Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 05:17 PM
In the latest installment of dumb things that bettors do, we take you to the MGM Mirage, where sportsbook director Jay Rood recently received an interesting betting ticket mailed in for payment.
According to Rood, a bettor who put a “couple hundred” on LSU to win the BCS National Championship in November mailed in their futures ticket to the payment center with LSU crossed out and Alabama written in. The bettor's explanation: “I changed my mind.”
Alabama, of course, shut out LSU 21-0 to win the BCS National Championship and rendering the bettor's ticket on LSU useless.
“The guy actually paid the postage to send it in,” Rood told Covers.com with a laugh.
Looking for more dumb betting news, check out the annoying Super Bowl tradition
that books are preparing for this week.
Posted Friday, November 11, 2011 01:15 PM
The Las Vegas Hilton posted season win totals on select college football teams on July 24
. Using those numbers, here are this season’s biggest overachievers and the biggest underachievers.
Oklahoma State and Penn State are the only two teams to have eclipsed their season win total at this point. The 9-0 Cowboys went over their projected 8.5 wins with last week’s win over Kansas State The beleaguered Nittany Lions (8-1) went over their projected total of 7.5 by beating Illinois on Nov. 5.
Arkansas (8.5), Southern Cal (7.5), Michigan State (7.5 -120o), Michigan (7 -130o) and Auburn (6 -155o) can go over their total Saturday.
On the other side, Oregon State (6.5, -130u), Texas A&M (8.5 -120u), Florida State (9.5 -130o), West Virginia (9.5 -140u) and Missouri (7.5 -120o) will not reach their season win totals.
Maybe A&M and Mizzou will have better luck in the SEC.
Overachieving Payneful PicksLast week: 3-0. Season: a surging 18-11-1.
Army vs. Rutgers
Game will be played at Yankee Stadium, where it’s expected to windy with 25 mph gusts. Rutgers is unstable at quarterback, and so is Army, which will be without starter Trent Steelman for a third straight week. Scarlet Knights lead the nation in red-zone defense.
Pick: Under 49
Auburn ... [More]
Posted Friday, November 04, 2011 03:08 PM
The betting action on LSU-Alabama on the local side of things appears to be mirroring the action in Vegas and offshore.
“The ticket count is higher on LSU but the money is pretty even at this point,” a local bookmaker who works out of Pennsylvania told me Friday.
That’s the story in Las Vegas, too, where the public is in love with LSU to an overwhelming extent, but books are hesitant to drop the spread. Alabama is around a 4.5 to 5-point favorite, with the majority of books on the lower side.
The Pennsylvania bookie was sticking with Tide -4.5 as of Friday as well.
“I anticipate being heavy LSU by kickoff, so I may get down to -4 by tomorrow afternoon, but we’ll see,” he said.
Depending on the number you got, Stanford improved to 8-0 against the spread with its overtime win against USC.
The Cardinal’s ATS run to the start the season is second only to Kansas in 2007. The Jayhawks covered the spread in their first 10 games and finished 11-1 ATS.
I bet against Stanford last week, but was lucky enough to get +8, as posted here
I only bring that up because it salvaged an 0-2-1 week in my Payneful Picks. I’d like to do better this week. Help me.
Posted Monday, October 31, 2011 02:52 PM
How big is Saturday’s showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama?
As of Monday afternoon, BetOnline.com
is on pace to have more money bet on Saturday's game in Tuscaloosa than last year’s BCS National Championship Game, according to sportsbook brand manager Dave Mason.
“Since we opened the spread on the game last Sunday and the total on Thursday, the action has been off the charts,” wrote Mason in an email. "We've taken a handful of max bets so far."
BetOnline had Alabama -4 with a total of 43 at the start of the weekend. Despite the majority of bettors taking LSU and the Under, the line has moved in favor of the Crimson Tide and the Over. Alabama is now favored by 4.5 at most books in Nevada and offshore with the total now at 43.5. That's the definition of reverse line movement, which some handicappers value.
