NCAA bettor diary

Mar 16, 2010 5:52 PM

March Madness is in full swing and there is so much going on in Las Vegas this week that I have actually had to prioritize my time in order to ensure I take full advantage of all the opportunities going on around town.

Since just about everything I have scheduled is something that everyone can take part in, I thought I’d share my itinerary with all the other sports junkies in town.

Tuesday

All my brackets are nearly filled out and I am narrowing down who I am going to bet on, who the sleepers are and my probable Final Four. I’ve already seen the early line movements and understand who some of the sharps like early and weigh it in with my own thoughts. I’m baffled with all the No. 5 vs. No. 12 seeds, as is the case every year.

I take a walk on Las Vegas Blvd. from the Tropicana to the Wynn and see if I can find any value with any of the Strip conglomerates on tournament futures or spreads. In the process I’m able to visit a LeRoy’s sports book, an MGM MIRAGE property, a Harrah’s book, Planet Hollywood, Venetian, and or course, the Wynn. On the walk back, I’ll play at the places where I found the best numbers.

I take this route early in the week because I am planning to enter several of the contests and play the special parlay cards that are available off the Strip.

Wednesday

The first objective is to make sure I have my Ireland rugby jersey on. Happy St. Patrick’s day to me, but I can’t have a Guinness for at least a few hours, at least until I’ve finished my errands.

My day starts out at my favorite place in the city, downtown Las Vegas. I valet park at Binion’s, and check out Nicky Bogdonavich’s numbers at the Cal-Neva book inside the old Horseshoe. By being downtown, it gives me an opportunity to have breakfast at my favorite diner, the Bay City Diner inside the Golden Gate Hotel, the oldest hotel in Las Vegas.

As soon as I’m done eating, I cross the street headed for Lucky’s sports book inside the Plaza looking to play a few of their $100,000 parlay cards. They’ll have Thursday’s card available today and then Friday’s card will be available on Thursday. It’s a $5 card asking me to pick 15 games against the point spread. If I do, I get the cash. I plan on filling out about 20 cards using about seven of the same sides on all of them and mixing around a few other sides from the same game with hopes of getting Lucky at Lucky’s. A $100 investment for $100,000, sure, why not?

After writing down all of Lucky’s lines, I river dance over to Tony Miller’s Golden Nugget book to see if the guys, and gals, have put anything special and creative as they normally do for big events. From there, I go to the Fremont to see what offerings on the games Bob Scucci has for the Boyd properties. If there is any value in the games I like, I’ll traverse back and bet them.

I’m hoping that I don’t hear any bagpipes calling from the big Guinness pint in the sky off of Fremont and Las Vegas Blvd. at Hennessey’s Tavern, because I have a few more stops to make and it’s impossible to have just one Guinness.

Next on the agenda is heading towards Green Valley, beginning with a stop at the M Resort and Spa’s Book. Mike Colbert has a no-point spread card for $10 that asks you to pick all 32 winners for Thursday and Friday. Get them all correct and win $50,000. It’s worth at least 10 plays to take a shot. There are likely to be about 12 gimmies, but it’s almost tougher having no points because you know the upsets are going to legendary Kelly Downey at his beautiful book so I can enter the Last Man Standing contest where I buy four at $25 each and get one free. This contest is about picking one winner a day through the tournament. Win and you advance to the next day, lose and you’re out! The guaranteed prize is $25,000, but the entries should exceed that. They paid out $43,000 last year. I take the long way back to my car to not be influenced by the happenings at Quinn’s Irish pub inside GVR.  

The plan is to go home and then take a cab to McMullen’s Irish Pub across from the Orleans where bands will be featured inside and outside on the parking lot, and have the best Guinness pour in Las Vegas. I’ll be meeting my Hooligan buddies, of whom includes Race Book Hall of Famer Billy O’Gorman. Slainte!

Thursday

The schedule has me waking up at 6:30, getting over to the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book before it gets too crazy, but unknown circumstances from the previous day could alter the plan. The Hilton book opens at 7 am and it’s my last chance to finalize my Thursday bets. By making a $20 wager, they’ll give a free commemorative T-shirt. I also plan to watch the first wave of games at their Hoops Central headquarters inside their theater where they have huge HD screens featuring all the games. It should be an electric atmosphere enhancing this great time of year.

I still have to turn in Friday’s $100,000 parlay card at a Lucky’s.

For the late wave of games, I’m headed for the South Point to check out what Michael Gaughan has going on at the best value casino in town. Their showroom is open for the games and they have ex-basketball players Ed O’Bannon and Jerome Williams hanging around hosting a free-throw shooting contest.

Friday

I already know I will be worn out from the first few days of my activities, but I’ve got three more days to go. Each ensuing day requires less and less travel, but I’m hoping to still have a few entries alive in Last Man Standing which will force a drive. I take the shortest route from my house and turn my entries in at one of the Station Casinos’ smaller properties, the Wildfire on Sunset, who has the nicest writer in Vegas named Jeanne. I also intend to make my wagers there before heading home.

If I feel up to it, I may take a visit to The Pub at the Monte Carlo, watch one wave of games and have lunch. Their burgers are some of the best in the city and they have about 70 taps of beer from around the world on hand. Maybe I’ll go at happy hour when the beers are two for one.

Saturday

It’s definitely going to be a day for staying home. I want to wager though, so I go and open a Station Casinos sports connection account at GVR which allows me to do it right from my computer at home. I turn in my LMS contest selections while there, hoping all five are still alive.

Sunday

Analyze all the games early to decide what games I’ll pick in the contest before they start. I’ll make all my bets online with my new account and head back over to Wildfire to quickly turn in my selections.

So that’s my itinerary this week and I hope to stick with it. Have a great time with all the Madness and enjoy the mayhem to the fullest.