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Las Vegas Notebook
Palms Contest Best Value in the City?

One of the best no-points football contests in town is the Pigskin Payout over at the Palms. There isn't too much different from theirs compared to Station Casinos and William Hill season long no-point contests, but there is one major difference: $300,000 up for grabs and it's offered at only one property.

Stations Great Giveaway offers $2 million in cash and prizes stretched out over 17 properties while William Hill's Pro Pick 'em contest -- their first foray into the football contest world -- offers $600,000 between 163 sports books across the state, including over 40 PT's Pub Taverns.

All three contests have a $25 entry fee. At the Palms, if you buy three, you get three entries free. The overlay alone for a single property -- that won't come close to recapturing the money through entry fees -- is what makes it so attractive.

The biggest drawback is that it doesn't offer the convenience Stations or William Hill does for turning in the weekly selections. As most veteran contest players can attest to, contestants get all excited when signing up, envisioning all those future payouts coming their way. It's almost worth $25 just to dream a little.

But then after about three or four weeks, when the excitement wears off a little because of not winning the big prize yet, little things going on in life seem to take precedence that push you to postpone turning in the selections until the last day. And then eventually, Sunday morning becomes busy one week and you can't get to the book.

After the lure of the season prize is gone by missing a week, it becomes much easier to repeat the process weekly. Ask anyone at Stations or the Palms and they'll tell you the entries turned in from week one to week 17 diminish by about half.

However, it's for that reason alone that a place like the Palms should be played. There is less competition. So what if it's in the middle of the city and you don't live near it. Most can't say they live further than 30 minutes away from the Palms.

Last, but not least, the Palms executive staff should be commended for keeping the contest running as a staple in their promotions. It would have been easy to scrap it altogether after they changed their sports book from being their own operation with unique lines to South Point odds three years ago and then changed again to Cantor Gaming this season.

No book in the city has had as many changes and transformations over the last four seasons, but the Pigskin Payout contest remains a constant.

Get Smart at the LVH

The LVH Super Book already has the best assortment of odds for all sports in Las Vegas, they have the largest room in the state, the most internationally known sports handicapping contest and now they have the best football handicapping seminar of the season. If anyone is serious about betting football this season, whether a small or large bettor, then you had better make a visit to the free 'Super Handicapping Seminar' this Friday night at 6:30 p.m. (PDT) held in ballroom G.

The first panel will include renowned handicappers Kenny White, Dave Cokin and Bruce Marshall discussing all the trends and angles you need to know for the college football season. These guys have been scouring the news on every college team since last season ended and will have you caught up on everything of value needed to know.

At 7:20 p.m., there will be a panel regarding media and the SuperContest with Chad Millman, Steve Fezzik and Brady Kannon. Fezzik is a two-time Super Contest winner and Kannon won last year. They'll be sharing all their strategies on how they finalize their best five games of the week against-the-spread.

At 8:10 p.m. will be the pro football seminar with Marc Lawrence, Ted Sevransky and JT the Brick as they review all the pro teams with trends and analysis you'll surely not want to miss.

At the conclusion of the seminar, there will be a drawing for five VIP wristbands to be given away. The wristbands are for VIP service at the week 1 'Football Central' viewing party that includes free food, drinks and seating in the balcony for the entire day.

If you make a few $25 future wagers, you'll be entered into a Saturday night drawing where three $1,500 Super Contest entries will be given away.

Changing Thoughts Midstream

Sometimes we tend to overreact to what we see in preseason games and then end up getting fooled when the real games start. It's only natural to be overly excited as we finally get to see a few teams perform after only reading about player performances during camp through the eyes of a beat writer.

I may be fooling myself on a couple teams already, but my impression has drastically changed on the Colts and Jets, one for the better and one for the worse.

I'm buying into rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts offense catered to his skills, set up exactly like the one he ran in college with multiple tight-end sets. My impression of him grew rapidly based on last Sunday night, rather than his impressive first home game blow-out. I thought he showed a lot of resiliency and toughness after making a few mistakes on the road. He looked great on one drive against the Steelers first string defense, the one right after throwing a pick-six to go down 14-0. I'm not saying this team will make the playoffs, or even finish 8-8, but they'll definitely be competitive weekly and should be able to get near seven wins.

The Jets have been keeping their "Wildcat Spread Option" with Tim Tebow under wraps for some reason. Mark Sanchez has produced no points in two preseason games and Tim Tebow has posted three points in each game. It was a little surprising to see Rex Ryan use Tim Tebow under the center for virtually his entire second-half play last week, and when he got to run a play from the shotgun, there was no one in the backfield. That's not too deceptive.

For Ryan to out and get Tebow and then put him in an environment where he can't be at his best, or be able to practice the spread-option in preseason games, doesn't make sense. It's not like defenses haven't seen Tebow run his plays, they just can't stop it. So just what is Ryan up to? Perhaps they're executing Tebow's plays well enough in camp that they don't feel the need to show the NFL world what's going on. Maybe they're making things difficult for their offense by design, but Ryan hates to lose.

The Jets have no receivers, the offensive line is porous and they have a starting quarterback who can't move the ball, a combination that looks sure to fail in the regular season. We should get more information this week in their dress rehearsal against the Panthers, but I have went from thinking the Jets will be a 9-7 team battling for the playoffs to thinking they're more like a six win team. Their one saving grace may be that the defense looks good.

Fantasy Stock Rising

Last year at this time Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was in a hold out and started the season slow. If you drafted Johnson last year, chances are your fantasy team fared poorly. But he looks quicker than ever and completely refreshed for 2012. We should see a return of the 2010 CJ2K player which makes him worthy of being one of the top drafted running-backs again. Between his running skills and catching dump-offs from his marginal quarterbacks bailing out or by design, he should put up huge numbers. At Station Casinos, Johnson has 6/1 odds to win the NFL rushing title.

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