Truth About Sharp Money...

The term “sharp money” is bandied about on twitter all the time, especially during football season. We hear industry types (myself included) using the term casually when breaking down line movement leading to confusion among new wagering enthusiasts.  Sharp money isn’t only important for bookmakers to do their job but acknowledging it’s existence in the market is an invaluable tool for bettors fine-tuning  handicapping thought processes looking to maximize return on investment. Balanced books are an industry myth. In an ideal world oddsmakers create pointspreads that drive perfectly balanced action with infinite volume simply collecting the juice for profit. This model works perfectly in a vacuum but in the real world bookmakers rely on their sharper customers to help shape, steer, and guide markets to the appropriate number for maximizing profit. Last weekend provided a perfect example of a game where bookmakers stood their ground on a game that did anything but attract equal 2 way action. Betonline said the handle on the Patriots vs Colts game was the largest of the entire season, creating massive liabilities for the house with 1 sided Patriots action. Recreational bettors bought into the narrative that New England would do everything in their power to make a statement (who could blame them given what we’d seen from the Patriots this season) while professionals stuck to their guns looking to take the points every time the number ticked through 8. Most shops here in Vegas reported 85% of tickets (or higher) being printed on the road favorite Patriots placing the house in a precarious position. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If the professionals are betting the dog, shouldn’t  larger bets balance out the sheer volume of wagers from the public meaning the house actually needs to root for...

Act like a veteran

The NCAA tournament is a time to celebrate college sports…wagering. Opening weekend is a two day unofficial holiday where work productivity bottoms out with employees from coast to coast streaming games, checking scores, and monitoring their bracket standings as each game goes final. For a select few, making a pilgrimage to the gambling epicenter is a rite of passage that needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. Here are 5 things to make you look like a betting professional even if it happens to be your maiden voyage when heading to the sportsbook. Know your betting index number Bettors accustomed to playing online or with a local bookie may not know what this terminology means. The betting index number is a three (or four digit) code attached to each team on the big board. Each three betting index number remains the same no matter if you’re looking to place your bets at a MGM, Cantor Technology, or a William Hill sportsbook. Halftime numbers can vary depending on the establishment but they’ll almost always be listed as a four digit number making it easy to tell the difference between full game prices. These individual codes are what you’ll see to the left of every team on LED boards and sportsbook sheets and become the only pieces of relevant information you need when walking to the window. Knowing the team name doesn’t help a ticket writer; it’s these identifying codes that insure the accuracy of your ticket on every wager.  Don’t be that guy looking at the board trying to find these numbers when your at the teller window. Check your ticket If I had a dollar every time some drunk idiot came up to me after a game was over while I worked behind the...

You Know You’re a Sports Bettor…...

We all go through a process as sports bettors. It takes time to learn the tricks of the trade from building a bankroll to managing our money to mastering a vernacular entirely it’s own.  Like other valuable life skills there’s a crawling process before walking that  ultimately leads to a full blown sprint if you’re lucky. These articles may or may not be autobiographical however if you spent the time to read this and recognize with where I’m coming from you’re in absolutely no position to judge. 10) Remembering major life milestones are recalled by the exact bets you made that day. 9) Rooting for favorite childhood teams is no longer possible because the new coach doesn’t cover the number more than 52% of the time. 8) Social calendars are disregarded in order to accommodate any in-game betting opportunity that presents itself. 7) Sending money to Hector Gonzalez in Belize City, Belize happened as frequently during college as depositing into your savings account.  There’s also a good chance the money you intended to grow for use on a Spring Break trip vanished when an obscure sportsbook closed its doors. 6) Dating season is limited to 6 weeks in the middle of summer. If a girl isn’t in love by the time football season starts odds of making the relationship work long term slip below 15%. 5) In reference to real world purchases you’ve applied the term units, nickels, or dimes often confusing sales people.  After all, financial decisions are governed by “how many bets” it will take to pay something off: movies, dinners, cars, etc… 4) Your bookie was in your wedding party 3) Every website you visit at the office is blocked by your employer Don’t believe this happens regularly? Click here submitted...

Remember the Alamo Bowl...

They say you’ll always remember your first. Whether it’s a first kiss, first bet, first love, or first arrest the memory is seared into your brain for eternity. This past Saturday during the Valero Alamo Bowl I witnessed college football history. No, it wasn’t TCU’s historic bowl comeback down 31 points that punctuated a boring bowl season I’m referencing but rather a gambling moose of epic proportions, live and uncensored, a mere meet in front of my face.  This is my cautionary tale of gambling gone astray… Working as a handicapper/journalist covering sports from a gambling perspective precludes me from going to a lot of games.  Little to say when PayneInsider hit me up asking if I’d be interested in going to the college football playoff game in Dallas followed by the Alamo Bowl both in a 48 hour span I jumped at the chance. With itinerary booked and our gracious host Jose arranging all the proper ticket arrangements I became a kid in a candy store anxious to take in live college football played at its highest level.  If only I’d known ahead of time the deal I was making with the devil… Fast forward to the morning of New Year’s eve…comfortably dreaming about winners in my room at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio when I was jolted awake by a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing. Friends, gambling colleagues, twitter; you name it everyone was going crazy with the news that unfolded hours before just a few blocks from the hotel. TCU all everything quarterback Trevone Boykin had been involved in some sort of altercation placing his status for the game very much in jeopardy. For the briefest of moments I was pissed; how could the player I most wanted to see live...

