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Books suffer Bloodbath 2, the sequel!

Jan 22, 2002 6:37 AM

For the second straight week, players cleaned up in Las Vegas sports books as the favorites won big in last weekend’s NFL Divisional playoff games.

“Like everyone else, we had a horrible Sunday as bettors were all over the Rams and Steelers, as well as the over in those games,” said the director of a Strip casino sports book. “And on Saturday, bettors were playing the dog (Philadelphia) in the Eagles-Bears game; and the Patriots game landed on the number for most players.”

Landing on the number turned out to be a “nightmare” for the books as parlay players had live tickets heading into Sunday’s games.

“By the time we got to Sunday, players were cashing in with winning plays on the Rams and Steelers,” the director said.

One sports book supervisor on the Strip said the Rams-Packers game was the “worst of the season.”

“The players were all over the Rams and the over from the start,” the supervisor said. “We opened the game at 9½ and it was bet up to 11½, while the total went from 54 to 55½. And that proved to be the most popular parlay of the day ”” the Rams and the over.”

Diamond shines in Summerlin

While most sports books in town were getting sheared, one bookmaker, Sid Diamond at the Marriott (formerly the Regent), reversed the trend by refusing to “follow the sheep.”

When the lines were posted, Diamond opened the Rams an 11½ point favorite when nearly everyone else had the Rams at 9 and 10. Bettors subsequently took the Packers and the points as the line was adjusted down to 11 and then 10½.

Diamond also set the total for the game at 56½, substantially higher than the 54½ around town. The result was a lot of players taking the under (of course, the game went over).

In the Steelers game, Diamond made Pittsburgh a 6-point pick when the line was 5½ everywhere else. Although most bettors took the Ravens and the points, Diamond later said he could have attracted more losing bettors by posting a 6½ point spread.

“We fared well and had a good weekend overall,” said Erik St. Clair, the Marriott’s assistant sports book manager and former colleague of Diamond’s at the Excalibur. “We’re one of the few places in town that set our own lines, and ultimately control our own destiny.”

For this weekend’s games, St. Clair said the Marriott is once again “one step ahead” of the rest of the sports books. Most casinos opened the Steelers —8 against the Patriots, and the Rams —11 against the Eagles. The Marriott posted their own lines of —9½ and —13, respectively.

On the first day of betting, St. Clair said, players took the points and the lines moved to —9 and —12, respectively.