Teddy_Covers's Blog

Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 10:46 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: AFC Morphers

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the seven NFC teams that are projected to improve or decline by two wins or more in 2014 based on the current market numbers for their season win totals.  I intended to write Part II of the article last week, talking about the four AFC teams that are also projected to improve or decline by two wins or more in 2014, but I got derailed by the College Football Game of the Year openers at the Golden Nugget; a ‘must report’ event.  So, let’s just call it ‘better late than never’!

The markets are telling us to expect ‘more of the same’ from 12 of the 16 AFC teams.  What makes these four squads different? My goal here is to focus on why these particular teams are expected to improve or decline significantly compared to last year.  I’ll do that by looking at how the broader market conditions affect the numbers.  What do the markets fixate upon?  What do they largely ignore?  Read on to find out. 

Kansas City Chiefs: 11-5 in 2013, O/U 8 wins in 2014.

Last year in this space, I called the Chiefs coming off a truly dismal 2-14 campaign “the poster child for the ‘expected to be the most improved team in the NFL’ category.”  Here’s an excerpt:

“Quite literally, just about every statistic and metric that we have to predict NFL success or failure points towards an i... [More]

Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 11:14 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: College Football #'s

The sportsbetting world here in Las Vegas has shifted into full summer mode over the past week.  The NBA and NHL Finals are now in the rear view mirror with the Spurs and Kings crowned as champions, leaving a modest sportsbetting void even in the midst of the World Cup.

Once the Finals end, my focus shifts towards the upcoming football season, and I’m certainly not alone in that regard.  Last week I wrote about NFL Season Win totals that have begun to proliferate in Las Vegas (still lagging behind offshore, though).  Part 2 of that article will come next week in this space. 

This past Friday, we saw another clear sign that football is just around the corner, as the Golden Nugget released their lines on 200 ‘College Football Games of the Year’.   These GOY pointspreads were posted on about 10-15 high profile marquee games a week, beginning with the Texas A&M – South Carolina and Boise St – Ole Miss showdowns on Thursday, August 28th, while running through the likes of Oklahoma – Oklahoma St, Kansas St – Baylor and Army – Navy in December.

This is the eighth consecutive year that the Nugget has been the first place in Vegas to post college football game pointspreads.   And there’s always quite a ‘scene’ at the sportsbook when the numbers are posted, as bettors who have done their homework jostle amongst each other in... [More]

Posted Monday, June 09, 2014 11:14 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NFL Season Wins

I’ve been waiting patiently for the NFL Season Wins market to mature, but that doesn’t happen quickly here in June.  Most of the notable offshores have not posted Over/Under win totals yet, leaving Vegas as the only active market right now. As a result, all the numbers used in this article are from right here in Sin City.

Of the 32 NFL teams, only 11 have Over/Under win totals that are different from their final record last year by two games or more.  In other words, the markets are telling us to expect ‘more of the same’ from 21 of the 32 teams in the league.

In my Vegas Wiseguy Report article over the next two weeks, I’m going to focus on those eleven teams that are expected to morph positively or negatively from last year.  The goal of this discussion is to focus on why these particular teams are expected to improve or decline significantly compared to last year.  I’ll do that by looking at how the broader market conditions affect the numbers.  What do the markets fixate upon?  What do they largely ignore?  Read on to find out.

This week’s focus will be on the seven NFC teams that are projected to improve or decline by two wins or more in 2014 based on the current market numbers for their season win totals.  Teams are listed in alphabetical order.  Next week, I’ll break down the four AFC teams with an exten... [More]

Posted Monday, June 02, 2014 12:00 PM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: First Take 2014 NFC

Last week, I wrote that “the NFL offseason, at least for sportsbettors, is essentially over.  Numbers are up, and they’re moving!”

“My first step in assessing the upcoming NFL season begins with a thorough look back at last year.  Every team’s power rating is set, in large part, based on where they finished the previous campaign.  Obviously, adjustments are made for injuries, luck, offseason improvements or declines, coaching changes and the like, but those base power rating numbers factor in what happened in 2013 very heavily.”

Last week, I focused on the 16 teams from the AFC.  In this week’s Vegas Wiseguy Report, I’ll pass along a tidbit or two from each of the 16 NFC teams in regards to last year.  My focus is on things that are NOT likely to repeat the same way in 2014.  And this week, I’ll do my absolute best to avoid egregious errors like my ‘San Diego didn’t make the 2013 playoffs’ mistake from last week.

