Updated on 04/07/2011 7:05PM

Las Vegas sets Uncle Mo's odds at 5-2 for Kentucky Derby


The Kentucky Derby Future Wager parimutuel pools are behind us, but with less than a month until the first Saturday in May, there are still bets to be made in the fixed-odds futures.

Uncle Mo, who closed future wager Pool 3 as the 3-1 favorite and heads the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday, is the 5-2 favorite at the Wynn and Lucky’s race books. The Wynn has Dialed In as the second choice at 4-1, followed by The Factor at 10-1, Premier Pegasus at 11-1 (before his injury), To Honor and Serve at 15-1, and Soldat and Jaycito at 18-1. No other 3-year-old is below 20-1, though obviously a win in any of the major preps the next two weekends will force a contender’s odds lower.

When discussing the Derby, the talk eventually leads to whether horse racing will have its first Triple Crown winner since 1978. The Wynn has odds on that with the “yes” being at +625 (odds of 6.25-1) and the “no” at –850 (risk $8.50 for every $1 you want to profit). The opening line was –900/+650, so a little support has come on there being a Triple Crown, driven by the hype starting to surround Uncle Mo.

The Wynn also has Triple Crown odds on individual horses, again headlined by Uncle Mo at 9-1. The Lucky’s books take it a step further on some of the top contenders, where you can also bet against a horse pulling off the feat, though you obviously have to lay a lot more money to bet that. In Uncle Mo’s case, Lucky’s has the “yes” at 10-1 with the “no” at –1500. The Factor would pay 20-1 on the “yes” with the “no” at –3500. Dialed in is –5000/+3000.

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On the Wynn board, Dialed In is the second choice at 15-1 to win the Triple Crown, with The Factor and Premier Pegasus at 50-1, again before his injury.

Obviously, all odds are subject to change, so bettors are advised that if they like a horse, the time to bet them in the futures is before they romp in a prep and everyone gets on the bandwagon and the oddsmakers remove all value. (Note: It’s much less likely for a horse to have a subpar performance at this time and for us to see their odds rise. In most cases, if a horse is still expected to be in the Derby starting gate, their odds will remain stagnant.)

Let the major preps begin.

Woodbine gets bigger Nevada presence

The long-time reputation of Nevada race books was that you could come here (even before full-card simulcasting was widespread) and bet on any track, but for the longest time there was one notable exception – the books here weren’t taking Woodbine. That fact wasn’t widely known because the majority of racing fans wouldn’t even ask to bet Woodbine, except for major races like the Queen’s Plate, Canadian International, E.P. Taylor Stakes, or Woodbine Mile.

That all changed last June, when the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association reached an agreement with the Woodbine Entertainment Group to take the signal from north of the border.

“We saw some decent handle last year, but nothing to compare to the major tracks,” said Dan Shapiro, marketing director for Lucky’s race and sports books. “Woodbine has to compete with the other Eastern tracks running at the same time, and bettors are a creature of habit and bet the tracks and circuits they’ve always been betting like New York and Florida, but hopefully the word will get out that Woodbine has big pools and big fields, which bettors love.”

And for those who knew Nevada used to not take Woodbine, hopefully they know that has been rectified, too.

Sports book notes

The Masters wraps up Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club. After the start of the tournament early Thursday morning, Phil Mickelson closed as the 13-2 favorite at the Las Vegas Hilton, with Tiger Woods at 9-1. Woods was the 7-1 favorite as recently as last week, until Mickelson went out and won the Shell Houston Open last week at generous odds of 20-1 as it was just expected to be a tune-up. Jeff Sherman, who sets the odds as a sports book supervisor at the Hilton and also has his own website at golfodds.com, raised Woods as high as 10-1.

“We took considerable action on him at 10-1,” Sherman said. “We lowered him back down to 8-1, but then we took some plays on him not to win the tournament [the “no” prop was –1100] and raised him back up to 9-1.”

The over/under for the winning players’ score was set at 276.5 (11.5 under par) and Sherman said he got even action on that.

Updated odds after each round will be posted at the Hilton as well as in the forums at ViewFromVegas.com.

◗ We’ve had a surprising start to the Major League Baseball season, with the Red Sox, the preseason World Series favorite, starting 0-5 through Wednesday night’s action, and the Orioles winning their first four games before losing Wednesday. However, it’s a 162-game season, so don’t expect much shakeup in the future books until a few more weeks pass (though, as hinted in the Derby futures talk, you’re much more likely to see the prices driven down on longshots as opposed to contenders’ odds drifting up).

◗ The NHL regular season wraps up Sunday, with the NBA concluding next Wednesday. Expect both sports to get more action in the sports books as the playoffs start. The Canucks have been bet down to the 3-1 favorite at the Las Vegas Hilton, with the Capitals at 5-1 and the Red Wings and Flyers at 6-1, and the Bruins at 7-1. The NBA future-book odds have been more fluid, with the Lakers (9-5), Heat (11-4), and Celtics and Bulls (both around 9-2) all showing chinks in the armor.