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MMA More Popular than Boxing in Las Vegas Sports Betting

UFC 130 may have been a lackluster card Saturday evening, but there is little doubt MMA is surpassing boxing in many regards. This week we wrote that boxing lost the magic it once had and that it was surpassed by MMA. Not only does MMA put on compelling fights more frequently than boxing, not to mention cards featuring more fights of interest, but it’s also surpassed boxing when it comes to betting interest.

Mike Colber, the sports book director of Cantor Gaming, told the Las Vegas Sun this week “You’re talking to an absolute boxing guy here, and I will be the first to admit that UFC is more popular betting-wise. I never thought I’d see the day where it’s this popular.”

He’s not the only Vegas sports book rep who feels that way.

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Norm MacDonald Bets $25,000 on Manny Pacquiao to Win $3,125

Comedian Norm MacDonald has a relatively new show on Comedy Central. One of his first bits with Blake Griffin was fantastic, and this wasn’t bad either. McDonald decided to bet $25,000 on Manny Pacquiao to beat Shane Mosley Saturday evening. The only problem is he’ll only make slightly over $3,000 if he wins the bet. Last time we were looking at boxing odds like that, it was one of the biggest kicks to my LBS nuts ever (you can read that story here). As for MacDonald’s skit, check it out below:

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Osama bin Laden Death Boosts Barack Obama’s Second Term Gambling Odds

When an event occurs in United States history like the one that occurred roughly 24 hours ago, everyone has something to say about it.  Here on LBS alone, we have shown you the ripple effect the news of Osama bin Laden’s death has had on college campuses and at Citizens Bank Park, and even showed you a few pictures of a beat up bin Laden — even if they turned out to be top-notch Photoshop work.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget about the Crimson Tide faithful dropping a Roll Tide” as if Nick Saban himself were responsible for the heroic mission.

For all you gamblers out there who are already bored with the bin Laden story, this concerns you too.  SI Hot Clicks passed a story along to us from the sports gambling website Covers.com that highlights how the big news has effected the betting world.  For starters, the website Intrade.com, which is designed for investors to buy and sell shares in the outcome of real-world events, had the chances of Osama bin Laden being captured and killed at 4 percent before the news of his death surfaced.  As the news made its way around and Barack Obama addressed the nation, the market had spiked as high as 98% and then finally closed.

Conspiracy theorists are probably asking themselves why betting would close before there is any actual proof, but Intrade’s Exchange Operations Manager explained to Covers.com that “there wasn’t really anyone out there willing to take a position that bin Laden wasn’t dead” once the word was out.

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Brandon Johnson, Brandon Dowdy Indicted in USD Game-Fixing Scandal

Former University of San Diego basketball players Brandon Johnson (pictured at left) and Brandon Dowdy (pictured at right), along with former assistant coach Thaddeus Brown, were indicted Friday on charges of fixing college basketball games. The indictment was unsealed Monday and it revealed that agents had been investigating a marijuana drug ring for over a year in a project known as Operation “Hook Shot.” Investigators learned the dealers were also running sports books and allegedly bribing college players to fix games.

This was about as serious of a deal as you can get. On Monday, agents executed four search warrants at various residences and one business, a convenience store, all in San Diego, and we’re talking about the FBI SWAT team storming into houses to take people into custody.

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Sportsbook Taking Bets on Bill Simmons’ First Tweet After Red Sox Win

ESPN’s Sports Guy Bill Simmons is one of the most popular sports writers on the internet and considered to be one of the most prominent Red Sox fans in the country. The accomplished author wrote a book entitled Now I can Finally Die in Peace after the Red Sox came back from down 0-3 against the Yankees to win the World Series in 2004. Well after this year’s World Series favorites started off the year 0-4 and lost to the Indians Tuesday night, Simmons tweeted that he wasn’t going to tweet again until the Red Sox won a game. Now, Sportsbook.com is taking bets on the subject of his first tweet after the Sox get back in the win column.

Now that the sportsbook has made a proposition out of his twitter, there’s only one way to proceed. Get some friends to place money on the umpires and have old Billy boy throw in a Dan Iassogna reference after the victory. Seriously, if they’re making a joke out of him, why not make a joke out of them? This easily has to be the strangest Simmons story since he wrote about that haunted hotel in Oklahoma City.

Thanks to Darren Rovell for the tip

Someone Bet $10 on VCU to Win it All, Stands to Make $50,000

The run VCU has been able to make to the Final Four in Houston has become — as expected — a complete sideshow.  The university recently shelled out $2,000 to let Dick Vitale know he was wrong and students and fans alike have been partying in the streets since the Sweet 16.  Only two out of 5.9 million ESPN brackets picked the final four correctly, and VCU is a huge reason why.  Whether you believe the Rams deserve to be playing for a championship or not, their run in the 2011 NCAA Tournament has been one of the most remarkable in history.

According to the USA Today, via Deadspin, one brave soul strolled into the Las Vegas Hilton earlier this season and decided to risk $10 of his or her hard-earned money on a whim.  That whim was that the VCU Rams would win the National Championship in 2011.  The odds? 5,000 to 1.  Therefore if VCU cuts down the nets next week in Houston, that person stands to win $50,000.

Other sportsbooks in Vegas said they took “significant” futures action on VCU at 175-1 and Butler at 150-1 before the tournament began.  There are still two games remaining before any serious cash would need to be shelled out, but book managers are admittedly nervous about the potential of having to pay some huge winners.

Granted, there were probably a ton of lost bets with people betting on the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to win specific games and the National Championship, but I’m sure the Vegas sportsbooks would much rather pay those who bet on UConn and Kentucky to win it all than they would those who went out on a limb for VCU and Butler.

Vegas Sports Books Pocket Slimmest Super Bowl Winnings Since 1998

When it comes to the biggest sporting event of the calendar year, people love to gamble.  Sports fans and schmoes from all over the globe empty their pockets in an attempt to make money on the Super Bowl and make it more exciting to watch.  Gambling websites and sports books come up with plenty of ridiculous prop bets and a lot of others that we thought were worth a look.  On Sunday, the house took home a lot less than they are accustomed to.

LBS contributor Sam called our attention the Las Vegas casinos’ profit margin from Sunday’s game between the Packers and Steelers, and it looks like the bettors took them to the cleaners.  Granted, I’d love for $724,176 to be an off year for me, but that’s exactly what the Vegas sports books made on Super Bowl 45 out of over $87 million in wagers.

The winnings were the lowest since 1998, with “winnings” being the key term since the casinos actually lost over $2.5 million when the Giants ruined the Patriots perfect season in 2008.  The low profit margin proves that there are times when the general public’s feelings about a line and game total can be correct.  Most people took Green Bay at around -2.5 and the over total of 45, which turned out to be good decisions.

Personally, I thought about placing some money on the game to make things interesting.  Like most others, I liked the Packers a lot giving up less than a field goal.  Like the illogical gambler that I tend to be, I used disgustingly flawed reasoning to talk myself out of placing money on Green Bay.  When I realized so many of my friends had taken the Packers, I thought to myself, “we can’t all possibly win this much money on the game, right?”  Well, we did.  Correction: they did.