03/08/2006 12:00AM

Little betting reaction to Bonds


The big news in the sports world Tuesday was the release of excerpts from the soon-to-be released book "Game of Shadows," which details Barry Bonds's alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

It was also the talk of sports book customers here in Las Vegas, where discussions about the book were on most TVs that weren't tuned to basketball.

The news didn't cause any immediate run on the bank or adjustment in baseball future-book odds, however, primarily because commentators were mostly concentrating on Bonds's legacy and conceding that he will still play this year in pursuit of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron on the career home run list.

"We're obviously keeping a close eye on the situation," said Lou D'Amico, race and sports book director at the Plaza. "My own opinion is that all of this might impact his own performance, even though he's always been good at brushing off controversy, and that it wouldn't affect the team. But if these allegations were to lead to a suspension, that changes everything."

D'Amico was consulted because the Plaza, in addition to posting odds to win the World Series, AL and NL pennants, divisional races and over/under season win totals, also has odds on the player to hit the most home runs and a prop on the number of homers that Bonds will hit this season. The over/under is set at 34 1/2 homers with the over at even-money and the under at -120, and it didn't change with this week's news. A quick note to anyone thinking about betting the under in case Bonds is suspended or decides to retire: He must play at least 60 games for the bet to become valid.

The Plaza's odds of 12-1 on Bonds to win the home run title were also constant (the Las Vegas Hilton was offering 25-1 as of Wednesday morning).

As for the team, the Giants have an over/under season win total of 83 1/2, are the 8-5 second choice behind the Dodgers in the NL West, 10-1 to win the National League, and 25-1 to win the World Series.

* Nevada sports books are limited to taking wagers that are decided on the playing field, so they are not allowed to book bets on such things as whether Bonds will be suspended. Offshore books are under no such restrictions. Last month, Pinnacle put up odds on Bonds receiving a drug-related suspension this year at 14-1 with odds for bridge-jumpers who thought there's no way he could receive a suspension set at 1-20. As of noon Wednesday, "yes" on a suspension was down to 4-1 with "no" at 1-6.

New handicapping tourney at Paris

Friday and Saturday marks the debut of the Prix de l'Paris horse handicapping tournament at the Paris Las Vegas resort, next door to its sister property on the Strip, Bally's.

The Prix de l'Paris has a $1,000 entry fee with each contestant making 15 mythical $2 win-and-place wagers each day of the tourney, capped at 25-1 to win and 12-1 to place, with six of the races being mandatory. In addition to competing for prize money, contestants are also vying for berths in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, to be held at Bally's on Jan. 26-27, which go to the top two finishers.

This tourney replaces the Bally's Moolah $5,000 buy-in tourney that had been held the past two years. Chris Eggers, race and sports book manager at Bally's and Paris, said because this is a new tourney, word hasn't gotten around and she's expecting a field of about 80 handicappers, mostly tournament veterans who travel the country to play in NHC qualifiers. That certainly makes for a generous 1-in-40 chance of making the finals.

Anyone wishing to enter at the last minute can show up Friday morning, though it would be advisable to register before the first mandatory race.

No tourneys in Reno this year

The Reno Hilton will not be hosting any horse handicapping contests this year. Reno Hilton spokesman Charles Williams said that with a change in management at the casino it just wasn't feasible at this time.

This leaves Reno without any high-end tournaments for the first time in 23 years, and that's a shame. In 1983, the Club Cal Neva race book in downtown Reno was one of the forerunners in making tournament play popular with its annual World Championship of Race Horse Handicapping event, an event that ran for 18 years.

The Flamingo Hilton Reno Challenge moved to the forefront in the northern part of the state with seven tournaments from August 1998 through July 2001. Harrah's Reno also started an annual tournament in April 1999 and the Reno Hilton stepped in with several events a year in 2001. Both race books continued their tournaments until this past year.

Hopefully someone fills the void up in Reno. A note to organizers: Please look into renewing contests during the summer. A lot of past Reno tournaments were held in the winter months when it can be tough for travelers to make all their connections in inclement weather. Besides, handicappers (and race and sports gaming writers) here in Las Vegas look for any excuse to escape the heat in July and August.