Action plentiful on Rahman’s upset

April 24, 2001 8:03 AM
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Who knew it could happen?

Not even the Las Vegas sports books.

But Hasim Rahman, who closed between +1200 to +1500 at Las Vegas books and a mostly unknown 28-year-old boxer from Baltimore, shocked WBC/IBF heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis (-1600 to -1800) by knocking him out 2:32 into the fifth round in a title match in Brakpan, South Africa, Saturday night.

"We didn’t do well," said Bally’s/Paris race and sports book director John Avello. "Anytime there’s (an underdog) fighter with those odds, people are going to take a shot. The word was out that Lewis didn’t train for the fight."

In the round proposition bet, "it won’t go 5½ rounds" was -145 at The Mirage and was the winner. "Will go 5½ rounds" was +115. But bettors probably thought Lewis would win the fight under 5½.

There was a decent crowd at Mandalay Bay for the fight.

"We had a decent handle for a big fight that wasn’t in Las Vegas," Mandalay Bay race and sports book director Nick Bogdonavich said. "There were no major bets (for Rahman). Our room was filled and nobody could believe what happened."

Rahman now has a 35-2 record. Lewis is 38-2-1. In the contract, if Lewis were to lose, there is an automatic rematch clause. Lewis had come in overweight at 253 pounds, the heaviest in his career. He arrived in South Africa two weeks prior to the fight. Rahman was there five weeks before the fight and weighed 237.

Leroy’s sports book didn’t even book the fight.

"We really dodged a bullet," said Leroy’s sports book director Bob Smith. "There was not much interest in it because it was out of town."

NBA, NHL betting

The underdogs went 5-3 against the spread over the weekend in NBA Game 1 first round games Saturday and Sunday.

"You’ve got to pick your spots in the NBA," Avello said. "The NBA is different now. There’s really no clear-cut favorite. The San Antonio Spurs were the biggest favorite and they only won by five points (over the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday)."

Avello added that the house did well money-wise over the weekend.

"We had a good crowd here (at Bally’s). There’s some stimulation there with the Lakers playing," he added.

As for the NHL, "Betting has been pretty flat," Avello said. "Nothing that I can say that sticks out."

One underdog that looks good is the Los Angeles Kings. Going into Monday night, the Kings led the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings three games to two. The Kings were a +700 underdog to win the series.

Avello said there was no real liability with the Kings winning the series.

Ticket cashing

Have you ever asked yourself the stupid question?: "If I buy a winning sports ticket at one book, why can’t I cash it at a sister property?"

"It’s under regulation 22.060," responded Keith Copher, Chief of the Enforcement Division of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. "It’s by regulation. It’s (mainly) because of accounting records at each casino. It would be hard for casinos to account for all the different tickets being cashed at other casinos."

So the casinos properties aren’t making that decision; it’s technically because of a gaming regulation.

Upset bettors

If you were in a Las Vegas sports book late last Thursday night, and were watching the New York Yankees-Toronto Blue Jays 17-inning marathon at 10 p.m. (PST), you weren’t the only angry person in town.

The game went black on Las Vegas sports books televisions.

No, it wasn’t your sports book taking the game off the screens or a glitch in the books’ satellites.

The culprit was DirectTV, which had the timer on the game shut off at 10 p.m., right in the bottom of the 17th after the Yankees took a 6-5 lead in the top half of the inning.

When that happened, reports around town had patrons yelling at book supervisors. But it wasn’t the supervisors’ faults, or was it?

The game was on regular cable, being televised nationally on Fox Family Network and was not pulled off the air on that channel. Many books had the game on the DirectTV feed.

The Yankees ended up winning 6-5, ending at 10:06 PST, when DirectTV subscribers and book patrons didn’t see the last out.

If you were betting the total, it didn’t matter at the time because the game went over the posted 9½. Going into the game, the Yankees were around a
-150 favorite because starter five-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens took the mound for New York.

After the game, an irate national radio talk show host on 1460-AM was upset about DirectTV’s inability to fix the problem, as was an irate caller from Syracuse, N.Y.

Dickie V in LV

There was a Dick Vitale sighting Thursday afternoon at the MGM Grand sports book. He was there walking around with his wife Lorraine. He was also seen playing slots that afternoon.

Vitale is ESPN’s No. 1 college basketball color commentator.

Hmmm. Wonder what Dickie V thinks about the college bet ban, since he’s been walking around in a Las Vegas sports book?