Nevada sportsbook operator releases NFL regular-season lines
By Mike Wilkening
Pro Football Weekly
Cantor Gaming, which operates four Nevada sportsbooks, released pointspreads for all 256 regular-season NFL games on Friday.
The regular season is slated to begin on Sept. 8, with defending champion Green Bay a 5½-point favorite vs. New Orleans at Lambeau Field on Cantor’s line. Of course, whether the season will indeed start as scheduled remains a primary topic of discussion for those connected to the NFL. While optimism about the progress of negotiations between NFL owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement has increased recently, the lockout continues for now. In the event of an extended work stoppage, some advance wagers would become null and void; one of the rules governing wagers on Cantor’s initial spreads notes that a “(game) must be played within 45 days of (the) original scheduled date for action.”
Cantor, which runs the sportsbooks at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, The M Resort Spa and Casino and Tropicana Las Vegas, had taken “quite a few bets” on the NFL slate Friday, Mike Colbert, the company’s race and sports book director, said Friday evening.
Per Cantor’s own power rankings, a metric oddsmakers often use to help set the lines, the Patriots enter 2011 as the top-rated team, with the Steelers, not the Packers, who beat Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, second. Green Bay is third in Cantor’s rankings, with Colbert noting that “if you like a team like Green Bay, you probably get some perceived value” on the line.
Cantor believes the Raiders, Rams and Lions will be improved this season, Colbert said, but he noted that forecasting this far in advance of the regular season isn’t an exact science. Four Cantor oddsmakers set their own lines for every game, and each game was discussed before Colbert made the final call on the spread, but as he said of the challenge facing bettors and linemakers looking well into the future, “I got to tell you, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in Week 12.”