UNLV rebuilds fast, LVH SuperBook drops odds to 40-1

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Just how good might the UNLV Rebel basketball program be for the 2012-2013 season? Well, if odds rapidly changing at a Las Vegas sports book is a form of measure, then the future looks to be bright in Dave Rice’s second season as head coach.

After UNLV landed blue-chip Findlay Prep star Anthony Bennett on Saturday, a McDonald’s All-American who the spurned Oregon, Kentucky and Florida, the LVH Super Book immediately dropped the odds on the Rebels from 60-to-1 down to 40-to-1.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Bennett was the top uncommitted recruit in the land still available and UNLV was finally able to keep a blue-chipper who was playing in their backyard. In addition to Bennett, UNLV added to what might be their best recruiting class ever by getting California Player of the Year Kaitin Reinhardt, Bishop Gorman forward Demetrius Morant and Baltimore point guard Daquan Cook.

When you add in USC transfer Bryce Jones and Pitt transfer Khem Birch to a mix that already includes the stars from last season, Mike Moser and Anthony Marshall, who helped the team to 26 wins, it’s easy to see why some may think UNLV has a great shot to make some noise in the tournament.

By the time Birch becomes eligible in December, UNLV will have a rotation of 10 quality players and be one of the deepest teams in the nation. The Rebels were ranked as high as 11th last season, which was later revealed that they weren’t that good. But due to their new crop of talent, expect a Top 25 preseason ranking at least and get ready for what should be the most exciting season since Jerry Tarkanian left the program.

NFL wins coming

Last Wednesday, Cantor Gaming sports books released spreads on every NFL game through Week 17. Within the next two weeks, they’ll also be releasing their season win totals which is always the biggest football betting bonanza before the season starts.

The reason the totals are so popular is because the sharp money gets the process started with rapid fire limit wagers on a few perceived off-numbers. The sports books post totals on all 32 teams and may be right on the money with 28 of them, but the other four will get pounded again and again by the sharps like a wounded gazelle in the Serengeti.

Now that doesn’t mean they are always correct. Sometimes they are dead wrong like last season when MGM Resorts posted the first totals and sharp money pounded the Bengals UNDER 7 ½ wins. Cincinnati ended up making the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

But for the most part, their early opinions do well and are a great indicator of who might be better or worse than expected for the upcoming season.

Once a few of the other books put their totals up, it creates a market frenzy where action comes in heavy with bettors utilizing an advantage for themselves by getting in position where they can win both sides or scalp money-lines on the same total. Between Cantor Gaming, MGM Resorts, Lucky’s and the LVH Super Book, the bettors will have plenty of angles to play.

GN’s college best

Within the next two weeks, the Golden Nugget will unveil spreads on about 80 of the best college football games of the year. The staff at the Nugget has been doing this for the last five seasons and is one of the highly anticipated betting events of the summer.

Sharp bettors orderly cue up a line with their own power ratings ready to go toe-to-toe with the Nugget’s numbers. Once at the counter, they make their No. 1 wager on a perceived bad number, and then go to the end of the line with hopes that their No. 2 wager doesn’t have the line move from the dozens betting before them.

This process goes on over and over until every ounce of perceived value is stripped. That value is usually gone after the first four hours. For casual bettors who don’t take part in the activities, it’s still fun to watch because just by the movement of lines, you can immediately see who the sharp money likes. Last season they were very high on Notre Dame and LSU while betting against Auburn and Michigan in any game offered.

Big Soccer weekend

One of my favorites events of the year takes place this Saturday in Munich, Germany, the UEFA Champions League Final. This is the ultimate club football championship where the top European clubs have been battling it out all season to get to this one final game.

In this year’s match we have Chelsea playing Bayern-Munich in their backyard with Chelsea being a huge underdog. Bayern is a – 240 favorite to win outright and – ½ (-145) to win in 90 minutes with a total of 2½ goals scored.

Even if you don’t like soccer much, I highly recommend taking two hours out of your Saturday afternoon to go to a proper pub and watch the match with a few hundred others. It’s a great cultural experience that you will enjoy.

For a moment, you will forget where you’re at and believe you have taken a trip to Europe. Of course the pints help out with that fantasy, but so does learning songs at a sporting event. How come we don’t have songs for our clubs here?

The two best Las Vegas pubs to watch the matches are always the Crown and Anchor by UNLV and McMullen’s Irish Pub next to the Orleans. I generally choose the Irish pub because of the perfect pint of Guinness, but in this case it will be more about having a ticket on Bayern laying the half-goal in 90-minutes, and the English pub being filled more with Chelsea supporters.

Chelsea played their best in the Champions League matches, but finished sixth in the English Premier League. The biggest equation is the home field for Bayern. There’s no love lost in any battle between England and Germany and it will played out so on the pitch, the stands and pubs all across the world this Saturday, but the German club takes this one.

So give it a shot and take a vacation for the day and I’ll guarantee a good time. And then, just when you get hooked, you get the Euro Cup next month with all the European nations going at it.


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