The action has been fast and furious in Vegas, too. Late last week, the MGM Mirage had received as many bets on the LSU-Alabama game as it had on any of the weekend’s games.
We’ll be on top of this game throughout the week, providing daily updates on the blog and Twitter, @CoversSports.
You can follow all the line movement on the big game in Vegas and offshore on Covers.com's line archive
You can keep track of the action at BetO... [More]
Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 11:43 AM
Stanford has covered the spread in its first seven games, putting the Cardinal in position to be the 19th team since 1999 to post 10 ATS wins in a season.
Going off my declining memory (shouldn’t have inhaled in college), Kansas had the longest ATS win streak to start the year in at least the past 15 seasons. The Jayhawks covered the spread in their first 10 games in 2007 and finished 11-1 ATS.
Several teams have matched Stanford’s 7-0 ATS start. Idaho won its first seven games against the spread in 2009, but failed to cover in its final six games. Connecticut also covered the spread in its first seven games in 2009 and finished with an FBS-best 10-2 ATS. Louisville covered its first seven games in 2004 and also finished 10-2 ATS. Maryland covered seven straight to open the 2001 season and finished 10-1 ATS.
I’ll continue researching this, but if anyone remembers other big ATS starts to seasons, holler below.
Now, for a team that is not covering at nearly as high of rate …
Payneful PicksLast week: 1-2. Season: 15-9
Tulane at East Carolina (-17, 56)
Tulane cannot stop anyone, especially in the red zone, where opponents have scored 26 touchdowns (19 on the ground!) in 36 trips inside the Green Wave’s 20.
Pick: Over 56.5
Stanford at USC +8
The Trojans are ineligible for the Pac-12 title game or... [More]
Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 03:18 PM
(Shameless plug: We'll be handicapping college football on Twitter @CoversSports
from 10 a.m.-noon ET).
Teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll have covered the spread 76 percent of the time this year (49-13-2 ATS). That’s pretty good, I think.
But check this out: Underdogs are 214-207-5 ATS seven weeks into the season. Figuring that Top 10 teams are favored in a minimum 90 percent of their games, underdogs playing against non-elite competitor are something like 202-163 ATS (55.3%).
Now, I’m willing to bet the Top 10’s covering rate is down to 63 percent or lower by December. It’s that whole regression to the mean thing, which, according to Wikipedia, is a statistical anomaly, but one that happens ever freaking year.
For that to occur, underdogs have to cover at an even higher rate down the stretch. So look for more dogs in my Payneful Picks as we head into the final month of the season -- just not this week.
Payneful Picks(Last week: 4-0. Season: 14-7)
Georgia Tech at Miami (-2.5, 61.5): I keep remembering Frank Beamer gushing about how good the ‘Canes are after Virginia Tech pulled out a crazy win over Miami. I’m glad I grabbed it at -2.5, before it went to -3, but not happy Miami lost a starting DT against the Jackets’ option attack. I see some points being scored here, either way, and am going to do a ... [More]
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2011 02:59 PM
Out of the nine teams that were 3-0 ATS heading into last week, only three made it to 4-0 ATS: Georgia Tech, Temple and Arkansas State. Navy was off and has a chance to go 4-0 ATS, along with Stanford and Rutgers, this week. Florida and Wisconsin are both 3-0-1. There are four 0-4 ATS teams: Penn State, North Carolina State, Central Michigan and Kent State. College football’s elite teams pay off more consistently than the NFL’s elite. The last 11 BCS champs went a combined 92-42-2 ATS (67.6%), with only the 2007 LSU Tigers finishing below .500 against the number. The last 11 Super Bowl champs went a combined 103-70-3 ATS (58.5%). The last seven Super Bowl champs, starting with the Patriots’ second of back-to-back titles in 2005, are a mediocre 61-49 (55.4%).Louisiana-Lafayette ranks near the top in red-zone efficiency offense and near the bottom of red-zone efficiency defense. When betting totals, this is the No. 1 stat I consider.There have been some mammoth line-movements in college football this season. The Las Vegas Wynn is the first to market with their numbers that go up at 3 p.m. Vegas time Sunday. When sharp money arrives, Johnny Avello, sportsbook director at the Wynn, doesn’t hesitate to move numbers quickly, sometimes jumping points at time, even across key numbers. For example, Avello opened Georgia Tech as a 6-point favorite at North Carolina State. By Monday, it was up to Georgia Tech -11 by Monday. But while these drastic early line moves are certainly ey... [More]
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011 04:23 PM
Even with the Les Miles’ notes ATS struggles in SEC play, sportsbooks are rooting for Mississippi State tonight.
