The Analyst: In-Game Wagering One Of Best Bets To Make

For most casual sports bettors, making a bet on a game has less to do with careful analysis and seeking the best value for their bet and more to do with simply wanting to increase their excitement and interest in a particular game.

For the professional sports bettors, enthusiasm for a game is a distraction while they are gathering and studying information looking for advantages where the book has a bad line on a game or is behind in updating a line for new information related to a game.  Then there are my favorites, the math geeks who just look for opportunities in the wide range of lines available or connected to a team and or a particular game and look for opportunities to get plus money on both sides of a game.

Often times professional bettors are stigmatized as guys who are either trying to manipulate a betting line, or that pay for secret information on a team or players, or in the extreme that they might even fix a game or even try to delay when the books might learn of an important piece of game related information so that they can get a bet down first. In the old days (before cell phones and internet), when you got a piece of useful information you could take a little time to figure out how to best use the information, presuming the information of course was good. Which begs an interesting question “when is advance information cheating or not or is it simply survival of the fittest.”

Read more The Analyst: In-Game Wagering One Of Best Bets To Make on SportsHandle.

Introducing ‘The NFL Handle’: An NFL Betting Podcast Featuring Robert Walker And Matt Perrault

The post Introducing ‘The NFL Handle’: An NFL Betting Podcast Featuring Robert Walker And Matt Perrault appeared first on SportsHandle.

Sports Handle is pleased to present the debut episode of The NFL Handle. This NFL betting podcast pairs together Las Vegas-based sports talk voice Matt Perrault with veteran bookmaker Robert Walker, now of USBookmaking, formerly of Resorts World, MGM Mirage and “numerous other books that were glad to see me go,” he says on Twitter. Perrault is also host of Pushing The Odds on SB Nation Radio.

On the The NFL Handle, Perrault and Walker will dive into select NFL games, line movements and bookmaker liabilities, plus greater sports betting topics and stories that may have nothing to do with football. Walker has seen it all behind the counter and Perrault the same from behind the microphone, so they’ll have you prepared for anything.

Your comments are welcome at @sports_handle. (Link coming for iTunes listeners). Time codes for the episode follow below.

0:30: Introducing Walker and to a lesser extent, Perrault. Thoughts on a new era of sports betting in the U.S., potential federal involvement, and a welcome to the NFL season.

19:50: The NFL slate, beginning with Falcons +1 at Eagles (line has now moved to ATL -1 in some shops). On Nick Foles and the challenge of repeating as champion.

28:10: Jimmy G and the 49ers +6.5 at Vikings in Kirk Cousins’ debut in Minnesota.

32:57: Pittsburgh Steelers -4 at the Cleveland Browns of Hard Knocks.

40:30: New York Jets +6.5 at Detroit Lions (and a total that’s ticked down).

42:40: Los Angeles Rams -4 at Oakland Raiders.

49:10: Some final thoughts: Are certain games more attractive situationally? Not all home dogs are created equal.

Have a profitable Week 1, folks. Thanks for listening and see you back next week, tell a friend, sign up for our newsletter and also check out the Cover City Podcast, featuring sports bettor Eric Rosenthal.


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The post Introducing ‘The NFL Handle’: An NFL Betting Podcast Featuring Robert Walker And Matt Perrault appeared first on SportsHandle.

Meet @Berryhorse, A Compelling New Voice in Sports Betting Modeling

The post Meet @Berryhorse, A Compelling New Voice in Sports Betting Modeling And Information appeared first on SportsHandle.

I first became aware of @Berryhorse when a few friends alerted me to his Twitter page. He’s gained quite a following thanks to his willingness to share his Major League Baseball betting model in an open Google spreadsheet, plus he provides insight into the model and his picks. Given his success this season, his profile on Twitter and Reddit has steadily grown.

According to his tracking, Berryhorse – whose real name is Kierian – is 166-138 (54.5%) on the season , +524.2 units and +22.45% ROI. (Note: We did not contemporaneously track or verify these MLB wagers/positions, but there is no shortage of followers who can attest to his success and are willing to make donations, which he has declined to accept and instead has referred them to charities.)

Berryhorse’s relatively new Twitter account has grown to nearly 8,500 followers. He updates his followers with his daily wagers and new information.  We caught up with Berryhorse and he explained his background, his thinking and intentions with the model, and what’s to come for football season. But first, here’s a thread that he wants every follower to read.

Sports Handle (SH): To start, will you tell us a bit about your background?

Berryhorse (BH): I’ve been playing sports and watching sports for essentially my whole life. Basketball, football, golf, baseball and more. At the same time I’ve also always been a huge science and math nerd. I got into computer science my senior year of high school and majored in Computer Engineering and Computer Science in college. While at school I worked for an NBA analytics company, which was my introduction to machine learning and data science. Learning about this in the context of sports was awesome and eventually it became clear to me that it was possible to build predictive models to beat the sports betting markets.

