Fists fly and engines roar. It’s party time in Las Vegas, so let’s cash some tickets on boxing and NASCAR this weekend.
Canelo Álvarez (plus 120) vs. Gennady Golovkin (–140)
GGG remains the betting favorite for Saturday’s middleweight title rematch against Canelo at the T-Mobile, but I’m looking at the underdog. And I’m in good company.
On VSiN, ESPN’s entertaining boxing expert Teddy Atlas told us Wednesday to buy a ticket on Canelo. Fifteen minutes later, newly-crowned welterweight champion Shawn Porter told us the same thing. (By the way, Porter trains and resides in Las Vegas, and he is a delightful addition to the sports scene here. Based on what I heard in our interview, he is clearly a man who could have a second career in the media if he wants it.)
I’m all in on Canelo at whatever odds.
South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday the Vegas action moves north with the inaugural running of the South Point 400 – race number one of the NASCAR fall playoffs.
South Point bookmaker Chris Andrews is offering this prop bet: Will one of the three favored drivers – Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch – win the race? Yes –190, no plus 170. Because Brad Keselowski won the last two races of the regular season, and since Kurt Busch brings the momentum of last month’s win at Bristol back to his hometown, I’m saying no and betting the field.
There are also man-to-man matchups to bet at the South Point as well as four-packs of drivers. Our NASCAR experts – Brendan Gaughan, Jeff Motley and Jeff Cogliandro – said on VSiN’s “Gone Racin’” show Thursday that the public may be overlooking Erik Jones, who brings value at 280 if you think he can beat the rest of a foursome that includes Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney.
The green flag for the race drops Sunday just after noon PDT. If you have never been to a NASCAR race, make it a point to go to at least one. Television does not capture the sensation of the speed, so you have to be there to feel it. If you can get to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this race, you will not regret it.
Just to round out your weekend, here are our three NFL games for Sunday.
Houston (–2½) at Tennessee (o/u 44)
This game actually landed as a pick-’em in the Westgate SuperContest. A bettor well-known to bookmakers around here rolled into the South Point on Thursday afternoon and made a $110,000 bet on the Texans when the line was two. The number has moved, because the Titans have had to keep the ambulance service on speed dial. Tight end Delanie Walker is out for the season. Left tackle Taylor Lewan had to go into concussion protocol. And even though he’s going to try it, Marcus Mariota’s elbow makes him a huge question mark. Meanwhile, the Texans defense is healthy. Just look at J.J. Watt’s three hits on Brady last week. I love the Texans on Sunday.
Philadelphia (–3½) at Tampa Bay (o/u 44)
This line has been wobbling between the 3½ in the SuperContest and a juiced three at a few books around town. I don’t expect Ryan FitzMagic to play back to his 417-yard passing performance at New Orleans. What’s more likely is a little regression. Led by a good offensive line protecting Nick Foles and a defense that didn’t break, the Eagles did what they had to do to beat Atlanta in their opener. They had three extra days of rest, and that is just one of the reasons I like the Eagles in here.
Atlanta (–5½) vs. Carolina (o/u 44)
Speaking of Atlanta, if Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and quarterback Matt Ryan can solve some of their red-zone problems, I think they are back in business. On the other side, it’s never a good thing when your quarterback – Cam Newton in this case – is your leading rusher as he was against Dallas. You have to generate some kind of running game. I like the Falcons to bounce back and get to 1-1, especially if they can find a way to throw to Julio Jones in the middle of the field instead of pinning him on the sideline. In fact, to get around their red-zone trouble, why don’t they just score from 25 or 30 yards out? Maybe the Falcons can just get Jones into a track meet to cure what ails them.