Best Betting Scenes: In ‘Dirty Work,’ Dr. Farthing Bets Against Rocky

Time for another installment in Sports Handle’s ongoing series on The Best Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes. There’s a lot of high-quality movies centered on gambling, including on horse racing and poker ‘Let It Ride’ and ‘Rounders’). All quality gambling scenes, whether strictly sports betting or not, the focus of the film or a short aside, will be included/considered.

The very underrated, under-appreciated 1998 comedy “Dirty Work” stars Norm MacDonald (as Mitch) and Artie Lange (Sam) as co-founders of a “Revenge For Hire” business, in order to pay for a heart surgery for Sam’s father, Pops.

Directed by Bob Saget, the movie also has guest appearances by Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Don Rickles and of course, Chevy Chase, who plays the heart surgeon and gambling addict Dr. Farthing, who will bump up Pop’s place on the heart transplant list in exchange for $50,000 — to pay back his bookie.

Chase delivers his classic deadpan humor in each of his scenes, including in this doctor’s office exchange when Dr. Farthing reveals just how terrible he is at betting sports:

Roy Bets Big On His Seven Iron In ‘Tin Cup’

The Long Con Begins in ‘Diggstown’


Read more Best Betting Scenes: In ‘Dirty Work,’ Dr. Farthing Bets Against Rocky on SportsHandle.

Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’

The post Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

Time for another installment in Sports Handle’s ongoing series on The Best Best Gambling And Sports Betting ScenesThere’s a lot of high-quality movies centered on gambling, including on horse racing and poker Let It Ride and Rounders). All quality gambling scenes, whether strictly sports betting or not, the focus of the film or a short aside, will be included/considered. 

We were reminded recently of this scene from the classic 1942 film Casablanca after reading U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s written questions regarding the nomination/confirmation Brett Kavanaugh to become an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In case you missed it, Whitehouse has grilled Kavanaugh about gambling, asking about debts, an apology in 2001 for “growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice,” and his participation in a poker game and more.

Saying absolutely nothing about whether or not Kavanaugh has a problem (he has denied that) and the serious threat that such debts could pose to the high court and the nation… here is the “I’m shocked” scene from Casablanca. Gambling has always existed in the U.S. and always will, while occasionally a game gets shut down, as it is here by Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt), who tasks Captain Louis Renault (Claude Reins) with sending everyone out.

Read more Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’ on SportsHandle.

In Legal Sports Betting States, How Will Justice System Handle Illegal Bookies?

The post In Legal Sports Betting States, How Will Justice System Handle Illegal Bookies? appeared first on SportsHandle.

“I’m not mad, I’m proud of ya. You took your first pinch like a man, and you learned the two most important things in life. You listenin’? Never rat on your friends, and ALWAYS keep your mouth shut.”  

Those were the Goodfellas words spoken from Jimmy Conway to Henry Hill during his first “pinchin’.”  In the movie, Hill got pinched for selling illegal cartons of cigarettes, but it made us think: What happens to an illegal sports bookie when he gets arrested?

We sat down and talked with former judge John Wilson of the Brooklyn and Bronx Criminal Courts to discuss his experiences with illegal bookies during his time as a lawyer and judge, and to see how law enforcement might proceed with illegal bookies now that sports gambling has been made legal. 

Illegal Bookies Found Themselves in Court More Often in the 1980s-90s Then They Do Now. That Could Change As Number of Legal Sports Betting States Grows. 

brooklyn ny criminal court

Wilson began his career as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx in the late 1980s, before becoming a criminal defense lawyer for 11 years.  In 2004, he got elected to be a civil courts judge, and because of his experience with criminal law, Wilson was placed on the criminal bench serving in Brooklyn and the Bronx. He’s been around the legal system and collected a great amount of experiences during his time in law, and he has had his fair share of run-ins with illegal sports bookies during his tenure. (Disclosure: Wilson is the author’s uncle.)

