Vegas sports books celebrate start of World Cup

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For the thousands of visitors to our wonderful city, let me be the first to say, thanks for coming and welcome.

 

You are in for special treat this week, because in addition to all the regular festivities going on throughout the city, there is the pageantry of the opening World Cup games that kick off in Brazil.

It took a while for Las Vegas and the States to get what all the hoopla was about around the world every four years. We get it now.

Just about every casino gets it, which is why everyone is doing something special at their property for the games. Sports books are all excited about the event and have posted more props than ever before.

“This is really big for us just because we have so many international visitors staying at our properties,” said MGM Resorts VP of Race and Sports Jay Rood.

“I’m expecting our handle to double from what we did four years ago, not just because the World Cup is more popular than ever here in the U.S., but also because we’ve seen huge gains in every sport this season from football and basketball to the NHL,” he continued. “It’s been a great year thus far, so a huge event like this gives us great optimism that the gains will continue.”

The thing I find most interesting about the World Cup is just being able to expand my own personal boundaries of culture. I love walking into a room full of people who don’t speak the same language, but are able to cheer and communicate through the international language of soccer. There is nothing quite like it and the experience transcends far beyond sports.

Some of the casinos around town I will surely visit throughout the World Cup will be those that have big international crowds like the Wynn, Bellagio and MGM Grand. Those places are going to be electric, something you won’t want to miss.

From a betting angle, the best places I’ve seen so far with dozens of propositions have been at the LVH Super Book, Station Casinos, Aliante and William Hill sports books. They have really taken things up a notch on the odds board like never seen before. They’ve got prices on just about everything imaginable.

For instance, I like Argentina to win it all at 4-to-1 odds, but I’m most concerned about Brazil. So while I’m mulling this over, the LVH puts up a prop asking whether or not Brazil or Argentina will win the World Cup with “NO” being -130.

Perfect, thank you LVH.

I was just thinking about that, and boom, there it is on the board. I will take the “YES,” please, at +110.

Just about anything you can think of for a match is on the board. William Hill sports books will have in-progress wagering on all the games offered at over 140 of their books as well as their outstanding phone app. The Aliante sports book is offering an Asian Handicap.

As excited as I am for these events, I know I’m going to have to temper my enthusiasm, because for some reason there is a correlation between watching big soccer events and drinking. Not sure why.

I can watch football, basketball, baseball and NASCAR without having a pint, but the allure of soccer always has me craving a Guinness or Carlsberg and I always seem to follow my cravings.

Off the Strip, there are a few places that are going to be outstanding for game watching. Get your Hill or Station phone app and bet away at some of the local pubs like the Crown & Anchor English Pub, which will be rocking Saturday afternoon when the “Three Lions” take on Italy.

McMullan’s Irish Pub next to the Orleans has expanded their seating area for the World Cup to accommodate all those who wish to get the perfect Guinness pint and watch the games.

And then there is the Hofbrauhaus across from the Hard Rock Hotel where they give you 34 ounces of their excellent Pilsner for $15.99. Let’s see, many Strip places charge $8 for a 12 ounce domestic, that’s 36 ounces for $24. Sold! I’ll take the giant mug of Pilsner. They will definitely be the place to visit if looking to watch Germany in action.

So while I can’t be in Brazil for the games, and I’m constantly searching for the same feeling I had on my greatest vacation ever – 2006 World Cup in Germany, I feel pretty good about the fact Las Vegas, USA might be the best place in the world to be watching the games.

There really isn’t another city that has so many visitors from elsewhere that gives the same cultural effect as Las Vegas. And in the end, I think that’s all I want. I’d love Argentina to win for my wallet, but more than anything, I just want to dig in and be part of the greatest festival on earth.

2015 odds: LVH Super Book has posted odds to win next year’s NBA title with the Heat as the 2-to-1 favorite followed by the Thunder (5/1), Spurs (6/1) and Clippers (8/1). They also posted next year’s Stanley Cup odds with the Blackhawks and Bruins opening as 7-to-1 co-favorites.

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

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