Thursday, March 3, 2011

Playing The Odds: NASCAR Betting In Las Vegas

By Joe Menzer

Sports Books like the Las Vegas Hilton do lots with NASCAR wagers
Gentlemen, place your bets.

Well, before you do, someone else has to place your odds. With this Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 to be run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, did you ever wonder who sets all those odds everyone scrambles to bet on? Better yet, did you really have any idea how many different "proposition bets" you can legally lay down on NASCAR races every week in Vegas?

Three such gentlemen explained how they go about their business so visitors to Vegas for this weekend's Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series can go about their betting in sports books all over town.

Micah Roberts, who has spent 18 years setting odds on NASCAR events for the old Circus Circus, Station Casinos and now, said it is a mostly a matter of studying some history and some numbers. Lots of numbers.

"Basically how [odds are] set is you set it up by tendencies, by how drivers have done in the past at particular track or a particular track style," Roberts said. "Like Las Vegas, for instance, we can go back maybe not the whole year at mile-and-a-half, high-banked tracks -- but we can go back to the end of last year's Charlotte race, Atlanta, Homestead and kind of mix in the most recent tracks and see how the drivers did.

"For instance, Kevin Harvick is not the favorite this week. But he was so good on all those tracks last year, even at the beginning of the year. Out of eight races total last year, including Chicago and Kansas, I think he finished in the top 11 in [eight of 10] of them. nobody else was close to him. Not even Jimmie, even though Jimmie won one of those races."

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