Baseball Odds Change; Derby Coming Up; NHL Playoffs Start

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World Series odds – Surprises emerge in season’s early stages

Brewers, Reds, Giants see significant movement

By: Craig Williams

We’ve only seen two full weeks of baseball in 2014, but it’s not too early to look at how the LVH SuperBook’s current World Series prices are moving from their opening figures.

The Milwaukee Brewers (20-to-1) and San Francisco Giants (16-to-1) have seen their prices shrink, while the Cincinnati Reds (40-to-1) have tumbled down the odds board.

Let’s start with the Reds, who opened with a 14-to-1 price to win the Fall Classic. If you’re still a believer, now is the time to make your wager. Don’t let the 4-8 start suck you into thinking this is a mediocre club. They’ve got a strong lineup with good starting pitching and a bullpen that will be much-improved once closer Aroldis Chapman returns next month. The lingering arm linjury to Mat Latos is a tough blow for the Reds’ rotation, but look for ace Homer Bailey to step up and deflate his bloated 7.71 ERA. Also, if the Reds find it necessary to dip into their farm system, they do have top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson in Double-A. No rookie can be expected to replace what Latos would provide in the heat of a pennant race, but he’s got the type of premium arm that can get by on sheer talent until the experience catches up.

Perhaps the polar opposite of the Reds is their division-rival Milwaukee Brewers, who are off to a 10-2 start. They opened as a fairly long 60-to-1 bet, but the books have jumped on them and shortened their price considerably. They are getting strong pitching — both out of the rotation and bullpen — and the lineup is dangerous. It’s usually best to avoid reacting too strongly to two weeks of April baseball, but with Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta, the Brewers have five starters who can keep the team in the game. Meanwhile the offense, led by Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez, is more than capable of throwing up some crooked numbers on a consistent basis.

Also moving up the LVH World Series odds board are the San Francisco Giants, though their price hasn’t shrunk nearly as much as the Brew Crew’s. The Giants, typically strong in the rotation, may have one of the more underrated lineups in 2014. They still won’t be mistaken for the Yankees or Red Sox of the mid-2000s, but there is a lot more strength to their batting order than the days when opposing pitchers just had to navigate around Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. The added offensive contributions from guys like Hunter Pence (.283-27-99 in 2013), Michael Morse (.350-2-10 in 2014), and Brandon Belt (five HR in ’14) will be necessary this season because the pitching staff, while still good, is not as dominant as it was during the Giants’ World Series-winning seasons.

Stay tuned as we’ll likely be hearing from these three teams throughout the summer.

LVH WORLD SERIES ODDS (opening prices in parentheses)


TIGERS 7-1 (8-1)

CARDINALS 7-1 (10-1)


RAYS 14-1 (18-1)

RED SOX 14-1 (12-1)

A’S 14-1

ANGELS 16-1 (14-1)



GIANTS 16-1 (20-1)

RANGERS 18-1 (14-1)

BREWERS 20-1 (60-1)

INDIANS 30-1 (25-1)

PIRATES 30-1 (25-1)

ORIOLES 30-1 (25-1)

BLUE JAYS 30-1 (40-1)

ROYALS 35-1 (30-1)

MARINERS 35-1 (60-1)

REDS 40-1 (14-1)

PHILLIES 60-1 (40-1)


PADRES 75-1 (60-1)

WHITE SOX 75-1 (40-1)

DIAMONDBACKS 100-1 (40-1)

CUBS 100-1 (50-1)

METS 100-1


TWINS 100-1

ASTROS 200-1


DODGERS 9-4 (11-5)

CARDINALS 3-1 (5-1)

NATIONALS 4-1 (7-2)


GIANTS 8-1 (9-1)

BREWERS 10-1 (30-1)

PIRATES 15-1 (12-1)

REDS 20-1 (7-1)

PHILLIES 30-1 (20-1)


PADRES 38-1 (30-1)

DIAMONDBACKS 50-1 (20-1)

CUBS 50-1 (25-1)

METS 50-1



TIGERS 5-2 (7-2)