The Dallas Cowboys have a grand total of one playoff win since 1996; a franchise that has sunk into long term mediocrity over the past decade.  Given their extensive salary cap woes, it’s not going to be easy for Dallas to end that streak in 2014.  Last year, the Cowboys defense allowed a woeful 6.1 yards per play, ranked #31 out of 32 teams.  And Dallas will be hard pressed to repeat their 67% fumble ... [More]

Posted Monday, May 26, 2014 11:16 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: First Take 2014 NFL

The LVH Superbook posted their NFL Season Win totals last weekend.  Cantor sportsbooks (CG Technology) have had season win totals posted for months.  Many other books both here in Vegas and offshore have posted season win totals, Week 1 pointspreads and ‘Game of the Year’ pointspreads.  Most books that haven’t posted NFL numbers yet plan to do so in the near future.  The NFL offseason, at least for sportsbettors, is essentially over.  Numbers are up, and they’re moving!

My first step in assessing the upcoming NFL season begins with a thorough look back at last year.  Every team’s power rating is set, in large part, based on where they finished the previous campaign.  Obviously, adjustments are made for injuries, luck, offseason improvements or declines, coaching changes and the like, but those base power rating numbers factor in what happened in 2013 very heavily.

In this week’s Vegas Wiseguy Report, I’ll pass along a tidbit or two from each of the 16 AFC teams in regards to last year.  My focus is on things that are NOT likely to repeat the same way in 2014.  I’ll offer similar analysis for the 16 NFC teams in my column next week.

The Buffalo Bills have the NFL’s longest current postseason drought; dating back to the Music City Miracle game in January 2000. They’re coming off three consecutive 6-10 seasons.&n... [More]

Posted Monday, May 19, 2014 11:35 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: The NBA Final Four

Only four teams remain standing in the NBA Playoffs; one of whom will bring home the title less than a month from now.  For all the drama of the first two rounds, it’s an all-chalk Final Four, with the top two seeds from each conference battling for supremacy.

With both Conference Finals getting underway on Sunday and Monday, I’ll take a closer look at the two series.  The goal, as always, is to unearth hidden nuggets pointing towards future pointspread success while assessing pace and totals as well.

Predicting series success generally correlates strongly with predicting pointspread success when it comes to the NBA Playoffs.  But not as much as last year!  In 2013, the Final Four teams combined to go 31-11 (74%) against the spread in the first two rounds of postseason; each of the four teams cashing at a 67% clip or better.  The ‘surprise’ team of the four, Memphis, went 10-1 ATS through the first two rounds before covering only once while getting swept by San Antonio.

The ATS success of the Final Four teams in 2014 pales in comparison to 2013.  Between them, the NBA’s Final Four have turned a profit this postseason, going 25-21-1 ATS.  But that 54% mark is a long, long way from last year’s 74% return for two major reasons. 

First, this is an all-chalk Final Four – there are no ATS upsta... [More]

Posted Monday, May 12, 2014 10:22 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Post NFL Draft Hype

The NFL draft is a thing of beauty for those who appreciate hype without substance.   After months of hype – literally, months of it, more hype than we see for any Super Bowl – the first round of the NFL draft attracted 32 million viewers to the coverage on ESPN and the NFL Network. 

That’s a massive 28 percent increase over the 25 million that watched the draft in 2013.  On digital media platforms, the draft drew more than 14 million visits, a 54 percent increase from 2013.  And I’m not convinced the ratings gold were all the result of Johnny Manziel ‘s crossover publicity.  Fans and bettors alike seem to think that the draft is important.

The pre-draft hype is a series of smokescreens, with GM’s and personnel directors around the league unwilling to divulge any meaningful information to media types and those who communicate with media types.  We see mock drafts for weeks leading up to the real draft, with the likes of Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Pete Prisco and Mike Mayock offering their informed predictions. 

