Cubs’ Series win would sink books

Aug 14, 2001 6:24 AM

Betting the Cubs to win the World Series has been a traditional sucker bet in Nevada sports books for decades.

But all that could change. The Cubs are actually serious about trying to win a World Series. Holy Cow and pass the Old Style!

For about the first time since Tinkers-to-Evers-to Chance were turning double plays and not talking to each other, the Cubs have made some smart acquisitions in bolstering their power and depth.

What in the name of Carmen Fanzone and Paul Popovich is going on? One thing’s for sure, the Cubs and another surprising long shot ”” the Minnesota Twins ”” are no laughing matters to bookmakers this year.

“The Cubs and Twins would be the worst,” said Nick Bogdanovich, sports book director at Mandalay Bay. “Those two teams were so down. Never in a million years could I dream they’d be there. But when you get a little pitching, it can happen.”

It was 10 years ago that Nevada bookmakers suffered their worst future book loss ever when the Twins beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. Both had opening odds of around 250-1 that season.

It’s estimated Nevada hotels lost between $10-15 million on their baseball futures that year.

Could they lose that amount if either the Cubs or Twins captured the Series this year?

“I don’t think it would be quite as bad,” said Bob Smith, chief supervisor for the 43 Leroy’s properties across the state. “At that time you used to have 500-1, 300-1 odds up.

“Because of that (World Series), the books don’t put odds up that high anymore.”

Smith guesses Nevada hotels would lose between $5-8 million if the Cubs or Twins were to win the World Series.

Bookmakers are far less worried about the Seattle Mariners, although some places would lose money if the Mariners were to take the Series.

The Mariners are more a public team in Northern Nevada, where Reno is a popular destination for tourists from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

Southern Nevada sports books annually draw heavy future book action on the Cubs and Twins.

“You still lose with Seattle,” Bogdanovich said, “but because you’re dealing with shorter odds, it’s not a drubbing.

“When you open big numbers like we did on the Twins (250-1), it doesn’t take long to run up some jeopardy.”

If either the Twins or Cubs were to reach the World Series, look for some bookmakers to offer an unusual series price.

Some might be forced to shade game and series price numbers in order to compensate for potential losses on their future book. There also could be value on certain teams when a revised book comes out for the playoffs.

“There are ways to offset futures, but you’re in a no-win situation,” said Kevin Klein, a supervisor at the Excalibur. “You’re just looking to protect.”

The comical and pitiful Cubs have always been a faithful ace in the hole for the books.

Forget the Cubs losing three straight games to the San Diego Padres, blowing their World Series shot in 1984.

But this just could be the season where it finally turns. Why not? It’s only been 93 years. Talk about your due factors.