Major League Baseball has essentially struck out on its first two pitches this season to Las Vegas bookmakers.
In February, the Nevada Gaming Control Board declined MLB’s request to ban betting on spring training games.
Oddsmakers also balked at MLB’s decision Thursday to require teams this season to send their starting lineups to the commissioner’s office 15 minutes before the clubs release the information elsewhere.
The commissioner’s office said in a statement that the decision was made “to reduce integrity risks associated with the expansion of sports betting … in order to reduce the risk of confidential information being ‘tipped.’”
“It’s a nonstory to me, just like the preseason baseball,” Westgate sportsbook manager Ed Salmons said. “We’ve had legal sports betting here for so many years and we’ve never had a problem.”
Salmons and other Las Vegas bookmakers said the rule won’t affect how they make odds on baseball games.
“I don’t see any changes,” Salmons said. “Our overnight baseball lines go up the night before the next day’s games and we have no idea who’s going to play. If we find out a guy is out, we adjust the line. It’s no big deal. It’s no different than (NBA star) Anthony Davis playing one day and being out the next.
“No (baseball) player is going to affect the line all that much. If Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, he’ll probably affect the Angels line by 20 cents at the most. The game is predicated on pitching.”
Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito agrees.
“There’s less impact in baseball than in other sports on one player being out of the lineup. There’s not a huge adjustment,” he said. “I don’t think (the rule) will have a major impact. Usually, you hear in advance if a player’s going to be resting or taking the day off.”
Oddsmakers already often can predict which players will sit based on matchups and game times.
“It’s not like it’s a big secret,” Salmons said. “If a catcher plays a night game and the next game is a day game, he will sit.”
Said William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich: “Lineups are way overrated when betting baseball. Way overrated.”
NCAA Tournament seminar
Sunset Station will host its sixth annual “Tip Off to the Tourney” college basketball seminar from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 19 at Club Madrid. The event is free and open to the public and free pizza and soft drinks will be served.
Esposito and Sportsbook radio host Brian Blessing will break down the NCAA Tournament with handicappers Hank Goldberg, Bruce Marshall, Bernie Fratto and Andy Iskoe.
Last Man Standing
Station Casinos has opened registration for its $50,000 Last Man Standing daily elimination contest during the NCAA Tournament. Entries cost $25 each and the purchase of four entries earns a fifth for free.
Players make a pick against the spread on the daily contest card and stay alive until they lose. The minimum prize guarantee is $50,000 but the prize pool might be more based on total entries.
Ultimate Football Challenge
The Golden Nugget sportsbook has opened registration for its Ultimate Football Challenge contest. The entry fee is $1,000 (maximum three entries per person) and contestants make seven weekly ATS picks on college and NFL sides during the 17-week NFL season.
Rich Velez of San Francisco went 81-36-2 (69.2 percent) ATS to win the inaugural UFC and the $119,200 first prize, topping a field of 308 entries.
Atlantic Coast Conference tournament
Tuesday to Saturday
*North Carolina; +350
*Virginia Tech; 12-1
*Florida State; 15-1
*North Carolina State; 80-1
(Odds posted at Westgate sportsbook)