Caution handicapping holiday tournaments

Dec 4, 2019 3:00 AM

Last week, I was in the New York City area for a variety of media events. One night, while out to dinner in Manhattan I was told there were a group of basketball players also dining in the restaurant. Apparently, they were in town for the tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I did not really put any more thought into this until later that night when it hit me. These holiday-type tournaments are nothing like conference or major end-of-season tournaments.

Handicapping these types of tournaments can be very difficult. First, there is no clear home-court advantage for most of them. In addition, you just do not know how motivated these teams are to play in these events during holiday time to begin with. Especially while being in Maui, Cancun, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands or even Las Vegas, where the tournaments were held.

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It is a good idea to try to place yourself in the mindset of the players in this type of setting, when situations like this present themselves down the road and proceed with caution.

Big chalk beatdown

More double-digit favorites find themselves losing outright in the NFL. The Dolphins beating the Eagles; Washington beating Carolina; and just a few weeks back, a pair of 14-point dogs did the same when Miami beat Indianapolis and Atlanta beat New Orleans.

However, the No. 1 question that I am asked is “Who do you like in the NFL this week?” My answer is always the same: “I like the sportsbooks” and the old adage lives on — any given Sunday any team can beat any team.

Time to Cowboy Up

Rodeo time is upon us once again and it is a very important time of year for Las Vegas. Last year, the National Finals Rodeo produced an economic impact close to $200 million.

In 1984, Las Vegas entered a bid to become the host city for the NFR. Needless to say, it was a tough pitch with the competition having been held in Oklahoma City for so long.

Las Vegas casino icon Benny Binion drove the initiative to bring the NFR to Sin City. As they say in The Godfather, I am sure he made them “an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

Who better to pass the torch to then Michael Gaughan. The South Point is the hub of rodeo activity, and the casino is jam packed full of cowboys. Just like Benny Binion said of his place: Here you will find “Good food, good whiskey and a good gamble.”

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