John Avello

Executive Director of Race and Sports, Wynn Las Vegas—26 years as a Las Vegas bookmaker

Every day they write the book: Reading between the lines with four Vegas oddsmakers.

Longevity, anticipation and consistency … are the three keys to success in this business. Having done it for a long time helps you know what to expect, and you have better sense of what bettors are thinking. It keeps you a step ahead. And you’ve got to be consistent in your approach—do your due diligence when it comes to your power ratings. We put up the initial numbers here at Wynn every week—our first numbers go up at 3 p.m. on Sundays. It’s a lot of work, and it’s crucial that I pay attention.

Football betting has boomed in the last decade … because it’s a game for everybody. Baseball has a select group of bettors who wager. Pro basketball is probably a little more diverse. Hockey is really specialized; only a small amount of people even watch the game, let alone bet it. Football, everyone has an interest in it—young males, older males, women are into it now. And there are a lot of opportunities to have action. When November rolls around, then the bowl season, you’ll probably find a football game every day of the week for a three- or four-week stretch.

One sportsbook moment … I’ll always remember, especially being a New York Giants fan, was Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood missing wide right with the field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV, giving the Giants the championship. I was working at Bally’s at the time, and the crowd in the book went crazy. Then again, I see this reaction on a weekly basis, because one play can mean the difference between millions of dollars changing hands.

If you’re looking for a Super Bowl long shot … I have my eye on the Jets. I like the Tim Tebow factor, believe it or not. I don’t think there’s going to be a controversy, because the quarterbacks have different roles. The combination of those two guys is going to work. The Jets’ defense will bounce back after a down year, and Rex Ryan is a decent coach. He can be arrogant, but overall, I think the personnel is there to make the playoffs. Once you get to that point, anything can happen. Just look at the Giants last year.

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