Fight bettors take it on the chin

Mar 6, 2001 6:58 AM

Many bettors took one on the chin in the Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz WBA heavyweight championship fight.

Ruiz, who opened +170 at Mandalay and closed +200, won a unanimous 12-round decision at Mandalay Bay to gain the title.

GamingToday publisher Chuck DiRocco thought highly of Ruiz. And, according to reliable sources, put his money where his thoughts were.

Nevertheless, books cleaned up. The fight going 12 helped the house, too. At Mandalay, whether the fight "would not go 12" opened -130 and closed –150. "Would go 12" opened even money and closed at +130.

"There were plenty of tickets on (it ‘would not go 12’)," said Mandalay race and sports book manager Nick Bogdanovich.

As for who’d win, Holyfield opened –180 and closed –240. On Friday, Holyfield was –230, Ruiz +190.

"It was good two-way action, but we needed it to go the distance," Bogdanovich said. Betting all together just on Saturday "was about what I expected."

Robert Walker, race and sports book manager at The Mirage, said betting wasn’t as strong there.

"That’s probably because the first fight they had was lethargic," he said. "Handle was minimal on this fight."

Mandalay also offered odds on the undercard. Tim Austin, who opened –1300 and closed –1400, defeated Jesus Perez (opened +900 and closed +1000) in the sixth round to defend the IBF bantamweight championship. Rosendo Alvarez won a split 12-round decision over Beibis Mendoza (both were –115) to capture the WBA light flyweight title

"There was a lot of action on Austin," Bogdanovich said. "There was more action (on the undercard) than I expected. All together, I was happy with the handle (on the undercard)."

betting results

NASCAR (and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) made their marks on the Las Vegas sports books last week.

Jeff Gordon, who closed 7-1 at Coast Casinos sports books, won this past Sunday’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, even though Dale Earnhardt Jr. was played heavily.

At The Mirage, Earnhardt Jr. opened 25-1 and closed 12-1.

"It’s not even close," Walker said of who was bet the most to win. "He was like a Tiger Woods the way they were betting on him. If I were booking a pari-mutuel, it would have closed at 3-1. There were a lot of $10 and $20 dollar tickets on him.

"I was shocked to see this compared with the other drivers in the race," he added. "He is up-and-coming. But I think a lot of it is because what happened at the Daytona 500" with the death of his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr.

At Mandalay, the Earnhardt Jr. story was similar. He opened 15-1 and closed 6-1.

"It’s a combination of two things: he’s capable of winning; and it’s sentimental," Bogdanovich said.

The books also offered match-ups, but they aren’t as popular as who’d win the race.

"There’s been a little bit on match-ups," Walker said. "(Sterling) Marlin was played over Jerry Nadeau. Wiseguys get into match-ups."

The most intriguing match-up at The Mirage was Jeff Gordon –130 vs. Earnhardt Jr. +120.

At Mandalay, only four of the six match-ups were even played.

"They don’t like match-ups, but they’ll bet who will win it all," Bogdanovich said.

So is NASCAR becoming more and more popular with bettors?

Well, Walker decided Sunday the NASCAR race would have sound throughout The Mirage book — and it was going against the Duke-North Carolina NCAA men’s basketball showdown.

XFL mixed

While Bogdanovich said hardly anybody bet XFL last weekend at Mandalay, Walker said betting is steady at The Mirage.

"There’s no interest. Our guests are just not interested," Bogdanovich said.

But at The Mirage, "Handle has been steady," Walker said. "(Bettors) are playing the under. They changed the rules with the bump-and-run. For bookies, you hate to see (the league) change the rules."

Before last weekend, an overwhelming majority of totals went under. But this weekend, two games went over, one went under. The other was on or around a push — depending on casinos’ closing lines. Los Angeles’ 22-7 win over New York/New Jersey was right around the total of 29. San Francisco’s 39-10 win over Birmingham went over the total of 31. Chicago’s 15-13 victory over Las Vegas went under the 30½ total. Orlando’s 21-19 win over Memphis went over the total of 36.

More baseball odds

Imperial Palace has released over/unders on regular season wins for major league baseball.

The Braves have the highest at 93. The defending champion Yankees are 90, followed by Oakland Athletics (89), Boston Red Sox (88½), St. Louis Cardinals (88½), New York Mets (88), and Cleveland Indians (88).

Other teams of note: the Los Angeles Dodgers are 84½, Texas Rangers 84, and Seattle Mariners 82. The lowest is the Minnesota Twins at 72. All teams must play 160 regular-season games. All sides are –115.

The IP has a contest to see who’ll have the "most regular season home runs." Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire are the favorites at 7-2. Ken Griffey Jr. and Manny Ramirez follow at 6-1. Jeff Bagwell and Barry Bonds are 7-1. Thirty players individually are eligible. The field, 10-1, is all other players not listed. All bets are action despite a shortened season, injuries or trades. Odds will change.

There also are baseball propositions match-ups. With home runs and RBI, Alex Rodriguez is –145 vs. Griffey at +115.

In a "most hits" match-ups, Edgardo Alfonzo is –115 vs. Bobby Abreu –115.

There are pitching props, as well.

For most wins, Pedro Martinez plus Woody Williams combined, are –160, against Tom Glavine plus Andy Ashby +130.

Another prop is most complete games. Randy Johnson is –130 against Martinez who is even.

Players must play one regular season game for action.