As a young ADA, Wilson said gambling violations were much more prevalent then than they are now. He recalled that most violations he saw were from bookies “running numbers.” This deals with horse-racing trifectas, and it’s what people in the poorer neighborhoods bet on because they can’t afford to get to the track. The bookies or the number runners would have actual slips of papers of that people from these neighborhoods had bet on when they got arrested.

To read the rest of this article, visit SportsHandle using the link below:

In Legal Sports Betting States, How Will Justice System Handle Illegal Bookies?

19 Things We Hate About Sports Betting

The post 19 Things We Hate About Sports Betting appeared first on SportsHandle.

Sports betting is awesome. We have literally devoted our work lives here to covering it from all angles, and most of us are sports bettors ourselves, which makes the job a labor of love. But sports wagering as a form of entertainment is not always rainbows and unicorns.

On a good game day when everything is going your way, it feels like you’re on top of the world and you can make no wrong wager. But the house usually wins over the long haul for a reason (vigorish!) as seasons bring winning and losing streaks.

A survey of friends of Sports Handle, plus our own experiences, produced this rundown of the frustrating side of sports betting — from chasing and other questionable decisions, to bad officiating, not getting paid, the “kiss of death” and much more. Mind you some of these items are self-inflicted wounds, but can be difficult to avoid. Have an addition? Hit us up at or send it to if the suggestion was inspired by an experience so traumatizing you want to share it anonymously.

Bad Beats, Bad Coaching, Bad Decisions and Injuries: Sports Betting is Beautiful But Sometimes It Isn’t

(1) Too much of a good thing — Between single game wagers, (multiple) fantasy teams, picks in pools, perhaps a parlay or teasers, sometimes people simply have too much action or too many competing interests. The result is a scenario where you’re essentially rooting for and against everything simultaneously, producing an ambivalent afternoon on the couch, seeking a “magic bullet” or threading of the needle. This may makes you question the purpose of what you’re doing and ultimately life itself.

To see the rest of the list, visit 19 Things We Hate About Sports Betting 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.

Football Contests of Old Helped Create Today’s Massive Sports Betting Popularity

The post Football Contests of Old Helped Create Today’s Massive Sports Betting Popularity appeared first on SportsHandle.

As US gambling legislation produces new sports betting states and markets for legal sports wagering, more and more prospective bettors will have the long-awaited opportunity to join one or more now-legal “cash entry” football betting contests.

Such contests have a rich and vibrant history in the world of sports wagering and continue to occupy a somewhat understated historical position in the massive explosion of sports betting interest and wagering that followed.

Credit for the first high-stakes, football betting contest in Nevada is generally given to the late Julius “Sonny” Reizner, as described by Arne K. Lang in his book “Sports Betting and Bookmaking –An American History, “an affable and impish man in his mid-fifties (in 1978) who appeared in TV ads that captured his personality, bringing the vibe of a good neighbor to an industry in need of facelift.”

NFL Betting Contest Origins and Impact: ‘Friendly Frank’ Popularizes the ‘No Spreads’ Contest

sports betting stories nfl betting contest royal inn history
Courtesy Gaming Today

Also emerging in that year in Las Vegas was a mass-appeal, no-spread football contest called “Friendly Frank’s Pick the Pros” at the Royal Inn and the Barbary Coast, operated at the time by current South Point owners Michael Gaughan and partner Frank Toti. The entry fee ran $100 with a cash prize of $25,000 for the entrant picking the most winners over the course of the NFL season. The entrant who picked the fewest number of winners received $5,000.

Forty years later, many elements of Reizner’s contest are an integral part of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, and the Gaughan/Toti concepts are still in play at most of the Boyd Gaming casino/resorts in Las Vegas.

Reizner, almost always nattily attired in a sport coat and tie, ran the hole-in-the-wall book at The Castaways, one of the early hotels in Las Vegas. The Castaways, along with the Stardust and the Union Plaza, casinos marked the beginning of the migration of the standalone sports and racebook into mainstream Las Vegas, with designated spaces inside prominent hotel/casinos on the Strip and Downtown.

