NBA takes backseat to NCAA March Madness

March 27, 2001 7:14 AM
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Does NBA betting increase during March Madness?

"That’s a good question," replied Leroy’s sports book manager Bob Smith. "I don’t see it dropping off, but I don’t see it picking up, either. Tourists and locals are really focused on the NCAAs."

Does the tournament’s overflow crowd bet the NBA? That’s all up to which sports book you look at.

"I think it goes up a little bit," said Harrah’s sports book manager Mary Anne Masaitis. "It’s the same with hockey."

Fewer NBA games are shown in sports books during the tournament.

"During the first and second round of the NCAA (around 7:30 p.m.) when there were only two college games going, we didn’t even put up NBA games on our TVs — and nobody complained or said a word," said John Avello, Bally’s/Paris race and sports book manager. "Nobody is really focusing on (the NBA)."

Chuck Esposito, Caesars Palace sports book manager, said all types of betting pick up during the tournament.

"(The NCAA tournament) helps the sports book and the race book," Esposito said. "It all does well. (All) handle is good. (The NCAA first and second rounds) were four days of the Super Bowl."

NBA betting can be difficult in March because some teams are just going through the motions.

"In the NBA, you don’t know which team will show up," said Charlie, a Station Casinos bettor who bets more NBA than college. "With college, you know both teams are going to show up and play hard."

Now that the college basketball betting season is almost over (maybe for good with the bet ban looming in Washington D.C.), will NBA betting pick up for the rest of the year?

"It might pick up a little bit," Avello said. "NBA hasn’t done well all year (here). It’s lost its luster."

Who will win this year’s NBA title? At the Imperial Palace, the champion Los Angeles Lakers and Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia 76ers are both 3-1. But the San Antonio Spurs are the 5-2 favorite. The Portland Blazers and Sacramento Kings are both 6-1.

The Milwaukee Bucks are 10-1; the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets 15-1.

XFL betting
holding steady

With XFL national TV ratings lower than the chances of winning at keno, are bettors still wagering on the recently formed football league?

"Betting has been steady," Avello said. "It has been fairly steady all year. There has been a little bit of a drop (since Week 1)."

On Monday, there was talk that the league may not be televised anymore.

Captain Steve shines in World Cup

Captain Steve won Saturday’s Dubai World Cup at Dubai, United Arab Emirates and paid out $5.20 in the United States. There is no wagering on World Cup races in Dubai.

Captain Steve covered the 1¼-mile track in 2:00.40 over a fast track and won by three lengths.

Early on, Japanese runner To the Victory jumped to a two-length lead. But down the stretch, Captain Steve jockey Jerry Bailey managed to get the horse into the lead.

To the Victory was second.

Home Run Derby betting

Who will lead Major League Baseball in home runs this year?

Mandalay Bay has none other than Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, both 4-1 favorites.

Who’s next? You guessed it again: Ken Griffey Jr. at 5-1.

Manny Ramirez, who signed in the off-season with the Boston Red Sox and will play at Fenway Park, is 8-1. Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell are both 10-1. Troy Glaus and the ‘’field’’ are 12-1. Twenty-nine hitters can be played individually, all the way down to Tony Batista, Edgar Martinez, Raul Mondesi and Tim Salmon — all 100-1. All bets are action, even with a shortened season, injuries or trades.

Brazilian Grand Prix

The Imperial Palace even has odds on this Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Michael Schumacher is a 5-7 favorite. Mike Hakkinen is 5-2; David Coultard, 7-2; Rubens Barrichello, 7-1. After him, odds drop off. Ralf Schumacher is 25-1. The long shot is Eddie Irvine at 100-1. There are 13 drivers who can be played individually. The "field," at 40-1, can also be played.