Why NHL Should Embrace Gambling ; Wild Weekend for First NCAA Play; Experts Weigh In

 nhl gamblings

Why the NHL should embrace gambling

Reports have league expanding to Las Vegas
By: Micah Roberts
LAS VEGAS — Before we start figuring out a name for a possible NHL franchise here in Las Vegas, we need to answer a few questions regarding gambling, more specifically, gambling on the NHL in the town’s sports books.

The Vancouver Province reported ’Las Vegas is a done deal’ for the NHL’s next expansion, which might include multiple cities. The best sell for Las Vegas is the AEG/MGM Resorts’ joint venture to build a new arena expected to open in 2016. The local market can support a team, and there are thousands of new visitors daily looking for entertainment.

Sounds like a win-win, but what about the betting aspect? No word from Las Vegas or the NHL yet regarding what would surely be a sticky issue, even though the revenues generated from bets on the NHL are very small relative to other sports.

Maybe Gary Bettman and NHL will embrace people enjoying making a few wagers on their games and understand that the people needed to attend the games to make the team a success are often betting $5 or $10 just for some fun. No harm in that.

Should a pro hockey team come to fruition in Las Vegas, instead of cheering on their bets at the sports book, residents and visitors would able to watch it live in the new 20,000-seat arena located on The Strip behind New York New York and Monte Carlo. Just like the events held at the two current arenas on MGM properties in Vegas, betting could be available right outside the doors. Boxing fans, of course, will be wagering in droves ahead of Floyd Mayweather’s September 13 bout against Marcos Maidana.

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman stood his ground on the issue of removing a sport or team from the betting boards when pressed by the NBA (and former commissioner David Stern eventually softened his stance against putting a team in the city at all). And Las Vegas books take wagers all the time on events played within the city, such as UNLV basketball and football, multiple college conference basketball tournaments, PGA Tour golf, NASCAR, boxing, as well as the PBR and NFR rodeo,all with no issues.

Of course, there’s a misperception that the “fix“ may be in. But that thought is among those with limited knowledge of how the sports betting business actually works. Las Vegas is built to ensure no games are being fixed. If someone was to conjure up a way to take a game off the level, Vegas would be the last place for them to make a wager. The conspirators would get caught quickly because of the tight controls in place, the type of regulations guys like ‘Tony the Book’ taking action on a Bruins game in a south Boston bar doesn’t have to follow. Las Vegas is the only betting police there is.

LVH SuperBook VP Jay Korneagy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday that hockey accounts for only “around two percent” of his book’s annual handle. But even those small dollars create plenty of excitement. No area of the casino offers a more lively, interactive crowd than a sports book.

Or maybe the NHL could be thinking way outside the box, readying itself for the future when sports betting gradually finds itself in nearly every state of the union. Generating new revenues is paramount for any business – and new revenues could come from taking a small piece of the wagering pie.

Realistically, the NHL needs Las Vegas more than the city needs pro hockey, and Las Vegas shouldn’t have to compromise anything associated with our current brand. Revenue from hockey betting won’t move the needle for the city, but if the league wants to play here, it should take the city for all that it is and save the anti-gaming rhetoric.

The NHL has joined the other major leagues in their effort to prevent the proliferation of legal sports betting, but as a potential NHL expansion city, Vegas offers far more upside than the others being discussed – Quebec City, Toronto and Seattle – some of which have already had pro franchises and lost them.

Now, about that name? Sporting News’ Sean Gentille made a few suggestions, and while his tongue was firmly in cheek, ‘Silver Stars’ has the most meaning to our Battle Born Silver State. Plus, the city is a playground for stars. ‘The Stars’ was also the name of the very popular Triple-A team that began in the early ‘80s, until a few people got creative and changed the name to the ’51s’ when the franchise changed affiliations from the Padres to the Dodgers.


wild college football weekend

NCAA football sees wild opening weekend in Vegas

by Micah Roberts
What a wild first weekend of college football Las Vegas guests experienced in sports books throughout the valley. And the funny thing is, most of them lost and were still having the time of their life.

That fun place was also experienced by all branches of casino employees.

Casino executives were smiling because there was some excitement on the floor. The ticket writers in the book were happy because they wrote 10 times as many tickets from the previous week and the tip jar is full.

The bartenders are happy because they can make up to five-times more drinks, which means at least four-times the usual gratuities.

But the biggest grin of all is the boss of the book, after contributing a lot of cash to the bottom line of the casino. Even though the sharp money did well, books were still able to have good days because of so many top-ranked teams not covering.

When UCLA, Oklahoma, Florida State and Alabama all failed to cover Saturday, it pretty much sealed the fate of the weekend.