And yet despite multiple revisions of those mock drafts -- even the final versions released on draft day itself -- the best result from the most-hyped predictors was to nail six of the 32 first round draft choices here in 2014.  That’s not exactly a track record of accuracy, yet it’s remarkably consisten... [More]

Posted Monday, May 05, 2014 10:26 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Round 2 Preview

The first round of the NBA Playoffs is in the books; a near perfect storm for underdog bettors.  Dogs emerged victorious in three series: Portland over Houston, Washington over Chicago and Brooklyn over Toronto.  The underdog – Dallas in every game – went 6-1 ATS in the Spurs – Mavs series.  Other series losers like Atlanta, Memphis and Golden State proved to be feistier than expected.  Put it all together and we saw dogs go 32-15-3 ATS for the full 50 games played in the first round.

Should we expect Round 2 to follow the same path?  All four series certainly look competitive on paper, although top seeds Miami and San Antonio are both significant favorites to knock off Brooklyn and Portland respectively.  The series prices for Washington – Indiana and LA Clippers – Oklahoma City are certainly indicative of tight battles to come.  In this week’s Vegas Wiseguy Report I’ll examine each series, looking for matchup edges that could offer ATS value as the series progress.

Indiana was lucky to survive their first round test against Atlanta.  The Hawks gave away Game 4 at home down the stretch, then did the exact same thing in Game 6; suffering a major meltdown over the final three minutes of the game.  That being said, the Pacers finished the series with a winning ATS mark over the seven games along with a significant confidence/momentum boost fr... [More]

Posted Monday, April 28, 2014 10:39 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NBA Playoffs

Seven of the eight first round NBA Playoff series have proven to be competitive – only the Miami Heat have a commanding 3-0 series lead in their series over the Charlotte Bobcats.   After an opening weekend that saw underdogs go 6-2 ATS, 5-3 SU, the prevailing trend of upsets continued throughout the last week.

The current numbers are quite striking.  Pointspread favorites are a woeful 7-21-2 ATS through the first 30 playoff games.  In fact the favored team is just 14-16 SU – underdog moneyline bettors have been feasting over the first nine days of playoff action.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that the lower seeded team has the series lead in the Spurs – Mavs, Wizards –Bulls and Blazers – Rockets series, with potentially ‘live’ underdogs still in play for Memphis – OKC, Golden State – LA Clippers, Brooklyn - Toronto and Atlanta – Indiana.

What gives?  Why have the dogs covered at a 75% clip through the first 30 Playoff games?   Let’s start with the simple premise that the top seeds are more vulnerable than the markets expected while the lower seeds have proven to be no pushovers.

The #1 seeds (Pacers and Spurs) have combined to go 2-5 ATS against the #8 seeds (Hawks and Mavs), even after the Pacers gutted out a tight half point cover in their three point win at Atlanta in Game 4.   Indiana’s second half point... [More]

Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 09:38 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NBA Notes & Quotes

There were eight opening round NBA Playoff Series that started this past weekend.  The lower seeded road teams – all underdogs in Game 1 – went 6-2 ATS, including five outright upset winners.  There were four games that flew Over the total, three that stayed Under and one (Miami – Charlotte) that finished right in between the opening and closing total.

This is just the start of a two month NBA Playoff marathon, and these Game 1’s may not be indicative of how these opening round series are likely to play out.  Here are some key ‘Notes and Quotes’ for each series following those Game 1’s.

Miami looked sluggish and lethargic for extended stretches of their opener against Charlotte, but took over the game with an 18-4 run in the fourth quarter when LeBron James was sitting on the bench.  Head coach Erik Spoelstra:  “We were flat to start. I think our guys were just anxious."  LeBron: “That group that was in once I took that break at the 10-minute mark in the fourth quarter, they just bumped the lead. Obviously, to have three Hall of Famers in the game when I'm out of the game, CB, D-Wade and Ray ... that was big-time."  Meanwhile, Bobcats leading scorer and rebounder Al Jefferson was in a walking boot after the game.  His quote?  “Just got to suck it up, man.”

The veteran Chicago Bulls led the inexperienced Washingto... [More]

Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 10:30 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Top MLB Totals Trend

We’re two weeks into the marathon baseball season, but there hasn’t been a lot that stands out thusfar in the standings.  The Milwaukee Brewers are riding a nine game winning streak into the new week, a ‘surprise’ team with the best current record in baseball.  And the defending World Series champs, the Boston Red Sox, have slumped out of the gate, sitting in last place in the AL East. 