Yet, four hours before kickoff, most books are refusing to move the number off of LSU -3.5, despite being heavy on the Tigers. The fear of big sharp money that would come if they went to -4 is the reason.
The MGM Mirage was very heavy LSU, before a significant bet came in on the Bulldogs +3.5 this afternoon.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as a sharp bet,” said MGM manager Jay Rood, “but it was a big bet.”
The sportsbook at Caesars is in the same boat, according senior analyst Todd Fuhrman.
“It’s fast and furious on LSU, but if we were to move it off of 3.5, sharps would come in,” said Fuhrman. “If it goes to 4, it’s likely because the public money didn’t slow down.”
The number did reach LSU -4 at multiple offshore books this afternoon, but as of 4 p.m. ET was back at -3.5 almost unanimously.
The total on the game is in a similar position, holding on the key number of 49. Rood says he’s seen a little action on the over, but nothing major.
Mississippi State starting left tackle James Carmon has been ruled out, and starting center Quentin Saulsberry is questionable.
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011 02:16 AM
Pac-12 miscommunication over the final score of the Utah-Southern Cal game took two hours to correct and cost some Las Vegas sportsbooks big bucks.
USC, favored by 8 ½ over the visiting Utes, blocked a potential tying field goal on the game’s final play. Torin Harris returned the blocked kick for a touchdown as time expired, which made the final score 23-14 in favor of the Trojans.
But USC flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, after the bench entered the field before the play was over. Nearly everyone, including the official scorer, thought the touchdown had been nullified. The final score was posted at USC 17, Utah 14.
Two hours later, however, the Pac-12 released the following statement from the conference’s officiating coordinator Tony Corrente:
“The final play of the game between USC and Utah was ruled properly and the touchdown did stand. There was a miscommunication between the officials and the press box that led to the confusion about the final score. We will make the appropriate adjustments to improve communication between on field officials and press box personnel so that we avoid any scoring issues in the future.”
For some Vegas sportsbooks, it was too little, too late. The Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook, for example, paid Utah bettors for the first two hours after the game, before the ruling was made.
It cost the Hilton a big chunk of the “five-figure” handle that it took on the game, after it elected to pay USC tic... [More]
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2011 04:32 PM
My favorite types of gambling stories are the ones that provide some insight on the individual sweats, and there were plenty of sweaty gamblers on Saturday.
For example, imagine having a big parlay come down to Michigan +3.5. Well, Covers.com writer Josh Nagel did. His little little 6-teamer
paid a nifty $2,080, thanks to the Wolverines' heroics ... err ... Notre Dame's atrocious defense.
Anyway, you can send your pics and screenshots of your winning wagers to our Twitter feed, @CoversSports
. I'll be posting them on the blog.
I'm really hoping to see tickets from folks who bet on Utah and went to bed thinking they had won only to wake up to a loss.
I had Utah, and my book ruled no action. I bet there were some horror stories, though, and I'm glad I wasn't a customer service rep Sunday.
Here's the official statement from the Pac-12 on the Utah-USC ending:
"The final play of the game between USC and Utah was ruled properly and the touchdown did stand. There was a miscommunication between the officials and the press box that led to the confusion about the final score. We will make the appropriate adjustments to improve communication between on field officials and press box personnel so that we avoid any scoring issues in the future. -- Tony Corrente, Pac-12 Officiating Coordinator:"
Why it took two hours to correct the "miscommunication"... [More]
Posted Friday, September 09, 2011 12:37 PM
On Sunday, one of Las Vegas’ independent odds services actually sent out a suggested line of Auburn -1 against Mississippi State.
