Holding penalties are most encouraged at the Venetian.
"We have the best theoretical hold in town for the NFL," said Frank Hodge, supervisor of race sports under Rob Akers at The Venetian. "And, our hold this past year was better than the year before."
Riding that momentum, the Venetian staff was quick to gather projected win totals for all 32 NFL teams once the league made official their regular season schedule that ESPN was all too happy to promote in an unprecedented two-hour live presentation.
I’m not certain 120 minutes of reality TV is a good thing (next we’ll see Texas and USC spring games shown live!), but for a betting public that can’t get enough football the Venetian provided just what the doctor ordered.
"We want to be more of a force in sports betting," said Hodge. "Rob (who was on vacation and not available for comment) is really doing a fine job and our customers are definitely benefiting."
On first look at the list of 32, New England’s 10 wins appear to be a lock. The Patriots went 10-6 last season so it would seem having lost in the playoffs would provide a greater incentive for improvement. With Brady and Belichek, I would think the Pats can coax an eleventh win.
So, count the Patriots / OVER as one of our early six-pack of predictions. Here’s my other five, even though Brett Favre and I are wrapped up in baseball and golf at the present time.
Cowboys OVER 9: Say what you will about Terrell Owens, but he does come to play and catches touchdown passes. Drew Bledsoe should get him the ball enough times to keep him happy and RB Julius Jones figures to bounce back from a subpar season. Dallas will make the playoffs.
Seahawks UNDER 11.5: A lot of things went right for Seattle last year. Having Shaun Alexander signed was mandatory to another Super Bowl run, but I don’t see another 13-3 regular season. Look for 10 or 11 wins.
Cards OVER 8: On paper this is the best offense Arizona has had since moving to Phoenix from St. Louis. Kurt Warner had a nice season last year and is loaded with weapons. Believe it or not, the Cards could win 10!
Packers UNDER 6Â½: Favre’s delay is not a good positive sign for the upcoming season. I think Green Bay is in a rebuilding mode, which probably means five wins tops whether Brett stays or leaves the Packers.
Browns OVER 6.5: Cleveland is not a bad football team, just in need of a few breaks. If cash cow Kellen Winslow ever plays, it would provide a tremendous boost to the Browns passing attack that should flourish with big game WR Joe Jurevicius and future All-Pro Braylon Edwards. We like Charlie Frye at QB. These are the 2004 Bengals, capable of 8-8.