A few years ago I was in Vegas for a visit toward the end of the summer. That's how you know it was for work: No one goes to Vegas for pleasure at the end of the summer. On a Tuesday afternoon I went to lunch with a bunch of veteran bettors, including Bryan Leonard, Teddy Covers, Fezzik and nine or 10 other guys. They met every week, in the back room of a western-themed restaurant several miles from The Strip. This was a place for locals. No way a tourist was going to find it.
The fellas came to lunch with their betting sheets and notes and stories and, more than anything else, opinions of upcoming college football and NFL games. It was like a coffee klatsch of the guys voted least likely to take a desk job when they were in high school.
There was a lot said that day that I've forgotten. Much of it was about specific games and trends that mattered in that particular moment. I do remember being brought a plate the size of a wagon wheel that was holding what must have been a 12-egg omelet. And I remember being struck by the camaraderie amongst the guys there, the unlikeliest of support groups. But more than anything, I remember the phrase I wrote down in my notebook in all caps, underlined, circled, highlighted and basically turned into something that looks like it was doodled by a seventh-grade girl: Get The Best of the Number.
That means have your teams power rated, have your spread made and understand which way the betting market is going to go. Because the second a line is posted you need to know if that is the best number you are going to get. And if you miss it, you need to know enough to walk away.