Frankly, we should expect these sorts of anomalies in early season play – in fact we should expect more of them than we’ve seen thusfar.  But there’s not much we can expect to accomplish from riding hot teams out of the gate and fading underachievers.  Based on two weeks worth of results, I wouldn’t recommend betting on the Brewers or against the Red Sox on a daily basis moving forward.  A hot or cold start is not necessarily a ‘leading indicator’ for a hot or cold season.

But MLB totals are a very different story.  I’ve written several previous articles about why I look to bet MLB totals – particularly Overs – all summer long.  To summarize three key points from those previous articles, the betting markets don’t notice streaks of Overs or Unders at anywhere near the level that the markets notice wins and losses, making streaks easier to ‘ride’ without laying a hefty price. 

Secondly, Overs beget Overs and Unders beget Unders.&n... [More]

Posted Monday, April 07, 2014 10:24 AM

Wiseguy Report: The Remarkable Pacers

The Indiana Pacers have been a remarkable pointspread story this year, worthy of a ‘Wiseguy Report’ to examine in detail what has happened and why.  To be thorough, this story starts last year when the Pacers flexed their collective muscles, developing into a title contender for the first time in a decade.  

Indiana was good, not great, in the 2012-13 regular season.  They won 49 games, tied for the third best record in the (much) weaker of the two conferences.  Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote about the Pacers heading into the playoffs last year:

“A month ago, I would have listed the Pacers as Miami’s toughest Eastern Conference potential test.  Indiana’s defensive numbers rank among the best in the NBA, and low post behemoth Roy Hibbert is a very tough matchup for the Heat in the paint.  Indiana beat Miami twice during the regular season, and the Pacers were the last team to give the Heat real trouble in the playoffs last year, taking a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi’s before the Heat closed out the series with three straight wins.

But the Pacers have not played well down the stretch; struggling to find offensive production during crunch time of close games.  Can the George Hill/Lance Stephenson/Paul George trio really hang with LeBron and Dwayne Wade for seven games?  And with aging powe... [More]

Posted Monday, March 31, 2014 10:19 AM

Wiseguy Report: More NBA 'Morphers'

You’ll be reading more than enough about the Final Four in the week to come.  You’ll be able to find my initial take on the two games in my ESPN.com piece, midweek.  So I’m going to focus on the NBA in this week’s Wiseguy Report, picking up right where I left off last week, when I broke down a handful of Eastern Conference ‘morphers’. 

It’s worth noting that since I wrote that article, blindly supporting the three ‘bet-on’ teams that I mentioned (Cleveland, Philadelphia and Brooklyn) while fading my one ‘bet-against’ squad (Indiana) has produced a 10-5 ATS result.  Hopefully this edition, focusing on Western Conference ‘morphers’, will produce similar short term dividends.

The San Antonio Spurs success can’t be a surprise to any breathing human.  No team in the league has been more consistent over the past decade and a half, and San Antonio came one brutal overtime loss short of winning the NBA Championship last June.  But the Spurs have been routinely disrespected in the markets this year. 

They were priced appropriately to start the season, going 16-4 SU in their first twenty games, yet finishing .500 ATS.  But the markets did not like the fact that San Antonio struggled against other top teams over the first half of the season. The Spurs were positively dominated by the quintet of Houston, the LA Clippers, India... [More]

Posted Monday, March 24, 2014 09:59 AM

Wiseguy Report: Late Season NBA Morphers

While the betting markets focus on post-season college basketball tournaments and the upcoming baseball season, the long and winding NBA campaign still offers plenty of wagering opportunities down the homestretch. 

There are still 3 ½ weeks left in the regular season.  Most squads have between 12 and 14 games remaining.  And very quietly, underneath the radar, we’ve seen a handful of late season ‘morphers’; teams playing well above or well below their full season power rating numbers.  Those are the teams I’m looking to focus on in this week’s Vegas Wiseguy Report, particularly in the Eastern Conference.

The Philadelphia 76ers have lost 24 games in a row as I write this very early on Monday morning.  This is no surprise – the Sixers have been openly tanking since last summer, playing for ping-pong balls, not victories.  And for the better part of the first four months of the campaign, the sportsbooks couldn’t hang a line high enough to get bettors to support this completely anonymous, sorry squad. 

