Road clears for sports betting odds on television

Feb 18, 2014 3:01 AM

I saw a Friday night episode of FOX Sports Live, Fox’s version of SportsCenter, and was so happy and proud to see Las Vegas’ own Todd Fuhrman with a segment, which appears to be weekly, regarding betting odds in Las Vegas.

Fuhrman reviewed the numbers for Saturday’s big college basketball games as well as NASCAR, and while it may seem like no big deal in the grand scheme of things, it really IS only because actual talk of legalized sports betting is going into millions of American homes.

We’ve had Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder talk about numbers on CBS in the 1970’s and more recently Vinny Magliulo on Late Night with David Letterman plus Chuck Esposito on ESPNews. As an industry in Nevada, we really haven’t had any nationwide sports television show dedicate a regular segment to sports betting into mainstream America, something that has always been kind of reserved for hush-hush talk where mentions of it always kind of forced people into a whisper.

Now we have Fuhrman, who worked in the sports book at Caesars Palace, providing information in a positive manner to the nation without having some ulterior motive such as getting people to his web site to sell picks. Fuhrman loves and respects the industry, and he also actually worked in a sports book, presenting himself in a great light for the entire industry.

It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree with what Fuhrman says on the show, what’s more important is that a Fox Sports executive thought sports betting was a big enough topic to have a portion of their show dedicated to it, which then streamlines into homes all over the bible-belt and elsewhere – places that think negatively of sports betting for some reason.

This is more about changing perceptions. When a certain segment that has been against legalizing sports betting outside of Nevada changes their tune because they’re more informed about the idea of it (making it no longer tabu) and they see a nice young college graduate talking about it, well, it’s bound to change some perceptions that can now influence law makers into a positive vote.

Interstate sports wagering is coming. When? Who knows, but it’s little things we can loosely call propaganda, helped by major networks, that can help sway public opinion that it’s really not that bad for society. Fox News and CNN do it for politics, why not sports betting?

People are going to bet if they want to, wherever they’re at, and usually it’s illegal, either with their “man” or an off-shore account. So when the sensibilities of those against it come around that they can’t stop it and their way of life might actually be better off by allowing our country to tax it on a whole, it’ll become more acceptable.

Part of that process is having television time, and between Fox and Fuhrman the industry now has a launching pad. The next step in the form of propaganda will be when Canada passes a bill in the next few months to allow sports betting within their provinces. When the first billions in handle are released publicly, the good old USA and the Senators representing us will not want to be left out.

Oscars Party: Wynn Las Vegas sports book director John Avello has invited everyone in the city to his Oscars party this Sunday night, where film connoisseurs of Sin City can make believe they’re in the glitz and glamour of tinsel town. Avello says he’s “turning the entire book into the Dolby Theatre.”

Wynn will offer prizes throughout the night such as comp shows, food and drinks for those who perform well in ballot, trivia and singing Oscar songs. I didn’t fully get the effect of what fun Oscars night was until spending one in Hollywood two years ago where I got to see the stars in motion – before and after the Oscars – at the Sunset Tower.

I had never seen such madness for the celebrities or so many paparazzi – most of whom hailed from outside the States. It was a jaw dropping experience, and one I will always remember. Watching the awards at home will never be the same again, but there really aren’t many places to go in Las Vegas to watch them in a fun environment.

That is until now.

So when Avello told me about the party, I was absolutely thrilled. And that he’s going to really dress it up makes it even better.

Avello also posted mock odds for the 86th AcademyAwards where “12 Years a Slave” is his 2-to-5 favorite to win Best Picture, Matthew McConaughey is 6-to-5 for Best Actor and Cate Blanchett is the biggest chalk on the board for Best Actress at 1-to-4.

My official ballot in Avello’s Oscars contest will reveal:

Best Picture: “Dallas Buyers Club,” 30/1

Best Actor: Christian Bale, “American Hustle,” 30/1

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County,” 12/1

Best Supporting Actor: Jonah Hill, “Wolf of Wall Street,” 20/1

Best Supporting Actress: Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County,” 14/1

Best Director: David O Russell, “American Hustle,” 10/1

Obviously, I don’t plan on winning many prizes because most of the above are unlikely to win, but after seeing all the pictures up for prizes – my first time in many years – the three movies that stood out to me the most were “Dallas Buyers Club,” “August: Osage County” and “American Hustle.”

Each of my selections represents what I liked most about the movies and found their roles in the categories to be a greater impact upon viewing than the others. In all three instances, it was exactly like the feeling I have after reading a great book, and in the case of Streep and Roberts, those two came to life…big time.

After so many differing roles throughout their distinguished careers, both Streep and Roberts showed a new height for their acting abilities in “August: Osage County.”

For those wishing to get in on the ballot contest for comps, Avello advises, “come about 45 minutes early.” It should be a great time. Hope to see you all there.

South Point Pick the Seed: While we’re talking about “American Hustle,” we should also discuss the Las Vegas hustle as in the South Point sports book. Once known as a meat and potatoes type of book that offered everything needed on a daily basis, they have gone deep into season-long props.

Last week it was Super Bowl 49 props, and now we have a prop offered asking what seed will win the 2014 Men’s National Championship Basketball Tournament. The No. 1 seed is a 250 favorite, but after that they offer value at No. 2 (+200), No. 3 (+600), No. 4 (10/1) and fifth or higher at 12-to-1. The Linemakers’ Kenny White says the most value of the prop lies within the “No. 4 seed and above” and believes “there are up to 20 teams that can win the title.”

MLB props at LVH: A wide variety of MLB props for the 2014 season have been unveiled, asking how many games teams would win, how many home runs, wins and stolen bases would occur, and also who would win the divisions. In all, there are over 100 ways to bet the season, and spring training hasn’t officially started.

What about Yankees? This is for Kenny (not Kenny White), my favorite ex-New York police officer – and regular at the South Point – who was looking to bet the Yankees win more than their 85 wins from last season.

The Atlantis in Reno posted the Yankees at 83.5 wins on Wednesday, and Kenny was in a fanatical mood, suggesting Reno’s number was small. But who can drive to Reno in less than seven hours, how much will they actually take on each move and will they let you hammer it five or six successive times with limit wagers?

As soon as the LVH posted the Yankees at 85.5, they got a limit wager on the OVER. When hearing about it, I immediately thought it was Kenny who actually made the bets to force the move to 86. Who knows, but apparently it’s safe to say the 83.5 win total was off up in Reno.

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

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