The Stardust in 1986 we took care of business

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With Scotty Schettler on Christmas vacation with his loving family I will be penning a few short episodes from the 80’s at the Stardust.

It was back in 1986, no Internet or cell phones and our sports lottery was in high gear. We had three betting windows open every morning at 8 a.m. sharp. The book was packed with bettors of all shades and middlers. Bettors had numbers they felt were better than ours and various runners took down the line for their bosses.

College hoops were in full gear and on this particular Thursday morning we had a full house. After we drew for betting positions we had around 30 bettors, runners and whatnots lined up at our three windows. There were at least 30 in each line, maybe more. I have the lines ready to call out but only two ticket writers (we had a no show).

It was now around 7:55 a.m. I waited till 8 but no writer. I called Scotty at home to let him know of our situation. We could not do another draw for positions as the crowd would go nuts, especially Pete White who had a good spot. He had his fighting face on and that was not good. Pete had a little temper.

Scotty said to open the other window and write the tickets myself and don’t worry about changing the lines until everyone has made their bets. It took at least a half an hour but all got their bets in and now it was time to look over the damage.

Scotty comes in, looks at me and says, “oh, well” and heads to his office. Nothing we could do but move the lines and get a little back on the other sides. I leave thinking we will lose six figures but, as luck would have it for the bookies, we had one of our best college basketball wins of the year.

The next day I tell Scotty we should do it again. We looked at each other and walked away. Nothing like this could happen today. First of all I would have been executed for opening a window and writing tickets and the book may have had to pay some steep fines, but that was then.

So what about the ticket writer who was a no show? Well, he wandered in around 9:30 with some story that his dog ate his car keys.

This weekend starts the College Bowl games and we will take a quick look at them along with making some NFL picks.

College bowls
Saturday

NEW MEXICO, Albuquerque

Arizona -10 vs. New Mexico (11 a.m. ESPN): I usually like to bet teams that have done well late in the season. The Wildcats from Tucson went 1-4 SU in their last 5 and may not be thrilled about this trip. The Lobos are very excited just to be in a bowl and did it the hard way, winning 3 of their last 4 games all as an underdog, including a 31-24 victory at Boise State when getting 30 points. NEW MEXICO.

LAS VEGAS, Sam Boyd

BYU +2.5 vs. Utah (12:30 p.m. ABC): The Utes lost 2 of their last 3, including a 17-9 setback to UCLA in Salt Lake as a -5 point favorite. The Cougars fell to UCLA on the road, 24-23, and their only bad game of the year came at the Big House when getting shutout by Michigan a week after the UCLA matchup, so not a good spot for them. BYU lost only to Missouri after that. BYU.

CAMELLIA, Montgomery, Ala.

OHIO +9 vs. Appalachian State (2:30 p.m. ESPN): The Mountaineers from Boone, N.C. have been winning but are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5. The Bobcats from Athens, Ohio have been purring in their last three games going 3-0 SU and ATS and doing it with some good defense. OHIO.

CURE, Orlando, Fla.

San Jose State -3.5 vs. Georgia St. (4 p.m. CBSC): What a nice reward for a losing season for San Jose, which went 5-7. No problem with motivation here as both schools are happy to be here. The Spartans went 1-3 SU in their last 4 but they did have some close calls such as a 17-16 loss to BYU. The Sun Belt Panthers from Atlanta went 6-6, but won their last 4 and went 3-0-1 ATS. They did it playing great defense. They were 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 and the fans may be on their side, what fans there are that will be there. GEORGIA STATE.

NEW ORLEANS, Superdome

Arkansas St. +1.5 vs. Louisiana Tech (6 p.m. ESPN): I talked to our good friend Syl Friedman who resides in the Big Easy. He whispered on the phone that the Dome will be rocking with Bulldogs fans and he told me La. Tech, which lost its last game of the season as a 6 point favorite to Southern Miss, has gone 7-0 SU when coming off a loss as the favorite in their previous game. Ok, Syl, this one’s for you and I will put the ticket in the mail. LA. TECH.

Monday, Dec. 21

MIAMI BEACH, Marlins Park

W. Kentucky -3 vs. USF 66 total (11:30 a.m. ESPN): We know the fans will be on the side of South Florida who reside in Tampa. The Bulls finished red hot, winning and covering four in a row. This will be their first postseason game since Skip Holtz took them to the Meineke Car Bowl in 2010 when they beat Clemson, 31-26. The Hilltoppers won and covered their last 3 with a blowout win in the C-USA playoff game vs. So. Miss. They are a scoring machine. USF can also put points on the board. OVER.

CFB Last Week: 0-0

CFB Season: 71-50-3

NFL
Thursday, Dec. 17

Bucs -1 at Rams: Must side with the Rams in this spot as they have gone 7-0 ATS when .500 or less. St. Louis comes off a non-division win as a dog and playing a non-division team. RAMS.

Monday, Dec. 21

Lions +3 at Saints: Head coach Sean Payton always has his team in winning form in the last games of the season. Detroit is 0-9 ATS when .500 or less coming off a loss as a favorite and playing a team off a SU and ATS win. SAINTS.

Always get off that couch and get to your favorite book. You could be walking around lucky in Las Vegas and not even know it. Walking is good for you.

NFL Last Week: 2-2-0

NFL Season: 14-14-0

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

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