Philly hasn’t gotten any better in recent weeks.  But their opponents aren’t giving maximum effort when they face the Sixers either, knowing that Brett Brown’s squad isn’t capable of giving them a legitimate challenge.  The likes of Utah (-7), Milwaukee (-3), Orlando (-4) and Sacramento (-9.5) have all been favored ... [More]

Posted Monday, March 17, 2014 04:36 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Big Dance First Take

We’ve got brackets to break down!  I’ll offer a quick take on the 28 matchups already set for Thursday and Friday.  Games are listed in rotation order.

The A-10 got a handful of mediocre teams like Dayton into the NCAA Tournament mix, but the Flyers will certainly be looking forward to a matchup against an Ohio State team that has repeatedly avoided them in non-conference play.  The Buckeyes enter the tourney on an 0-6 ATS run; just 4-11 ATS in their last 15 tries as chalk.

Syracuse, too, was a pointspread disaster area down the stretch, cashing only one winning bet in their last eight ballgames.  But Western Michigan’s only win against an NCAA Tournament team came on the opening night of the season, back on November 8th, when they beat New Mexico State.

Phil Martelli’s St Joseph’s team hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2004, when Jameer Nelson and Delonte West were his starting guards.  UConn is a Top 10 team for free throw shooting percentage; always key in this ‘short favorite’ pointspread range.

Villanova went 21-9 ATS this season, the third best pointspread team in the tournament field – only Wichita State and Tulsa had better spread records.  Wisconsin-Milwaukee earned their Big Dance bid the hard way, winning SU on the road at Green Bay and then at Wright State in the Horizon League ... [More]

Posted Monday, March 10, 2014 02:51 AM

Wiseguy Report: NCAA Conference Tourney's

The Big Dance gets all the headlines; all the media attention.  And it makes sense why that happens.  College basketball is way too big for the average fan.  More than 350 teams in more than 30 conferences are simply too much for non-hardcore hoops aficionados to handle.

And then there’s the bracket factor.  The entire country fills out brackets.  They’re easy to fill out, the seedings make sense to Joe Public, and after the first round, most of the ‘obscure’ teams are gone.  Those ‘obscure’ teams that survive are now public darlings, Cinderalla stories that casual fans can understand and follow.

Forget fans – I’m no ‘casual fan’, and if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t either.  We’re sports bettors.  And for serious college basketball bettors, there’s absolutely no comparison between this week and next week.  This week, we’ve got dozens of ‘Little Dances’, the conference tournaments that are a sports bettors dream.  Next week, for the Big Dance, it’s still a betting bonanza, but not quite as good.  Here are my Top 6 reasons why.

More Games

The Big Dance, start to finish, consists of 67 games.  Once the opening weekend is done and we’ve got a three day break before the Sweet 16, only 15 NCAA Tournament games still remain.  Serious bettors always want more ... [More]

Posted Monday, March 03, 2014 03:41 AM

Who Has What it Takes? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this article last week, I took a basic look at the profile of the past 16 NCAA champions.  From that profile, I was able to make a ‘short list’ of potential champs in 2014, consisting of the following 18 teams: Cincinnati, Louisville, Virginia, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa St, Creighton, Villanova, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, UCLA, Florida and Kentucky.

However, since last week, two of those 18 teams have been bounced from consideration, including one of the co- favorites at any sportsbook in Vegas – John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats.  Kentucky lost two straight last week; Iowa has lost three of their last four.  Both teams are now above the seven loss cut-off line and can be eliminated. 

The next step in the elimination process is to look at the team’s records away from home.

The NCAA championship is not won on a team’s home floor.  Even with a favorable location one weekend, a team is still going to have to win four ‘neutral site’ games in order to cut down the nets in Arlington on April 7th.  And the best predictive evidence that I’ve seen for future success in neutral or hostile environments is previous success is neutral or hostile environments.  

In most years, we’ll find a sub .500 road record or two among the list... [More]

Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 09:50 AM

Who Has What it Take To Win the Big Dance?

Who Has What It Takes to Win the Big Dance in 2014?

Part 1

 History shows us many things about what it takes to be a champion.  I write this article every year, and every year except for one, I have been able to identify the eventual NCAA national champion among my elite level teams. 

Last year was no exception.  Here’s what I wrote about Louisville in my ‘Who Has What It Takes’ article from 2013: “The Cardinals have star power, depth, experience and talent.  They rebound, play defense and win games consistently away from home.  Rick Pitino’s squad meets all the criteria that has been effective at predicting past championship.  Plain and simple, Louisville has what it takes to win it all.”  Louisville, of course, was the last team standing in the 68 team field last year, winning the national championship over Michigan.

