Winning and Losing in the Sports BookPosted: May 1, 2009
Ever since I first stumbled into a sports book, at Caesar’s Palace in Last Vegas more than 20 years ago, I’ve wanted to have a “book” right in my playroom.
Imagine a room with dozens upon dozens of huge, high-definition screens, bringing you live action from ballparks, race tracks, arenas and stadiums around the country.
A place with cheap $1.50 drafts, bar food and gambling, where you can bet on everything from the fifth race at Churchill Downs to who will win Super Bowl XXIV.
Years ago, on a business trip to Vegas, a bunch of work colleagues were hanging around the sports book at Bally’s. Most of us were losing small sums of money on football games.
But one guy knew the ponies and wasn’t afraid to put down large wagers.
One time he came back from the betting cages waving $800 in the air, another time $1400. And the third time back, he returned with yet another large wad….and an IRS form.
That same guy now owns several thoroughbreds and is a fixture at race tracks around the country.
The NFL in Vegas
There’s nothing quite like a Sunday in Vegas during the NFL season. The sports books are packed, and crowds are watching each and every game with a strong rooting interest. A seemingly inconsequential play in a game between two losing teams may draw a huge ovation. A single play, a touchdown or a turnover, swings millions of dollars.
One betting scheme I’ve always liked in the sports books is the long-term football odds. For example, the Giants are currently the NFC favorites, and are listed as 11-1 to win the Super Bowl, behind the Patriots at 11-2 and the Steelers at 9-1.The G-Men are favored to beat the Redskins by five points in their NFL opener at home on September 13.
In college football, Florida is 9-5, Oklahoma 11-2 and USC 15-2 to win the national championship. On the other end, Kansas State, Louisville and Kentucky are all 200-1.
At the end of the day, betting sports is a lot like life. There are winners….and there are losers.