Scenes from Sin City: English pub houses hoops fans

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The sportsbook at the Aria is almost literally bursting at the seams. But a quartet of North Carolina visitors have come to understand that just because you make your March Madness bets at the book doesn’t mean you have to stay there to watch.

Hank Ward, Jasan Mobley, Kyle Williford and Brandon Baker have got themselves staked out quite comfortably a few stones’ throws away – at a soccer pub!

And while they had no trouble getting a seat at Todd English Pub, they’re hardly alone, as college basketball junkies have taken over the place.

“This is the third year in a row we’ve done this,” says Ward, donning a North Carolina Tar Heels T-shirt that leaves no doubt about his allegiance. “We got in here no problem. The food’s good, and they’ve got really good beer.”

Well, it is a pub, so I would hope so. By the way, did you know that “pub” is actually an acronym – it’s short for Public Urban Bar. You learn something new every day. Like that plenty of basketball bettors hang out at a soccer pub for March Madness.

“A lot of people tell me they’ve got money riding on the games,” Ward says. “It’s a good atmosphere.”

While the place would normally be full of folks going nuts over an English Premier League game, the central focus this morning appears to be the Notre Dame-Northeastern game, with the Irish a 12.5-point chalk. Judging from the roars, there are a lot of people who need Notre Dame to cover.

“We all have money on Notre Dame,” says Mobley, eyeing one of several big screens as the Irish go up by 10. “Five minutes left. It’s gonna be close.”

Too close. Notre Dame falls apart in those five minutes, barely hanging on for a 69-65 victory. That’s the madness of March for you.

Colin Kelly is a Las Vegas-based contributor for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinPKelly29.

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