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Posted Monday, February 10, 2014 03:21 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NCAA Bottom Feeders

Last week I wrote about the four best pointspread teams in the country in college hoops this year – Cleveland State, Villanova, Wichita State and Utah.  Between the four, they combined to go 7-1 ATS over the past week, continuing to cover spreads even after doing so consistently for the past three months. In other words, the markets still haven’t caught up with these teams.

This week, I’m taking the opposite approach; examining the very worst pointspread teams in all of college basketball.  Why are they so bad against the spread?  Will they continue to be money losers as February rolls into March? And what statistical profile do these teams have in common that will help us identify them as early as possible next year?  Let’s take a look!

I did a version of this column last year at this same time (second week of February).  At that time, the single worst pointspread team in all of college basketball was Indiana- Purdue Indianapolis, abbreviated IUPUI.  This year, IUPUI isn’t the single worst pointspread team in college hoops only because they’re tied with South Alabama and LaSalle at the bottom of the ATS standings.

This isn’t supposed to happen.  In theory, the betting markets are going to gradually de-value squads that aren’t covering pointspreads, making it highly unlikely that the same team can be an absolute bottom feed... [More]

Posted Monday, February 03, 2014 10:22 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NCAA Hoop ATS Elites

The Super Bowl is in the rear view mirror after Sunday’s huge Seattle blowout, which can only mean one thing – college hoops is on center stage for the next eight weeks.  I’ve been writing game previews for ESPN.com/Insider, but I’ve yet to write a true ‘college basketball overview’ column so far this season.  It’s time!

I’m going take a look at the four very best ‘regular board’ pointspread teams in the country in this week’s column.   Elite level teams aren’t necessarily pointspread winners, and bottom feeders can cash ticket after ticket if the betting markets set numbers that allow them to hang within the number as big underdogs.  And the very best pointspread teams tend to be under-the-radar type squads, like the single best ATS team in college hoops thusfar in the 2013-14 campaign.

Cleveland State has a decent record, sitting in a second place tie in the Horizon League standings with a 6-3 mark in conference; 15-9 SU overall.  If the NCAA tournament started today, Gary Waters’ Vikings wouldn’t even sniff an at-large bid – they’ll need to win the league tournament to go dancing next month.  And yet Cleveland State leads the nation with 16 pointspread covers in 21 lined games.

The Vikings showed us early that they were capable of exceeding expectations, in large part thanks to their defensive effort.  They faced ... [More]

Posted Monday, January 27, 2014 09:32 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Super Bowl $$$

It’s Super Bowl time again; the moral equivalent of Christmas Day for sportsbettors.  Yet many of the professional full time bettors that I know are rather disappointed with the proposition betting opportunities this year – there’s simply not much ‘low hanging fruit’.  The biggest and best sportsbooks (market leaders both here in Vegas and offshore) have learned from previous mistakes.  Bad numbers do NOT abound in 2014.

Let me start with the game itself.  The Super Bowl itself has been an underdog bettor’s paradise in recent years.   The Ravens won the Super Bowl last year as the underdog, beating the favored 49ers.  The Giants won the year before as an underdog; knocking off the Patriots.  In 2010, the Saints won straight up as a dog over Peyton Manning and the Colts.  In 2009, the Cardinals covered the spread in a tight loss to the Steelers.  In 2008, the Giants beat the favored 18-0 Patriots outright.  The only favorite to win and cover in the last six Super Bowls was the Packers when they beat the Steelers in 2011.

The underdog trend in the Super Bowl goes back even further than that, with four consecutive dog covers from 2002 through 2005 (the Patriots beating the Rams in ’02, the Bucs destroying the Raiders in ’03 and spread covering losses from the Panthers and Eagles against the Patriots in ’04 and ’05).  Laying ... [More]

Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 09:57 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Super Bowl Memories

On the one hand, the Super Bowl is ‘just another game’ for a professional bettor.  On the other hand, the Super Bowl has two major differences.  First and foremost are the prop bets; quite literally hundreds of wagering opportunities that allow bettors to wager from everything on the coin toss and the length of the national anthem to whether Russell Wilson will throw more touchdown passes than Manchester United will score goals on Super Bowl Sunday.  I’ll write about those next week.

