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December, 23, 2011

LAS VEGAS -- Jimmy Vaccaro is the dean of Las Vegas bookmakers.

He has pretty much seen it all since coming to Vegas from his native Pittsburgh in 1975 as he has worked up and down the Strip -- including a legendary stint at the Mirage, where he was the only one to book the Buster Douglas upset of Mike Tyson in 1990 -- and is currently the director of sports operations and public relations for Lucky's Race and Sports Books. Ask him how teams in any sport will fare in any situation and he will speak from experience, including how wise guys and squares are likely to bet the game.

Even he is floored by what to expect this NBA season.

"We've never been down this road before," he said as the season was preparing to tip off this Sunday. "We can look at past trends of back-to-back games and East Coast-West Coast travel and some of the other factors that are coming into play with this condensed 66-game schedule, but some teams are going to be playing nine games in 12 days, so there's no history on that. Who knows how teams are going to react?"

But if you think he's afraid to book it, you've got another think coming.

Dave Tuley

ESPN Staff Writer
Dave Tuley has covered the Las Vegas race and sports book scene since 1998 and runs his own website, ViewFromVegas.com.