RED SOX 7-1 (11-2)

A’S 7-1 (13-2)

RAYS 7-1 (8-1)

ANGELS 8-1 (13-2)


RANGERS 9-1 (13-2)

BLUE JAYS 15-1 (20-1)

INDIANS 15-1 (11-1)

ORIOLES 15-1 (11-1)

ROYALS 17-1 (14-1)

MARINERS 17-1 (30-1)

WHITE SOX 38-1 (20-1)

TWINS 50-1

ASTROS 100-1



kentucky derby

Pointing out problems in Kentucky Derby pick process

by Charlie Ludlow    

It’s about to get very noisy when it comes to talk about who’s in and who’s not for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

“Let the filly run!” they’ll yell about Louisiana’s super girl Untapable. “Cairo Prince belongs!” will go another chant. Now in its second year, the Point System used by Churchill to determine the 20 starters for its signature race will be sliced and diced in a wide range of grumblings.

Should the powers of the Kentucky Derby be concerned? Not from this vantage point. Some pros and cons of the “point system.”

Pros: The system is simple and, most importantly, it rewards performance. Qualifying Preps begin in September of the 2-year-old season. There are 18 races spaced over five months throughout North America that offer the top four finishers 10-4-2-1 points respectively.

Then with 10 weeks to go, the 16 race Championship Series begins. First up are nine races offering 50-20-10-5 points to the top finishers followed by seven major preps that offer 100-40-20-10 points.

Cons: Earning just 10 points for winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, or the Kentucky Jockey Club or the Remsen doesn’t seem fair and what about impressive winners on turf, shouldn’t they rate consideration?

Pros: Only one BC Juvenile winner has managed to hold form in the Kentucky Derby. Before Street Sense, it was termed a jinx. There is nothing to prevent a trainer from recognizing talent in an early turf race such as Barbaro or Big Brown and making the switch to dirt. Initial turf success didn’t stop either of these two from racing on dirt before the Derby.

Cons: Talented fillies such as this year’s Untapable are prevented from racing in the Derby because they don’t have points.

Pros: The only thing holding back the fillies from competing is their connections, not the rules. Untapable is not a surprise commodity. The same day she dazzled in the Fair Grounds Oaks, she could have been entered in the Louisiana Derby. Had she run anything close to her effort against that small filly field, she would have trounced the boys and punched her ticket to the Derby.

Genuine Risk, Winning Colors, and Serena’s Song each had at least one race against the boys before running in the Derby. It has only been the last three fillies – Devil May Care (2010), Eight Belles (2008), and Excellent Meeting (1999) that used the Derby as their first test against colts.

In fact, this system might have the beneficial effect of returning racing in this country to its roots – open company. The U.S is more gender biased in racing than anywhere else. It wasn’t always this way.

A major pro not getting much discussion is the lineup of qualifying races. They fit the bill of rewarding runners for route tests. There will never again be a situation like Trinniberg in 2012 where a starter in the 1-1/4 mile Derby had never raced more than 7 furlongs leading up to the race, but qualified because of graded stakes earnings.

Charlie Ludlow has over 30 years of experience in the casino industry, including management of the Kentucky Derby futures in sports books at Club Cal Neva, Imperial Palace and Las Vegas Hilton. Contact Charlie at



blackhawks cup

First Round Cheat Sheet

By VI News  


Key:  A – Atlantic  M – Metropolitan  C – Central  P – Pacific  W – Wild Card

Eastern Conference

1A Boston vs. 2W Detroit

Bruins: 54-18-9, 117 points

Red Wings: 38-28-15, 91 points

Season series: The Wings took three of four meetings from the Bruins, including both matchups at Joe Louis Arena. The ‘under’ went 2-1-1 in the four games, as the teams met only once since December.   Previous playoff outcome: Detroit squandered a 3-1 series lead in last season’s second round defeat to Chicago. The Bruins made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals after knocking out the Maple Leafs, Rangers, and Penguins, but Boston fell in six games to Chicago in the final round.

