The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has dozens of ways to bet the World Cup semifinals with Tuesday’s match featuring France -130 to advance against Belgium and Wednesday’s match featuring England as a -155 favorite to advance against Croatia. They’ve got three pages of props for each game. While I prefer betting the two-way option with one team to advance rather than the 90-minute three-way option that includes the draw, I’m in the minority.
“Oh yeah, we do way more action on the three-way than just to advance,” said SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman. “They get more attractive prices on their sides and these guys don’t like the randomness of penalty kicks deciding their fate. They’ve got a good understanding in rooting for 90 minutes.”
In Wednesday’s match, the SuperBook’s three-way price for 90 minutes has England +135, Croatia +230 and the Draw +210 with total set at 2 over -115. The three-way theoretic hold is 5 percent compared to the two-way at 4.5 percent, which might be the best three-way hold in the state. Quite impressive and very fair for the bettor.
They also offer the best theoretical hold at 25 percent on the “pick the exact score” prop with 26 options. How about England 0-0 (90 minutes) which pays 11-to-2 odds?
As for the action to win, one squad in each game has found some support in the early wagering.
“We’ve seen a little more action with Belgium over France and we’ve also taken some decent money on England to advance, pushing them from -145 to -155,” said Sherman.
The thing I’ve noticed throughout the Tournament is England’s team rating has been boosted due to winning and also having a huge fan following that causes adjustments to be made just because of expected risk. But at the same time, Croatia’s rating hasn’t been adjusted from its pre-tournament rating. We know so much more about Croatia now than before the tournament, so what gives?
“Croatia didn’t command too much adjustment or gain much support until Saturday against Russia said Sherman, who was vocal about Croatia being a team capable of winning it all before the tournament started. Croatia was 60-to-1 to win the World Cup before it started and is now the longest shot remaining to win it all at 4-to-1. France is the 2-to-1 favorite followed by Belgium at 5-to-2 and England at 11-to-4.
Sherman said the SuperBook does extremely well on all four teams in future prices that have been posted since July of 2014. “We do the best with England and win the least with Belgium,” he said.
It’s an amazing cycle every four years of getting dump trucks of cash unloading at the book when the World Cup takes place in dry June and July months where the bookmakers usually have to sweat out risky baseball action with nothing else to balance daily win/loss. This World Cup has been a hit all over the state, bettering the numbers set four years ago when the USA and Italy were both in the tournament.
The World Cup has come a long way in town the past 24 years when the games were played in the USA and I remember the sportsbook I worked for being reluctant to post numbers on the early games. They eventually gave in to demand, posting numbers from the quarterfinals and further just because so many travelers and game-goers were passing through Las Vegas.
Can you imagine not having World Cup numbers in the Group Stage? It wasn’t that long ago. We’ve all grown leaps and bounds in accepting soccer. Now some books like the SuperBook post odds on every game for seven or eight different pro soccer leagues.
Both France and Belgium are expected to be favored over England or Croatia in Sunday’s Final, which I’m hoping will be England pitted against France in a classic grudge match. Those two nations are the Hatfield and McCoys of Europe and have been feuding since the 13th century. Without France, it’s quite possible the United States would still be under the rule of the United Kingdom. There are some deeply embedded wounds held by both sides if those two nations meet. No war, just sport.
Well done, Derek
I was pleased to hear Derek Stevens, owner of The D and Golden Gate casinos downtown, has begun the process to start his own sportsbook operation and I was even more pleased to see he gave Matt Metcalf the sportsbook director position to get the wheels in motion. The D and Golden Gate both currently offer William Hill odds and will continue to do so over the next few months.
Stevens said the William Hill relationship has been incredible, but it’s time to have his own book as the downtown expansion continues. He owns the cleared space where the Las Vegas Club used to be and he’s going to be building something amazing down there.
Metcalf comes from the Jay Kornegay lineage of bookmakers and has an amazing grip on how the process works, with an especially good understanding on how to protect against getting beat to the punch or double-popped by sharp money. He’s extremely sharp himself and will do well giving a new solid number to the city, something we haven’t had in a while. Expect fair splits and prices on all sports similar to what the SuperBook and William Hill offer.
While Metcalf waits for a sportsbook room to be built in both casinos, his duties right now include setting up minimal internal control standards, department policy and procedures and also a bookmaking guide. Nothing worse than having a bookmaking staff not on the same page of how and when to move numbers. I’m looking forward to seeing the new operation and also possible ventures of the brand into other states. Congrats, Derek and Matt! I think this is going to be a winning combination for years to come.