Fans of ACC football programs who ventured to Las Vegas this summer may have instinctually felt like they needed a shovel and searchlight in the sports book. Gamblers had to dig deep and peer hard to find ways to bet on the ACC.
Suspend its geographic location for a moment because for the purposes of college football, the Big 12 Conference is the Wild West. A number of fast-moving squads led by gun-slinging quarterbacks and throwback coaches are capable of seizing the gold in any given season.
An inherent problem exists with the buzz phrase “Vegas likes” that’s ever-present in conversations and pieces relating to sports betting. Not only is the statement that follows almost always fundamentally false — sports books aren’t in the business of popularity contests or even predicting outcomes as much as setting a market price — but “Vegas likes” holds more potential meanings than a metaphor-laden passage from an Ernest Hemingway novel.
Betting slips against Texas A&M for the upcoming college football season have gone the way of Johnny Manziel-autographed Aggies mini-helmets over the past few days. They’ve risen in value. Since the NCAA began probing whether Johnny Football violated rules by allegedly scribbling his name on memorabilia for profit, Las Vegas sports books have taken down all Texas A&M individual game and win total betting lines.
When the Pac-10 extended hastily accepted invitations to Utah and Colorado for the 2011 college football season, many hailed it as the dawning of the age of “super conferences.”
The never-ending footrace between Boise State and bookmakers may feature a new leader for the first time in nearly two decades. The popular narrative of non-BCS conference Boise State baffling the country with its run of sustained success once rang truest in Las Vegas.
The Miami Heat’s championship parade drew to a close Monday in a fashion typical for these types of celebrations — with talk of next season. The back-to-back NBA champions fielded questions about potentially pulling off the first three-peat in more than a decade next season. Las Vegas has answers, or at least valuable insight into the likelihood of it happening.
The dramatic finish in Game 6 of the NBA Finals caused at least three different groups of people spread throughout the country in separate time zones to look foolish. There were, of course, the much-ridiculed Miami fans who fled the American Airlines Arena exits early before their Heat sparked to win 103-100 in overtime. San Antonio supporters who flooded the Riverwalk anticipating a celebration before their Spurs dulled took their barbs, too.
Tonight marks the closest equivalent to Groundhog Day for local sports books. If the Miami Heat win to extend the NBA Finals to a Game 7, brightness in the form of money gets one last hurrah. Dim the lights around betting windows, though, if they lose.
Sports book directors may have flopped to the floor harder than Chris Bosh as game four of the NBA Finals wound down. Unlike the minor contact Tim Duncan made with Bosh, the Miami Heat actually inflicted pain on bookmakers. They cost Las Vegas books far more than the $5,000 the NBA fined Bosh for his embellishment, too.
Don’t make the same mistake some analysts made Tuesday night. Don’t pen the Miami Heat’s eulogy yet. Despite an embarrassing 113-77 loss to San Antonio in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Miami is a victory Thursday night away from regaining its status as the favorite in the series, according to Las Vegas odds.
LeBron James has experienced both the supposed greatest benefit and biggest drawback to the NBA Finals’ 2-3-2 home court format over the past couple of years. The Heat are now minus-175 (risking $1.75 to win $1) to win the series with the Spurs coming back at plus-155 (risking $1 to win $1.55).
Fans in San Antonio might as well crank Rihanna’s breakthrough single “Umbrella” and dust off those black and silver Robert Horry jerseys. They should party like it’s June 2007, and not just because their Spurs are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since suppressing this very King (James) six years ago.
According solely to future odds in Las Vegas sports books, Miami was 13 percent more likely to win the title before the just-concluded series with the Indiana Pacers ever began. The LVH Superbook had the Heat at minus-400 (risking $4 to win $1) to win the NBA title on May 20. Now they’re just minus-220. San Antonio’s numbers swayed the opposite direction, as it was plus-450 to end the season with a championship before a near pick’em Western Conference Finals series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Orb’s nose had barely crossed the finish line in the Kentucky Derby and the goop from the sloppy Churchill Downs track was still pelting the 19 horses and jockeys in the field when everyone started asking the perennial question.