It's early June, which means over the next two months, we are about to have a barrage of Navin Johnson "The new phonebooks are here!!" moments.
For non-movie watchers and those under the age of 35, that clip from The Jerk is my metaphor for an oddly over-the-top amount of exuberance for the revelation of small tidbits of information that are important to degenerates and junkies of my ilk. (Watch the movie, by the way, kids. The humor still holds up.)
Over the next couple months, "NEW PHONEBOOK" exuberance is reserved for:
- The first preseason college football polls - Phil Steele's All American teams - The first fantasy football magazines - The main event for Summerslam - Paulina Gretzky's Instagram account - The first set of lines on college football
And that's where this post comes in, on gambling....
Tony Miller is the line-setting guru from the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas. He's one of the most astute oddsmakers in the business, and is typically one of a small handful of line-setters who are willing to put themselves out there without following the crowd, so much so that every year he picks out 250 college football games, puts out sides and totals in early June, and lets the wise guys in Vegas (or just us regular jabronis off the street) fire away if they think there's value to be had.
We actually had Tony on our radio show on Wednesday to talk about it, and by his description, it's quite a spectacle. He said that the lines on these 250 games go up at 1:00 p.m. Vegas time this Friday, June 7. Wise guys (gambling parlance for "dudes that have all kinds of sources and moles and basically just know what the fuck they're doing") are lined up outside the Golden Nugget sports book so that they can jump on certain games right away where they see value.
The visual of a line of degenerate sportsbook regulars waiting to get action down is equal parts hilarious and disturbing, almost like tickets going on sale for The Phantom Menace, but replace the Wookiee outfits and light sabers with silk shirts and cigarettes.
Hey, we all dork out over something. For some people, it's Princess Amidala. For others, it's catching six points on a September home dog in early June.
me some people, it's both.
Yesterday, on the Linemakers on Sporting News, Big Tony (that's what we call Miller) gave the public a little taste of what's in store Friday afternoon with a few Costco samples, lines on ten of the biggest games of the season!
(Admittedly, this would be like Costco giving out samples of prime rib or mahimahi steak. These are the really good items. The buffalo wings, pigs in a blanket and pita chips...those come out Friday.) Your prime rib samples:
Alabama (-17, 48) at Virginia Tech (Atlanta), Aug. 31
Alabama (-6, 54.5) at Texas A&M, Sept. 14
LSU at Georgia (-6, 52), Sept. 28
Wisconsin at Ohio State (-11, 45), Sept. 28
Florida at LSU (-4, 41.5), Oct. 12
Florida vs. Georgia (-4, 44.5) (Jacksonville), Nov. 2
LSU at Alabama (-11.5, 39.5), Nov. 9
Texas A&M at LSU (-1, 47.5), Nov. 23
Florida State at Florida (-2, 44), Nov. 30
Ohio State (-6, 50.5) at Michigan, Nov. 30
A few quick observations:
1. Alabama is a double-digit favorite against LSU and nearly a touchdown favorite on the road in College Station. Did anybody run the numbers to see how much the Tide would be favored by in Jacksonville against the Jags?
2. Ohio State is getting a similar level of respect in their two games that were released (-11 over Wisconsin and -6 at Michigan), but mostly because there are 5A schools in Texas that play a harder schedule than the Buckeyes. Good lord, Urban. Really?
3. No Notre Dame games in this package that Tony released, but he did say that there are several in the 250 that will be coming out on Friday. When I asked him about the effect Everett Golson's expulsion had on the Irish odds, he said it moved the line around 3.5 to 4 points toward their opponent in each game, which in actuality means it's probably flipped them from a possible favorite to a definite underdog in two games, maybe three (at Michigan, at Stanford, for sure, and it's made home games with USC and Oklahoma a little closer to a pick 'em, in my mind).
4. Of all the teams that early bettors locked in on (or against) last season that had them either cashing or crumpling tickets way before the actual games even started, there was probably no bigger one than Texas A&M. They were underdogs in about half their games last year before the season started, and by midseason not only were their lines at least a touchdown different from the June lines, but Vegas routinely had to move the line another four or five points because wise guys pounded them so hard when the odds came out on Sunday nights. I'm trying to figure out who this year's A&M will be, but how do you accurately identify a tour de force first-year head coach (first year in the SEC, at least) and a freshman Heisman quarterback. Seriously, perusing June odds and reflecting on 2012, it really reinforces how magical last season was in Aggieland.
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5. No USC games on here. In fact, no Pac-12 games at all! Or Big 12 for that matter! I'm certain the 250 games Big Tony puts out Friday will have copious amounts of both, but the fact the ten "big games" he put out had no Pac-12 or Big 12 representation says a lot about where the perception of both conferences stands, and just how dominant the SEC is.
Man, it feels good to talk about gambling again. It's been like three whole days!
Indeed, the NEW PHONE BOOKS ARE HERE!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.