Bookies set to Battle

Aug 21, 2007 7:25 AM

The upcoming football season means it’s time once again for GamingToday’s Bookies Battle handicapping contest, now in its 22nd season.

The contest features the state’s top bookmakers (sports book directors) who each week pick the point-spread winner of every NFL game.

If that sounds like a daunting task, it is. The bookies must make their selections on Monday, often when the following week’s games aren’t yet lined and before the results of the Monday night games are known.

Nonetheless, the bookies have been up to the challenge. Last year’s winner, Bob Smith of Leroy’s sports books, compiled a stellar 150-106 record against the spread for a winning percentage of 59%.

The previous year, Bert Groner and Michael Hendrie of Paris Las Vegas won the contest with a combined record of 154-102 for a 60.1% winning margin.

The $1,000 prize awarded to the winner doesn’t compare to the prestige of out-handicapping the state’s best oddsmakers.

Of course, the real winners are GamingToday readers, who can follow their favorite bookies’ selections, or chart the consensus picks of all contestants.

The contest format is a simple one — just pick the point-spread winner of the NFL regular season games. The task is made a little more difficult than actually betting the games because half-point lines are used, thus eliminating the possibility of ties (they often occur when the line falls on 3 or 7 points).

New this year is the addition of the bookies’ weekly "best bet" and their comments on selected games.

The first week of the Bookies Battle contest will appear in the September 4 edition of GamingToday and will continue weekly.

Last season, Nevada’s sports books won $103 million from football bettors. Wouldn’t you like to see who they’re picking?

The action begins in two weeks.