The tease on the Strip here has taken a new twist.
Several sports books, in an attempt to stimulate business are offering a special form of football-card betting that to many fans, at first glance, appears too good to be true. For example, this week's teaser line at one hotel lists three of the NFL's most important games as follows:
Dallas -- +4 at Los Angeles +8.
Buffalo -- +9 at New England +3.
Cleveland -- +3 at Minnesota +9.
The plus sign means the bettor is getting points. The straight line has Dallas favored by 1, New England by 4 and Cleveland by 3 1/2. Quite a difference, obviously, from the "bargain" numbers being offered on the teaser card.
But there's also quite a difference in the potential payoff. A person playing the teaser must pick at least three games. If all three selections cover the special spread, the return is $5 for $2. Anyone who sweeps the card, going 14 for 14, receives $100 for $1. Teams must win. Ties lose, instead of creating a no-win, no-lose standoff. A straight parlay, by comparison, pays $3 for $1 for two (out of two) picks and $500 for $1 on 10 for 10.
This week's schedule places several teams in back-to-the-wall situations. I know the feeling, down more than $4,000. The planned recovery begins Saturday with Washington, out to save Jack Pardee's job, giving 6 1/2 at home to the New York Giants, for an imaginary $250. Also, Saturday, San Diego attracts $100 giving 10 1/2 as host to Seattle.
On Sunday, I'll go with Detroit, $500, giving 6 1/2 to Tampa Bay; Chicago, $250, giving 6 1/2 to Cincinnati; Houston, $100, giving 6 1/2 at Green Bay, and Oakland, $750, giving 2 1/2 at Denver. Monday night, the pick is Dallas, $500, giving one at Los Angeles.
The Lions, despite being one game behind Minnesota, have the schedule in their favor as they strive for the NFC Central title and certainly will not lack for incentive against the Buccaneers. Chicago is closing with a flurry. Houston has only Bum Phillips' ultraconservative philosophy to overcome. Oakland's defense is too much for the Denver offense. The Raiders' unit is the best in the AFC; Dallas' defense is the most aggressive in the NFC.