NBA playoff betting better than usual

May 01, 2001 10:50 AM
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"Bigger crowds than usual!"

Those were the words of more than one sports book director on evaluating the crowd sizes in Las Vegas sports books over the weekend.

That was true as reports all over Las Vegas had large crowds in the books.

And since crowds were large, betting was up as well.

"NBA (betting) has been real (heavy) for the playoffs," said Las Vegas Club sports book director Jonathan Jester. "There’s been a lot of one-sided action. They’ve been playing the favorites. The wiseguys have been making the plays on the favorites and the public has been following suit."

Jester said good games for the house have been when underdogs are covering spreads. The carryover is being felt in totals and halftimes.

"A few people ask for halftimes," Jester said, "and when they ask for them, we pretty much do put them up there."

The Mirage race and sports book director Robert Walker noticed the larger crowds as well.

"It’s been busy here, but nothing compared to (the NCAA tournament)," he said. "There’s been some good (NBA) games and there’s a lot of intensity in those games."

For Saturday and Sunday, underdogs went 5-2 against the spread. Two (or three) underdogs won the court over the weekend.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who lost to the Orlando Magic in Game 3 Saturday, opened as a 1½-point favorite for Game 4 Tuesday at 4 p.m. In the Eastern Conference first-round match-up, the total opened 199½.

The Bucks lead the series, 2-1.

The Dallas Mavericks, who also avoided elimination in Game 3 Saturday by beating the Utah Jazz, opened a 4-point favorite against them for Game 4 Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The total opened 188. The Jazz lead the first-round series, 2-1.

House getting ”˜buried’

While the NBA playoffs are going on, the NHL playoffs are becoming a liability to one sports book.

"The house is getting buried," Jester said of the Las Vegas Club. "We lose on hockey four out of five days. We’ve probably had only eight winning days of hockey in the last month. Limits are low, but it’s been a minus for us almost every day."

Walker has noticed trends in hockey.

"They’re betting the underdogs," he said. "They like to bet (Toronto) Maple Leafs. Hockey betting is up substantially this year, but that’s not saying a lot."

Well, the Leafs are +150 against New Jersey for Tuesday night’s Game 3 second-round match-up in Toronto.

Walker added that having the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings in the second round brings more bettors to the counter.

"The Penguins are a public team," he said. "The success of the Kings has translated into a higher handle."

Baseball good

Baseball betting is up at the Las Vegas Club, according to Jester.

"It has been tremendous," he said. "I don’t know if that is true just here because we have a dime line up to -200 or because of our 2-run line."

Jester said Saturday’s game between the New York Mets (+108) and the St. Louis (-102) Cardinals did a number on the house.

"People bet the Mets and we were watching the game on the ticker and when the Mets tied it in the ninth inning - that hurt," Jester said. "The Cardinals killed us."

The Mets scored three runs in the top of the ninth to tie it 5-5 and won it in the 11th inning, 6-5.

"We’ve also had our share of good games for the house," Jester said.

NASCAR steady

While bettors are in turn two of the NASCAR season, betting has not increased, or decreased, according to Jester.

"It has been real steady," he said. "There are not a lot of big bets - nothing to write home about. There have been a lot of $10 and $20 bets."

For Sunday’s NAPA Auto Parts 500 in Fontana, Calif., Jester worried about Jerry Nadeau (25-1), Michael Waltrip (30-1) and Terry LaBonte (25-1).

"Especially Terry LaBonte," he said. "That was the biggest play by the public."

Fiesta improvements

If the television sets at the Fiesta race and sports book look clearer, the reason is the book has new TVs.

The book put new individual television sets (13-inch Sony Trinatrons) in every seat in the book. There also are new lights at every seat.

That’s not all.

Along the top of the book, the 10 televisions (50- and 60-inches) are being replaced with new sets. They all should be replaced by Tuesday. Over the weekend, four were in place.

"The pictures look awesome," said Fiesta sports book director Bert Cirincione. "The original TVs along the top were about six or seven years old. The pictures get dull over the years because they’ve never been cleaned out."

Odds to win the United States Open golf tournament in Tulsa, Ok. June 14-17
Tiger Woods 7-5

Phil Mickelson

8-1

Vijay Singh

18-1

David Duval

12-1

Ernie Els

15-1

Davis Love III

20-1

Tom Lehman

20-1

Lee Westwood

35-1

Jim Furyk

30-1

Hal Sutton

30-1

Colin Montgomerie

40-1

Sergio Garcia

50-1

Jesper Parnevik

40-1

Mike Weir

40-1

Nick Price

60-1

Lee Janzen

35-1

Jose Maria Olazabal

50-1

Stewart Cink

60-1

Paul Azinger

60-1

Fred Couples

75-1

Mark Calcavecchia

75-1

Brad Faxon

60-1

Loren Roberts

60-1

John Huston

100-1

Michael Campbell

150-1

Darren Clarke

100-1

Bernhard Langer

100-1

Justin Leonard

100-1

Greg Norman

100-1

Craig Perry

75-1

Chris DiMarco

100-1

Thomas Bjorn

75-1

Steve Stricker

100-1

Miguel Jimenez

100-1

Stuart Appleby

100-1

Joe Durant 100-1

Carlos Franco

100-1

Jerry Kelly

100-1

Robert Allenby

100-1

Bob May

100-1

David Toms

100-1

Steve Flesch

100-1

Padraig Harrington

100-1

Scott Verplank

100-1

Angel Cabrera

100-1

Mark O’Meara

300-1

Kirk Triplett 100-1

Notah Begay III

300-1

Nick Faldo

100-1

Jeff Sluman

75-1

Scott McCarron

150-1

Jeff Maggert

100-1

Tom Kite

300-1

Hale Irwin

300-1

Field

33-1