Gambling Resolutions

The start of a new year gives everyone a chance to reflect on the year that was while also making promises to become better versions of ourselves.  Some of us say we’ll be nicer to our family, others say living a healthier lifestyle needs to become a priority, and there’s even a segment of the population that vows to put in longer hours at the office. The unfortunate reality is after a few short weeks we find ourselves mired in the same bad habits that have become as much a part of our daily lives as air and water. As sports gamblers I think it’s equally as important to force yourself to try new things outside of the comfort zone to take your handicapping to the next level. Here’s my list of New Year’s resolutions for the recreational bettor…that even the most hardened veteran can learn from too. Keep an accurate accounting of your bets Whether you find yourself betting $5 a game or $5,000, keep tabs on where that gambling money is going. The best bettors know exactly what their ROI, win percentage, and average juice looks like at all times. The brain is funny, it allows us to remember only what we want to including fictitious levels of sports betting success. I know there’s nothing more difficult than logging losing wagers during a rough patch but doing so allows all of us to identify strengths and weaknesses as handicappers. I always tell people just getting started in this business to set realistic expectations; you’re going to lose before you win and establishing an annual track record of success takes time. There’s nothing wrong with viewing sports betting as viable entertainment the same way people look at playing golf, going to the movies,...

Gambling Etiquette

We all know about the unspoken rules in sports: don’t stare down a pitcher after hitting a homerun in baseball, don’t take a run at a star player in hockey, and don’t bang a former teammate’s wife in the NBA. These generally accepted norms don’t need to be written down in a players handbook…they’re passed down through generations and become essential in maintaining the status quo. Gambling is different; you have  players of different ability levels unaware of how you’re theoretically supposed to behave in the community. Here are a few helpful hints on behaviors that scream amateur hour should you choose to be that guy Don’t past post winners Sharing games before they kickoff is great, it generally shows that magnanimous spirit to like minded individuals respecting your opinions. Don’t feel like doing that?  There’s nothing that says gamblers need to make their wagers available for public consumption. However, don’t be an asshole and tell your buddies about all the winners you had only after they go final. First off, no one’s going to believe you but more importantly nobody cares. If you’re betting to gain the approval of others switch to arts and crafts, that way you’ll have a tangible end product to leave on a coffee table allowing you to show it off for the next 20 years. Pay Your Debts Not everyone bets in Vegas. Hell 99.9% of you that will read this article most likely play through local bookmakers. There’s no bigger scumbag move than walking out on your debt. Whether it’s $100, $1,000, or $10,000 when you’re down money act like an adult and pay it off. Even if you’ve dug yourself a hole that can’t be paid off in one lump sum come up with a payment...

Summer School

Re-publishing a story that originally appeared July 13, 2013 however if you haven’t read it before it’s new to you Every year around this time we hit the sports gambling doldrums known as summer. Gone are the residual crumbs from the NHL/NBA playoffs and the start of football seems just a little too far away (CFL does not count) for the recreational bettor to get excited. Handicappers and bookmakers alike have completed analysis of win totals and game of the year lines but until teams reconvene for camp, there aren’t a whole lot of other variables to factor into the equation unless you consider inevitable UGA suspensions. This is the the time to take summer vacation and leave sports on the backburner, at least for a few days.  However, that gambling IQ shouldn’t go idle so we’ve provided our bookmaker approved summer reading list. For those averse to reading books without pictures, I’ve included a few movies that will entertain the sports enthusiast even if they don’t inform the same way as the written word.  Out of principal, you won’t see me endorse Two for the Money anywhere on this somewhat professional blog because frankly, well that’s an entire blog post in itself. Note: Special thanks to everyone that contributed their votes for the best books and movies worthy of inclusion on this list, without your input consolidating a list made for a daunting task. We Were Wiseguys and Didn’t Know It – By Scott Schettler (description courtesy of Amazon) We Were Wiseguys and Didn’t Know It by Scott Schettler presents a rare and unprecedented history of the early days of “old Las Vegas” and the sports betting luminaries who set the standards and culture in the evolution of sports betting in Las Vegas....