1M Pittsburgh vs. 1W Columbus

Penguins: 51-24-6, 108 points

Blue Jackets: 43-32-7, 93 points

Season series: The Pens swept the five-game series, including three victories at Nationwide Arena. Three time the Jackets were limited to one goal or less, while the ‘under’ went 3-2.   Previous playoff outcome: The Blue Jackets are in the postseason for just the second time in franchise history, as Columbus was swept in the opening round by Detroit in 2009. The Penguins eliminated the Islanders and Senators in the first two rounds of last season’s playoffs, but were swept by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals.

2M N.Y. Rangers vs. 3M Philadelphia

Rangers: 45-31-6, 96 points

Flyers: 42-30-9, 93 points

Season series: The two teams split the four-game set, with the home team winning each time. The ‘under’ went 2-1-1, while the losing team scored two goals or less in the four games.   Previous playoff outcome: The Flyers are back in the postseason for the first time since 2012, when they were knocked out by the Devils in the second round in five games. The Rangers held off the Capitals in seven games of last season’s opening round before getting eliminated by the Bruins. Philadelphia faces New York in the playoffs for the first time since the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, when the Flyers won in five games.

2A Tampa Bay vs. 3A Montreal

Lightning: 46-27-9, 101 points

Canadiens: 46-28-8, 100 points

Season series: The Bolts won three of four meetings, including both visits to the Bell Center as an underdog. All four matchups finished ‘under’ the total, while three games were decided by a 2-1 score.   Previous playoff outcome: The Lightning returns to the postseason for the first time since advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012 as the Lightning lost to the Bruins in seven games. The Canadiens were bounced by the Senators in five games of the first round last season, while Montreal was swept by Tampa Bay in the 2004 second round in the only meeting between these two teams in the playoffs.

Western Conference

1C Colorado vs. 1W Minnesota

Avalanche: 52-22-7, 111 points

Wild: 43-26-12, 98 points

Season series: The Avalanche beat the Wild four of five times, with the lone loss coming in the shootout. Three of the five games were decided by one goal, while the final two meetings sailed ‘over’ the total.   Previous playoff outcome: Colorado is back in the playoff for the first time since 2010, when the Avs were bounced in the opening round by San Jose in six games. The Wild is making their fifth playoff appearance in franchise history, as Minnesota lost in five games to eventual champion Chicago last season.

1P Anaheim vs. 2W Dallas

Ducks: 53-20-8, 114 points

Stars: 40-30-11, 91 points

Season series: The top-seeded Ducks lost two of three matchups to the Stars, including a 2-0 home defeat in early February as a -200 favorite. Two of the three games went ‘over’ the total, with finals of 6-3 occurring twice.   Previous playoff outcome: Anaheim blew a 3-2 series lead to Detroit in the first round last season as the Ducks fell in seven games. The Stars qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2008, as Dallas made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals before losing in six games to Detroit. In that same postseason, the Stars eliminated the Ducks in the opening round in six games.

2P San Jose vs. 3P Los Angeles

Sharks: 51-22-9, 111 points

Kings: 46-28-8, 100 points

Season series: The Kings won three of five matchups, while the road team won just once, as Los Angeles grabbed a 1-0 triumph at the SAP Center in late January.   Previous playoff outcome: L.A. eliminated San Jose in seven games of the second round last season as the home team won each time. The Kings fell short to the Blackhawks in five games of the Western Conference Finals.

2C St. Louis vs. 3C Chicago

Blues: 52-23-7, 111 points

Blackhawks: 46-21-15, 107 points

Season series: The Blues grabbed three of five matchups, but the Blackhawks claimed the final two at home by a combined score of 8-2. The first three contests were decided by one goal with the Blues winning in the shootout twice.   Previous playoff outcome: The Blackhawks took home the Stanley Cup last summer by knocking off the Wild, Red Wings, Kings, and Bruins. St. Louis blew a 2-0 lead in last season’s opening round with Los Angeles, falling 4-2. The last time Chicago and St. Louis met up in the postseason, the Blues advanced in five games of the first round in 2002.


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