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As I See It, by Jimmy Vaccaro

25 September 2002

September 25, 2002

This week let us talk a little about edges we look for when playing into a prop. There is an Internet article already out there written by Stephen Nover who speaks about the upcoming Philly-Texans game. The game came out Philly -20 with a total of 36.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants oddsmaker Cesar Robaina sent it out to the shops that subscribe to their line service and warned them to be cautious in taking parlays on this game as the game and total are too close, which makes it advantageous to the player who parlays the game and total. I am sure he meant more towards Philly and over as opposed to Houston and under.

I used LVSC's service since their inception when Roxy created the company in the early 80's. They understand the business from a lot of different angles and are very useful to operators in today's always moving and ever changing business. I used them as a line service but probably more important was their connection to regulatory outfits and commissions where they could find answers and solutions to problems that come everyday to people who are on the business side of the 11/10.

You pay for access and availability and they surely provide. I call them to this day and they are always more than helpful and always give a clean and concise opinion or answer to whatever question I have. LVSC is a service and you still pay, but the bottom line is that final decisions should be made from the books' side of the fence.

Cesar did the right thing in notifying his customers as this is a recurring problem and his due diligence is appreciated. He does it not as a mandate but a suggestion. And we all know that LVSC gets most of the ink but there are other reputable outfits that give solid numbers and advice to both the books in Nevada and offshore. You need to listen to all the helpful hints that may come across your desk.

If you are a book in Nevada you could probably get away without offering these correlation parlays, but in the offshore business you must book these even if at lower limits. If you don't, there's too much competition and without a long winded answer, you would not have much of a leg to stand on.

Is there an edge with the Philly game this week? Yes. Is it a slam dunk? No. Is the edge with Philly and over or Houston and under? Your first decision is made right there. Naturally if you are going to bet Philly you surely would not go Philly and under because the value would be gone. Conversely, Houston and over is also flattened out.

But there is still some value with the correlation parlay. I also would have a handful of smarts who would bet both parlays when these types of situations came up. Example: They would bet Philly and over for a dime, and Houston and under for a dime. Investment was $2000. Pickup was $3600, which made for a profit of $1600, which basically came out that you were laying -120.

Now I never did an indepth study of these games because in the NFL such situations came up few and far between and the work involved was never really worth it. But I was told by a very good numbers guy that is was around a 25 cent overlay to the player. Since it came up so infrequently, in my mind it was alright to book it.

Also remember if you tried the spot where you bet both sides of the parlay you could possibly lose both. You surely do not want to see a 27-3 Philly final posted. And with the other way you still must make a decision on who you want and which number presents the best value to win your bet. So line services who forewarned their customers did the correct thing, but solid books should let people play into this parlay.

There are other places where you can find advantages if you look close, and I will give you one that has put me in a great spot when the kickoff comes.

When the order comes in for a side or a total you see a mad dash for everyone to get in and capitalize on the line movement. It is very hard to get down at the original number, and I do not mind betting the second number if it's a total since sometimes these games move 5 or 6 points in 20 minutes. Once again, if you get anything good early you have an easy decision on game day: to keep your side or buy back and have a decent middle going at a relatively cheap price.

I will tell you what I have been doing the past few weeks which has put a little cash in my pocket.

Now remember you have to be glued to your Don Best screen, which is easier said than done. And also it is nice if you have a Sleepy Hollow book that takes about a minute to adjust. The trick here is not to try and get in on the game number but look for a spot that deals the first half numbers … while they are concerned about the smarts you can slide in and take good number on the first half.

For argument's sake let's say they have a total at 48 for the game and 24 for the first half. While everyone is moving the top number it goes to 49 to 51 and settles at 53. Try and go in and bet the first half over at 24 because there are times when the first half is left unattended. So when all the smoke clears you really have the best number that is out there. When that number is readjusted you will have a decent side going for you or a 3-point middle in the first half. Do that with sides and totals as well.

Remember, chasing numbers is hard to overcome but betting another prop with equal or better betting value can really help. Now listen, these guys do not go to sleep at the switch very often. But you must be as prepared to take advantage as they are to make you pay the premium. You must do the same. This game is a long, arduous, humbling process, with sharp gate keepers.

There are other things that we will get into at another time.

But the parlay that was discussed earlier is really not going to change the outcome for the year, no matter which side of the counter you are on. And trust me there are other ways for the house to take some of the liability off this parlay or any other prop that shows.

The parlay is available at a lot of spots I play into, but you will not see one from me. I would much rather sneak up on a good first half number anytime.

Take care and keep in touch,

Jimmy V.

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