Strictly confined to NFL games, Reizner’s brainchild wasn’t inexpensive to enter: $1,000 when it began in 1978, with a prize fund growing each year. The first year of Castaways’ event, the winner was Gary Austin who defeated 55 others and who took home $42,000 and the title “Castaways World Champion of Pro Football Handicapper.” (I invite you to read up about the controversial Austin at your leisure.)

Eight years later, in 1986, $137,000 was up for grabs in the contest and in 1987, The Castaways advertised a $250,000 prize pool. Known and trademarked as the “Pro-Football Handicap,” the contest was a promotional home run for Castaways and Reizner in particular and sport betting in general.

Reizner gave out extra money for early entrants who won and even ran a preseason contest with a $50.00 entry fee at The Silver Slipper, a sister property through which he promoted his Castaways’ event.

Legacy of The Castaways’ Contest

nfl betting contest live odds castaways contests legacy
Courtesy Gaming Today

The Castaways was shuttered in July 1987 and demolished soon after to make way for the construction of The Mirage, which opened in 1989, on the prime Strip frontage. Despite The Castaways’ rich history — it was once owned by Howard Hughes — most remember it for the pioneering football contest conceived by Reizner.

The high price to enter The Castaways contest ($1,000) was significant and it utilized a point spread. The robust entry fee and big-buck prize pool made sure only the serious players took part. However, the ancillary benefit came when Reizner would post the various plays and consensus plays of the entrants for the public to see.

There was great interest in the plays of entrants like professional gamblers Lem Banker, Jim Feist and Austin. Both serious and casual players would come to the book when the plays were posted to see what games Banker, Feist and the others liked on Sunday and would then go to the windows to bet many of the NFL teams the entrants endorsed.

The significance of the contest can be viewed on a number of levels. It increased interest in betting, it created foot traffic for the casino and it served as the forerunner Westgate’s Supercontest (formerly known as the Hilton SuperContest and the LVH SuperContest), in which the 2017 winner took home $1.3 million.

[Also See: Breaking Down The 2017 Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest Winner’s Picks]

Just like football coaches, if a scheme works, others will play copycat. Nearly every other Nevada sportsbook took a page from Castaways and Reziner’s contest and Gaughan’s, including Caesars Palace, The Imperial Palace, Circus Circus and its other outlets including the Excalibur. In Reno, the Cal-Neva as well as other sportsbooks gave Northern Nevadans a chance to get in on what was becoming a highly competitive segment of the sports betting business. Entry fees varied and so did the rules. Some had point spreads, others did not.

Local taverns also began contests, offering up cash and prizes to customers who picked the most winners each week. A perfect card against the point spread and including some totals, especially on the Monday night game could net a participant $10,000. Newly opened casinos in Mississippi in the 1990’s also began contests, and just like the local taverns, entry was free to avoid any problem with state regulators. A contest was also offered at least one Trump property in Atlantic City. Because it was free to enter, as were contests at Nevada taverns, it was not illegal.

Making Contests Bigger and Better

nfl betting contests pick em contests nfl odds
Courtesy Gaming Today

Over the years, some sportsbooks targeted casual players by lowering the entry fee and guaranteeing a bigger prize pool that offered bigger money for weekly winners, as well as total regular season handicapping performance. Gaughan and Toti opened up the football contest for everyone by gradually reducing their initial $100 entry fee and emphasizing that no point spread was used. Now, even the most casual player could get involved and dream about the “Pick the Pro’s” big cash awards, if you were the lone weekly winner or if you had the most wins at the end of the season.

Entrants soon found out that even without the point spread, picking NFL winners is infinitely more difficult than it appears.

When Gaughan sold the Royal Inn, his hugely popular contest moved to the Barbary Coast on the Las Vegas Strip and as Gaughan and Toti’s Coast Casinos expanded to include the Gold Coast, Suncoast and The Orleans, this contest and the one offered by Station Casinos became a bonanza for the weekly and season-long winners as well as for the casinos because of the high player traffic they generated.