Then the icing on top was Washington failing to cover 17.5-points in a 17-16 win at Hawaii. The significance of that game is because it’s the final option of the day, the get-back game if you’re trying recoup losses on the day, or the double-up game to go for a big score.

Unfortunately, most of those bettors chose Washington and the books scooped all the chips.

Through Sunday’s regular board games, favorites went 19-18 ATS with 11 underdogs winning outright. The most amazing underdog to win was Temple’s 37-7 victory at Vanderbilt, their first against an SEC team since 1938.

Vanderbilt initially opened 16.5-point favorites and on Thursday, the number moved as much as 9 points.

Sharp money was directed to take at least +10 on Rutgers last Thursday, and they got about 4.5-points of the move. The rest of the movement down to as low as -7.5, was mostly followers.

And then there was some buy-back laying such a low number. That type of movement had many sports book executives scratching their heads about the numbers advised by their paid consultants.

The sharps sniffed out quite a few of those “off” numbers and were on most of the 11 underdog winners. There were 19 winning betting moves of 1-point or more from the original number and 15 of them were on the underdog.

So the sharps had their day and the books had theirs as well. What about Joe Public who was the only group to lose? Have to pay for entertainment, right?

Super signup: The Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest is setting record attendance this year. Through Monday morning, they already had 1,102 contestants buy in for $1,500, well ahead of last year’s pace.

The prize money is likely to be over $2 million with 30 contestants being able to place by picking the most pro football winners over the course of 17 weeks. It’s five selections a week against-the-spread and pretty intense. That’s why it is the most storied and prestigious sports betting contest in the world.

There’s still time to enter and get your piece of the pie. If you’re from out of town you can still enter and use a reputable proxy service like FootballContestProxy.com to turn your weekly selections in for you.

They will be turning in up to 35 percent of the entries for contestants out of town and are part of the reason the contest has become so huge.

Don’t forget baseball: It’s amazing the power football has, and some of it is at baseball’s expense. We’ve been watching the game non-stop since April.

At that time, we’re still kind of all footballed out after the Super Bowl, and baseball coupled with spring is such beautiful time of the year. But then the beast-mode kicks in where we need some more collisions by July to satisfy our human nature.

We saw floppers in the World Cup and baseball managers don’t even argue with umpires anymore because of instant replay. So of course we’re starving for football right now, and last college football weekend proved a point: football is, without a doubt, king.

We’re right in the middle of watching two classic meltdowns with the Brewers and A’s and yet I’m paying attention to a UTEP/New Mexico total. I’m watching everything all the time, and mostly baseball, but my attention definitely has new suitors.

However, just a reminder to not forget about following baseball daily because there are always a few hot teams you can ride with right now like the Giants, Indians, Pirates and Angels.

But what happens at this stage is the betting bankroll is split between football and baseball. All the hard work and daily investments on the year from baseball don’t get used as much in September. That’s when the games are sometimes easier just because you’ve got a read on almost every pitcher and tendencies of a team.

Also, the sports books would prefer you to play football using pay charts and a 20-cent line on the spreads and totals. Baseball holds the lowest percentage for the house among all the major sports categories. You can imagine how excited the books are to get football in full swing and have divided bankrolls betting less on baseball.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at MicahRoberts@GamingToday.com.


Football Betting Primer

What’s the top pigskin play in Week 1? Which NFL teams will exceed (or fall short of) expectations in 2014? Who will win it all? We turn to seven highly respected handicapping experts from Pregame.com for all the winning answers.
Ready for some football: Customers survey the betting board at South Point’s sportsbook. | Photo by Jon Estrada

Steve Fezzik

Week 1 Best Bet: Bengals-Ravens UNDER 43 (Sept. 7). If you had played Baltimore’s last 37 AFC North games “under” 43.5, you would be 32-5. Baltimore was horrendous on offense last year, averaging an NFL-worst 4.5 yards per play. But during the draft, they stuck to their defense-first focus, using their first three draft picks on defensive players.

NFL Win-Total Best Bet: Bengals UNDER 9 (-110). Cincinnati has lost both of its coordinators, including Mike Zimmer on the defensive side. The Bengals simply aren’t the type of well-run organization than can remain on top after such key departures, and because they finished first last year, they have to face Denver and New England, the two best teams in the AFC.

Long Shot for the Future: Take the Packers at 11-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. Green Bay’s records the last three seasons when QB Aaron Rodgers was actually under center: 15-1 (won Super Bowl), 11-5 and 7-2.

Scott Spreitzer

Week 1 Best Bet: Central Florida -1 vs. Penn State, in Dublin (Aug. 30). The sanctions from the Jerry Sandusky scandal will finally catch up with Penn State this year. Add in a new coaching philosophy, and the Nittany Lions are in for a rough season—right out of the blocks.

