Stardust Scooped.

MGM first to post football numbers, the Breeder’s Cup and more NCAA football action in this week’s Sports and Gaming News.

Sports & Gaming News

Last year when a select few teams dominated the NFL blame for the gap between the haves and have-nots was placed on the free agency system. This year there are no dominant teams, and few good ones. What do the network blowhards hold responsible for this dull form of parity? Free Agency. Some interesting pointspread swings this week in college football. Last November LSU was a 10-point favorite over Alabama, this year they are 20-point dogs to the Tide. Last year Missouri was 16½-point choice over Oklahoma, Saturday they are 11-point pups. Nebraska is 13½-point chalk over Texas A&M; this week. The Huskers have not been favored by such a small amount in a home conference game in five years.

Although never requested, littering my email inbox on a daily basis is some sort of “betting tip of the day” that appears to be written by someone who is roughly the intellectual equivalent of a University of Minnesota basketball player. A recent selection entitled, “How to hedge out of sports bets” follows: “Hedging out will guarantee the sports bettor a small win, rather than taking the risk for a larger one. Here’s an example of how it works: You have a three-team $50 parlay. If all three teams win, you get back $350. You already won two out of three games. On the third game, you bet $150 on the opposite team of the one on your parlay. If you win the parlay, you net a $150 profit. If you lose your parlay, you also net $150 profit. Of course, you lose the chance of winning $300 that you could have if you did not hedge the bet.”

The author must enjoy the good fortune of betting in a juice-free environment, as with his $150 bet to win $150 he appears to be unfamiliar with the concept of 11-10. He also forgets the cost of the losing parlay if the hedge wins. Let’s ignore for a moment why someone would bet a three-team parlay when they are planning to bail out on the third game, which is never addressed by the author. The actual bet would be $165 to win $150, guaranteeing yourself a profit of $100 if your hedge wins, $135 if your original parlay wins. Had this advice been accurate, the true title should be, “How to reduce your odds on a two team parlay.” As it is presented, it should carry the title, “Proof that we know nothing about the topic we give you advice on daily.”

How is Ron Dayne not the popular favorite for the Heisman Trophy? Could it be we are simply bored with his peerless production and week in and week out consistency for the fourth consecutive year? Sometimes statistics other than yards or points tells a better story. The Big East offensive player of the week award has been given to an opponent of Rutgers for four weeks in a row. That streak ends this week as the Scarlet Knights host non-conference foe Navy. Nevada sports books’ refusal to take early season NBA totals action is further proof that Las Vegas is becoming little more than a gnat on the posterior of the offshore elephant. International shops are booking the hoops over-unders while stodgy Vegas waits to see how the new hand checking rules influence scoring before posting their numbers.

Seattle’s systematic dismantling of Green Bay on Monday night appeared to be a case of a coaching staff that coached the opponent for the previous seven years knowing exactly how to game plan their former team. That game capped off a nice 11-5 weekend on our late telephone service. Our 4-2 NFL card actually dropped our pro record to 70.3% for the season. Strategic Sports Publishing continues to appear near the top of the Sports Monitor’s weekly NFL standings.

Michigan has neither the attitude nor the running game to cover big spreads. Lloyd Carr is a conservative coach who takes the air out of the ball with a lead, as shown by his 7-18 record as a double digit favorite. Michigan has their weakest running attack in years, gaining only 121 yards per game on the ground. These are not the numbers of a likely blowout. Northwestern lacks talent,

but new Coach Randy Walker was an outstanding underdog coach at Miami-Ohio. The Wildcats showed spunk last week, as they covered the number after falling behind Wisconsin early. Northwestern ran for an impressive 197 yards against the Badgers. Can’t see Michigan being too geeked up for this game, they may see it as a breather before Penn State and Ohio State the next two weeks. Consider using Northwestern +25 and look for the Wildcats to hang around in Ann Arbor.

Art Modell’s Baltimore Ravens visit Cleveland on Sunday. Think the Dawg Pound will be ready? It’s rare that a team is dominated like Cleveland was by the Saints on Sunday finds a way to win. New Orleans had a better than 2-1 time of possession edge, won first downs 25-9, and outrushed the Browns 231-62. Despite being pushed around all day before the remarkable Hail Mary, the Browns had the nine points covered for the entire sixty minutes.

Our Hotline play of Navy +27 over Notre Dame was never in doubt on Saturday, as the Irish needed a fortuitous official’s spot to keep their game-winning drive alive. Make sure you call 770.618.8700 Friday night or Saturday morning for this week’s selection. The Hotline has a great lineup of content all week, our sports betting continuing education series has an installment up now. Thursday afternoon we’ll break down the intriguing Kentucky- Mississippi State Thursday night matchup. Friday during the day we ‘ll have a “Sports Service Bait & Switch Boiler Room News” segment. Friday night we post the late phone play. Sunday morning we have our Hilton contrarian play (which we figure differently than most) as well as a contrarian play from one of our private sources. Monday we analyze that night’s game and then start it all over again. Call 770.618.8700 all week long for this free 24-hour service.

