'Patriot Way' works well for Vegas sports books

Oct 1, 2013 3:10 AM

It’s been a long time since the Patriots to OVER combination turned out to be a good situation for the Las Vegas sports books, but that’s what happened Sunday night.

New England’s 30-23 victory over the Falcons helped many of the books to a small winning day. Up until that point, bettors had the books on the ropes from the first 12 games of the afternoon, and the Falcons covering the 3-point spread would have been the knockout blow.

The popular 3-team parlay on the day again was the Broncos, Seahawks and whoever the Jaguars were playing, a combination that is now 11-0-1 against the spread this season. In Week 4, it was the Colts’ turn to pummel the Jaguars, and just about everyone who played a parlay on Sunday had a piece of the Colts, laying 8-points.

But the damage to the books was minimized because of getting help elsewhere on the afternoon. The favorites went 7-6 ATS, but the six underdogs won outright. Teams like the Browns, Bills, Vikings and Cardinals helped keep the parlay payouts small, and then the big boost came when the Cowboys failed to cover at San Diego as 2-point favorites, losing 30-23.

Dallas had been 3-0 ATS this season, but hadn’t garnered the type of support from the bettors just because most were skeptical of them. However, they jumped aboard America’s team wagon in Week 4 and got burned. The Chargers, meanwhile, are now 3-0-1 ATS under new coach Mike McCoy and have shown some heart in each of their games, something bettors love and will soon make them a public team.

Broncos rolling: The LVH have lowered the Broncos down to 2-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl, and at this juncture – only four weeks into the season – it looks like a bargain. Peyton Manning has never looked better and has also never had a core of such quality receivers to throw at. If you’re a defense trying to stop the Broncos, who do you key on?

The tough part for the sports books is trying to keep up with their ratings on the Broncos, who are one-point better than the second best team, Seattle.

Not only have they covered all of their games this season (Denver was -15 to -16 in 16-point win over Raiders), but they’ve also gone OVER the total in all four games. The favorite to OVER combination is what the public loves playing in any game, and the public loves betting that combination the most with the best team in the league.

The only way to offset the 13-to-5 two-team parlay payout is to raise the spread beyond what their rating says it should. Sharp money usually jumps in and takes the points in any of those situations where the number is inflated on the side and total, but even they are weary of taking points against the Broncos.

This week they are 6.5- to 7-point favorites at Dallas, and next week they get the worst team in recent memory at home, the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars, where we are probably going to see the highest point spread ever posted on a pro football game in Las Vegas.

MGM Resorts’ Jay Rood says he’s thinking the Broncos will be -27.5 with a total of 57, and also says he thinks the public would lay up to -35 on the Broncos in this one.

Hill progressive at $42k: Two lucky bettors took home over $12,000 each on Saturday when they correctly picked 15 out of 15 college football games in William Hill’s weekly progressive card contest, but no one hit the big prize on the pro side, which now kicks up the prize money to $42,645. For $5, bettors can enter as many times as they like and pick 15 games straight-up – no spread – at any of the WH books across the state.

For the $5 parlay bettor, I strongly recommend dividing some of your weekly bankroll to invest in this. Why spend $5 on an 8-team ties-win parlay card, against-the-spread, at 150-to-1 payout odds when you can play the progressive card, with no points, at 7,129-to-1 odds?

Kudos to Vinnie! When I used to run sports books, I would recruit ticket writers from everywhere, whether it was noticing clerks at 7-Eleven or a sales rep at Foot Locker. It didn’t matter whether they knew about sports or not, it was all about how they interacted with their guests. Guests are everything to a business and the people seeing them the most should have the best skills.

Today, I’m spoiled by the great service provided by my favorite sports book at the South Point. It’s the book I frequent the most. But on Saturday, I found myself at the Casino Valle Verde in Henderson trying to get my share of a $33,000 jackpot in William Hill’s progressive contest.

It took me about 45 minutes to fill out my 30 eventual losing cards, but along the way I noticed some outstanding service from the ticket writer there named Vinnie, the type I would have handed my business card to and said, “You’re the type of person who can make my book look good; give me a call.”

What I noticed most was his interaction with the dozens of guests who came to his window on a busy college football morning. He had long lines, but wasn’t frazzled and gave everyone an up-sell on promotions. He was engaging to everyone, smiling, and made sure every guest there had a positive experience.

When it came time to turn my contest cards in, I asked about NASCAR odds, and not only did he provide me with a sheet, he also had morning practice times that had just finished and handed them to me like it was no big deal. That was a first for me.

Great service is something that is expected out of every ticket writer, but it’s not uncommon to find a few grumps who give the body language they‘d rather be somewhere else. In this case, Vinnie gave the impression there is no other place he’d rather be than hanging out in the book and talking with all his guests.

So thank you for the experience, Vinnie, job well done; keep up the great work.

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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