Vegas Sports Books Sit on NFL Win-Total Bets Until Player Lockout Resolved
Las Vegas bettors looking to wager on which National Football League team this season might rival the Kansas City Chiefs’ six-win turnaround of 2010 will have to wait until the sport’s new labor contract is finished.
While sports books in Nevada are taking bets on Super Bowl, conference and division winners, they’re not putting up odds on win totals for each NFL team until players and owners end the four-month-old lockout and any affect of a new deal on the league’s 16-game schedule is known.
“For the mainstream public that bets these things like crazy, it gets confusing if they don’t start the first week on time or if they move opening week back,” Jimmy Vaccaro, director of sports operations at Lucky’s Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas, said in a telephone interview. “Even though you include a disclaimer that they must play all 16 regular-season games, I don’t think anybody will put up the win totals until they actually sign the contract.”
The season is set to start Sept. 8. The first preseason game is Aug. 7.
About $750 million was legally wagered on the NFL in Las Vegas last year, according to RJ Bell, founder and chief executive officer of handicapping information website Pregame.com, which is based in the Nevada city.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which advises the state’s sports books on betting lines, won’t release its win-total odds until a labor contract is in place and teams can complete player transactions such as free-agent signings, according to senior oddsmaker Dan O’Brien.
Two of the city’s biggest sports books -- at the Las Vegas Hilton and MGM Mirage -- are among those also waiting to offer win-total odds until the lockout is over and free agency gets under way. The Chiefs won 10 games last season after a 4-12 record during the 2009 NFL season, making winners of bettors who wagered Kansas City would exceed its over/under estimate of eight wins.
“Once a settlement is reached, we are going to give free agency about a week, then get up win totals,” said Jeff Sherman, the assistant manager at the Hilton’s sports book.
NFL players and owners are working toward approval of a contract, with management meeting in Atlanta today for a possible vote. A majority of representatives for the 1,900- member association needs to approve a deal, which would also require support from at least 24 of the 32 clubs.
Negotiators tentatively have agreed on terms of a deal that may last as long as 10 years and would give players about 48 percent of a projected 2011 revenue of $9.3 billion, according to three people familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because talks are confidential. An agreement would clear the way for teams to resume full operations, including the beginning of training camps and player transactions.
Plenty of Betting
“People are betting to win the Super Bowl, the conference and division because, that’s an automatic no matter how many games they play,” Vaccaro said. “There’s been a lot of early prop bets on leading passer, leading rusher. They can’t get confused because there will be a winner announced whether there’s one game played or 16.”
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