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The French theory: Play conservative

Dec 21, 2004 8:25 AM

EDITORS NOTE: Each week GamingToday will feature some helpful hints and angles from the top sports book managers in the industry. This week: Will French, California Hotel & Casino.

California downtown has the perfect man in Will French for running its race and sports book. He’s laidback, conservative and meticulous.

"When looking at the NFL, I see a roller coaster ride," said French, who at age 61 has spent nearly half his life working at California.

"I try to play the underdogs when I can," French said. "I do play favorites when I feel it’s a strong play. I don’t do a lot of handicapping, but I will concentrate on betting against teams that have been on the road more than a week or are coming off a long rest."

French said his favorite sport to follow is college football, where underdogs tend to have a better chance of getting the benefit of a bad line.

"I’m basically a sports fan, just like everyone else," French said. "I don’t do a lot of handicapping, but I do enjoy going with underdogs."

The California is a Boyd property and gets its odds and lines from the Stardust. — Mark Mayer