LAS VEGAS — Gonna take you off the Strip for a look at the Westgate SuperBook where you are a WINNER before even walking through the door.
Tell me, Ecks?
FREE PARKING, BABY! Many of the hotels on the Strip charge for parking. You have to shell out 15 bucks during the week and $20 on the weekend. Valet? Fuhgettaboutit! They rip you for 35 bones.
At the Westgate, however, you can pull into the back of the SuperBook, right off Joe E. Brown Drive, and pick your spot. NO CHARGE! Take that cash you woulda spent on parking, and drop it on a sweet little parlay. FREE is GOOD!
When you do walk through the door, I would recommend a pair of very dark sunglasses, because the first thing you see is a FREAKIN’ WALL of video screens the size of a FOOTBALL FIELD! There are two main screens, each about the size of my CONDO, and eight other screens half the size.
There are multi-colored electronic betting boards at either end of the room, and a scroll updating the scores every few minutes. They have like 400 seats, and they didn’t scrimp. Very comfy leather, or maybe faux leather, but still OK for a 2/3 hour sit.
Walked up to the counter and opened a mobile account for my daughter, who has the itch. The clerks/ticket writers were very helpful and VERY quick. Back in the day, you couldn’t even bring a cellphone into the sportsbook, and now you just sit back and scroll all night. It was a Wednesday night and the crowd was pretty thin, but the noise level was impressive.
Gotta give props to my old friend Art Manteris, a Hall of Famer, who created the SuperBook when it was still called the Hilton back in 1988. Manteris, one of the most influential people in Vegas, went on to lead the Station Casinos sports betting operation for over 20 years, and will certainly be a future column down the road.
Sat down at the bar in the back of the room and asked one of the cocktail gals, Geraldine, her thoughts about the pizza at Cordovano Joe’s. She promised me that it was aces, and also told me that she liked the Anteaters over the Gauchos. OK! This is OBVIOUSLY a woman who knows her hoops.
If I asked my millions of readers right now what school the Anteaters are, and what school the Gauchos are, who would know? WITHOUT Google! C’mon, raise your hand. I see only seven hands. Thought so. The Anteaters are also known as UC-Irvine and the Gauchos are UC-Santa Barbara.
Geraldine had the Ants +2.5 and we watched the end of the first half with the Gauchos up 35-33 heading into the tunnel. Gerry, my new bestie, told me NOT to worry. Said Irvine was a second-half team and would rock the party. So, of course, I got down a little taste and told Gerry – yeah, we were buds after the third gin & tonic – to meet me for a slice after her shift was done.
They had the game on one of the smaller screens, and don’t ya know that the Anteaters were crushing. They won the second half 37-24 and the game 70-59. MONEY! As we were scarfing down a few slices, I asked Gerry if she would consider a position as my senior West Coast college hoop handicapper.
She gave me a strong maybe, and told me to watch out for the Matadors on Saturday as a live dog against the Tritons. Matadors? Tritons? If you don’t know, I’ll get you in touch with Gerry!
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his Email...firstname.lastname@example.org.