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College Football

Vegas Doesn’t Stay Down For Long

BOULDER, UNITED STATES - APRIL 22: University of Colorado football head coach Deion Sanders secures his headset under his cowboy hat during the Spring football game as part of Black and Gold Day on April 22, 2023. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo for The Washington Post)
Michael Ciaglo/Washington Post

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the place where you went for your news on the betting industry before the industry went powerbloat, reported on the day of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final that the Vegas sports books were expecting to take a beating because of the preponderance of money on the Golden Knights, because a live local favorite will do that. In fact, most of the major books reported seven-figure losses when the Knights beat Florida by six figures.

Fortunately, your empathy will not reach the ripping the eyelids-off-to-stop-the-tears level, because relief is on the way for those scrappy, relatable sports books. Namely, this:

Yes, one of the chubbier books in a town of very girthy books has come to tell us that roughly half the money being bet in their shop on the Pac-12 football title (which given the conference’s place in the sport's diaspora is probably about $76.50) is getting down on Colorado and new coach/cartoon auctioneer Deion Sanders. This is a surprise given that most people who still pay attention to Sun Belt West see Colorado as, at best, a two-win team because that would represent twice as many wins as the Buffs managed a year ago. They were UMass-Northwestern-FIU level dreadful, and the only bright spot for the school is that Colorado State might have been marginally worse. In fact, if you eliminate the Rocky Mountain Conference in Division II, which is made up almost entirely of Colorado state schools (go School of Mines Orediggers!), and include the Denver Broncos, the state boasts the results and geographic shape of a dumpster.

So what we have here is a small legion of bettors whose devotion to Coach Prime at 1000-to-1 is either going to cater the MGM's employee retreat in Montserrat or destroy the stock entirely. And that's just one shop; the Buffs are drawing three-quarters of the money overall for their opening game against TCU, which is a 20-point favorite based in some part on having played in the national championship game a year ago.

And while you may tut, tut, and tut yet thrice about the evils of gambling, there are few evils in gambling quite like throwing down hard on a demonstrably awful team like CU simply because you have a bad case of cerebral Deionism. And we're not trying to tell you about Deion Sanders because you already know all you want to know about how he is … well, I guess killing time until his next gig, is the best way to put it. By any reasonable standard, he will do something for books and their bookies that we never really thought they needed help with: scooping in money with all eight tentacles at a truly extortionate rate.

So it's not really about Colorado at all—it's about how they can make up Vegas's hockey shortfall in one week, and how as the season goes on they can put a new infinity pool where Lake Mead used to be. Deion's time in Colorado is a matter of considerable speculation, but if it doesn't go well, he can absolutely ace Nevada. Maybe he can get the Raiders job and create a whirling ouroboros in a place that just hilariously vomited up 380 large for a baseball team that at the present moment is the Colorado football team of MLB. No wonder the state's legislators figured Nevada was flush with cash for frivolities like John Fisher's—they've all got Deion futures bets.

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