Walter Payton’s son Jarrett, a freshman running back at Miami, showed admirable poise and dignity in representing his family. Jarrett clearly inherited the class of his father. Let’s hope that the influence of four years in the University of Miami football program doesn’t diminish that. Sports talk radio station WFAN in New York reported the death of Payton on Sunday, when he was gravely ill but still with us. I guess it would have been a real boost to the resume to be first with the news. Since we’re on the subject of tragedy, how disrespectful and callous is it for an auto race in which a competitor dies to continue? Is it at the behest of the sponsors?

The MGM “scooped” the Stardust on Sunday night. With an aggressive new approach to their sports book, the MGM released lines a few minutes before the traditional Stardust opening. Offshores are coming up with numbers just minutes after the Stardust. Having the willingness to take the early hits will earn a lot of publicity for the property willing to open before the Stardust on a regular basis. Syracuse, who had three players, including two key defenders, stabbed in a bar brawl on Saturday night, opened a 25-point favorite over Temple. Bettors steamed Temple, with the line now knocked down to 17½. Linemakers Las Vegas Sports Consultants thinks bettors are overreacting to the potential of other players being suspended for being at the “off limits” nightclub. Although it was homecoming in Syracuse, there’s no truth to the rumor that Derrick Coleman was serving as designated driver on a weekend visit to his alma mater.

WAC Ten update: You know things are bad when one of the leading candidates for conference coach of the year is Rick Neuheisel, whose Washington team began the season with two losses to Mountain West opponents. Stanford, who gave up 69 points to Texas and lost to San Jose State, is a prime Rose Bowl contender. UCLA, an alleged national championship contender last season, has lost three straight conference games, failing to cover the spread by a total of 100 points. The Bruins have received overtures from potential “corporate partners”, with Alpo the leading contender for the training table sponsorship.

Things are rotten in Cincinnati, but the Bengals are in a good spot this week. Coslet’s crew is off a blowout loss and are facing a Seahawk team full of themselves after their Monday night win. Great week for the Hawks to enjoy the accolades that come along with the Green Bay win, look forward to next week’s matchup against Denver, and let down against a non-divisional opponent. As bad as the Bengals have looked, they called a timeout to score on the game’s last play against Jacksonville on Sunday. Nice to know that they still cared and appreciate the “back door coverability” in case they get down early. Nobody ever got rich laying 14 points in the NFL and we may find ourselves supporting a bad team on Sunday.

In an ideal world, football would take a Breeders’ Cup bye week to allow undistracted enjoyment of the championship. I don’t have anything on the horses, but if you’re betting on the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday, I have some traps for you to avoid. Talk is cheap when owners, trainers and jockeys are in love with their horses. This week you will read of decisions made by “insiders” that will influence your decisions on Saturday’s races. Last year, handicappers looking to the words and actions of owners, trainers, and jockeys for their winners on Breeders’ Cup Day were sorely disappointed.

Example 1: Trainer Patrick Byrne predicted reporters that his Touch Gold would win the Classic, and didn’t mention the other horse he owned in the race, Awesome Again. Touch Gold finished eighth of ten in the race won by his stablemate Awesome Again. This is reminiscent of the 1995 Kentucky Derby when D. Wayne Lucas, who trained both horses, suggested that Thunder Gulch was a step slow and not as talented as Timber Country. Thunder Gulch rewarded those who ignored Lucas with a mutuel payoff of better than $50.

Example 2: Many bettors were swayed by Gary Stevens choosing Among Men in the Mile, turning down the opportunity to ride Da Hoss, who Stevens booted to victory at Woodbine in ’96. Among Men, with Stevens aboard, finished eleventh. Da Hoss won, and paid $25.20 to the $2 bettor.

Example 3: As Gentlemen was not nominated for the Breeders’ Cup as a yearling, owner RD Hubbard paid a supplemental entry of over $800,000 to enter his charge in the Classic. It proved a losing bet as Gentlemen finished last after bleeding in the race. Since Wild Again paid $64.40 winning the initial Breeders’ Cup Classic in ’84, supplemented horses have been a losing proposition. Writing a big check may be a result of the ego of the connections rather than signaling a real chance to win.

Example 4: The connections of European runner Swain chose to enter Swain against fierce competition in the Classic, despite the fact that Swain would have been favored in the $2 Million Turf. Running extremely wide as a result of a hideous ride by jockey Frankie Dettori, Swain finished a respectable third, netting a $614,000 paycheck. Winner’s share in the Turf was $1.04 million.

Remember last year’s Cup if you are tempted to make a wager based on the comments or maneuverings of a trainer, owner, of jockey. A Breeders’ Cup selection will be available on the Sports & Gaming Hotline Friday night along with the usual football selection. Call 770.618.8700.

Good luck this weekend and be careful.

Feel free to forward this report to your like-minded friends and colleagues. To be added to or deleted from the original distribution list, kevino. For updated information and reports, call the Hotline all week long at 770.618. | November 3rd, 1999

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
Kevin is the author of two best selling books on footbll betting. His weekly column covers the world of sports betting, the media and football handicapping.

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