The Las Vegas Wynn, generally the first Nevada book to post weekly college numbers, opened Mississippi State at -1, around 3 p.m. ET, Sunday. By nightfall, the Bulldogs were laying 7 in Vegas and offshore.
Clearly, if you gauged the opening line on public perception, it was way off. Auburn needed an onside kick and two late touchdowns to survive against Utah State; Mississippi State put up a record offensive performance in drubbing lowly Memphis.
Surely, the Wynn had to expect Mississippi State money when they opened the Bulldogs as tiny favorites. It’s enough to make me hesitant to bet on MSU, which is unquestionably the more experienced, better team.
Remember, books that held off posting numbers until later on Sunday or on Monday opened Mississippi State as a 6- or 7-point favorite. It stayed that way early in the week. But some Auburn money came in on Thursday night, dropping the line down to as low as 5.5 at some books as of Friday morning. So most shops have seen more Auburn money right now. Interesting, at least to me.
Saturday Morning Capping on Twitter
From 10 a.m. to noon ET on Saturdays, I fill the @CoverSports Twitter feed
with as much handicapping info about the early games as possible.
We usually get a pretty good exchange of informati... [More]
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 05:17 PM
You can tell it’s game week by the way pointspreads are popping all over the place -- the money is coming in.
There was significant line movement offshore and in Nevada on Wednesday, as sportsbooks began re-opening lines on two of the opening weekend’s biggest games, Oregon vs. LSU
and Miami at Maryland.
Betting action had been halted on both games for much of August as suspensions were sorted out. But both games were back on the board at several shops Wednesday.
Caesars was one of the first Nevada books to re-open the Miami-Maryland line, a day after seven Hurricane starters were among those suspended for the Monday night game. The Terrapins opened as a 1.5-point favorite, but were quickly bet up to -3 by Wednesday afternoon, Caesars race and sports consultant Todd Furhman told Covers.com in an email. Multiple offshore books re-opened with Miami favored by 1, but within hours the Terrapins were favored by as many as 4.
Oregon also saw early line-moving money, after re-opening as 3-point favorites over LSU, which will be without their suspended quarterback and top receiver for Saturday’s marquee matchup. The Ducks were laying as much as 4.5 by Wednesday afternoon.
The MGM Mirage took four limit plays on Oregon: two at -3; One at -3.5
and one at -4. "It's still all Ducks money," said book manager Jay Rood.... [More]
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2011 07:34 AM
College football’s off-the-field issues are impacting Las Vegas sportsbooks.
Two of the opening week’s top matchups - Oregon vs. LSU, Sept. 3, and Miami at Maryland, Sept. 5 - were taken off the board Monday with question marks surrounding players for the Ducks and Hurricanes. Multiple offshore books also removed the games.
Mike Colbert, race and sportsbook manager for Cantor Gaming, took the Oregon-LSU game down after reports surfaced that Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas was a passenger in the car, when defensive back Cliff Harris was pulled over and cited for driving 118 mph in June.
According to video of the traffic stop
obtained by KATU news in Portland, the patrolman asked Harris, “Who’s go the marijuana in the car?”
Harris replied, “We smoked it all.”
In the video footage, Harris later indicated that Thomas had not been smoking the pot.
Harris was suspended indefinitely for the incident, but the new reports of Thomas’ involvement prompted Colbert to halt betting on the game, “due to the possible suspension of Thomas.”
Multiple books also took Miami’s Sept. 4 opener at Maryland off the board Monday, after Yahoo! Sports reported
allegations of wide-spread improprieties involving 12 current Hurricanes and more tha... [More]
Posted Monday, August 15, 2011 08:03 PM
If USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan does have inside info on the lingering Cam Newton saga, it’s doubtful it came from any perceived deep-rooted Las Vegas connections.
“As far as I know, [Sheridan] doesn’t have any Las Vegas connections,” John Avello, sportsbook manager at the Wynn casino, said Monday.
“I don’t think Danny Sheridan has stepped in Las Vegas since I’ve been here,” added Las Vegas professional gambler Ted Sevransky, who arrived in Vegas in 1998.
Multiple additonal Vegas sources also downplayed Sheridan’s influence, going as far as saying he had “0 influence in this town. He’s not affiliated with Las Vegas in anyway.”
Most hadn’t even heard of the story, which riled up the Twitter-verse and blogosphere on Monday.
Sheridan claimed on Twitter that he’s been told the name of the person the NCAA feels allegedly paid Newton’s father Cecil in return for his son’s commitment to Auburn. Sheridan says he’ll announce it on the Paul Finebaum radio show in an appearance later this week.
According to Sheridan’s bio
, he is a lifelong resident of Mobile, Ala., and a graduate of the University of Alabama School Business in 1969.
Those factors are probably more relevant than Sheridan's handicapping background.
He has been writing and setting odds for USA Today since 1982, but does not supply odds to any sportsbook in Nevada or offshore.
Does this mean he doe... [More]
Posted Monday, July 25, 2011 11:01 AM
The Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook had a busy Sunday. In addition to becoming the first sportsbook in Nevada or offshore to release season win totals for college football, the Hilton also posted pointspreads on its NCAA Games of the Year and odds to win the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12.
The Golden Nugget sportsbook was the first to release lines of their Game of the Year back in early June. Several offshore books, including 5Dimes.com and BetOnline.com, also released lines on the same games as the Golden Nugget.
The Hilton, however, branched out with its Games of the Year, offering several different games that were not posted at other books.
Here is a look at the Las Vegas Hilton’s lines on its Games of the Year:
Alabama (-9.5) at Penn State
South Carolina at Georgia (-2.5)
Notre Dame (-3.5) at Michigan
Iowa (-7) at Iowa State
BYU at Texas (-6)
Arizona State (-3) at Illinois
Michigan State at Notre Dame (-8.5)
Oklahoma (-1) at Florida State
Utah at BYU (-4.5)
Colorado (-8) vs. Colorado St. (at Denver).
Hawaii (-16.5) at UNLV
Wisconsin (-16) vs. Northern Illinois (at Chicago)
Tennessee at Florida (-7)
Louisville at Kentucky (-8)
North Carolina State at Cincinnati (-3)
Central Florida at BYU (-9.5_
Arkansas at Alabama (-9)
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M (-3)
Florida State (-6) at Clemson
LSU (-4) at West Virginia
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2011 06:09 PM
I smell football. Hilton's opening season win totals are below and here's a link to our story: http://www.covers.com/articles/articles.aspx?article=&theArt=240944
Alabama 10 -120o
Boise St. 10.5 –120o
LSU 9.5 -160u
Stanford 9 -150u
S. Carolina 9 -150u
Texas A&M 8.5 -120u
Georgia 8.5 -160o
Oklahoma State 8.5
Nebraska 9.5 -140o
Florida State 9.5 -130o
Virginia Tech 10
Wisconsin 9.5 -120o
Arizona St. 8 -120o
West Virginia 9.5 -140u
Florida 7.5 -130u
USC 7.5 -130o
Notre Dame 8.5 -130o
Miss State 7.5 -130u
Miami 8 -120u
Oregon St. 6.5 -130u
TCU 9 -130u
BYU 8.5 -150o
Missouri 7.5 -120o
Michigan State 7.5 -120o
Auburn 6 -155o
Tennessee 6.5 -120o
Penn St 7.5 -155o
North Carolina 8 -130o
Michigan 7 -130o
Utah 7.5 -120u
Nevada 8 -125u
UNLV 2.5 -130o
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 11:12 AM
Jay Kornegay, sportsbook manager at the Las Vegas Hilton, said bettors beat his book in the BCS Championship Game. About time we won something.
“Las Vegas sportsbooks had different results,” Kornegay said in an email. “Some did well, while others suffered substantial losses. We didn’t fare too well. The game landing on 3 wasn't good for us and the accumulation of parlay card liability over the last five weeks didn't help.
“We broke even on the futures, but lost on the under,” he added. "With the BCS championship being the last bowl game you can count on liability on the parlay cards. This year was no different and some had ties win cards at -3.”
The overall handle on the title game between Auburn and Oregon was up approximately “10 percent,” from last year's game, according to Kornegay.
That's surprising, since Alabama and Texas, two public favorites with huge fan bases, were involved.
“I think the main reason was there were so many different opinions on this game. Most of the bigger sharper plays came in on Oregon but it wasn't enough to overcome all the Auburn wagers, parlays, and parlay cards,” Kornegay concluded.
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 04:57 PM
Sharp bettors couldn’t get enough of Auburn, when the MGM Mirage opened the line on the BCS National Championship Game with Oregon favored by 2.5 on Saturday night, Dec. 4. Auburn was the favorite by the following Sunday afternoon.
But a few hours before kickoff before tonight’s 8 p.m. kickoff, the wise guys are pounding the Ducks.
At 1:45 p.m. Las Vegas time, the MGM has Auburn at -1 with a total of 71.5.
“The public is split, but all the sharps are on Oregon,” said MGM sportbook manager Jay Rood on a busy Monday afternoon.
Auburn started the week at -3, but Oregon money has been driving the number down all week. One offshore book even has the Ducks as the favorite, according to Rood, who said he would consider going to a Pick before kickoff.Notes/nuggets
Sportsbook.com reported that 70 percent of the action was still on the Tigers, but had dropped the point spread down to Auburn -1 as well.
Oddsmaker Danny Sheridan told SEC radio pundit Paul Finebaum that $3 billion would be wagered illegally on tonight’s game.
FWIW, I have Oregon +3.5 (-145) and Auburn -2.5 (-110).
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 01:36 PM
The line on the BCS National Championship Game made a significant move at BetED.com last night, dropping from Auburn -3 to -2.5.
According to Covers’ live odds
, it was back at -3 Thursday. But there certainly appears to be an increasing amount of Oregon support. Jay Rood, sportsbook manager at the Las Vegas MGM Mirage, told me Wednesday that he had booked more Auburn action, but that there was still plenty of money coming in on the Ducks. “We’re getting good two-way action,” Rood said.
The line on the Sun Bowl between Notre Dame and Miami also appears to be generating some attention. We’re starting to see a few Miami -2.5s out there. The Hurricanes opened and had remained a 3-point favorite until yesterday.
Notre Dame is one of my top bowl plays. The coaching advantage is significant for the Irish and the talent gap diminished by Hurricane disinterest.
I’m not nearly as confident in the looming Pinstripe Bowl. I’m looking at it right now and have a couple hours before kickoff to handicap. My main question: Will be Syracuse’s pathetic offense (108th) be significantly better against Kansas State’s putrid defense (106th)?
I’m leaning toward ‘Cuse, but it’s going to be a minimum play.
Things I'm look at:
--In close game, Syracuse has a big advantage at kicker.
--Kansas State has played a significantly tougher schedule.<... [More]
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 04:48 PM
I’m struggling with this year’s bowl slate. There are some very difficult matchups to handicap, and the first game is giving as much trouble as any.
Any advice on the following?UTEP vs. BYU (-11.5)
I’m convinced BYU will win, but 11.5 is a big number. (Double-digit dogs are deadly during bowl season).
But IMO there’s a significant coaching advantage for the Cougars. Plus, UTEP has zero pass rush, an obvious benefit for BYU QB Jake Heaps. And the Cougars’ schedule strength is far superior.
I was really hoping the number would drop a little, at least down -11. But as of 4:30 p.m. EST Friday, it hadn’t budged. I can lay the 11.5 at -105 at my book Friday.
Should I wait in hopes the number shrinks by Saturday’s kickoff or should I bet it now with the reduced juice?Update
: I broke down and bought a full point, laying -10.5 with BYU at -125. Good move?