Setting the Super Bowl lines

So who do you have today? The Broncos or the Seahawks? It’s the biggest sports betting day of the year, and there will be tons of high rollers in Las Vegas, New York and around the country laying money on the game or one of the many prop bets.

Here’s an interesting article on how the lines get set. High rollers of course already know how this works, but the article is pretty good at explaining it and also telling some good stories, like this one:

The handicapper predicts what team will win; the bookmaker doesn’t care who wins. So when Super Bowl XXIII rolled around and the San Francisco 49ers were a 7-point favorite against the Cincinnati Bengals, Gaughan — the man who revolutionized sports bookmaking in Vegas — decided to split the action.

You could have the 49ers at minus-6.5 or the Bengals plus-7.5 at Gaughan’s Barbary Coast property. He’d make the game attractive to both sides, drive as much money on the game as possible, and would likely win on either side. The only way he’d lose — and potentially lose big — was if the 49ers won by 7 and he had to pay both sides.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Bengals led the 49ers 13-6, with the game sitting on that disastrous 7-point margin. Two San Francisco touchdowns would have cost him $18 million.

It wasn’t until three minutes remained in the game, when the Bengals kicked a field goal to go up 16-13, that the game moved off a potential 7-point margin.

“I was in bed with the covers over my head,” Gaughan said. “I’d still be paying it off today.”

Check it out.

  

Amazing sports bets that came good

The joy of sports betting is that every now and then a punter gets lured in by massive odds and the unexpected happens and they win big.

Check out three eye-catching bets that have come good in recent years and if you fancy a dabble yourself then why not bet on sports at ladbrokes.com as they have odds on every major sporting event.

Mali madness

When Mali found themselves 4-0 down against Angola with just 15 minutes to play in the opening game of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, the Eagles looked to be heading to a heavy defeat.

One shrewd punter, though, placed a £5 bet on the two teams to draw at 1000/1 – and then watched on in amazement as Mali scored four times, including twice in extra time. The 4-4 draw netted the punter a cool £5,000.

A 19-match bet strikes gold

As every punter knows, football accumulators are difficult to get right.

Predicting the outcome of a large number of games is incredibly tough, but the potential rewards for doing so make it a popular punt. So fair play to the bloke in November 2011 who correctly predicted the outcome of 19 matches having staked one euro at 683,783/1. Nice work!

The joy of six

A hotel worker hit the headlines in 2004 when he became the biggest winner in the history of British betting.

The plucky punter correctly picked six winners from various horse racing meetings, meaning his £2 bet returned him £870,000. Newspaper reports at the time claimed the guy celebrated his huge windfall with a few drinks at his local pub – and who can blame him!

  

Sports gambling in New Jersey?

Legalized gambling is going to get a ton of attention in 2012 with recent rulings on poker and lotteries. Now, with the recent developments in New Jersey regarding sports gambling, the entire issue is set to explode into a national conversation.

New Jersey’s inexorable march toward rectifying a two-decades-old mistake has taken a giant leap forward with a stroke of Gov. Chris Christie’s pen.

The governor’s signature Tuesday on legislation passed by New Jersey lawmakers positions the state for a legal challenge to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was spearheaded – ironically – by former N.J. Sen. Bill Bradley.

Legalized sport betting at casinos in Atlantic City as well as at four race tracks in the state is now a court decision away. Within weeks, or only as long as it takes to get the paperwork together, New Jersey is expected to file a challenge to PASPA. Supporters are optimistic that Atlantic City casinos will be able to open sportsbooks in time for the start of the 2012 NFL season in September.

“He (Christie) didn’t have much choice but to sign the bill,” I. Nelson Rose, one of the country’s leading gambling analysts and the author of the popular gamblingandthelaw.com blog, told Covers.com in an email shortly after the governor made it official. “Not after voters approved it 2-1 in November.”

The November referendum asked voters if they wanted to put the state on record as endorsing a court challenge to PASPA, and the vote showed that residents were eager to take on the fight. Enabling legislation sponsored by state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a longtime advocate of the legalization of sports betting, cruised through the legislature, teeing it up for Christie.

This will be a fascinating debate as right now fans can do this online at sites like bwin but states want in on the action. States are looking for new revenues, so old sacred cows are now being attacked.

Also, it will be interesting to see what the NFL has to say about it with the New York Giants and New York Jets playing in New Jersey.

  

Some professional gamblers love the WNBA

Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve (L) celebrates with Rebekkah Brunson after winning Game Three and the Championship against the Atlanta Dream at their WNBA Championship basketball game in Atlanta, Georgia, October 7, 2011. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

For many sports fans, the WNBA is a joke. You’re never going to see a bunch of high rollers looking for a big suite in Vegas to party for a WNBA game.

That said, there are some professional gamblers who have become very interested in the WNBA, and they’re doing very well. BusinessWeek explained this trend in an article from April:

Tim York’s WNBA fetish makes his wife jealous. “She sometimes asks me, ‘What do you see in women playing basketball?'” says the 31-year-old Houstonian. “Sure, some of the girls are nice to look at while they’re playing. But that’s not why I do it.” Unlike creepy voyeurs, or purists who like watching a below-the-rim game played at a reduced tempo, York’s interest in women’s basketball is purely financial. “I tell her all the time, ‘There’s money to be made in this sport.'”

A professional gambler and owner of the Las Vegas-based handicapping company Sharp Group, York is at the forefront of the women’s sports-betting movement. As Women’s National Basketball Assn. franchises prepare to start training camp this month, York’s in the middle of his annual analysis of all the league’s teams and players. In the three years that he’s been betting on the WNBA, his preparation has paid off: York says he has made a considerable portion of his estimated $100,000 annual earnings from the league. It’s quite a feat given that the WNBA comprises only 12 teams that play a 34-game schedule over a four-month regular season. When it comes to women’s basketball, York says, “I consider myself to be one of the best in the business.”

There isn’t a whole lot of competition. While $2.76 billion was legally wagered in Nevada’s sports books during 2010, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, there’s no record of how much was bet on the WNBA. Scott Ghertner, director of sports and promotions for MGM Mirage (MGM) in Las Vegas, figures it was “perhaps a couple of percentage points at the most.” And that’s exactly how professional gamblers like it. “It leaves an opportunity,” says York, “for guys that do this for a living to step in and see things that the odds-makers sometimes don’t.”

Jay Rood, the sports book director for MGM Mirage, concedes that bookmakers have created an opening for WNBA gambling pioneers to exploit. Bookmakers “probably don’t pay as close attention to the WNBA as we do with other things,” he says. That’s because most casual gamblers aren’t interested in women’s sports—even the ones where the players are almost naked and tackling each other. “We booked the Lingerie Bowl this year,” Rood says, referring to the Amazonian pay-per-view football contest that aired during halftime of Super Bowl XLV. “But it was very, very lightly wagered into.” In Rood’s experience, women’s sports is the domain of professionals or, as he calls them, “the sharpest players.” If you’re betting on the WNBA, you probably mean business, Rood says. “It’s one of the hardest sports to profit at.”

There’s really nothing new here. The idea behind betting sports is to get superior information and take advantage of a line that is not up to date or is out of whack for another reason. Check it out if you’re looking for an opportunity. With the NBA lockout, you might be seeking it out anyways next year . . .

  

Billy Walters is the ultimate sports better

If you ever want to lay big money on sports betting, make sure to watch this video from 60 Minutes on Billy Walters to see how the best sports better does it. He relies on superior information.

You can find more videos on Billy Walters at the 60 Minutes web site.

  

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