One of the most interesting things to observe each year are the Golden Nugget’s Games of the Year lines, which almost always reflect the opinion of Phil Steele, who publishes a monstrous annual preseason college football magazine.
Steele’s influence can’t be questioned. Bookmakers and bettors alike pay attention to what his magazine says and the Golden Nugget generally posts its lines shortly after the magazine is released (usually in late May or early June).
We tracked the Day 1 line moves at the Nugget, and sure enough, the biggest moves all happened to be on teams that Steele was high on—including Florida State, his national champion, and Florida, his pick to win the SEC East.
Steele, a former handicapper, has always had an interest in sports betting but has downplayed it in recent years. However, he acknowledged his Vegas influence on a recent podcast with ESPN.com’s Chad Millman, and revealed that bookmakers have just as much interest in what he has to say as college football fans.
It’s been that way for about a decade.
Millman: When did you realize [the magazine] had become kind of a bible for gamblers?
Steele: Not just got gamblers, but also announcers and broadcast people. But as far as the folks in Vegas go, probably when they started calling my office, the Vegas casinos would call my office over the summer and request a couple of magazines in advance of them posting the lines. So, I probably had an inkling that something was going on there.
Millman: That’s interesting. When did that start happening?
Steele: I can’t pick out the specific year, but it was probably about 10 years ago.
To listen to the full podcast, which is a great one, click here.