Sports Book Scene August 3 2000

Baseball Season Serves as Ticket Writing 101 For Clerks

If you’re calling in action to an off shore book in August, chances are you are hearing some unfamiliar voices.

This is the time when many books who are gearing up for football train their fledgling clerks.  To call the training period a trial by fire is to trivialize fire.

What the ticket writers have to deal with is more like being hazed, or initiated into a secret fraternity.  “While most players are generally patient, there are always a few jokers who make life interesting,” says Billy Cosas, marketing director at Belize-based Loose Lines (

“It’s actually good for the clerks to get tested by some of our characters,” he observed.  “By the time football rolls around our phone reps need to be seasoned, battle-tested veterans, because everything seems to happen in fast-forward mode.”

Billy related a typical example of a player trying to pull a fast one on an inexperienced clerk.  The player called to get down on the Dodgers.  Here’s how the scenario played out:

PLAYER:   I want the Dodgers for a dime.

CLERK:     Uh, the Dodgers for a dime, sir?

PLAYER:   Yeah, the Dodgers for a dime.

CLERK:     Okay, let’s see, that’s the Dodgers for a thousand dollars.

PLAYER:   Yeah, a dime on the Dodgers.

A little while later, the player called to confirm that he has three bets on the Dodgers, each for a dime.  He insists he is correct.

At the time he was checking on his action, the Dodgers were winning 11-3.

“He’s just trying to test us,” laughed Billy.  “He’s a good customer who wins often enough to appreciate the speed with which we pay.

“This is a tricky business.  It is our responsibility to be on top of our game, otherwise the sharpies will skin you alive.”

O Lucky Man!  Every bettor knows how important the element of luck is.  Yankee great Lefty Gomez coined the expression that is the bettor’s credo, “I’d rather be lucky than good.”

John L., who plays the ponies with Aces Gold (http://, saw a $50 exacta box in the fifth at Hollywood Park recently turn into a windfall profit of over $5,000, and he bet it twice – by accident.

Gerry at Aces Gold put us in touch with John, who called the $10,000 payday, “mostly a wild streak of luck.

“You know, the result of that race was a photo finish.  Talk about a hold-your-breath moment!”

John said he has been “messing with the ponies on and off for a couple of years.  I owe all my luck to a friend of mine, who I’ll call TD.  He’s known as Mr. TD at Saratoga, where they send a limo for him when he flies in.

“I took all my tips from him that lucky day.  The reason I bet it twice was because I wasn’t sure I had boxed it, and didn’t have time to check it out.

“It was about two minutes before post time when I placed the second bet.  That’s one of the reasons I like Aces Gold.  They take bets right up to one minute prior.

“I searched out about a dozen other sites before deciding on Aces Gold.  Excellent software.

“The irony of my winning bets is that TD didn’t box the bet, and had it the other way around,” John pointed out.

Cappers Contest.  Thanks to Dunes Sports (, some of the top names in toutdom, overwise known as sports handicappers, are going to get the opportunity to make extra cash, as well as garner bragging rights about their seer-like ability to pick winners.

The weekly football contest will call for the handicappers to pick against the Dunes line on eight games – four college and four pro – for a chance to win a season-long prize of $10,000.  Additionally, there will be selected weeks when a $1,000 prize will be offered for the handicappers to go head-to-head with the book’s oddsmakers.

The $10,000 prize will be awarded only if the winning ‘capper hits 60 percent or better.  If no one wins, the money will roll over and become $20,000 in next year’s contest.

Entries are limited to handicappers with a verifiable service or to professionals with a recognizable name.

Here are the contestants, a baker’s dozen:  Eddie Boron, Lou Diamond, Benjamin Eckstein, Trace Fields, Tony George, Mark Lawrence, Steve Merril, Rod Myers, Ron Raymond, Troy Samuels, Doug Shaw, Mark “Shark” Simons and Ken Weitzner.

We’ll follow the contest’s progress in our weekly newspaper Players Choice, and of course at the Dunes website, where the plays will be posted each day shortly after the last game has gone off.

Good luck, and may the best ‘capper take home $10,000 big ones.

Apples & Oranges.  That’s the standard analogy for comparisons that defy analysis.

And that’s the way the industry’s best known oddsmaking firm, Las Vegas Sports Consultants, pretty much summed up a golfing question that was emailed to us from BERACK.  He wanted to know what kind of line the oddsmaking firm would put on a classic matchup between Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, when each was at their prime.

LVSC’s John Harper noted that he didn’t want to offer even a ball park guess, owing to differences in equipment, physical conditioning, and other factors related to the two men having played in different eras.

Harper said it would be like trying to compare Nicklaus and Bobby Jones, who was a standout from another era 25 to 30 years before Nicklaus.

The differences in equipment – from the balls, the clubs including design and the materials used in their manufacture – would make it difficult to get a true fix on how they would play head to head, said Harper.

“Nicklaus was considered a big hitter when he played.  He drove the ball 240 to 250 yards.  Today, players drive it over 300 yards,” Harper noted.

When you factor in that Tiger isn’t in his prime yet, while Nicklaus was about 30 when he peaked, it makes trying to handicap them even more difficult.  Woods has about five years ‘til he’s at his best, which is a scary thought to his peers on the pro circuit.

So, trying to make one of them the favorite in a head-to-head matchup would boil down to the bias of the person doing the handicapping, Harper stated.

Opinion would be a big factor.  Since each has strong backers, the numbers could be pretty far apart.

But one projection that is not hard to make is, how much money would such a matchup command?  Between television rights and attendance, the winner would take home big bucks and the loser would have a nice payday as well.

Who’s the favorite, Tiger or Jack?  And by how much? | August 3rd, 2000

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

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