Busy betting weekend

May 29, 2001 10:36 AM

The Indianapolis 500 wasn’t a huge smash with bettors, but it did better than an average NASCAR race.

"(Betting) wasn’t bad," said Bert Osborne, Gold Coast sports book director. "The winner (Helio Castroneves) was good for us. Robby Gordon would have been bad for us."

Castroneves could be found between odds of 7-1 to 12-1 in Las Vegas sports books. Gordon was anywhere from 8-1 to 12-1 and finished 21st Sunday.

"Betting was pretty good," said Robert Walker, The Mirage race and sports book director. "We broke even with (Castroneves). Greg Ray (4-1) was the favorite and we needed him to win."

At Gold Coast, Indy props were not popular. "I put a few racing props up, but there wasn’t much business there," Osborne said.

The other big race of the weekend was NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C. Sunday.

"This week, they bet Bill Elliott," Walker said of the long shot at 40-1. "They bet the heck out of him. They usually bet the field every week."

Elliott finished 26th, while Jeff Burton (around 12-1 in town) won the race.

NBA betting

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be the story in the NBA playoffs.

And even with the Lakers winning 19 straight games and clinching the Western Conference title Sunday, bettors were split on the Lakers this past weekend. The Lakers swept the San Antonio Spurs, and won Games 3 and 4 by outscoring them by 68 points.

"We opened (Game 4) Lakers -9½ and moved it up to 10, but we moved it back down to 9½," Osborne said.

Walker noticed the same thing at The Mirage.

"(In Game 3, Lakers -6½), there was two-way action. It was the same thing in Game 4," he said. "The first two games (in San Antonio), they went with (Lakers)."

In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks opened favored by six over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 at Milwaukee. But with Philly’s leading scorer Allen Iverson out, the line closed 8 or 8½ around town.

"(Six) was a bad number with Iverson out," Walker said.

Milwaukee won Game 3, 80-74.

"That wasn’t the worst number (Bucks by 6) for us," Osborne said. "We had big play on the over (185½). I can’t complain."

Bettors have not totally embraced playoff props. Most books are offering props on what players will score.

"I don’t think anyone really cares about (props)," Walker said. "The sides of the games, they’re betting those very well."

At Gold Coast, Osborne said props aren’t popular there, but Dikembe Mutombo’s total points of 12½ for Game 3 was most popular for bettors.

NHL betting

The public seemed to like the Colorado Avalanche as a home underdog at +105 against the New Jersey Devils (-125) in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

And the public was right as Colorado won 5-0 in Denver Saturday night. "More money was on (the Avalanche)," Osborne said. "I’m still sitting decent for the future book. It will be O.K. there."

Walker said the Avalanche betting pattern was the same at The Mirage.

"They bet the Avalanche for that game and the series," he said.

According to Walker, this is the match-up the public wanted.

"So far, so good," he said of the betting handle. "These are the two best teams in hockey."

Most books don’t have props on the Cup Finals. "I just don’t think the interest is there," Osborne said.

Mayweather fight

WBC super featherweight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. won a 12-round unanimous decision over Carlos Hernandez Saturday night in Grand Rapids, Mich.

At Caesars Palace sports book, Mayweather opened -1400, while Hernandez was +900. As of late last week, the line did not move. But by Saturday, Mayweather was up to -3000, while Herandez was +2000.

"We actually did have some play on the dog," said Lou Damico, Caesars Palace race and sports book director. "Handle on it wasn’t too bad."

There were no prop bets on the fight at Caesars, which was one of the few books in Las Vegas to book the match.

"Our reputation is to book fights," Damico said. "Although we haven’t had too many fights recently, we will have fights in the future."