Bounce-backs, must wins? Hogwash!

Oct 9, 2007 7:56 AM

Betting tendencies such as "bounce-backs" and "must-win situations" may be losing their teeth these days in baseball.

"Players have a tendency not to follow those usual patterns," said John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas. "I don’t think we’re seeing bettors going the other way as much, particularly involving Colorado. People have been making a pocket full of cash on the Rockies."

Both Colorado and Arizona headed to last weekend’s games up 2-0 in their respective best-of-5 series against Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs respectively. In the American League, both the Angels are Yankees were down 1-0 to Boston and Cleveland.

"This figured to be a big betting weekend for Vegas books with baseball looking to be up from last year, along with the usual college and NFL football, the Pacquiao-Barrera fight and the start of the NHL," Avello said.

The Cubs were a 6½-to-5 favorite last Thursday for Game 2 in Arizona, but the betting was rather lukewarm at best, according to Avello.

"I was a bit surprised at that," he said. "The Cubs always are a popular bet as a futures play, but so far the underdogs have done very well in the playoffs. Look at the Rockies and D’backs."

Avello said the Yankees and Red Sox were bet heavier in their Game 1 matchups, but that could change in the Game 2 matchup in Cleveland.

"Must wins mean nothing these days, "Avello said. "Look at the Mets against Florida. The Mets needed to win those games, but Florida wanted to beat them." (Fausto) Carmona will be a tough matchup for the Yanks and the bounceback factor hasn’t applied.’

Indeed, for the first time since 1995, all four first-round series opened 2-0. Colorado was the only visiting team to win the first two games. The rest held serve at home, but the "bounce-back theory," was a painful 0-4.

"Baseball is about momentum and who’s feeling it," Avello said.

Boston made it three straight 3-0 sweeps after eliminating the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, leaving the Yankees as the only team to extend a series to four games.

"Baseball sweeps really haven’t hurt us directly," said Jay Kornegay, head of race and sports operations at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook. "I think the only thing that could hurt us would be the lack of extra games. It doesn’t mean we would be winning, but the extra games create traffic during some dead times."

With the Cubs now out of the World Series, the Vegas books are hoping for a Red Sox-Yankees matchup in a best-of-7 for the AL Pennant.

"Arizona-Colorado may be the two best teams in the NL, but it’s nothing like what a Yanks-Red Sox series would drum up," one wiseguy said. "Heck, 20 years ago, there was no Arizona or Colorado in baseball."