02/21/2013 3:57PM

Dave Tuley: Flashback heads Kentucky Derby futures at Vegas books


LAS VEGAS – Football season is in the rearview mirror and March Madness is about to dominate the sports books soon, so this is the perfect time to clean out this reporter’s notebook:

◗ Before looking at future-book prices in other sports, we should start with horse racing. When the Kentucky Derby Future Wager parimutuel pool closed Feb. 10, the “field” (all other 3-year-olds not listed in the 23 individual betting interests of the future wager run by Churchill Downs) was the 8-5 favorite, with Verrazano the lowest individual price at 11-1, just ahead of Flashback at 12-1, Violence and Revolutionary at 13-1, 2-year-old champ Shanghai Bobby at 14-1, and Normandy Invasion at 15-1.

But who is the favorite in Vegas? That would be Flashback, winner of the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita (the same race where I’ll Have Another burst on the scene last year). Flashback was down to 8-1 this week at the William Hill books in Nevada and 9-1 at the Wynn Las Vegas. Verrazano is 12-1 at both books. Violence also is 12-1 at Wynn, while he’s 15-1 at William Hill; Revolutionary is 12-1 at William Hill and 14-1 at Wynn. Shanghai Bobby is still 18-1 at Wynn, while he’s the 10-1 second choice at William Hill. Holy Bull winner Itsmyluckyday is the third betting choice at William Hill’s international books, but 15-1 at their books in Nevada and 18-1 at Wynn.

The Wynn has posted its odds on whether we’ll have the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. John Avello has made it 6 1/2 to 1 (+650 expressed as a sports-betting money line) for anyone who wants to bet on it happening. If you want to bet the drought continues, you’d have to lay –850 (risk $8.50 for every $1 you want to profit).

Avello also has a “Todd Pletcher vs. Bob Baffert” prop bet. It’s based on whoever has the highest finishing horse, with Pletcher’s barn a –300 favorite and Baffert at +250. For those who don’t know, Pletcher’s stable includes Verrazano, Shanghai Bobby, Violence, and Revolutionary; Baffert has Flashback and Super Ninety Nine, among others.

For those not in Vegas, the next KDFW pool is next weekend, March 1-3.

◗ If you’re into auto racing, you don’t need me to tell you that the Daytona 500 is this Sunday. But maybe you don’t know that Matt Kenseth is the 8-1 favorite to win the race at the LVH SuperBook. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are the 10-1 co-second choices with a who’s who next at 12-1: Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski. Danica Patrick, despite winning the pole position, is still a longshot at 40-1, though that’s down from the 100-1 that was offered before she was fastest in qualifying. In the season-long points race, five-time champ Johnson is the 9-2 favorite to regain his title, with Keselowski, Hamlin, Busch, and Kasey Kahne all at 8-1.

◗ The NCAA tournament is just four weekends away, with the Final Four in seven weeks. No. 1 Indiana and No. 2 Miami-Fla. survived tough games Tuesday night and are the 9-2 co-favorites to cut down the nets in Atlanta. Florida is 6-1, with Michigan at 7-1, Louisville at 8-1, Duke at 10-1, and Kansas and Michigan State at 12-1. Kentucky dropped to 100-1 after the season-ending injury to Nerlens Noel.

◗ Baseball is right around the corner, and even though 2013 World Series prices have been up since last October, things are really heating up with spring training under way. The Atlantis Resort & Casino in Reno was the first to post over/under season win totals last week, and the LVH SuperBook followed suit Sunday. The Nationals have been one of the hottest early bets as they opened at the Atlantis at 90 wins and got bet up to 91.5, which is where they opened at LVH, but then they got bet up to 92, which is the second-highest total in the majors behind the Tigers at 93.

In the more traditional odds to win the World Series, the Tigers are 7-1 co-favorites along with the Angels, followed by the Nationals and Dodgers at 8-1, and the Reds at 9-1. You might be saying, Where are the Yankees? Where are the defending champion Giants? Well, they’re both at 12-1 along with the Blue Jays. In fact, the Yanks and Jays are 17-10 co-favorites to win the AL East.

◗ The NBA is just coming out of its All-Star break, and it’s no surprise that the defending champion Heat are the solid favorite at 7-5, with the Thunder at 7-2, the Spurs and Clippers at 5-1, and a big dropoff to the Bulls and Knicks at 12-1.

◗ The NHL doesn’t have an All-Star break because of its lengthy lockout and shortened season, but the top contenders are emerging, though there’s no overwhelming top choice. The Penguins and Blackhawks are both 5-1, with the Bruins at 7-1, the Rangers at 8-1, the Ducks at 12-1, the Blues and Devils at 16-1, and the defending champion Kings at 18-1.

◗ And if none of those are future enough for you (or you just need a football fix): Alabama is the 5-2 favorite at LVH for the BCS title game on Jan. 6, 2014, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., followed by Ohio State (coached by Urban Meyer and off probation) at 6-1, Oregon (without departed coach Chip Kelly), Georgia and Texas A&M both at 12-1, and Florida, South Carolina, and Stanford at 15-1. In the NFL, the Patriots are the 5-1 favorite at the LVH, with the 49ers and Broncos at 7-1, the Seahawks at 8-1, the Packers at 10-1, and the Texans at 12-1. The defending champion Ravens, Saints, Steelers, and Falcons are all 16-1.