Like most people I enjoy sports betting because of the money I earn, but by far my favorite part about it is that it quenches my thirst for competition. I love competing and winning and really enjoy that element of sports betting more than any other. I also love how it’s such a pure meritocracy. If you’re a winner, you’re a winner.

Over the long run you can put your money where your mouth is and prove your edge over the market. Of course the industry is full of scams and gimmicks but success in the actual betting market is purely based on merit. My favorite sport to bet on is baseball – highest volume of games, and when betting money lines the team’s incentives are always aligned with you as a bettor, unlike spread betting.

SH: Can you explain how the MLB model works?

BH: First, I have to give a lot of credit to Joe Peta, the author of “Trading Bases.” Much of how the model works is based on his principles. As simply as possible, the model prices each team against one another by projecting how good each team is at run production and run prevention.

There is no simulation of pitches or at bats or innings, it just says “team A is this good and team B is this good.” Once it has that information it can calculate a probability of one team winning the game and compare it with the Vegas line. When there’s a large disagreement between the two, it’s probably worth betting.

SH: How big a factor is the starting pitcher within the equation for each game?

BH: Starting pitchers matter as much as the specific starting pitcher matters. The run prevention number for the team obviously relies heavily on the starter and this is accounted for. Basically it calculates the RA number for the team if that starter pitched every game for them.

SH: What’s the most memorable cover you’ve had this baseball season? Wild ending, walk-off, or otherwise?

BH: The most memorable cover was the White Sox beating Cincinnati in CIN a few weeks ago. Lucas Giolito got rocked for 4 or 5 runs in the first and after spoiling a bunch of chances in extras, CHW eventually won in 12 by a few runs (and covered the run line). Most memorable loss: recently Kris Davis hit a 2-run shot with 2 outs and 2 strikes to win by one. That hurt. The most painful/memorable loss is always the most recent.

mlb betting model berryhorse twitter reddit khris davis hr

SH: Why do you keep the spreadsheet open? Are you interested in the conversation/discussion?

BH: I’m sharing all of this for a few reasons:

#1 and most importantly is I think my process of betting can be helpful for people and encourage them to think more analytically and reject some flawed ideas/myths in sports betting.

#2 I think I can help people win money.

#3 least important, and selfishly, I think it’s a good idea to build a reputation in sports because a lot of my long-term goals are in this space.

SH: What do you have in store for football season? Expect to focus on NFL or CFB or both?

BH: Football: I have models for both college football and NFL but I do not currently plan on making either public. I will share as much as I possibly can though.

(Note: In June, Kieran and his college roommate Jerry launched the podcast “Sports Thoughts” in iTunes (some words about the football model in Episode 7.)

SH: What’s the biggest lesson or takeaway, mathematical or otherwise, you’ve learned from the MLB season wagering?

BH: Biggest takeaway: Really the biggest takeaway is just simply the legitimacy of this model. I was expecting it to do well, but was not at all confident we’d see any season like I’ve enjoyed thus far.

SH: Can you offer some advice for beginners?

BH: I think one common mistake of beginners is not understanding the uncertainty of sporting events. In general, novice bettors are far too confident in their opinions and need to understand that sports are inherently very random and volatile. Typically this means new bettors skew towards betting a disproportionate amount of favorites.

Beginners should also be calculated with their risk allocation and bankroll management. There should be some element of betting more when they are more confident but still the maximum amount they bet should be a small portion of their overall bankroll. It is crucial to preserve and protect the sanctity of future earnings by never risking too much of their bankroll.

The post Meet @Berryhorse, A Compelling New Voice in Sports Betting Modeling And Information appeared first on SportsHandle.

What Sports Bettors Need To Know About Football Handicapping Contests

The post What Sports Bettors Need To Know About Football Handicapping Contests appeared first on SportsHandle.

One of the major drivers of sports betting handle in Nevada has been football handicapping contests. In Part One, we presented a history of this under-appreciated foundation of football wagering.

Such contests helped grow sports wagering’s popularity in the Silver State and will likely be offered to attract bettors in emerging legal sports betting markets nationwide.

But before you enter such a contest, there are some keys worth considering in the pursuit of a big prize — and the pride of winning such a contest.

NFL Lines Pick ‘Em Contests: Finding the Contest That Works For You

nfl lines pick em contests sports betting

When considering entering a football contest, keep in mind that a high entry fee translates to fewer entrants, but a bigger cash payout to those who pick the most winners. These contests usually require entrants to pick against the spread. A win percentage above 60 percent is often enough to win lower-entry affairs. They usually only include NFL games on Sunday and Monday night. If you prefer to bet college games, they are not a part of most contests because of the more volatile point spreads in the college game, compared to the pros.

