Sports books a haven of football on the holiday

Nov 24, 2009 5:10 PM
College Notebook by Micah Roberts |

Thanksgiving weekend brings out more than the turkey and the yearly offering of cranberry gelatin and candied yams; it also brings out one of the most festive weekends in Las Vegas Sports Books.

Historically the Thursday crowd has been a little reserved throughout the day. Perhaps, they can’t believe they get day football on a Thursday and they don’t have to work. It’s kind of a culture shock.

Folks are relaxed and fixed on hitting their four game parlay early with the two early NFL games. Inevitably, the short trip to the book turns out to be a longer as the player watches the entire Lions game just to see if the first two legs of his parlay are alive in which case, win or lose, another bet will be made for the 1:30 games.

This Thursday there is one college football game and three NFL games and they combine to make a powder keg of action for the books. On the three NFL side alone, they will be the largest parlayed action of the week on any trio of games.

The action is weighted with public opinion and they usually all have the same side.

The books can’t make up the payouts of 13-to-5, 6-to-1 and 10-to-1 with winning parlays while the straight bets are holding a mere 10% juice on the bettors’ losses.

In most cases, the public does very well on Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because the Lions are always bad and the Cowboys are always good. It’s probably more because of the Lions. When the totals – usually the over – come in, it’s lights out for Las Vegas books.

On Friday, after the relatives have all left, the dishes are done and the girls are out shopping for all the tremendous can’t miss sales offered at the malls, that is the first day of pure relaxation for the typical Las Vegas sport bettor.

It’s a 9 to 5 day of college football lined up with one-loss Pittsburgh going to West Virginia, the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, Nebraska-Colorado and the shootout in Boise between the Broncos and Nevada.

Whether you win or lose on Thursday and Friday doesn’t matter because Saturday has another full slate of games going from 9 am to 8 pm with all the great cross-state or city rivalries that didn’t happen last week. Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Washington, Arizona, South Carolina, Mississippi and Utah will all have Civil Wars going on this weekend.

In the City of Angels, to close out the day, Tommy Burger takes on In-and-Out Burger as USC welcomes UCLA in a battle for Los Angeles and recruits. This looked like it was going to be a cake walk for the Trojans a few weeks ago, but in light of recent events in Troy, this could be a realization of all of UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel’s speeches coming to fruition. Win the game and UCLA goes bowling.

By the time Sunday rolls around for the full schedule of NFL games, everyone is worn out. Not only the bettors, but the tellers and supervisors at the books taking the bets. Think about it, they have now gone four straight days of intense betting from thousands of bettors waiting in line one after another with little chance to catch their breath and minimal breaks. Win or lose this week, think about their week and flip them a $5 bill and just say, "Happy Holidays."

Because it’s a big four-day weekend for the books with several games tied to each other all week, the mounting risk for Sunday’s pro games will be pretty substantial. Depending on how the games go Thursday, there will be a lasting effect on what the results will be Sunday regardless of how Sunday’s games turn out.

However you choose to spend your holiday, good luck in all your games this week and have a great Thanksgiving weekend.

College Notes

When you bet the Ohio State-Michigan game was the factor in winning or losing the bet. Ohio State was a 12-point favorite for much of the week and dropped to 10 late Friday night and early Saturday morning. The game landed 11, 21-10 Buckeyes.

Come Back Saban, Geaux Away Miles

LSU fans have long been tired of Coach Les Miles play-calling and recruiting and they got another reason to dislike him more after failing in the crunch at Mississippi. With only one second on the clock, down by two near the goal-line, the play called from a disorientated LSU sideline was to spike the ball. When they did, time ran out, and Miles looked like a deer in head lights during the post-game interview knowing that he froze in the clutch and cost his team their third loss of the season.

Halftime Hoot

One of the largest moves of last week was Kent State who opened as 13-points dogs at Temple and was bet down to 9.5 by kickoff. At halftime, the move looked to be just as prophetic as so many moves involving MAC teams with Kent State leading 10-9. Whatever the Temple halftime speech was, it worked! The Owls put a 38-3 second-half beat down on Kent State ultimately winning 47-13 with the Sports Books keeping all the chips.

Husky Angel & Touchdown Jesus

Connecticut’s 33-30 double-overtime victory over Notre Dame was considered to be the team’s greatest win ever, not only because of who they beat and where, but more importantly – it finally gave some relief to the U-Conn squad after losing one tough game after another following Jasper Howard’s death.

The Huskies played with heavy hearts for their slain teammate and it seemed kind of fitting that they win the game in front of Touchdown Jesus. The Huskies had lost three straight by a margin of four points or less since Jasper was killed. The win pushes U-Conn to 5-5 with a chance at making a bowl should they beat Syracuse on Saturday.

The Notre Dame loss may also be the end to the Charlie Weiss era that has seen a worse winning percentage over his tenure than his predecessors Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham over the same span. Weiss looked pretty good with Willingham’s recruits when he arrived, but his own crop hasn’t produced much.

Should the school let Weiss go they would be biting the bullet of $18 million for the remainder of his contract. Who says the economy is bad if decisions like that can be made without hesitation?

Presumptuous Cat fans

The Arizona Wildcats have never won the Pac-10 in their 32 years in the conference, nor have they been to the Rose Bowl. With less than a minute to go in the Oregon game leading 31-24, the Arizona student body rushed through the aisles and crowded the sidelines anticipating the greatest celebration in Arizona football history. Had they won, they would be in control of their destiny.

In a scene straight out of the "Bronx Tale," they put the ultimate "Mush" on Arizona because Jeremy Masoli led the Ducks straight down the field for the tying score and eventually won in double-overtime 44-41. Not sure many of the kids took solace in the fact that Arizona still covered the spread as a home dog.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts