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Gaming Guru

Jeff Haney
 

Figures Show Sports Books are Doing Just Fine

4 January 2006

All football season, we have been hearing about how this was the year of the favorite in NFL betting, and how badly the sports books' bottom lines were damaged as a result.

Favored teams have been covering the point spread at a rate approaching 60 percent, a virtually unprecedented clip.

Because the betting public tends to wager on favorites, gamblers were consistently crushing the sports books week after week. So we were told.

Terms such as "bloodbath" were thrown around to describe the beating sports books were taking.

Because individual casino companies do not publicly reveal how much money their sports books win or lose in particular sports, we had to wait until the state Gaming Control Board released its figures for all of Nevada to get an up-close look at the carnage.

The Control Board recently released its statewide revenue report for August through October 2005, which covers the first two months of the football season that we were led to believe were oh-so-devastating for Nevada's sports books.

Brace yourself.

In September, the state's sports books won more than $22.3 million from gamblers in football betting alone, representing a win percentage of 13.69 percent (meaning about $164 million was wagered), according to the Control Board.

In October, the state's sports books won more than $30.3 million from gamblers in football betting, a win percentage of 12.15 percent (about $252 million was wagered), according to the Control Board.

Those figures do not include money won from gamblers on parlay cards, which the Control Board tracks in a separate category. From August through October, casinos won an additional $10.3 million on parlay cards, a win percentage of 36.75 percent, according to the Control Board.

That's a profit for the state's sports books on football betting alone from August through October -- a stretch encompassing the preseason and the first two months of the regular season -- of more than $55.3 million.

Yep. That's some bloodbath.

* * *

Jose Luis Castillo has been installed as a 2-1 favorite against Diego Corrales in their lightweight championship fight set for Feb. 4 in El Paso, Texas -- the third bout between the two men in nine months. Corrales went off as a small favorite in the first two fights, both in Las Vegas, winning by 10th-round technical knockout in May and losing by fourth-round knockout in October.

The round proposition is over/under 9 1/2 rounds in the scheduled 12-rounder.

The second fight was marred when Castillo failed to make weight, allowing Corrales to retain the lightweight title.

Manny Pacquiao is a minus-125 favorite (risk $1.25 to win $1) against Erik Morales, a former world champion in multiple weight classes, in their super featherweight eliminator scheduled for Jan. 21 at the Thomas & Mack Center, according to odds at Wynn Las Vegas. Morales is a plus-105 underdog. The round proposition has "will go" 12 full rounds a minus-140 favorite, with "won't go" a plus-120 underdog.

•••

With eight college football bowl games remaining on this season's schedule, "over" bettors have had much more success at the windows than their "under" counterparts.

Of the 20 bowl games played so far, 14 have gone over the total (70 percent) with six landing under the total.

The over/unders in today's six bowl games are tightly bunched, ranging from 45 points in the West Virginia-Georgia game to 56 points in the Louisville-Virginia Tech game, according to odds at all Station Casinos properties.

•••

Officials with the Las Vegas Hilton sports book report they plan to post a "slew" of propositions -- or offbeat, unique wagering opportunities -- on Wednesday's Rose Bowl between Texas and Southern Cal. Hilton sports book director Jay Kornegay believes the game will be one of the most heavily bet college sporting events ever. USC is favored by 7 1/2 points with an over/under of 71 points, according to Hilton odds.