Betting Slumps

We hear the stories of success in sports betting all the time; miraculous covers, circus odds parlays that somehow connect, massive futures that cash…but there is in fact another side to sports betting. For every winning streak or heater in this business there’s always someone on the other side going through a nasty slump. Losing skids are inevitable, they come with the territory. While it’s not the most heart warming topic to discuss I felt it was apropos to speak from first hand experience about some techniques I’ve employed in the past to get me through rough patches. Ironically enough, this blog will serve as affirmation while I struggle through a slump of my own right now. Here are 5 things to think about until the worm turns… Scale down your unit size This idea should seem straight forward and logical however you’d be surprised at how many recreational bettors don’t even consider this possibility. I understand the thought process; “my unit is $50 and if I scale back to $25 and suddenly get hot it will take me twice as long to recoup my losses.” It’s funny how a gambler’s brain works because while this can be true the other potential scenario is that when a losing skid persists you’ll be damn glad you took your foot off the gas. Kelly Criterion is a concept every bettor should understand as well helpful in determining an optimal size of a series of bets although I’m realistic when it comes to employing Kelly to the letter of the law. Most casual gamblers don’t have a clearly defined bankroll so reassessing correct stake factor on a daily basis can be a challenge. Besides, good luck calling in a bet for $23.26 instead of $25 if you...

Counting Outs

If you clicked on this blog post expecting something baseball related…I hate to disappoint you but that ain’t happening. However no matter what sport you bet, from baseball to football to soccer, this piece has relevance. When looking to achieve long term success in this business, either as a professional or a casual bettor, getting the best of the number is essential. With football right around the corner meaning high season for most American bettors, identifying new “outs” should become a major priority. “Outs” is industry jargon for having a place to bet. The best bettors in the world do everything in their power to make sure betting limits don’t stand in the way of their ability to get down enough money on a game. Casual bettors don’t have the need to spread 100k on a game and subsequently aren’t stressing about having 50 active books during high season but relying on just one book even for a $20 bettor becomes a recipe for failure. We all go about different means of getting down our action; Vegas, local bookies, PPH shops, offshore etc; having the ability to bet into the best numbers is directly correlated to long term success. There’s simply no reason for a bettor expecting results not to have access to a variety of different numbers on every single game. While I know regularly betting in Vegas isn’t an option for 99% of people reading this there’s no reason keeping money in 3 to 5 trustworthy offshore books during football season can’t become a possibility. The idea is simple; identify a handful of books that you know cater to bettors of different abilities offering you a variety of prices. Recreational sportsbooks shade their numbers towards favorites, giving you the ability to grab...

10 things…

There are aspects of sports gambling that become time sensitive…other parts of the business remain prescient no matter what. Sure, this video was recorded a year ago but it still serves to coach up new bettors on concepts they can fine tune in order to take their game to the next level. Troll away amigos, no idea what I was thinking on the shirt and tie combo...

Bankroll Foundation

From the moment the Patriots finished off the Seahawks in Superbowl XLIX, the gambling countdown began anew for another season of betting professional football.  It’s no surprise, the NFL is King Kong when it comes to sports gambling in North America generating the most betting handle and fan interest from recreational bettors.  Spring and summer are the perfect time to prepare for the new season, giving us months to identify the sleepers, darkhorses, futures, and win totals that are all worth our investing dollar.  However before spending all of that time trying to isolate winners, developing a gameplan for establishing your bankroll needs to take precedence.  Whether you’re a $5 or $5,000 bettor, optimal money management is essential to long term gambling success.  Here are a few tips for that novices should keep in mind before they handicap a single game. Stay within your means I know this sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many recreational bettors ask me how much they can expect to make betting sports.  That’s actually the wrong question to be asking. Instead, take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself how much you can afford to lose in this hobby without it impacting your day to day.  Sports gambling should be viewed by the majority of the population as a form of recreation, mentioned in the same breath breadth as other forms of entertainment like movies or shows.  By taking this pragmatic approach you’re better equipped to keep perspective and properly allocate the kind of funds you feel comfortable risking during the season.  Winning is great but the reality of this business is that most bettors will lose over the long haul especially in their first few seasons.  The amount you dedicate to gambling should be...

Welcome Gamblou

I wanted to take this chance to introduce to all of you one of our newest contributors to the site. Gamblou has written extensively on UFC gambling around the net for a while now and when he approached me about contributing to the site I couldn’t say no.  Rather than having me paraphrase his philosophies he wanted to write an introductory letter of sorts sharing his philosophies on betting MMA. Welcome fight Enthusiasts to GambLou.com and our new shared access with ToddsTakes.com. We want to thank Todd for allowing us to post our UFC  insight on his outstanding gaming website.   We are honored to be contributors. We’ll be posting all of our UFC blogs (as well as select other gaming intelligence) as early as Saturday March 14th for UFC 185. We would like to set any new readers up with the basic blueprint by which we at GambLou.com operate so there may be as much understanding of our methods as possible before we dive headfirst into this exciting endeavor. *The single point of focus of GambLou.com is Profitable Sports Gaming. Depositing profit after each week’s opinions is our single point of empahsis for we conduct our gaming strictly as a business. The fulcrums to Profitable Sports Gaming are threefold: dynamic Due Diligence; supreme Selectivity, and precision Money Management. Any profitable business thriving today has had to conduct appropriate research, remain selective in its approach to the market it competes in and account regularly for every penny of investment, labor and loss; We are no different. *Every position we share is something we (have played)ourselves! This is most important for what we attempt to do is display how to become apt at running one’s own bankroll as a business. Our career in Profitable Sports Gaming...