July is supposed to be the deadest month of the year for the sportsbooks with baseball being the only major sport running, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
Every book in Las Vegas is going full throttle getting ready for the football season, which is their big money-making time of year – and that extends well into to the casino at all levels, not just the booking part.
The Golden Nugget has been getting constant play on their college football “Games of the Year.” William Hill books across the state have been posting all kinds of NFL player props and CG Technologies has listed some creative college football season win totals that even match up against NFL season wins.
Over at the Aliante, Marc Nelson has had his phone operation open for almost a month and says he’s almost getting as much action from it as over the counter. That’s a pretty big deal and far exceeds the lofty projections I made three weeks ago.
The Stratosphere opened its Week 1 college football lines two weeks ago and when CG Technology unveiled its numbers last Wednesday, Strat book director Ed Malinowski had to do some major maneuvering to avoid bettors getting the best of both books with middles.
“We took a few bets and when I saw there was a little more intensity from bettors to get the numbers than there was in the previous five days, I figured some other book had posted its numbers,” Malinowski said last Thursday afternoon.
CG said they didn’t look at any other competing numbers before posting theirs, which kind of forced the hand of Malinowski to get closer to being the same, even though both limits are only $1,000.
Malinowski probably did CG a favor by doing so rather than letting bettors play both sides at each property where each book could lose with such huge middles. I’m all in favor of the bettors getting an edge, but there’s absolutely no reason to give them 10-point middles – likely the case if Malinowski didn’t move so quickly on a few games.
CG also opened wagering on several Week 1 college football totals with a limit set at $300. I’ve always said, if you can’t at least take $500 on a single betting option then it’s not worth the time to post.
In this case, no one else in the world has them posted, so there’s little room to complain. The juiciest number of all is Virginia/UCLA UNDER 54.
Jay Kornegay at the Westgate is switching bet systems over to Stadium Technologies, a major transition, while also booking their large menu of props, NFL “Games of the Year” and other material. When asked about this being a slow time, Kornegay chuckled about July,
“Ha. We started working on SuperContest and SuperContest weekend in March. Football Central we started working on in May.”
William Hill opened wagering on 40 different NFL player props with everything from matchups like who will have the most sacks between J.J. Watt and Justin Houston (pick ‘em) to who will win the rushing title? (Adrian Peterson is 9/2)
The Golden Nugget “GOY” has been a major success so far with record action and bettors are still chomping away at numbers. Ohio State is now only -12 at Michigan in their season finale (Nov. 28) after opening -16.
Bettors also took Michigan State +14 down to +12.5 at Columbus in the game played a week earlier, which is a sign most believe the Buckeyes’ top rating is too high at the moment.
Those two games figure to be the toughest on the schedule for Ohio State and the only real chance of keeping them from another undefeated season like they had in Urban Meyer’s first season as head coach when they weren’t bowl eligible. CG Technology has the Buckeyes season win total set at 11 OVER -165.
Should Ohio State make the Big Ten title game as expected, they would be a double-digit favorite in that game as well. You won’t see single digit spreads on the defending champs until the playoffs start.
William Hill books have seen the most tickets written on Ohio State in their championship futures wagers at 3-1 odds, as well as most cash written – an astonishing 27 percent of all cash wagered in the pool is on the Buckeyes.
When looking at the landscape of college football, the final four looks to be Ohio State, possibly Florida State depending on how they do as a 2-point dog at Clemson Nov. 8, the winner of the unofficial Big-12 title game when Baylor gets +6 at TCU (Nov. 27) and then the SEC champion.
The Pac-12 gauntlet is just too tough weekly to see any of those teams run the table and make the playoffs.
CG Technology has offered odds on which conference will be represented as champions with the Big Ten favored at 9-to-5 followed by the SEC at 2-1, the Big 12 at 11-5, Pac-12 at 4-1, ACC, 20-1, and the Field (all others) at 60-1.
If Boise State looks impressive throughout and beats Washington, BYU and Virginia in non-conference play, they could have a shot at sneaking in if there are a bunch of one or two loss teams as candidates to make the Final Four.
Boise State by themselves is 200-1 to win it at all at the Westgate. They’ll need the rest of the Mountain West Conference to step up their play in non-conference games – a very questionable task – to make the Broncos’ wins over them look more impressive.
Notre Dame also falls into the “Field” category as well and they’re 20-1 to win it all at the Westgate, the lowest odds on a team from a non-power conference.
One of the CG Tech props posted has Ohio State -½ season win better than the Seattle Seahawks despite the NFL team playing four more games than the Buckeyes during the regular season.
Ohio State could run the table at 12-0 and Seattle could still win the bet by losing four games. With the sour taste of losing the Super Bowl, adding TE Jimmy Graham and the 49ers being much worse within the division – where Seattle is a 1-to-4 favorite to win NFC West, 12 wins by Seattle looks highly likely and worth at shot at laying -125.
The Arizona Cardinals are -½ (-145) to have more wins than Arizona State, TCU is -½ (-160) to have more than the Cowboys and perhaps the coolest one of all is the 49ers and Stanford combined wins (-½) against Oregon and the Raiders. They’ve got 16 different match-ups, so go check them out at one of their many properties across the Strip, including the Venetian, Tropicana and Cosmopolitan.
I’m hearing Bob Scucci over at Boyd Gaming is pulling his hub operation out of the sportsbook and building a room somewhere on the Orleans property to avoid any distractions. The idea is for the supervisors to just book games and monitor the phones while never having to be bothered by a customer wanting comps or complaining about what games are on particular TV’s.
The South Point is one of those books that never has a dull moment any day of the week no matter what time of year it is. They have seven windows open at all key moments throughout July weeks, something you won’t find at any sports-only counter in the state. Good reason because the place is always jammed.
Walk into any book on the Strip on a Tuesday and you hear crickets. Walk into the South Point on a Tuesday and it’s like Mardi Gras with a great combination of locals and visiting guests staying in one of its 3,000 rooms and another 2,000 rooms next-door at the time shares. It’s my favorite place to watch baseball games because of all the excitement.
Right now the South Point has a $5 NFL Week 1 Jackpot Parlay Card open where the bettor who picks the most winners straight-up – no pointspread – wins $25,000. If there’s a tie, the winners split the pot. It’s a great deal with a sure overlay.
I’ll be updating details of all the happenings at the sportsbooks as we get closer to the first kickoff, but if you look at all the football wagering available right now, you’d almost think the season begins next week.
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].