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Aug 26, 2003 8:58 AM

(GamingToday is pleased to welcome Barry Daniels back into its herd of columnists. A former GT writer/editor, Daniels has been covering Las Vegas gaming for 22 years. He has worked for the Nevada Sports Schedule, SportsTicker wire service, Jim Feist Sports and Gaming Newswire and most recently the Vegas Insider. His "Sports Book Insider" column will appear weekly.)


By Barry Daniels

Tired of the same old proposition bets that are offered prior to every pro football season? If so, a trip to the Caesars Palace sports book in Las Vegas might be in order.

"We are trying to give the bettor some different proposition bets that will not only test their knowledge of teams, but players as well," reported Assistant Vice President of Race and Sports Chuck Esposito.

"Fantasy leagues have become so popular that we thought these ”˜prop’ bets on individual players would be a natural progression."

To that end, Caesars is offering odds on the players who will capture the passing, running and receiving titles; odds on which player will garner the most quarterback sacks are also on the betting board.

Peyton Manning opened as the 5/2 favorite to capture the passing yards title. The Indianapolis quarterback completed 392 of 591 passes last year for a whopping 4,200 yards. Oakland’s Rich Gannon is next at 3/1, with Patriots’ signal caller Drew Bledsoe close behind at 7/2.

Interesting long shots include Brett Favre (10/1), Donovan McNabb (15/1) and Steve McNair (25/1). Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick was 45/1 prior to last week’s serious leg injury.

Indianapolis was also home to the receiving title favorite, as Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison opened at even-money. Harrison set an NFL record last season by catching 143 passes for 1,722 yards and 11 touchdowns. Volatile Minnesota wide-out Randy Moss is next at 3/1, with San Francisco’s Terrell Owens close behind at 4/1.

Long shots of note consist of Isaac Bruce (30/1), Jerry Rice (35/1), Tim Brown (50/1) and Keyshawn Johnson (60/1).

Ricky Williams was installed as the 9/5 chalk or betting favorite to secure the title for most rushing yards. The Miami running back scampered for 1,853 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Close behind are LaDainian Tomlinson (5/2), Marshall Faulk (7/2), Priest Holmes (4/1) and Ahman Green (5/1).

Value seekers can choose from Tiki Barber (15/1), Jamal Lewis (18/1), Edgerrin James (25/1) and Eddie George (28/1) to rush for the most yards. Ironically, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick was also included in this list at 40/1.

Not to be left out, the defense also had its list of proposition bets. Jason Taylor opened as the 2/1 favorite to garner the most regular season sacks. Miami’s defensive end had a tremendous 2002 campaign with 19 quarterback sacks. Simeon Rice (5/2), Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (3/1), Michael Strahan (4/1) and Julius Pepper (5/1) round out the top five.

Green Valley Ranch Station in suburban Henderson also posted an interesting group of prop bets that pit pairs of quarterbacks against each other for most touchdown passes during the upcoming season.

Jake Plummer opened at plus 4½ touchdown (TD) passes (at odds of minus $1.25) against Brett Favre, who was minus 4½ TD passes (with a money line of $1.25). This means that, if the bettor wanted to wager on Favre, he would have to subtract 4½ TD passes from the Green Bay quarterback’s season total. However, the bettor would receive $1.25 for every $1.00 wagered.

Conversely, a bet on Jake Plummer gives the bettor an extra 4½ TD passes to his season total, but he would have to wager $1.25 in order to win $1.

In other pairings, Jeff Garcia was tabbed at plus 3½ TD passes (plus $1.10) against Peyton Manning, who was minus 3½ TD passes (minus $1.40).

The final pairing had Donovan McNabb at minus 2 ½ TD passes (minus $1.40) against Steve McNair, who was plus 2 ½ TD passes (plus $1.10).