Sox Series Success Drives Futures
by Lynda Collins
Chicago's Cubs always have been a huge drawing card as far as
Major League Baseball futures are concerned, while the crosstown
rival White Sox have been regarded as the proverbial Little
Sisters of the Poor. An upper echelon club versus a lower mid-level
But hey, hey, holy cow! The Southsiders are garnering more action
than the Northsiders this year ... albeit not much. And the
Mets are hotter than the Yankees, thanks to some hefty off-season
acquisitions. "We're still getting plenty of Cubs money," Las
Vegas Hilton oddsmaker/supervisor Jeff Sherman said with a laugh.
"The White Sox are the most heavily-bet team we have and the
Cubs are second," Palms Race and Sports Director Rich Baccellieri
said. The White Sox have dropped from 12/1 to 6/1 to win the
World Series at the Hilton and to 5/1 at the Palms, while the
Cubs -- 20/1 when betting opened -- are 12/1 at the Hilton and
9/1 at the Palms.
"The Cubs are so low because we've taken so much money on them,"
"I think the Hilton and Palms offer players the fairest odds
in town," he added. "You can always expect good things from
the Hilton ... the Palms too."
The Cubs always are a big attraction, partially because they
developed so many fans when SuperStation WGN was in its infancy
and provided fans throughout America with their only daily dose
Also, it has been 98 years since the Bruins last won the World
Series and 61 since they've copped a pennant -- the longest
in baseball since the Chisox carted off the whole ball of wax
Long-suffering Cubs fans annually fill sports book coffers with
futures dollars, always hoping "next year" finally will arrive.
"They look at the last two teams to win the Series and they
were clubs who hadn't won in a long time, so they think, 'This
could be the year,'" Baccellieri said.
Geography also weighs heavily among futures players; Los Angeles'
two clubs annually lure the cash, though Padre and Diamondback
futures appear to rise and fall depending on the talent.
Baccellieri has the Angels at 14/1 and Dodgers at 25/1. "They're
up there, absolutely," he said. The Angels, 2005 AL West Division
champs, are 12/1 at the Hilton and the Dodgers are 20/1. Las
Vegas is a cosmopolitan city with transplants from across America
and beyond; many are from the Big Apple and Second City.
Consequently, large sums pass over the counter on clubs from
those metropolises. "They have huge numbers of backers," Baccellieri
observed. A Yankees fan, Baccellieri agrees with Sherman that
the Bronx Bombers will have to beef up their mounds corps if
they hope to advance through the playoffs. "They have problems
with their pitching," he said.
Though the Chisox have pulled in more dollars, the Yanks, as
usual, are favorites to add another AL championsip to their
already-stuffed trophy case. "Our four (World Series) favorites
right now are the Yankees (3/1), the White Sox (5/1), the Mets
(6/1) and St. Louis ((7/1)," Baccellieri said. Hilton odds are
the Yankees, 4/1; Cardinals and Chisox, 6/1; and Mets, 8/1.
Bacellieri, who left Caesars Palace to take over the Palms slot,
says bettors wager a lot more on World Series futures than they
do the two pennants; odds between the two basically are halved.
"I guess they're looking for the longer odds, though you have
to win one more series of games, but we get so much more on
the World Series," he said. The Palms bet shop boss again agrees
with Sherman that the bulk of action will come shortly before
the season starts on April 2. "We'll have big crowds in for
the NCAA Tournament (in March) and they'll be ready for the
bases and next season's football," Baccellieri concluded.