2001 racing season will be bettor-friendly in Las

Nov 22, 2000 10:00 AM

With the 2000 Auto-Racing season completed, it’s now time to start looking forward to the 2001 season. Several Nevada Sports Books will be putting odds out to win the 2001 Winston Cup Championship and at one chain of books they will be offering futures on more than just the Winston Cup Series.

Station Casino’s sports books became the only shops in Nevada to offer odds on every major racing series during the 2000 season. In 2001, they will be offering odds to win the Championship in all of those series as well. "We have the confidence in our team to put up great numbers that will reflect how each of those series might turn out. We have seen that there is a definite demand from our guests that encourage us to do more than some of the other Books around town," said Palace Station Race and Sports Director Rob Terry.

"The Winston Cup Series will be out first, likely in early December, then we’ll come out with Formula-1, CART, IRL, Busch and then the Trucks," Terry said. "It would be nice to put them all out at once, but there are so many different transactions with the other series that haven’t come about yet that are sure to determine the odds of certain key drivers."

Wild Wild West’s Mark Bryant, who contributes in the auto-racing odds making, loves the direction Station’s is going with this. "If our guests want to bet something and we have an opinion on it, we should offer it. The growth of Auto-racing on a wagering plateau is enormous. It’s an untapped avenue in wagering that we have embraced and in the process built a following."

A look ahead

What to look for in 2001 season, along with the favorite and the driver’s probable odds:

NASCAR-Winston Cup Series — Some of the props and futures that will be out there center around Dodge returning to the series. Ray Evernham and Richard Petty will have their teams driving the Intrepid’s next season and it will interesting to see how they fare. Evernham will have Bill Elliott, Casey Atwood, and a driver yet to be named driving for him, while Petty will have John Andretti, Steve Grissom, and Kyle Petty. Sunset Station’s Fred Crespi is already figuring out a few props. "I’m thinking about an over-under on wins at about 1½,or maybe something like, Will Dodge win a race in 2001? It’s a tough call because none of the drivers are top flight, yet Evernham’s influence carries a lot of weight."

"The rest of the props we’ll offer will be over/under on wins, season driver match-ups using Winston Cup points, and maybe even match-ups combining both Daytona races. It’ll be a lot fun putting these out," Crespi says.

Two drivers that may have good value in the seasonal match-ups and props are Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon. Burton is on a steady climb in his career and may be on the verge of becoming a champion. Gordon has a season with crew chief Robbie Loomis under his belt and has proven to be a threat on every track. It is a good possibility that he’ll be a key figure in the2001 championship chase.

Dale Jarrett in his new colors of sponsor UPS should have a much more productive season. Because of his quiet performance of 2000, great prices may be had.

Favorite: Bobby Labonte (3-1).

Formula-1 — This is basically a 3 man race between Michael Schumacher of Ferrari against the Mercedes tandem of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Schumacher is the solid choice to repeat again.

Favorite: Michael Schumacher (Even).

CART — The addition of Michael Andretti to "Team Green" instantly makes him the favorite. His ability to run well on the oval and roads equally well gives him the best opportunity to win the Championship. Teammates Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti fall right behind Andretti on the odds list.

Favorite: Michael Andretti (3-1).

Indy Racing League — By only having 10 races on the schedule, this will be the wackiest of all series outcomes. The champion will be the one who stays out of trouble. Buddy Lazier captured the title in 2000 by being the most consistent. Eddie Cheever fits in the same category as well.

Favorite: Buddy Lazier (7-2).

Busch Series — Jeff Green should dominate again, just not as easy. He’ll have a few drivers out there to give a run. Kevin Harvick, Ron Hornaday, and rookie Greg Biffle all are on the rise and their value should be good enough t entice a wager against Green.

Favorite: Jeff Green (6-5).

Truck Series — It appears the only one left standing is Jack Sprague. With Biffle, Kurt Busch, and Andy Houston gone, the top contender for Sprague is now Joe Ruttman. The two new drivers for Jack Roush will fare well, but their inexperience will hurt them in the standings.

Good Luck and happy hunting. Until Daytona, have a great holiday season.

Favorite: Jack Sprague (7-2).