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Gambling fever in Vegas: MGM sports book director talks fight, Kentucky Derby

April 30, 2010 |  2:40 pm

"It's not like digging ditches," Jay Rood says.

Rood, the MGM/Mirage Race and Sports Book director, is talking about his job, and the work isn't any busier or exciting as it will be in the always entertaining first Saturday in May.

The Kentucky Derby in the afternoon; a casino-filling welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley at night.

Rood stopped by The Times' desk at Mayweather-Mosley fight central Friday and passed along some insight as to how the betting public has been treating both major events, with crowds still arriving by airplane and car as we speak.

Regarding the fight, Rood said action continues coming in on Mosley, dropping Mayweather to a minus 380 (less than 4-to-1) favorite. If you believe the bout is going to last into the 12th round or be decided by a decision, that too is a minus 380 favorite.

"The money's picking up," Rood said. "I've taken a handful of $50,000 bets, and we're hoping for some $100,000's."

The weigh-in is to begin just after 3 p.m.

"That gets everyone ramped up, and that just continues through the last few hours until fight time," Rood said.

Here's the popular bets: Mayweather by eighth-round knockout is 18-1; Mosley by fourth-round KO has dropped from 50-to-1 to 30-to-1; a Mosley knockout has dipped from 12-to-1 to 23-to-5; and a Mayweather KO has increased from 11-to-5 to 3-to-1. A draw is a 22-to-1 longshot.

Meanwhile, Rood said bettors are hesitating about the Kentucky Derby, watching to see how the wet track responds today. Are speed horses hanging on to win, or can closers still close?

The favorite at this hour in Las Vegas is Super Saver, at 7-to-1, followed by morning-line favorite Lookin at Lucky in the No. 1 post now at 8-to-1 and Sidney's Candy at 11-to-1, dealing with the far-outside No. 20 post.

"Bad posts, and an off track makes it worse," Rood said.

The positive with Super Saver is that the horse has won one of two races on off-dirt tracks, and Rood says the jockey-trainer team of Calvin Borel and Todd Pletcher is formidable. "Super Saver has run the toughest, most respected route to get here," Rood said.

The smart longshot money is also leaning to Homeboykris, at 50-1, and Paddy O'Prado has dipped from 20-to-1 to 10-to-1 with respected Kent Desormeaux riding.

"Bottom line, it's wide open," Rood said. "Winning a trifecta will get your wife a nice ring. Winning the superfecta (picking first through fourth place correctly) will let you take a year off from work."

-- Lance Pugmire

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