07/04/2013 1:16PM

Dave Tuley: No-hitter makes one bettor very happy


LAS VEGAS – Since I moved here in November 1998, there had been 34 no-hitters thrown in Major League Baseball heading into this past Tuesday.

There were a whopping eight of them last year, including three perfect games, so I felt justified in the fact I’ve become blas é about them . No-hitters don’t feel as special as they used to.

In my youth, there was a “wow” factor when you heard someone threw a no-hitter. Of course, you couldn’t just flip on the MLB Network and watch it live, and this was even before “SportsCenter.” We’d have to wait for “This Week in Baseball” or “George Michael’s Sports Machine” to see highlights.

Okay, I’m dating myself here, but I also have fond memories of working on the sports copy desk of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill., on June 29, 1990, when Dave Stewart of the A’s and Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers threw no-hitters on the same day, and on May 1, 1991, when Nolan Ryan of the Rangers threw his record seventh career no-hitter and I was able to bump the arrogant Rickey “I’m the Greatest of All-Time” Henderson’s setting the career stolen base record off the front page.

Even up until a few years ago, if I heard someone had a no-no through five or six innings, I would try to find the game somewhere. But not lately. It is starting to feel like someone is flirting with a no-hitter (and I get an alert on my ESPN app) every few days, and even when it happens it’s starting to feel so commonplace. The shine is off the baseball, so to speak.

Furthermore, it seems that after every one of those 34 no-hitters since I’ve been here, I’ve talked with someone who bet the winning team and heard them gloat about how they knew the pitcher would shut down that team. My replies to such braggadocio have increasingly taken a cynical slant, something along the lines of: “It doesn’t matter if your pitcher gives up zero hits or 20, it pays the same.”

Well, I’m glad I wasn’t at the Casino Valle Verde in Henderson on Tuesday night when Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds completed his second career no-hitter or I might have run into someone who could have put me in my place.

The Casino Valle Verde is a small locals’ place on Sunset Road (east of McCarran International Airport, near the Ethel M Chocolate Factory where Sunset veers south before heading east again) with a sports book operated by the William Hill chain. I remember hearing a few weeks ago that William Hill was offering a daily no-hitter prop on whether any MLB pitcher would accomplish the feat that day. I didn’t write about it or ever post about it in my ViewFromVegas.com forums. It seemed like an interesting novelty, but it’s also an obvious attempt by a sports book to try and attract any handle it can get during the dog days of summer. There’s nothing wrong with that and maybe in year’s past I would have at least included it as a small notebook item, but with sports books here putting up football lines, future-book odds, over/under win totals and props earlier than ever before, a no-hitter prop didn’t seem so newsworthy.

But then it was.

One bettor at Casino Valle Verde put $438.95 on the prop Tuesday at odds of 40-1 and came away with a payout of nearly $18K, $17,996.95 to be exact, according to @WilliamHillUs on Twitter.

I could call him lucky or call him clairvoyant, but unfortunately I couldn’t call him because he’s chosen to remain anonymous. Dan Shapiro, PR man at William Hill, said the bettor has played the prop often and that there were a combined $100 worth of smaller tickets that also cashed Tuesday, but details beyond that are even more vague.

In the aftermath, some people are scoffing at the 40-1 payout since they think it should have paid more. If you’re looking at the history of baseball, then 40-1 is pretty short because a no-hitter happens on average just over twice a season or about every 80-90 days (based on there being 280 no-hitters in professional baseball over 137 years with about 170-180 days of games on the calendar each year), but if you consider the eight no-nos in about 180 days of action last year, the odds look rather generous. Shapiro said the odds fluctuate each day depending on how many games are being played and the list of starting pitchers.

It’s doubtful that any of those cashing at 40-1 were complaining, and the next time someone throws a no-hitter, I’ll just keep my mouth shut.