The San Diego Padres finished a spring training in Las Vegas in one of the years I covered that team in the '90s, and my brother -- younger than me by 10 years -- joined that journey in one of his first forays outside of Orange County, Vermont.
As we pulled onto The Strip, he seemed overwhelmed by all of the flashing lights; we don’t have any stoplights in our hometown of Randolph Center. He said excitedly, "This place is great! I know I'm going to come back here."
About an hour later, he slumped on a stool in front of a slot machine, his gambling budget for the trip fully expended, and began to complain.
"This place stinks," he said, and I did what all older siblings should do. I cut him off and grinded his pride into the ground, pounding him with sarcasm.
"How do you think they built all these buildings?" I asked.
The folks who make their living through casinos have a pretty good idea of what they are doing, which is why it's always interesting to see their win projections (over/unders) for MLB teams and try to identify the weak spots. Last winter, for example, some sports books had the Cubs at 89 wins -- a shocking number, I wrote at the time. And the Cubs finished with 103 wins.
The projection for the Phillies was equally stunning to me, at 66.5. And the Phillies won 71 games, more than some folks in the organization expected.
The Atlantis Sports Book in Reno, Nevada, released its over/unders for this season, and some of the numbers that are most interesting: