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Iconic sportscaster Brent Musburger eager to join his ‘friends in the desert’

Brent Musburger often referred to his “friends in the desert” and made other subtle references to sports betting during his storied play-by-play career.

After the sports broadcasting icon calls his final game for ESPN on Tuesday at Rupp Arena, Musburger, 77, will join those friends — including longtime Las Vegas oddsmakers Jimmy Vaccaro, Vinny Magliulo and Chris Andrews — and others in launching the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN).

“Sports fans everywhere love a little action. What better way to take a chance and enjoy a good game?” Musburger said in a statement. “The time is here for these folks to get some straightforward information from the people who really understand sports betting, like Jimmy, Vinny and Chris who are literally ‘my guys in the desert.’”

The first sports gambling information network will broadcast live from a new studio in the South Point sports book. To kick things off, Musburger will host a three-hour Super Bowl pregame edition of his show — aptly named “My Guys in the Desert” — from noon-3 p.m. Sunday that will air on SiriusXM Rush (channel 93).

The network will start airing daily shows on Feb. 27. Musburger will host his two-hour show Thursday through Monday from 3-5 p.m. Boxing announcer Al Bernstein will host a weekday show from noon-2 p.m., and other VSiN programs also will air on SiriusXM radio (Sirius channel 215, XM channel 204) and on the SiriusXM app (channel 961). It also will be broadcast on VSiN.com.

“To be able to talk about the NFL and NBA and March Madness in particular, it will be great taking a little bit of a different kind of view of the games with the bookmakers and my friends in the desert,” Musburger said in a story posted on VSiN.com. “I’m definitely looking forward to talking about the NFL again, which I have not done for a number of years.

“I think we can deliver a lot of good information — without trying to sell, ‘I’m 8-2 this week’ — to help bettors win.”

Starting in the late 1970s, Musburger and oddsmaker Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder did a regular segment on “The NFL Today” in which The Greek would predict the results of games.

“I’m not a handicapper. A lot of people do better picking games than I do,” Musburger said. “I’m a recreational bettor. I enjoy it, and I would not try to attempt making a living on betting.

“I enjoy talking to people. I love Las Vegas, and living there is going to be fun.”


When it comes to Super Bowl prop bets, Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said separating the sharps from the squares is simple.

“We know what we’re getting with the wiseguys,” he said. “Ninety percent of the bets are going to be under and they’re going to be ‘no.’ And the rest of the week we’re going to write nothing but over and ‘yes.’ And the public is going to overwhelm the wiseguys with these props.”


Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said the only significant action on Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl was on over the total of 80. It went way under as the AFC beat the NFC 20-13.

“You never know when they’ll decide to play defense,” he said.

It was a similar scenario in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game. The Westgate posted lines on each of the three mini-games in the 3-on-3 tournament but Salmons said the most action was on over 11½ in the championship. It was the only game that went under as the Metropolitan Division edged the Pacific 4-3.


The Westgate opened Roger Federer as a 20-1 underdog to win the Australian Open and he dropped as low as 5-2 before outlasting rival Rafael Nadal, the minus-135 favorite, in an epic five-set final.

“Federer didn’t get too much action at 20-1 but he started to get some support once (Novak) Djokovic and (Andy) Murray were eliminated,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said.

Surprisingly, Serena Williams didn’t get much support leading up to her record 23rd major win over older sister, Venus Williams, who was a 4-1 ‘dog in the final.

“We got a lot of action on Venus,” Sherman said.


After Tiger Woods missed the cut at Torrey Pines in the Farmer’s Insurance Open, Sherman bumped the golfer’s odds to win the Masters from 20-1 to 25-1.

Bettors wisely wagered on Woods to miss the cut in his first full-field PGA Tour event in 17 months, cashing plus-140.

“They bet him to miss the cut pretty good,” Sherman said.

Will Woods make the cut at this week’s event in Dubai? Yes is minus-140 and no is plus-120.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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