Doc’s Sports Service works with a number of top-notch handicappers, but the one that has the inside track at the sports gambling capital of the world is the Vegas Sports Informer. He has been making selections for us for more than four years now; relying heavily on 15 years experience working behind the counter of one of the biggest sportsbooks in Las Vegas. He understands this business from the inside out and has been able to successfully use this edge to win consistently over the years in a number of different sports.
As part of an ongoing series, Doc’s Sports Services jumped at the chance to get a first-hand look at what is really going on behind the scenes in Las Vegas as well as pick The Informer’s brain about some of the biggest topics affecting the world of sports gambling each and every week.
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Doc’s Sports: Alabama’s perfect season goes down in flames on Saturday and a number of NFC favorites go in the tank on Sunday. What was the net result from all this carnage for the books in Las Vegas this past weekend?
VSI: You would think with so many upsets that it would have been a huge weekend for the books given that the betting public loves to go big on favorites. Sportsbooks definitely came out on the plus side of the ledger but it was just slightly better-than-average. There was a good deal of action on Alabama on Saturday, but the books got killed on West Virginia. The other big moneymaker was New Orleans as the betting public went really heavy on Atlanta.
Doc’s Sports: With the shake-up in the BCS rankings, which team do you see winning this season’s national title?
VSI: Right off the top of my head, I would have to go with Kansas State. The Wildcats now have the easiest path to the title game with only Texas standing in the way, while Oregon and Notre Dame still have some work to do. The Ducks have it the hardest with Stanford this Saturday and a trip to Oregon State to close out the season. If they survive those games, they would still probably have to get by USC in the Pac-12 title game. Assuming that Kansas State remains No.1, I would look for a matchup against Oregon to be a one-point spread either way while the Wildcats would probably be a slight favorite against the Fighting Irish.
Doc’s Sports: With the top four teams in the NFC falling flat on their face last week, do you have a favorite team coming out of that conference right now?
VSI: It is very typical with the NFL to try and label a team as the best, but that title usually lasts about one or two weeks. It seems in the past few years all you need to do is get yourself into the postseason as long as you can get hot at the right time. Late December and early January is the right time of the season to start picking Super Bowl teams.
Doc’s Sports: You had mentioned in a previous interview that next week’s Maui Invitational is an early men’s college basketball tournament that always catches your attention. Bovada has opened Texas as the favorite to win it this year at 3/2 with North Carolina second at 8/5. Are there any teams you are leaning towards in this year’s event?
VSI: Being that the college basketball season is just getting underway, it is still too early to get a solid handle on any team out there. The main thing that I look for in picking winners for this tournament is past experience. I usually lean towards the teams that have played and won the Maui Invitational before, such as the Tar Heels, who did it three previous times. A team like North Carolina has a veteran coaching staff that knows how to get their team prepared for, not only the long trip, but the entire atmosphere of playing a tournament so far away from home. A first-time team will sometimes find itself overwhelmed with it all, while a veteran team already knows what to expect. Believe it or not, this kind of experience can provide a huge edge.
Doc’s Sports: The Los Angeles Lakers firing of Mike Brown and subsequent hiring of Mike D’Antoni dominated the entire sports scene this past weekend. What is your take on the whole situation?
VSI: First of all, the NFL owes a huge debt of gratitude the Lakers for deflecting all the bad press it would have received if the top story on Monday morning was three starting quarterbacks going down with concussions topped off by a game that actually ended as a tie, but let me get back to your actual question. My inside information told me that Phil Jackson was never really a serious candidate to come back as coach of the Lakers no matter what you read in the press. Next, I personally do not think that D’Antoni is the right fit for this current roster. With players such as Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the floor, Los Angeles still has enough talent to win a title no matter who is coaching this team. That being said, do not be surprised to see someone like Pau Gasol become trade bait in an effort to bring in a another big-name player that better fits this coach’s system.
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