Secretes Of Surviving And Thriving In Sin City’s Man Caves
By Rick Mehaffey, PubClub.com Correspondent
A Las Vegas sports book is the ultimate man cave.
What more could a guy want?
On a fall weekend, you’ve got football on numerous screens showing all the big games from morning until late night. You’ve got attractive waitresses serving you cold beer and hot food. And, most importantly, you’ve got no interruptions, no “Be quiet! I’m trying to put the kids to sleep” complaints from your wife.
You walk into most sports books in Vegas — the only city in the USA you can legally wager on the NFL — and are overwhelmed by giant TV screens and a huge board lit up like the New York Stock Exchange with odds on all the games.
I’ve been to most of the sports book on the Strip and my favorite book is Ballys. I like to pick up breakfast at the little cafe just steps away and find a spot with two small side-by-side TVs. I can flip around on the little TVs or I can watch the giant screens overhead. I’m usually there before 8:30 on Saturday for the 9 am kickoffs. I’ve already made most of my college wagers the day before.
I’ve tried other Vegas sports book — Caesars is too large, Harrah’s too small — and I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you, but I always come back to Ballys.
If you’re going to Vegas this fall, here are 11 tips for the causal gambler for wagering on football, Plus a bonus
Las Vegas Sports Book Top Gambling Tips
1.) Make your wagers early – The last two times I visited Vegas, the computer system at Harrah’s sports book was down on Sunday morning. Eventually the system came back to life both times 15 minutes before kickoff, but the line to place wagers was out the door and a lot of gamblers didn’t get their bets down for the first games of the day. Can you imagine if you’d had a lock and you couldn’t get to the window in time?!
Harrah’s must’ve lost a few million, because the system was down for all Harrah’s casinos in Vegas – Caesar’s Palace, Ballys, Paris, Harrahs, Flamingo, Planet Hollywood, the Imperial Palace. I saw guys at Bally’s running out the door to place their bets at the Westin down the street.
Make your bets the day before the games. If you arrive late in town and the sports book is already closed, go early the next morning. Some books open as early as 7 am.
2.) Think before you make the wager – On my first Vegas trip, a group of us took a cab from New York-New York to downtown and one of my buddies made a $3 parlay bet (not a big spender) that paid $30 at the Golden Nugget. On the cab ride back to the Strip, he showed us the ticket and one of us pointed out that he’d thrown his money away.
“What are you talking about?”
“How are you gonna collect if you win? You gonna walk downtown or are you gonna take a $20 one way cab ride?”
3.) Don’t forget Nevada is in the Pacific Time Zone – If you’re from the east coast, remember that Vegas time is 3 hours behind. The college games start at 9 am and NFL begins at 10 am. I saw a guy walk up to the window and try to place a bet on the Dolphins for a game that was already in the third quarter.
And while we’re on the subject, if you want to watch the games in the sports book, arrive early. They fill up by mid-morning.
4.) Avoid the tout services – “I GUARANTEE 75% WINNERS!” Those mooks are full of it. If they were so good, they wouldn’t need your money. The best gamblers in Vegas don’t even win 70% of the time.
Besides, it’s more satisfying to win bets based on your own instincts and research.
5.) Don’t be surprised if you lose – Hey, where do you think the money came from to build all those fancy hotels? The bookmakers are the best; they seldom makes mistakes. These are multi-million dollar corporations with people working 24/7 to ensure that half the money if wagered on the favorite and half is wagered on the underdog, so that they will always win.
They know if the Alabama QB is nursing an injury that isn’t getting reported. They know that a rainstorm is expected to affect the over-under of the Patriots-Bears game.
Bottom line: You’ve got to win 53% to break even.
6.) Don’t bet with your heart! – The experts tell you to use your head, not to be swayed with your emotions. I’m not so sure. For many causal gamblers, that removes all the fun. If you’re a Penn State fan and you think the Nittany Lions can cover the spread, then bet on them! That makes the game even more exciting.
My strategy is the opposite. I’m a Georgia Tech fan and when I go to Vegas I always wager against the Jackets, especially if they are favored. I’m willing to sacrifice a small amount of money for a Tech victory. It stinks, though, when Tech is the underdog and it covers the spread but loses the game.
7.) Watch for the line to move — Sometimes you can bet on both teams and win both bets. That occurs when the lines moves by at least 1 point. Several years ago I took LSU minus 6 1/2 and the next day when the line went to 7 1/2, my brother took Alabama. LSU was a 7-point winner and we both won.
8.) Sometimes it pays to wager against the “traditional big name” teams – Take this piece of advice with a grain of salt. Here’s how this theory works for the college game: Many gamblers are lazy and don’t do their homework; they assume that the big name schools are better than the smaller no name schools and they automatically take the Oklahomas and Floridas and Ohio States.
9.) Check your tickets before you leave the window – If you took the Colts minus 3 1/2 make sure your ticket shows your wager correctly.
10.) Don’t be afraid to ask the cashier at the window –– They’ve heard every imaginable question. Don’t be embarrassed to ask what this means on the board:
It’s the money line and it means if you make a straight bet on the Giants, you would bet $12 to win $22 (the $12 you bet plus the $10 you win). Same with the Rams: $11 to win $21.
11.) Wager responsibility – If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t make the wager. In fact, if you can’t afford to lose your bet, don’t even bother taking a trip to Vegas.
And No. 12:
Don’t Ever Take Mississippi State – Just kidding. Sorta.
Enjoy! And good luck!