Part of the appeal of any contest is that it appears easier to pick winners than it really is. Big-money contests are a serious handicapping challenge, even for the best in the business. A casual player in any contest must always consider the competition. If you risk $1,000 or more to enter, you are likely to be facing off against the best-of-the-best.

Can You Really Beat Them?

These professional or semi-professional football bettors do their homework, watch All-22 films, and consider the market and their selections carefully. They often have multiple entries and if their pockets are deep enough, will utilize friends and family members to add even more.

With a lone entry, it’s a major accomplishment to win because players with multiple entries or syndicates can isolate the best plays and then “dutch” — the term for playing both sides of a game — thereby increasing their chances of picking more winners than you can on one or two entries.

[Also See: Breaking Down The Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest Winner’s Picks]

It takes skill and a bit of luck to win a big-money, high-entry fee contest($1,500) such as the Las Vegas Westgate’s SuperContest, which paid $1.3 million to first place winner in 2017, in a field of 2,748. Entrants in the Westgate’s SuperContest Gold ponied up $5,000 apiece in the winner-take all tournament. If you are relying on luck alone, the others may have you a major disadvantage.

Playing a “No-Spread” Contest

The more casual player may want to look for a no-spread football contest with a smaller entry fee, such as one in which buying four entries gets you a fifth one free. In such contests you just need to pick winners, never mind the spread.

Now, you may be able to play both sides of evenly matched teams just like the pros do. However, now your problem becomes the sheer number of entrants you have to beat.  The lower-cost, no-spread contests in a major casino/resort may boast more than 100,000 entries. Many entrants will pick only the favorites. Such contests typically offer weekly prizes that get divided between hundreds of winners, and can result in a pocket change reward.

Being the sole weekly winner in any weekly subset of a no-spread contest is very rare and can only happen when numerous underdogs win outright. If you pick too many underdogs during a week when favorites win, you seriously undermine your chances for a significant year-end prize. The spreads exist for a reason. Then again, if you zig when others zag and the underdogs string together a good week or a season, you stand to climb the standings and fetch a real prize while others blindly back the favorites. 

For all of these reasons, a no-spread contest should be generally regarded as entertainment with the idea of taking any serious cash home only a by-product of the fun. Such contests are enjoyable because they make the games more interesting. You can win. Just don’t count on it.

Bar Cards at your Neighborhood Tavern


A third kind of contest exists at some local bars or restaurants and is usually completely free. These established may offer a big prize, perhaps as much as $10,000, for perfect card. That might mean getting 16-of-16 games against the spread, perhaps more using totals. The Monday night game total is often used on a “bar contest card” as a tie-breaker, but usually totals are not part of the higher-end or mass-market competitions.

Your local bar may offer smaller prizes and swag to the customer who picks the most winners each week, but usually these are weekly contests, with no year-end prize for the most winners. Again, these kinds of contests are used to get customers to come back and reward those that do. If you can determine how many entrants a contest has, you can better determine if it’s worth your time to enter.

These contests generally have fewer entrants and although the grand prize for a perfect card is almost never awarded, they can still make watching the games more enjoyable. Many regard sports betting as a social activity and contests can make a few hours watching the games with friends at a local pub more fun than ever.

Final Thoughts

nfl lines pick em contests sports betting parlay cards

Many of the contests that will spring up near you will be played using a kiosk. For better or worse, the mass appeal, low-entry fee or free competitions are now largely marketing tools to get you to come back to the casino again and again. That sportsbook near you wants your physical address and e-mail address so they can advertise to you. They may even sell that information to a third party. These kinds of contest almost always require a visit to the book and are not available online.

An internet-only contest, and there are many out there, will have so many entrants your chances of winning are greatly diminished. Again, your e-mail address is required, so get ready to get bombarded by offers for all manner of products and services.

Many contests use the Monday night total as a tie-breaker, so it’s important to spend a few moments making this selection. It can be the difference between a little cash and a lot.

Be sure and read the rules and all the fine print. You might be required to do some publicity and have your picture taken if you win and, be advised, your winnings are taxable income. That can influence your relationship with Uncle Sam in many ways including your Medicare payments and other government programs.

Stay away from the big-money events unless you are a serious bettor. Enjoy the mass-market contests for the pleasure. Don’t expect to get rich.

However, someone always wins and it could be you.

Robert H. Mann, a 31-year resident of Las Vegas, is the industry writer and columnist for Gaming Today newspaper and His opinions are his own and may not reflect those of Sports Handle.

The post What Sports Bettors Need To Know About Football Handicapping Contests appeared first on SportsHandle.