Bookie bloodbath!

January 15, 2002 8:25 AM
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Sports bettors enjoyed their best weekend of the dwindling football season last week in what one director called a “bloodbath” for bookmakers.

“By the time we got to Sunday’s Dolphin-Raven game, it was too late,” said the sports director of a popular locals casino. “It was already a four-way loser for us.”

Most properties around town said that bettors won big on Saturday as home favorites, Philadelphia and Oakland, covered their respective point spreads.

“We also got beat on the totals,” said one supervisor. “It seems like everyone was betting the overs on Saturday, and the under on the Miami-Baltimore game. We even got middled some on the Packers-49ers money.”

A “middle” is the worst nightmare for a sports book. Sunday’s Packers-49ers game opened with a total of 39½, but was bet up to 45 in some casinos. With the total falling on 40, there were some early bettors who bought back their bets at the higher number and cashed both tickets. Most bettors, however, lost at the higher numbers.

One Strip supervisor said the (stuff) hit the wall on Sunday, when parlay bettors began collecting on bets that were placed on Saturday and culminated with Sunday’s games.

The weekend wasn’t a complete loss, however, for some Strip properties.

“Like everyone else, we lost on Saturday, but got most of it back on Sunday,” said the sports director of a major casino on the Strip. “For some reason, most of the ”˜squares’ were playing the Dolphins.”

It went so well for the players that parlay card bettors actually did well, a rarity in Las Vegas.

“Players were hitting their four-and five-teamers,” said one sports supervisor. “We’re only grateful that they seldom bet more than $10 or $20 per card.”

Probably helping to undermine their own cause was the Bookie Battle Picks consensus that was a perfect 4-0 against the spread last weekend. This week’s picks are on Page 23.

Betting Hoopla

While football still gets most of the sports books’ attention, several are tuning up for the basketball season.

At the Las Vegas Club, for instance, the sports book is offering to take basketball bets ”” both NBA and NCAA, sides and totals ”” for a 5-cent vigorish, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday. Laying $1.05 is 50 percent saving on the traditional —110 line.

Station Casinos also has a couple of attractive contests for hoops players. At both Fiesta hotel-casinos (Henderson and North Las Vegas), players can enter a free NBA Shootout handicapping contest every Friday. The weekly prize is $500, with second and third place finishers receiving merchandise and dinners.

And at Boulder Station, players can enter a free hoops contest that pays a $500 cash prize, Tuesday-Sunday. Check with the various sports books for details.