Los Angeles Dodgers at love, not tennis

Aug 13, 2013 3:00 AM

With the Dodgers 8-2 win Sunday, which completed a sweep of the Rays and extended another one of their win streaks to 5, they now have a commanding 7½ game lead over Arizona in the NL West. 

LA has won 20 of 23 since the All-Star break and is 37-8 since June 22. The rise to the top is one of the most amazing baseball stories we’ve seen in recent years and Las Vegas sports books have taken notice. 

The LVH Super Book dropped the Dodgers on Monday from 5-to-1 to 7-2 to win the World Series. Before the season started the Dodgers were considered one of the favorites to win it all at 8-1, but on June 21, when they were 30-42 and in last place – 9½ games behind Arizona. Bettors could have had them at 40-1.

Las Vegas sports books were already long on the Dodgers just because of the Southern California hype before the season that translated at the bet windows. The high odds were offered just because they looked like a dead tired team, similar to the overhyped Marlins from last year or the Blue Jays this season.

Now with only six weeks of the season remaining and the Dodgers looking like the best team in baseball, the writing is on the wall for every sports book: The Dodgers ARE the best team in baseball. It would be one thing if it was just a little streak of winning 14 out 17 – kind of flash in the pan type of thing, but 37 of 45 is another story.

Then when you start looking at their lineup, starting rotation and bullpen – all the things we liked about them before the season started – they look unbeatable in a 7-game series format.

No pitcher in baseball is better than Clayton Kershaw and there is a good argument that no one is a better No. 2 than Zack Greinke. Manager Don Mattingly has to feel pretty comfortable in a series knowing he’s likely to be up 2-0 against anyone.

The rest of the LVH updated odds include the Tigers at 4-1, the Braves, Cardinals and Red Sox at 7-1, and then the red hot Rangers and steady Pirates at 10-1.

Tennis anyone? The U.S. Open’s first serve is Aug. 26, but does anyone care anymore? Or at least does any American care? I can’t recall any sport offered to the betting public by Las Vegas sports books having fallen so rapidly in handle other than tennis. 

The numbers were never huge to begin with, but when the majors came around and we had Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang as contenders, there was some pretty good handle in odds to win and individual matchups offered during each round.

The correlation is pretty simple. As Americans, we like to root for our own guys, and lately we haven’t had any to root for, which has in turn made many of us not follow tennis all together. It has completely dropped off the face of the earth as far as many Americans are concerned, which translates to minimal action at the sports books.

For those that do wish to bet it, the LVH has posted Novak Djokovic as the 3-2 favorite to win the men’s side with Andy Murray at 2-1, Rafael Nadal 4-1, and Juan Martin Del Potro at 8-1.

On the women’s side, we have two of the best American tennis players in history to root for in Serena Williams, favored at 4-7, and Venus Williams (100-1). For some reason they seem to be more popular abroad than at home, or at least in terms of translating to action at the bet windows in Las Vegas. Victoria Azarenka is the top contender at 5-1 to beat Serena with Maria Sharapova at 15-2.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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