Local Las Vegans saw contest hysteria ramping up throughout the 1980’s and beyond as the all the major local-centric operators, which included Boyd Gaming, as well as Stations Casinos and Coast Casinos, targeted residents through these contests.

All of the properties gearing their marketing towards locals rewarded the best handicappers with multiple entries costing less money with a chance to win as much as $25,000 in a weekly contest as well as a prize in the $100,000 range for the most wins over the course of the regular season. Just one entry in one of these contests could be as low as $25.00 for the entire season. Often, if a player bought four, they received a fifth one free.

In the 1990’s it was not uncommon at a Station, Coast Casino (before its merger with Boyd) or a Boyd property to have long lines late on Friday night as the bowling leagues wrapped up for the evening and the bowlers would adjourn to the sportsbook to put in their selections.

The contest concept spread to free contests for employees at many casino/resorts and was used as a team-building incentive and further helped plant the seeds for today’s massive sports betting handle in Nevada.

The season-ending prize was based on total wins, thus requiring entrants to visit the casino each week to enter. If you missed a week, it was impossible to win the big, year-end prize because a “no play” was considered a loss.

Stations took the contest idea to a new level with cash prizes for the player(s) with the most losses and those who came closest to having half correct and half wrong, calling it “Fiddle in the Middle.” Stations for several years offered a free house option as first prize for the most winners, if the winner wanted that instead of the cash. That’s right, you won an actual house if you wanted that instead of the cash.

Syndicates created teams of entrants coaxing friends and relatives to enter and would submit hundreds and even thousands of entries each week, a practice technically against the rules, but impossible to enforce.

Today, contests remain in vogue in and around Las Vegas. Participants usually are required to use a kiosk to make their bets, thus making syndicate action a little less significant. However, just as when they were conceived forty years ago, it takes more than a little luck to win.

The Westgate’s SuperContest even promotes the option of proxy play, in which an entrant can designate a friend or a proxy service to make the plays in place of the registered entrant. Using a proxy allows an entrant to visit Las Vegas to register and then make the selection from another state or country.

If there’s a way to make a contest bigger and better, Las Vegas will think of it.  

Next time in Part II: what you need to know and consider when entering a new “cash entry” football contest where you live.

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 Football Contests of Old Helped Create Today’s Massive Sports Betting Popularity appeared first on SportsHandle.

Happy Anniversary! First Month of New Jersey Sports Betting In The Books

The post Happy Anniversary! First Month of New Jersey Sports Betting In The Books appeared first on SportsHandle.
Saturday will mark one month since New Jersey sports betting began in the Garden State, and the state has plenty of reason to celebrate the past month and look forward to the months and years ahead.
Governor Phil Murphy placed the state’s first official bet at Monmouth Park Sportsbook on June 14 as cameras clicked and a big crowd watched. Ninety minutes south, NBA legend Dr. J placed the first sports bet at the Borgata Race & Sportsbook in Atlantic City. Both venues claimed a first – Monmouth Park was the first New Jersey racetrack to accept a sports bet and the Borgata was the first New Jersey casino to do the same.
In the first month, there have been some key changes at Monmouth Park to accommodate the flow of sports bettors. The William Hill-run sportsbook had six teller windows at launch, which didn’t turn out to be enough: 15 additional windows have been added, in addition to 50 high-definition televisions, food carts, chairs and tables, in the grandstand area at the racetrack.
To Accommodate NJ Sports Betting Interest At Monmouth Park, The Facility Has Transformed the Grandstand
“That was a dead grandstand area,” said Tom Luicci, media manager for Monmouth Park. “If you’re facing the track, it’s on the far left side and now all of a sudden it’s probably the most vibrant area on the track. … It’s like a whole community that just sprung up out of a desert area.”
Luicci also said that the track has accommodated sports fans by opening its gates early — 8 a.m. vs. the traditional 11-11:30 a.m. opening times for horse racing — during the World Cup, so fans could place bets and watch games.
Similar scenes have likely been playing out at other venues. And there’s plenty of glory and goodwill – and money, it turns out, to be shared around the state.
“The initial sports wagering results illustrates the popularity among patrons and the potential of this new revenue stream for New Jersey operators,” said DGE Deputy Chief of financial investigations Christopher Glaum. “The Division anticipates continued revenue growth in future months as each of the state’s remaining 11 eligible sports wagering operators determines when and how they will seek to enter the marketplace.”