NFL Win-Total Best Bet: Chiefs UNDER 8 (-140). Kansas City has offensive line problems, a shaky defensive backfield and a very tough schedule. The Chiefs have gone from my favorite “over” win-total prop in 2013 to one of my bigger “under” plays in 2014.

Long Shot for the Future: I agree with Fezzik on the Packers to win the Super Bowl. For my money, Green Bay has the best QB in football with a better offensive supporting cast than last season. A couple of additions on the defensive side make the Packers the team to beat in my book.

David Malinksy

Week 1 Best Bet: Louisville -3½ vs. Miami (Sept. 1). Oddsmakers are trying to say these programs are close to even if this game was on a neutral field, but that’s not the case. Louisville’s 36-9 rout of the Hurricanes in their December bowl matchup was every bit the blowout the score indicates. QB Will Gardner has looked impressive in practice under new coach Bobby Petrino’s tutelage, while the Miami QB rotation was still unsettled a week before kickoff because of suspensions.

NFL Win-Total Best Bet: Bengals OVER 9. New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s playbook is ideal to get the most out of QB Andy Dalton’s skill set; and Cincinnati’s big, physical receiving corps, plus two tight ends who can get down the field, make this offense one of the most likely to take advantage of the new rules limiting contact by the defense. The declining state of the rest of the AFC North makes for an easier path.

Long Shot for the Future: I’m with Teddy on Ohio State at 50-to-1. Since Braxton Miller wasn’t around for spring practice, or the first two fall scrimmages, Barrett already has a good grasp of the offense. A very favorable schedule should allow the wins to mount as Barrett develops.

Ken Thomson

Week 1 Best Bet: Tennessee -6½ vs. Utah State (Aug. 31). New head coach Butch Jones is changing the landscape in Knoxville, where the Vols have struggled in recent years. Senior running back Marlin Lane, and WRs Marquez North and Pig Howard will help Tennessee’s offense roll over Chuckie Keeton and the Aggies.

NFL Win-Total Best Bet: Vikings OVER 6 (-125). Minnesota may be good enough to split its six NFC North contests (Packers, Lions and Bears), and home games vs. the Falcons, Redskins, Panthers and Jets are all very winnable.

Long Shot for the Future: Like Teddy and Dave, I’m also taking a shot with a Big Ten team to win the national title, but it’s Michigan State. At 30-to-1, this is great value on the best team in the Big Ten, especially with Ohio State losing Miller. Spartans QB Connor Cook grew up in last year’s Rose Bowl victory over Stanford, and RB Jeremy Langford will provide great support in the backfield. Meanwhile, Mark Dantonio’s stingy defense remains intact.

Dave Cokin

Week 1 Best Bet: UTEP +7.5 at New Mexico (Aug. 30). Two low-level border rivals renew hostilities after last year’s overtime thriller, which New Mexico won, 42-35. While I do see the Lobos as the better squad here, it’s not by a big margin. Rivalry revenge in opening games is always enticing, and this game is no exception.

NFL Win-Total Best Bet: 49ers UNDER 10.5 (-125). No question, the 49ers are still a playoff-caliber team on paper. But residence in the ultra-tough NFC West virtually guarantees at least two or three losses, and I’m just not sold on San Francisco’s offense right now. I’ve got the 49ers finishing at 9-7, so a confident call on the “under” here.

Long Shot for the Future: Roll the dice with UCLA at 14-to-1 to win the national title. The Bruins are unquestionably championship timber on offense. The defense also has loads of talent and by season’s end could be something special. If college football’s first-ever playoff were in September, I’d say no thanks. But by January, this could be the best team in the land.

RJ Bell

Week 1 Best Bet: Packers +5½ at Seahawks (Sept. 4). The NFL season kicks off with this matchup, as does the NFL bettor’s tradition of focusing on the recent past—Seattle is the champ! Green Bay barely made the playoffs last year!—instead of the here and now. With Rodgers completely recovered from the broken collarbone that cost him seven games last season, the Packers might be as good as anybody.

NFL Win-Total Best Bet: Browns UNDER 6.5 (+110). The public has bet up Cleveland because of the Johnny Manziel hype. However, the pros I’ve spoken with believe Brian Hoyer is better for the team this season. But we all know it won’t be long before Johnny Football is running the show.

Long Shot for the Future: I like the Eagles at 30-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. Whenever an NFL coach installs a new system, the team tends to struggle the first half of the first season as they transition. But Chip Kelly’s up-tempo system is a genuine game changer, and Philly played elite football in the second half of 2013 once the players got comfortable. The weakness of the NFC East paves the way to the playoffs, and from there, anything can happen.
– See more at: http://vegasseven.com/2014/08/27/football-betting-primer/#sthash.vhD9N6n0.dpuf

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