Pro Football weekly

A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

Could the Super Bowl XLII Over/Under be the highest ever?

Posted Jan. 22, 2008 @ midnight
The Super Bowl XLII Over/Under is 54 at most sports books, 53½ at others. Should the game close at 54, it would be the highest total in Super Bowl history. A half-point lower, and it would tie the record set in Super Bowl XXIX (49ers-Chargers) and Super Bowl XIX (49ers-Dolphins). Both of those games went Over.   Here's spreads and totals for the first 41 Super Bowls.

Remembering "Black Sunday"

Posted Jan. 23, 2008 @ midnight
Monday was the 29th anniversary of one of the most famous moments in sports gambling history: "Black Sunday," or the unfortunate outcome of Super Bowl XIII for bookmakers. As this 2005 USA Today story explained: "Bookmakers [in Las Vegas] still wince when they talk about so-called "Black Sunday," otherwise known as Super Bowl XIII between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys in 1979. The week before the game, Pittsburgh was installed as the four-point ...

Super Bowl XLII: Could the line fall below 12?

Posted Jan. 24, 2008 @ midnight
That's what Chuck Esposito, assistant vice president of race and sports book operations at Caesars Palace (and also, quite possibly, one of the most entertaining sports-radio guests you'll ever hear) told USA Today's Michael McCarthy, who wrote: Esposito predicts the spread could fall further, inducing more Patriots fans to bet their cash. Most Super Bowl bets are placed in the final 72 hours before kickoff. "Twelve is kind of a dead number ...

Patriots, Giants Super Bowl ATS records; programming note

Posted Jan. 27, 2008 @ midnight
Patriots: 1-3-1. ATS win: Super Bowl XXXVI. ATS losses: Super Bowls XX, XXXVIII, XXXIX. Giants: 2-1. ATS wins: Super Bowls XXI, XXV. ATS loss: Super Bowl XXXV. ↔ I leave tomorrow for Arizona, and I'll be posting on this blog and on our Super Bowl XLII blog as well as writing frequently for this Web site. Should be an interesting week.      

The Kevin Boss Prop

Posted Feb. 01, 2008 @ midnight
 I'll be keeping an eye on how many catches Giants TE Kevin Boss makes on Sunday. Why? Because the MGM Mirage casinos have installed 1½ as the Over/Under for the number of catches the Giants' rookie tight end will make in Super Bowl XLII. This is one of the numerous prop bets the Mirage casinos, like others on the Las Vegas Strip, will be offering this weekend.    To say the "Over" has been ...

Sunday morning line update: Super Bowl XLIl line unchanged, but Over/Under likely to be a record

Posted Feb. 03, 2008 @ midnight
With kickoff a little less than five hours on out, the Patriots are still favored by 12 vs. the Giants in Super Bowl XLII at most Las Vegas sports books, though the line is a half-point higher at a couple places. Will a flood of late money come on the favorite, as it did last year on Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLI? That's the question the oddsmakers have to be asking. The Over/Under ...

Which way will the "whales" swim on Super Sunday?

Posted Feb. 03, 2008 @ midnight
When I talked to MGM Mirage sports book director Robert Walker on Friday, he noted that he had only received one six-figure bet on Super Bowl XLII. The wager was on New England, and he said he expected others. As you may imagine, those big bets can have a big impact on how a sports book (or family of books, like the Mirage and Harrah's families, to name two) fare on Super Sunday. Walker ...

Looks like the house lost big on Super Bowl XLII.

Posted Feb. 05, 2008 @ midnight
  So says this Los Angeles Times piece. Jay Kornegay, sports book director for the Las Vegas Hilton, told the Times, “It was a good day for Vegas, but not a good day for sports books. Early reports have this being the worst Super Bowl results ever.” According to the Times, sportsbooks took a beating on money-line wagering picking the Giants to win outrights, with the odds ranging from +325 to +405. In other words, a ...

It's never too early: Playoff props are already out at the Venetian

Posted Feb. 20, 2008 @ midnight
Hello, all. Good to be back. Took some time off after the Super Bowl, which included a short jaunt to Las Vegas. While there, I stopped by the Venetian sports book, perhaps the best one I've been in on account of the way it's set up (plenty of seating and TVs in beautiful surroundings) and the friendly service. And their futures bets are always top-notch, like the 2009 pro football playoff odds they ...

Here's to hoping you didn't make that Super Bowl wager on the Packers ...

Posted March 05, 2008 @ midnight
Stephen Nover of, who knows as much about NFL futures wagers as any writer I've seen, predicted today that he expects the Las Vegas Sports Consultants to adjust the Packers' 2009 title odds from 7- to 15-1 in the wake of Brett Favre's retirement. LVSC advises the majority of Nevada casinos on pointspreads and futures wagers. Nover also expects LVSC to set the Over/Under on Packers wins at 8 or ...

How one sports book adjusted to Brett Favre's retirement

Posted March 07, 2008 @ midnight
From Dave Tuley's sports-betting feature in the Daily Racing Form (registration required): "During football season, a lot of discussion goes on in the sports books about how much a player is worth to the point spread. Just like in baseball where the starting pitcher has the most impact on the odds, the starting quarterback carries the most weight in football handicapping. If the first-string quarterback is injured, you have to determine not only how ...

And now, a few words about March Madness...

Posted March 18, 2008 @ midnight
I have made four March trips to Las Vegas. My first was in 2003. I had been working six months at PFW. I lived at my parents' house rent-free. Marriage wasn't yet in the cards. Flights to Vegas were still relatively cheap, especially if you didn't mind stopping in Dallas on the way there and in Atlanta on the way back. So off I went. Stayed at the Rio. There was a place ...

A look at how Vegas sports books used to be

Posted March 19, 2008 @ midnight
The Las Vegas Sun had an interesting piece today on Art Manteris, who runs the race and sports book operations for Station Casinos. Manteris believes the sports books of today are much better run and are much better for the betting public than they were years ago. Obviously, there are bettors who might disagree with this, but it's a good read all the same. Back tomorrow with some NFL props talk.

The No Offseason Files, Vol. 1: Receiving Yards Prop

Posted March 26, 2008 @ midnight
This is the first of a series of occasional looks at the various pro-football props offered throughout Las Vegas. The Venetian has put out its odds for the 2008-09 "Pro Football Most Receiving Yards" proposition bet. The favorite: Colts WR Reggie Wayne, who led the NFL with 1,510 receiving yards a season ago. Wayne is 5-1 to repeat as receiving-yards champion. The other favorites, in order of their odds. 2007 receiving yards are in ...

Prop discussion: Tomlinson, Peterson favorites to win the rushing title

Posted April 10, 2008 @ midnight
This is the second in an occasional series on pro football proposition bets offered throughout Las Vegas:  The Venetian Las Vegas has installed LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson as the favorites to capture pro football’s rushing title in 2008. Tomlinson and Peterson are 7-2 to rack up the most rushing yards in the ’08 season. Tomlinson led the NFL in rushing last season, racking up 1,474 yards on 315 carries. Peterson was second ...