Bookies chop up Woods

June 19, 2001 10:07 AM
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Tigermania prompted an upswing in golf wagering and the Los Angeles Lakers occupied most of the NBA betting interest, but Vegas sports books are paying little attention to boxing’s "Golden Boy."

"We’re not even booking the (Oscar) De La Hoya fight," said Ed Salmons, Race and Sportsbook manager at the Imperial Palace. "It’s not worth the time. You just get your brains beat in. There is no chance he will lose the (Saturday) fight. The only fight people want to see is Tyson-Lewis, even if Tyson hasn’t fought anyone with a pulse in years."

De La Hoya has been bet from -900 to -1400 to take the WBC super welterweight title from Javier Castillejo in Saturday’s main event at the MGM Grand. Castillejo has risen from a +800 to a +1000 underdog.

The United States Open golf tournament does not draw the betting interest that the Masters does, but Salmons said action was up from past Opens.

"All the Tiger (Woods) stuff increased the betting," Salmons said. "We had a ton of money on Tiger against the field. We opened the field at -160, Tiger +140. We closed with the field at -180 and Tiger at +150."

Salmons said he was pleasantly surprised by the betting action for Monday’s playoff between Retief Goosen and Mark Brooks. The scheduled 18-hole playoff opened as a $1.10 pick’em, but closed with Brooks as a -130 favorite. The over/under for each player’s total score was 73.

"I think people just became interested," Salmons said. "(Phil) Mickelson came off looking like such a choker. Most people bet under when he opened his final round at 70. He has definitely taken some of the heat off (David) Duval."

Jeff Sherman, sports book supervisor at the Regent Las Vegas, was also pleased at the response to the Monday playoff.

"It was an unexpected treat, although the way the playoff came about was unfortunate," Sherman said. "Both Goosen and Brooks were part of the field, which we closed at 12/1. That was a good result in the futures, but most of the money was on Tiger at even money, so we did quite well."

Resort Las Vegas was right there on the winning score prop bet, which was minus 4½ under.

"We were right at the number," Sherman said. "It was a heart-breaking loss for lots of bettors."

The Regent has already opened odds for next month’s British Open, with Woods listed at 3/2. Goosen, the $1.25 favorite in the U.S. Open playoff, opened at 75/1 for the British. Brooks began at 125/1.

The NBA Finals result was a winner for the house at Resort Las Vegas, with the Lakers closing at -1500 (10/1 odds) to win the series after opening at -2000 and 14/1.

"We got a lot of 76ers money," Sherman said.

The Imperial Palace would like to have seen the Lakers sweep, but Salmons said the house loss was not bad.

"We opened at -115 for a Los Angeles sweep, but the line rose to -160 for a series beyond four games," he said. "The big money bet low. We wouldn’t have minded the Sixers stretching the series out, but it wasn’t that bad."

The Regent has also decided not to book Saturday’s De La Hoya fight, opting to wait for the third Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz bout slated for early August in the republic of China.

"De La Hoya is not a big enough draw for our crowd," Sherman said. "Maybe it’s his singing career."