Return of Football Greeted With Elation

Betting on the presidential race, a new handicapping annual and more in this edition of Sports Book Scene.

It’s the dog days of August.  Bettors are tired of baseball, and are they ever READY for football.

Based on a canvas of bookmakers off shore and in Las Vegas, players came out of the woodwork in the second week of exhibition football, after a desultory turnout for the opening games two weeks ago.

Yes, Virginia, there are steam games during the preseason schedule, but lower betting limits keep everyone’s blood pressure down, for now.

The games may not count, and the action sometimes resembled an Ivy League scrimmage, but when bettors have money riding on the outcome it might just as well be a playoff game.

Hot and heavy action in the books, both Strip and locals-oriented shops, mirrored triple-digit temperatures in the desert.

Although we are still pounding away at books where there is a dime line on baseball, the enthusiasm for football this past weekend was very strong.  Both BMs and players are elated the countdown to football is over.

With handicapping contests proven winners for drawing players into a casino as well as Internet sites, a full house of giveaways is on tap again.  No word yet on the future of the Hilton contest.

Here’s an interesting opportunity for serious NFL bettors, sponsored by the Stratosphere.  A $1,000 entry fee gets you a theoretical bankroll of $100,000.  Pick a minimum of three games a week ATS, using between $1,000 to $11,000 per game.  Biggest bankroll at the end of the season takes home $100,000, guaranteed first prize.

White House Fever.  The nation’s political parties have a pretty good contest going on.  The stakes are for nothing less than the title of the most powerful person in the free world.

And with the two major parties having already chosen their standard bearers, some sporting elements want to lay down a few bob on who the winner might be.

With generic lines posted at many books, making Republican George W. Bush the opening favorite at –125 or –130, one bet shop wanted to shake things up a little bit.

Carib Sports Book (, under the mischievous direction of William J. Caesar, decided to force the issue by opening Democratic hopeful Al Gore at +190.

Now the prices on the two candidates have shifted upwards at many books, observes William, who said, “We’re creating a little action.  Whether it’s good or bad, we’ll know in November.”

Carib is offering a 10-cent line on this prop.  It was going to end at the conclusion of the GOP Convention, but has been extended for another week.

We asked William if he had an opinion on the Oval Office’s next occupant.  He didn’t say who he thinks would win, but did point out that he caught Bush a little earlier at a better price.  “Minus 200, that’s too high for me,” said William.

Handicapping Tool.  One of our buds, Don Stark – who is helping Caribi tap into the post-up business as its marketing director ( – has just published his 2000 College & Pro Football Handicapper’s Almanac.

He calls it the trendsetter in professional handicapping guides for football.  We call it a neat little package of stats, trends, angles and succinct team analysis.

Sold on newsstands for $7.95, we keep it handy for reference throughout the season.  It’s got Don’s kisser on the front cover, which may or may not be an incentive to buy it.  But the fact that the pages are not larded with pitches for 900 numbers is certainly in its favor.

Don’s top five NCAA teams are Nebraska (1), Florida State (2), Virginia Tech (3), Florida (4) and Wisconsin (5).

For more information, visit

Kicker.  We’ll end today’s SBS with a humorous item we saw in Tom Fitzgerald’s Sunday column for United Feature Syndicate.

At a Big Ten Conference media event, Indiana football coach Cam Cameron recalled a conversation he had with Indiana hoops coach Bobby Knight.

The discussion was about the late Paul Brown, revered coach of the Cleveland Browns back in the ‘40s and ‘50s.  Cameron was telling Knight that he looked forward to getting into heaven and telling Coach Brown how much he respected him and appreciated all he did for football.

So, Knight right away pipes up and says, “Well, what if he’s not in heaven?”

“Well, then, I guess I’ll let you tell him,” retorted Cameron. | August 8th, 2000

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly

Leave a Reply