Vegas bulks up on baseball props

Feb 22, 2005 8:36 AM

Barry Bonds fourth in homers! Roger Clemens behind teammate Roy Oswalt in wins! Get ready for a wild ride of baseball props at Caesars Palace.

"Our staff, especially supervisor David Grisar, worked hard to come up with some interesting choices to bet on," said Chuck Esposito, executive vice president for race and sports at Caesars.

It was an especially active weekend for Esposito, who booked a successful horse racing contest, set odds for French Open tennis and Tour de France, along with listing an April boxing card featuring Sugar Shane Mosley at the legendary venue (see NOTEBOOK).

The lack of hockey, coupled with the three-day hiatus for the NBA All-Star Game in Denver created the right timing for Caesars to announce its early baseball props and futures for what could be the most eagerly anticipated major league season.

"It will be interesting to see if steroids will affect the posted totals when the season begins," Esposito said. "One thing I do know, we will be watching the April 3 opener between the Yanks and Red Sox closely. If (Curt) Schilling is fit, expect to see some odds in a couple of weeks."

The projected Schilling-Randy Johnson pitching matchup April 3 at Yankee Stadium is featured in several props (see GT page 6) for no doubt will be a media bonanza.

"We have the Yankees at 7-5 over the Red Sox in their 17-game series," Esposito said. "I think our customers really enjoy betting rivalies, like Cubs-Cards, Giants-Dodgers, Angels-A’s. So far head to head team matchups, most homers and most pitching wins have been the most popular wagers.

Caesars currently lists Alex Rodriguez as a 7-1 favorite to win the home run crown, with Bonds fourth. Johnson is 6-1 to post the most victories, with AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins next at 7-1.

National League Cy Young champ Roger Clemens is at 12-1, trailing his Houston teammate Roy Oswalt (10-1).

"I’m also excited about our prop as to which team allows Bonds’ 715th homer," Esposito said.

We’ll choose San Diego at 8-1. Batter up!