10/25/2012 3:32PM

Tuley: Vegas books gearing up for Breeders' Cup


LAS VEGAS – Breeders’ Cup is a week away, but the race and sports books here are busy getting ballrooms ready, big screens hooked up, and extra betting machines wired in for the horseplayers on the way.

The Kentucky Derby is still the marquee event of the year, even though it’s a weekend built around one big (make that HUGE) race. For instance, Nevada race books had a handle of $9 million this past Derby Day with $5.5 million alone coming from the Run for the Roses, while the Breeders’ Cup – with its 15 championship races – has drawn an average of about $7 million the past few years.

However, Breeders’ Cup leads to more people not only making a day of it by filling the race books and ballrooms on that Friday and Saturday (more on those in next week’s column, plus special wagers available here), but also making a week of it.

BC Week traditionally starts with the Pick the Ponies handicapping tournament at the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly Hilton). It starts Wednesday and runs through Friday in the LVH SuperBook. The entry fee is $500 and contestants make 10 mythical $100 across-the-board bets each day. As of Thursday morning, there were 144 entries for the field, which is capped at 200. If it get to the cap, the prize pool would be $100,000, with $37,000 to the winner. If it gets to 180, the prize pool would be $90,000, with $34,200 to the champ. You can call the LVH at (888) 457-3307 to register over the phone. Deadline to enter is Wednesday, when there are 10 races left to be played (though most prefer to get in before that to have more choices). There also is a cocktail reception for contestants on Tuesday night, Oct. 30, and a continental breakfast/awards ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Seminars also are a big part of the Breeders’ Cup Week festivities and there are three being held in town next week, with none at conflicting times as we’ve seen in the past, so you can attend all if you so desire.

The first one is being held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Palace Station on Sahara Avenue, just west of the Strip, with Ralph Siraco of the Race Day Las Vegas radio show, Richard Saber of GamingToday newspaper, and Vic Vivio of Palace Station.

Siraco will move his tack to Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall on Friday and be joined by Richard Eng of the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a seminar in between the BC races starting about 12:30 p.m.

After that day’s action, the South Point (which also will open its ballroom for the Friday races) will have a seminar with another local radio host, John Kelly, along with SP house handicapper Patrick McQuiggan, and Southern California clocker Toby Turrell.

William Hill, which finalized its purchase of the Lucky’s Race & Sports Books as well as Leroy’s and Cal Neva chains over the summer, isn’t doing BC seminars this year. Hopefully, those get reinstated next year.

Back to the NFL betting board

Fortunately, I only went with two picks in this space last week (as opposed to the 1-4 record I posted in the LVH SuperContest, dropping me from fourth place to 26th) and one of them was my only SuperContest winner. That came on the Jets +10.5 vs. the Patriots as they lost by only three points, 29-26 in overtime. I lost with the Ravens as they were blown out 43-13 by the Texans (and it wasn’t that close!). Hopefully, we get back on the winning track this week:

Seahawks +2 vs. Lions

Although they somehow were able to cover the 6.5-point spread, the Lions were totally outplayed in their 13-7 loss to the Bears. The Seahawks’ defense, fifth in the league in yards allowed (just ahead of the Bears), should be able to shut down the Lions’ offense, too. In the past, I would shy away from the Seahawks as they play so much better at home and often don’t take their form on the road, but they showed a lot in their spread-covering loss at San Francisco last Thursday and their previous road upset of the Panthers.

PLAY: Seahawks for 1 unit.

Panthers +7.5 vs. Bears

Speaking of the Panthers, they’ve been inconsistent (though that could be said of the majority of NFL teams so far this season) but they played well against the Cowboys last week, and I’m hoping to see the team that nearly knocked off the Falcons on the road a few weeks ago. Besides, even though the Bears blew out also-rans like the Rams and Jaguars earlier this year, the fact they let Lions stick around Monday night shows me they could have trouble covering these bigger numbers going forward.

PLAY: Panthers for 1 unit.

Saints +6 vs. Broncos

Over the summer, the advance line on this game was around Broncos –2. I understand the Saints started 0-5, but this looks like an overadjustment to me. Even though a lot of people are high on the Broncos with Peyton Manning, they’re still only 3-3 while the Saints have back-to-back wins and look more like the team we were expecting to see. I think this will be a shootout that comes down to the last score, so the inflated line looks like added insurance.

PLAY: Saints for 1 unit.

Last week: 1-1 for a net loss of 0.1 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). NFL overall: 11-8 for a net profit of 2.2 units.