Fogg on fire in Bookies Battle

November 22, 2000 10:00 AM
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Bill Fogg, the sportsbook director at the Flamingo-Laughlin, continues his torrid streak to takeover the lead in the GamingToday Bookies Battle.

Over the past four weeks, Fogg posted a remarkable 53-17 cumulative record (.757), posting weekly records of 11-3, 10-4, 12-2 and 12-2 entering Week. No. 12

"There’s been lots of luck involved, since the picks are submitted before the injury report," noted Fogg, who lost the championship by just one game in 1995. "Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up the rest of the season."

But what’s even more remarkable, Fogg and the rest of the bookies are required to predict every game on the board -- with a press deadline of early Monday afternoon.

"It’s more important to be ahead at the end of the year than it is now," added Fogg. "But it does show that some of the Nevada outposts outside of Las Vegas know what we’re doing, and that we’re not just country bumpkins."

Fogg’s season record currently stands at 111-59, a winning percentage of .653 in a contest format much more difficult than any other in Nevada.

Charlie’s angel -- Mary Sapp, who had worked at the sportsbook at Arizona Charlie’s West since it first opened 13 years ago, is gone. She was replaced by Robert Jaynes and Kit Langvad.

Jaynes, once a newspaper man in Boston, knows his football. He won GamingToday’s Bookie Battle three years ago. And, he currently represents Arizona Charlie’s in this year’s battle.

Langvad, who hails from Michigan, was hired the same day as Jaynes back in 1987, and the pair will share operational duties.

Line moves

This week’s early line moves were predictable and provided few surprises.

"This is a week where there are a lot of interstate rivalries," said Rico Ruggeroli, sportsbook supervisor at The Stratosphere. "So people tend to bet the underdog in big rivalry games."

"For example, Tennessee went from 17 to 15½ against Vanderbilt, because a team like Vandy is not going to a bowl game, so this makes their whole season."

The other major line moves concerning NCAA contests show 1½-point moves in a pair of late games.

San Jose State went from a 1½-point home favorite to pick when the Spartans entertain Fresno State. And Hawai’i received action when the Warriors host Wisconsin, as the line fell from 20 to 18½.

In the NFL, many of the moves simply went to magic numbers, as bettors set themselves up for possible middles, leaving little information available for smaller bettors to figure out where the smart money was going.

Included was Minnesota moving from 6½ to 7 against Dallas, Tennessee falling from 3½ to 3 against Jacksonville, Kansas City doing the same in preparations to go to San Diego, and Denver slipping from 4 to 3 in Seattle.

Meanwhile, Detroit opened a 7-point home favorite against New England, but the line plummeted to 5½ by midday Monday.

"There’s no real reason other than the bettors expect (Drew) Bledsoe to start for the Patriots," noted Ruggeroli.

The Monday night game found Green Bay and Carolina even at most Nevada books, but the Panthers did move to 1 at a few properties, including the Las Vegas Hilton.

Bookies cash in on ballot crisis

It may be illegal to wager on political races in the United States, but around the world, millions of dollars are frozen in accounts around the world while waiting for the results from Florida to determine the next American president.

According to a New York Times survey of the three biggest booking houses in England, at least $500,000 is just sitting on account. An estimated six-fold that total is being held in Australia, Mexico and the Caribbean.

One eccentric bookmaker in Ireland, Paddy Power, as a publicity stunt, paid off all of its pre-election bettors who selected George W. Bush on Nov. 9. Many of those winners then placed action on Al Gore, allowing them to win on both sides of the proposition; Paddy Power has kept the betting line open, adjusting the odds with each new legal maneuver and ruling.

Unfortunately, if you still want to wager, you better hold a European credit card; American credit cards are forbidden for betting purposes in Ireland.

The real winners, however, are the lawyers and motel owners in Florida, who win on both sides of the wager. Plus, any interest the bookies make while enjoying the wait.