Baseball’s opening day started with a bang for sports bettors as they shredded the Las Vegas books going 7-0 with the favorites.
As unfortunate as that may sound, the books should consider themselves lucky four of those games were won by one-run, which ruined several greedy public parlays on the day.
Nevertheless, when favorites go 7-0 in any sport on a single day it’s still going to be a bloodbath no matter what other kinds of props or gimmicks are attached to the games. But it wasn’t all bad news for the sports books as they managed to salvage the final three days of the weekend to make amends for the one terrible opening day.
The hope of the sports book is every team plays around .500 baseball with no serious winning or losing streaks from any team just to keep the bettors off balance. The first three months of 2011 saw a great deal of parity and it was one of the highest win percentages they’ve held in those months over the last decade.
Having teams like the Yankees and Red Sox start out 0-3 together for the first time since 1966 is good for business. It’s the second straight year Boston has jumped out of the gate slowly with an 0-3 start.
Both of those teams are the regular foundations of most public parlays and when they both win, coupled with a few other public favorites like the Phillies and Rangers, it’s a pretty good assumption the sports books will lose on the day.
When you see the Phillies losing to the Pirates two of their first three games despite having Cliff Lee on the mound, it’s a bad day for the bettors. The Royals taking two of three from the Angels great starting pitching staff also did some damage to bettors’ strategies.
Things got worse when the Giants fell three straight times at Arizona and also when the Mets swept the Braves.
It can work the other way when perennial bad teams get out to a quick start. The Orioles have been one of the most reliable teams to bet against over the years, but over the weekend – after going 3-0 against the Twins, they showed that the bettors can’t push them around any more.
This gives bettors a small amount of data to mull over in a long season, but for the upcoming games, it really messes up their thought process bringing some edge back to the books.
Bettors have traditionally been able to count on Petco Park in San Diego as a regular UNDER bet on the total runs scored by both teams, especially when they play the Dodgers. But in their opening four-game series, the OVER was 3-0-1 with both the Dodgers and Padres showing they could uncharacteristically manufacture some runs.
The only bright spot coming out of the weekend for bettors moving forward is the bats of the Detroit Tigers that swept the Red Sox. The MLB advertisement used to say "chicks dig the long ball" but in reality, it’s bettors who love the long ball more.
The Tigers crushed seven home runs over the weekend, scored 26 runs and batted .345 as a team. They have the star appeal with Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and newly acquired free-agent Prince Fielder to make them very bettor friendly. And if they keep hitting dramatic ninth and 11th inning home runs to win bets, they’ll be the best friend the public ever had, and public enemy number one for the sports books.
NBA Consistent Earner
With college basketball one week removed from the sports book boards, the NBA has taken center stage with hoop bettors in Las Vegas. Only a few weeks remain in the regular season, but action will intensify even more with the playoffs.
Though the season was cut short, South Point sports book director Bert Osborne says the NBA handle and win this season has been excellent.
"Even with the shortened season, it’s been a great year for us in the NBA," said Osborne. "I think it’s been tough on the bettors this year because of all the back-to-back-to-back games with no real formula or trend coming to light that would prove one situation is good or bad for individual teams."
The NHL playoffs start Wednesday, which is always a boost for the sports books. The LVH Super Book updated their future prices with the Penguins being the 4-to-1 favorite to hoist the Stanley Cup, with the Canucks (5-1), Bruins (8-1) and Blues (8-1) not far behind.
Fox Sports Book Radio Host Brian Blessing, a former announcer for the Buffalo Sabres, always likes to give the lower seeds a chance in the first round and sees the Kings as this years possible upset over Vancouver. Blessing also likes the Devils to take care of Florida.
GN early on colleges
For the last four years, Tony Miller and his crew at the Golden Nugget have been offering our first glimpse of numbers on the upcoming college football season’s best games.
The Nugget offered over 80 games last season and will do so again this year. Miller is already hard at work crunching every roster of each team and hopes to have spreads available sometime in May. We’ll keep you updated on what has become a highly anticipated event each summer in Las Vegas.
It’s hard not to root for a guy like Bubba Watson who sounds and struts more like a NASCAR driver than a golfer. When he won last Sunday’s Masters, so did plenty of bettors around town. The LVH Super Book opened Watson at 40-1 and closed him at 30-1 when the tournament began last Thursday.
"We had over 100 tickets bet on Watson at various amounts and broke even for the day in the odds-to-win category," said LVH assistant manager Jeff Sherman. "But we did very well in everything else with the props and matchups. Most of the betting public was pro-Tiger and bet just about everything offered on him to do well, like under finish position and low score."
Tiger Woods didn’t do well finishing +5 overall and was never a factor throughout the tournament. However, Woods is already listed as the 8-1 co-favorite with Rory McIlroy to win June’s US Open in San Francisco.