Bettors are loving Phil Mickelson this week as the Masters tees off from Augusta, Georgia on Thursday. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had Mickelson as high as 30-1 at one point, but the three-time Masters champ is down to 15-1 and will likely be dropping even further.
“He’s our biggest risk so far,” SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman said Monday morning of Mickelson. “He’s had a good start to the year, and always been supported well in the majors. We have double the tickets written on him than we do on Jordan Spieth.”
Spieth won last year’s Masters by jumping out to a huge lead shooting a 64 on Thursday and following it up with a 66 on Friday. Sherman opened him as the 5-1 favorite when odds were first posted in August after the PGA Championship, where Spieth finished second.
“I think this will be more wide open than I can ever remember feeling before the tournament started,” said Sherman who is considered the leading golf oddsmaker in town. “I could see any of the top-10 contenders winning.”
Sherman likes Jason Day’s chances a lot this week and currently has him the 7-1 favorite with both Spieth and Rory McIlroy next at 8-1. He posted a prop on Monday night asking whether any one of them would win with NO -240 and the YES at +200. Another one of his dozens of Masters props is an OVER-UNDER on the best round set at 65.5.
The SuperBook is the top place in town to bet the Masters, not just with fair odds to win and props, but also daily as they’ll be setting up adjusted odds to win after each round as well as matchups for the next round. Sherman will also be offering in progress wagering for Sunday’s final round.
Sound will be on for each of the rounds and it’s quite possible you’ll never have the type of viewing experience for the Masters as you’ll have at the SuperBook’s renovated room. Damn, the HD on the blades of grass is going to be intense on those massive new screens. So whether you’re wagering or not, if you’re looking to watch the Masters this week in Vegas, the SuperBook is your best bet.
Final 4 for Vegas
The favorite and OVER cashed in each of Saturday’s Final Four games, but the results didn’t hurt Las Vegas sports books as you might think. Usually, the majority of recreational bettors side with the favorites and OVER and link them up together for a four-team parlay which has the risk piling up with potential 10-to-1 payouts.
“It wasn’t as bad,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick of the results. “We had more Syracuse money straight and parlays were balanced on Nova-Syracuse game.”
Villanova (-2.5) put a 95-51 pasting on Oklahoma and even though a few books got middled on a total that started at 149.5 and closed at 144, the decision worked well for the house. William Hill books reported 55 percent of all cash wagered on the side being on the Sooners. They also had 53 percent of the wagers taken on Syracuse (+9.5) in the late game against North Carolina. The Tar Heels would roll 83-66, setting up Monday’s championship game with Carolina as a 2.5-point favorite with the total at 151.
Take advantage of MLB
I always found it odd when working behind the counter that the sport we held the least to was the sport we offered the best value to the public with 10 cents splits. “That’s the way it’s always been,” is what I was told.
In football, a book might hold nine percent offering 20 cent splits on the points spreads. In basketball, it might be eight percent. Those are the sports that should be considered to offer lower splits like baseball currently has because the books do so well to them.
In baseball, a good year would be holding two percent, and there have been times when the season is break even or even a loser. Man, those June and July’s can be rough when relying on baseball to be the main source of revenue.
The main reason for such a low hold percentage is the 10-cent splits (example: Pirates -105, Cardinals -105) and also the true odds payouts on parlays. Whenever there’s a run on favorites winning and then also winning by two-runs to cover the run-line, those payouts go through the roof. In basketball and football parlays the books have a pay chart for the point spreads.
If a bettor hits a four-team parlay in football or basketball, they’ll get 10-to-1 odds on the pay chart. If a bettor hits a four-teamer in baseball, where all four teams are -110, the true odds payout is 12.28-to-1. It’s a big difference.
My baseball betting advice I’m going to offer comes from betting patterns I’ve witnessed over the years from the sharpest bettors in town. There were a couple guys who won consistently every year, and their opinion was worth a 10-cent move regardless of where risk was on the game. They were consistent winners by rarely laying favorites over -140, seeking out mostly underdogs and running with a team on a win streak. Even if you don’t win 50 percent of your wagers, by keeping a heavy dose of dogs in play you can still show a profit.
The wise guys never lay -1.5 runs on the run-line, but will often be tempted to lay a price if low enough by taking +1.5 with the underdog. Betting options like the total and run-line are 20-cent splits, so the two don’t have the same value as the sides do.
It’s fun to play a big parlay for the day’s games, but I’ve found that the most consistent way to win on a parlay is by playing a two-team side-to-total parlay because if one thing happens, the other is most likely to. For instance, say you handicapped the White Sox to win a game because of Chris Sale being on an incredible run, and he also happens to own a certain team.
You know the Sox haven’t been hitting well, but Sale is the selling point. The total is low at 6.5, but if Sale has a good day, it’s more likely the game stays UNDER – if one thing happens the other is more likely. They’re correlated plays, unlike taking sides of two different games on a parlay.
Good luck and enjoy the season.
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. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].