Books hit hard

Apr 3, 2001 8:14 AM

It appears the public slam dunked one over the sports books in Saturday’s NCAA Final Four!

   In the Arizona-Michigan State game, the public out-smarted the oddsmakers as MSU opened a 1-point favorite March 26, but they poured money on Arizona, which at one point was a 2-point favorite. The game closed, at most books, Arizona –1½. Arizona won 80-61.

   “All the early money was on Arizona,” said Tom Vernon, Terrible’s sports book director, “but the late money came back on Michigan State, but I think that was the wiseguy money.”

   But Palace Station sports book director Rob Terry said the Arizona game, “was a good game for (us).”

   The total on the game fell on 141. The total opened 144 and closed at 141½. But in Duke’s 95-84 win over Maryland, the over came in easily, and the public knew it. The over opened 160 and closed 164 or 164½.

   “We lost a little bit on the Duke game, but the total is what got us,” Terry said. “We had good two-way action on the sides, but they liked the over.”

   The public moved the opening line of Duke –5½ to –4½ at one point, but closed –5 at most books. According to Vernon, first half wagering and parlays saved his book.

   “Looking at the money for the weekend, it was almost dead even, almost to the cent,” he said. “The first halves and parlays helped us.”

   Crowds in books were large all over Las Vegas Saturday.

   “It was a great weekend,” Terry said. “We had a very good crowd.”

   Vernon said, “We had good crowds here.”

   Just about all seats were taken at The Mirage and Mandalay Bay during Saturday’s games.

   As for Monday night’s championship game, Duke opened –2½ and was bet up –3½ or –4 by Monday afternoon. As for the first half, Duke was –2 at Terrible’s Monday morning. But bettors oddly enough bet the under from 80 to 78½ with the over-under for the game at 164.

Women’s NCAA betting

   Betting was light on the NCAA women’s basketball championship. The public seemed to do well there as well. At most books, the championship line opened Notre Dame –9½ and moved to –8½ by tip-off. Notre Dame only won on the court, 68-66.

   The same was true in the semifinal game between Notre Dame and Connecticut. The game opened a pick, but closed Notre Dame –1½. Notre Dame won 90-75.

   Terry said he didn’t he put lines up on the women’s tournament, until the championship game.

   “Betting was very light on that game,” he said.

XFL

            While ratings are still in freefall, bettors still like the XFL.

            Terry said he knows the reason.

            “At 4 p.m. Sunday, there was nothing on to bet,” he said. “People want to bet on something. There really was nothing on Sunday. They love to tie the XFL with their parlays.”

            Still, betting is down from earlier this year.

            “Handle has dropped since the first three weeks, but it has been slight,” he said. “When Las Vegas is playing at home, people seem to want to bet it more. I didn’t expect to see a big decline in betting.”