Maybe 14 Is New Jersey’s Lucky Number: PASPA Overturned May 14, NJ Sports Betting Opened June 14, and Meadowlands Will Take First Bets July on 14.

After nearly a decade of legal wrangling, New Jersey finally won the right for it – and every other state in the nation – to offer sports betting when the Supreme Court issued its decision on May 14, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in its Murphy v. NCAA decision.

Governor Phil Murphy placing the first legal sports wager in New Jersey at Monmouth Park.
Governor Phil Murphy placing the first legal sports wager in New Jersey at Monmouth Park.

The 14th has become an auspicious date for New Jersey since. It was on June 14 that Monmouth Park and the Borgata took those first sports bets, and it will be on July 14 that the Meadowlands, just over the border from New York City, will open for sports betting.
If the initial numbers are any indication, the Meadowlands should be in for some good business. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released numbers from the first 17 days of sports betting at three locations (though the Ocean Resort didn’t open until June 28, so most of the money in the report flowed through Monmouth and the Borgata), they revealed a healthy interest in sports betting.
As in Delaware sports betting, New Jersey is using a cash method of accounting, not the accrual method used in Nevada. With that understanding, the sportsbooks generated in a collective $3,458,688 gross revenue, producing $293,863 in tax revenue for the state of New Jersey. That’s based on a total handle of $16.4 million from June 14-30.
The nearly $300,000 for New Jersey’s coffers is based on an 8.5 percent tax rate on operators’ sports wagering revenue. Considering that the state set the tax for mobile sports betting at 13 percent, it stands to bring in even more once mobile wagering is online, and certainly once more properties begin operations in the coming months. Those expected to do so include the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and the Golden Nugget.
Several properties are planning to debut mobile platforms later this summer and bettors in the state of New Jersey will be able to sign up for an account remotely.

Current New Jersey Sportsbooks are Bare Bones, But Operators Have Plans for More Posh Surroundings, Hopefully in Time for Football Season. 

As sports betting grows in New Jersey, so, too, will its sportsbooks. Monmouth Park, the Borgata and Ocean Resort all opened with what they called “temporary” sportsbooks. 
Essentially, there’s betting windows, odds boards and a few televisions in Spartan surroundings. The idea was to get up and running as soon as possible, and based on the numbers, all of the sportsbooks bet right – bettors were more interested in being able to place bets than needing the creature comforts of a Las Vegas-style sportsbook. But during the first month, and beyond, all three properties have continued work on more elaborate sportsbooks, and hope to have those open by the start of football season.
The post Happy Anniversary! First Month of New Jersey Sports Betting In The Books appeared first on SportsHandle.

What Happens to Betting Lines When Everyone Bets the Home Team?

The post NFL Betting Lines Conundrum: What Happens When Everyone Bets the Home Team? appeared first on SportsHandle.
One of the most compelling aspects of the rollout of national sports wagering on a state-by-state basis is the ability of each state to provide different marketplaces for individual bettors.
In its infancy, well before the internet and the significant offshore market, the bigger sports bettors in Nevada spent considerable time, effort and even money, through the use of runners, to get the best number for the games they wanted to bet.
A number of factors have homogenized the betting lines in Nevada over the last 15 years. Major casino companies began running many sportsbooks at locations all over the state. There’s the emergence of the offshore betting market, the advent of the internet and the ability to make bets online, and later the smartphone putting books right into the bettor’s palm. With legal sports betting expanding across the U.S., another evolution is due: What happens when home teams take a ton of action as other bettors stand ready to take advantage?
College Football and NFL Betting Lines Plot Twist: ‘Line Shading’ and Finding Opportunity in New Markets

John Taylor (82), Joe Montana (16) and Jerry Rice (80) in 1987.

