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Bookies’ Bill of Fare: bettors’ smorgasbord

Oct 17, 2001 1:49 AM

CASH REGISTERS WILL BE RINGING in sportsbooks with the NFL in full swing and the baseball playoffs entering the league championship series rounds. The American League finalists were to be determined in Game 5 divisional series match-ups. Defending three-time World Champion New York hosts Oakland, while Seattle entertains Cleveland.

The Yankees, which rose from 5-2 favorites to 15-1 to repeat as World Series champions, are looking to become the first team to lose their first two games at home and win a Divisional title series.

Seattle, which tied the all-time major league record with 116 regular-season victories, avoided elimination Sunday in Cleveland. The Mariners are a 3-1 choice to win the World Series, while the Indians stand 10-1.

The often-unpredictable National Football League took another strange turn for bettors this past week with the favorites slipping up both home and away.

Home team underdogs were 3-0 against the spread with the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots not only covering, but winning their respective games outright.

On the other side, visiting road favorites were 0-4 ATS. New Orleans, Miami, Denver and San Diego were spread losers, while only the Saints managed to win ”” and that only occurred on the game’s final play.

The opening lines for this weekend’s contests feature seven road teams as favorites. Defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore is the highest of the group, opening as a 7½ point favorite at Cleveland.

The remaining road selections include St. Louis 6½ at the New York Jets, Tennessee 6½ at Detroit, Denver 2½ at San Diego, Green Bay 3 at Minnesota and Carolina 3 at Washington.

The largest spread on the card is Indianapolis, a 10½ point pick over AFC Division rival New England.

The National League championship series is set with the Atlanta Braves visiting the Arizona Diamondbacks in a best 4-of-7 game format beginning Tuesday.

The Braves have been reduced from a 4-1 choice to 7-2 to capture the World Series after eliminating the Central Division champion Houston Astros in three straight games.

Atlanta, champions of the NL East the past 10 seasons, will have their starting pitching rotation set up perfectly for the Diamondbacks with Greg Maddux opening Game 1 followed by Tom Glavine and John Burkett.

Arizona, making its first appearance in the NLCS, ousted the St. Louis Cardinals in a thrilling five-game series that concluded Sunday night. The Diamondbacks were forced to use their ace, Curt Schilling, for Game 5 against St. Louis and won’t be available to Arizona until Game 3.

Miguel Batista and Randy Johnson are expected to pitch Games 1 and 2 respectively for Arizona at Bank One Ballpark. Arizona is a 6-1 choice to win the World Series.

CONFUSING THE EXPERTS! It doesn’t take much these days; experts are not what they used to be. There are all sorts of experts, but the ones being referenced here are the ones who use the pen as a sword. They can be deadly. They call themselves critics.

Right now, the critics tell us how visitors are returning in a fine fettle after 911. That’s a good premise. However, their conclusion stinks ”” full speed ahead, hire everybody back and let the good times roll.

If you’re counting faces, that’s one thing. But, if you’re counting the cash in the register, that’s another. Mid-week activity is far below the scale. It picks up on weekends, but the spenders are spending less money. Some say as much as 40% less. Less money; less bottom line. Is that hard to understand?

Hotels take no pleasure in cutting the staff. Their primary role is to serve the customer. But, if you can’t fade the action, something’s got to give. And, it is!

IF I WAS A RICH MAN! That’s one thing. If I owned a casino that would be much better. First thing I would do, is slide Patty Richards into my pinstripes and make her my executive host. Patty’s on the bricks right now, I thinks it’s a waste of a lot of good talent. She knows how to make losers feel like winners at the tables.