The other biggest difference between Super Bowls and ‘other games’?  Simple – the Super Bowls stand out in our memories; every one of them.  I’ve been in Vegas since the 1998 football season, and I can tell you where I watched every Super Bowl, what the pointspread was and who covered. Thank you in advance for indulging me a brief trip down memory lane.

My first Super Bowl in Las Vegas was when the Broncos faced the Falcons as favorites of about a TD back in January 1999.  I watched the game in the stadium seating at the Imperial Palace racebook.  My handicap was simple, thinking Denver had a big edge having played in (and beaten) the Packers in the Super Bowl the previous year.  I’m not sure it mattered after Falcons cornerback Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciting the night before the game; throwing Atlanta off their game.  The Broncos won and cover... [More]

Posted Monday, January 13, 2014 10:41 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NBA Money Losers

Last week, I took an in-depth look at five of the biggest moneymakers in the NBA through the first half of the season.  This week I’m going to focus on the teams at the other end of the spectrum – bottom feeders and disappointments.  I’ll break down the three biggest money-losers of the season thusfar.  And I’ll take a look at a ‘morpher’; a team playing significantly worse than current market projections.

I’ll start with the three teams that can be collectively called ‘the hopeless trio’.  It’s hard to make money betting on the very worst teams in any sport, and the NBA is certainly no exception.  And there’s no question who the very worst team in the NBA is this year, because they have both the worst SU record in the league (7-29) and the worst pointspread mark (12-24 ATS).  That team?  The Milwaukee Bucks!

Bucks head coach Larry Drew has never coached a bottom feeder before.  He walked into a good situation in Atlanta with the Hawks, who made the playoffs all three years that he was coaching the team.  Here in Milwaukee, the playoffs seem light years away, as Drew muddles through a lost season with a mismashed roster of cast-offs, has beens and ‘never will be’s. 

The Bucks single biggest problem is that they can’t find the bottom of the basket, ranked dead last in the NBA in offensive efficiency. ... [More]

Posted Monday, January 06, 2014 10:43 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NBA Moneymakers

The NBA regular season is less than two weeks away from the mid-way point of the campaign. But with the focus on football, the betting markets (and my own writing) have paid scant attention to the pro hoops ranks.  That ends here.

This week I’m going to focus on the good NBA teams; the moneymakers!  I’ll break down some of the best money earners in NBA thusfar and assess their profit making potential moving forward.  And I’ll take a look at a pair of ‘morphers’; teams that are playing significantly better than current market projections.

The Phoenix Suns are at the top of any ‘moneymaker’ list; a classic example of how preseason expectations can affect ATS results for months, even when those expectations were clearly not right from Day 1 of the season!

Phoenix was lined in the range of 20 wins coming into the season.  The markets expected a major tank from first year, first time head coach Jeff Hornacek’s squad, angling for ping pong balls in the NBA lottery, not for a playoff spot.  But that clearly wasn’t the case, right from the get-go – they blew out Portland on opening night.

The Suns got great play from their dual- point guards Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.  They got some low post defense and rebounding from second year center Miles Plumlee, with lottery pick Alex Len a complete non-factor.&nb... [More]

Posted Monday, December 30, 2013 09:08 AM

Wiseguy Report: Outdated Bowl Strategies

I wrote an article in this space prior to bowl season detailing my personal strategies for turning a profit during these three weeks of high stakes affairs.  But as I do my research for the upcoming games, I continue to find a bevy of outdated information widely available on the internet; strategies that haven’t worked in years, yet they’ve become a part of the gambling lexicon.  

I did a national radio spot last week with a well-known host.  He brought up three strategies as the ‘sharp Vegas method’.  None of them work.  In fact, none of them have worked in years. I don’t think the host was an idiot – there’s just a bevy of bad information out there!

So my goal for this week’s column is to poke holes in the outdated information.  The betting markets are not a static entity; always morphing and evolving.  What worked five, ten or twenty years ago doesn’t necessarily work as 2013 shifts to 2014.  And when it comes to college football bowls, the paradigm has clearly shifted from where it was a decade ago.

As I write this very early on Monday morning, there have been 15 bowl games already played, with 20 more to follow.  Even from this very short sample size, you can see already that these three ‘tried and true’ strategies from years past have bitten the dust – exactly what happened last year, and the year before ... [More]

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