Weekend will offer some of the best handicappers giving their approach to each of the NFL conferences and college football. It’s a nice way to get a running start into the season and pick up some pointers, or at least information to make you think a little more about before finalizing your wagers.
By attending the seminar, you’ll also be given a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of the six free SuperContest entries Kornegay is giving away. You can also get tickets by wagering on football and baseball futures, pari-mutuel horse racing wagers and participating in Saturday’s golf tournament, which is filling up fast.
William Hill sportsbooks announced last week they’ll be offering two contests this season to their customers at 106 books across the state. One of them, the Pro Pick’em contest with a $25 entry fee, was offered last season. The other one, the College Pick’em contest, is brand new and is somewhat high-end with a $500 entry fee and all entry fees returned as prize money.
The college contest requires contestants to to pick seven games against the spread among the 25 contest games offered. At the end of the season, whoever has the most winners gets 70 percent of the prize pool.
Second-place gets 20 percent and third gets 10 percent. Should the winner get 49 wins or more during the 10 week contest, William Hill will throw in an additional $25,000 as a bonus for such excellence.
It’s the only high-end college football-only contest in town. The other college football-only contest in town is Station Casinos’ “Last Man Standing,” which costs $25 per entry – buy three, get one free.