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High-flying Broncos becoming America's team


Maybe at some point, Peyton Manning will morph into a tired topic. How many ways can it be said the guy is a great quarterback? We hear it week after week, and it gets exhausting.

It’s not going to stop until a defense finds a way to slow Manning’s roll, which might require the use of quicksand or a stun gun.

Manning’s numbers are staggering. He has 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions, and the undefeated Denver Broncos are averaging 44.8 points through four games. It’s enough to almost blow up Twitter.

The Broncos’ popularity with the betting public is so over the top, South Point sports book executive Jimmy Vaccaro was compelled to tweet, something he rarely does.

“The magic carpet ride continues. Denver is now America’s team,” he posted Wednesday @JimmyVaccaro. “The next bet we take on the Cowboys will be the first one. How bout them Broncos.”

Manning has made Dallas a 7½-point home underdog on Sunday, a minor miracle considering the Cowboys are one of the NFL’s most talented teams and boast a capable offense of their own with big-time weapons.

Tony Romo is no Manning, but he’s not a chopped-liver quarterback, and he has running back DeMarco Murray, wideout Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten to help match points with the Broncos.

“I couldn’t lay 7½ against Dallas. It goes against everything I know,” Vaccaro said. “It’s amazing. I don’t understand it. I thought the number should have been 4. This stuff is great to write about and great to talk about.”

Vaccaro’s words on the Broncos spread around Twitter and were repeated on radio shows, and he fielded a call from a Sports Illustrated reporter. She wanted to talk about how the South Point oddsmakers arrived at point spreads and why Denver is posted as a 28-point favorite over Jacksonville in Week 6.

This is an era of instant information, and Twitter is the ideal forum for sports bettors looking to share facts (but always check the facts and consider the sources) and opinions.

In 140 characters or less, anyone with a Twitter account can communicate with colleagues, friends and the general public, for better or worse. Usually, it’s for the better.

Wes Reynolds, a professional sports bettor who recently relocated from Indianapolis to Las Vegas, is a prominent Twitter handicapper. He typically wins, and he posts his bets for free, a popular combination.

“It’s positive and negative,” Reynolds said. “It can be the greatest thing because anybody can say anything, but it also can be the worst thing because anybody can say anything. There are no rules.

“You can get what you want out of the experience. If you want to tweet about every second of your life, you can do that. If you just want information, you can get it. You’re going to find that info more often than not on Twitter than you will in other mass media, and that can be valuable. It’s not like the old days when it seemed the sharper guys had different information. Some guys might be able to use it as an avenue to sell their plays or whatever opportunities might come with it. You can find undiscovered talent.”

I choose not to tweet about things such as an experience at the Taco Bell drive-thru window. But for anyone who has a negative experience — getting served the wrong tacos or losing a bet on a field goal in the final minute — Twitter can be an outlet to sound off and vent frustrations.

Unfortunately, tweeting out bets and losing can make you the target of cheap-shot critics, many of whom hide their identity.

“I call them keyboard warriors. You can be totally anonymous and just smear somebody with no consequences,” Reynolds said. “There is no accountability necessarily for what you say, or there’s at least very little of it.

“Twitter is a funny thing. You deal with a lot of noise and try to block it out. You get petty stuff and rivalries. If you’re well known, you’re going to get killed when you don’t do great. I don’t root for people to lose bets. I root for me to win, and if you happen to be on the other side, I root for you to lose.”

The objective, of course, is to trade valuable information that leads to winning, and the info can be relayed through a cell phone within seconds.

Beat writers can post breaking news on Twitter immediately instead of sending it through editing channels at the office and getting beat on the story during the delay. Bettors can pick up the info and run with it.

“I like it because everything that I want comes at me — lineups, injuries, info from team beat writers,” said Micah Roberts, a former sports book director who is worth following @MicahRoberts7.

Twitter is a network, and bettors would be wise to use it to their advantage. Even Vaccaro, an old ’dog player with 38 years of experience as a Las Vegas bookmaker, is adapting to a new trick for communicating.

Vaccaro said Thursday the South Point had taken over $100,000 in straight bets and parlays on Denver and only about $1,000 on Dallas.

I’ll bet against Manning’s hot hand and take the 7½ points with the Cowboys. This is the spot where I normally post college football plays, but I’ve been losing, so I’ll try something different and tweet them Saturday morning.

Or follow @WesReynolds1 because he’s having a better season.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports betting columnist Matt Youmans can be reached at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. He co-hosts “The Las Vegas Sportsline” weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio (1100 AM). Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.