Nevada sports bettors in earlier decades could always count on the differences between the Las Vegas and Reno lines in NFL games involving the Raiders and 49ers. Those two Northern California teams — with a long tradition of winning and covering the point spread in the 1980s and into the 1990s — meant you would have to lay more points in Northern Nevada than in Las Vegas. This practice, sometimes called “line shading,” still exists in Nevada, but not to the extent it did a few decades ago.
For example, the line in Las Vegas might have been Raiders -3 against the Broncos, while in Reno it might be shaded in the Raiders direction with the Silver and Black favored -4.5. The money line, for those wanting to wager without the point spread, was usually adjusted or shaded to make the two Northern California teams less attractive to bettors and their opponents a more appealing play.
When Nevada was the only place to make a legal bet on sports, bookmakers had to create their own lines without the help of today’s modern technology. In the 70s, 80s and into the 90s the overall handle was miniscule compared to today. The huge growth of sports betting handle in more recent years in the state meant bookmakers had to alter their primary skill set to adjusting an existing line, rather than establishing an opening number that could attract too much action on one side.
The danger was created when a poor opening line had to be significantly changed, creating a “middle” where a bettor who had jumped on an early number might be able to then wager on a later spread. If the game fell in the middle, both bets could be winners.
Now, Nevada linemakers are able to consider lines posted offshore that have been “bet into,” or taken a wave of money, often millions. Line movements responding to betting action rather than injuries or outside factors do occur, but not to the extent or degree they did in earlier years.
It’s hard in today’s marketplace to find different lines up and down The Strip, so the only way the smart bettors get a little edge is to look for different lines offshore, where high volume allows bookmakers to hold less, but take in more big bets.
Nevada books need a much larger hold in order to pay for all the overhead that offshore operators don’t have. Offshore books will move lines to get “take back,” which is bets on the other side, while corporate books usually are not looking to move numbers for fear of the dreaded middle.

Times have changed

legal nfl betting not as easy to exploit line changes
Variations in the marketplace can now be difficult to discover, so the emphasis has moved to a player seizing an opening or early line in which the bettor feels there’s a perceived edge, rather than looking for differences in numbers that have already been bet into. In more recent years, at least one major Nevada betting company, William Hill, with a major presence in northern Nevada, continues to offer some different betting lines in the north and the south to take best advantage of the differences in the two marketplaces.
However, look for the line differences to become more widely available and crucial once again in new sports betting states, such as New Jersey, where different sportsbook operators in different regions will be adjusting their lines with a definite lean to those fans in their area.
New sports bettors in the emerging U.S. markets will soon learn the value of getting the best number when the lose a wagers by a half point, commonly referred to as “the hook.”
With mobile apps taking on increasing importance in recent years, many major Nevada players have mobile accounts with different companies to take advantage of line differences, if possible. Some have even funded mobile accounts in person with sportsbooks in the north and the south so they can take advantage of line shading without having to journey to another part of the state. As long as they are “geo-located” in Nevada, they can bet with the outlet that gives them the line they want. Years ago, the smaller northern Nevada books even had phone accounts at the bigger Las Vegas books so they could lay off bets when wagers on the 49ers and Raiders created too much exposure to big losses.

Shading and Shopping Around: A Coming Example in the Northeast

The sports betting landscape in New Jersey and the whole Northeast Corridor is ripe for a resurgence of line shading as well as line shopping, as the various entities open up for sports betting. The lines for the New York teams will most certainly be shaded to take advantage of local fans that want to bet the local teams. However, in Atlantic City, much closer to Philadelphia, the teams from The City of Brotherly Love will have the betting lines shaded to take advantage of those fans.
Philadelphia Eagles fans may be better off betting their Super Bowl futures and win totals at the Meadowlands, near New York City, when it opens Saturday, rather than in Atlantic City. Likewise, Giants and Jets fans may get better numbers on the Boardwalk. And bettors who like the opponents of the New York Giants, New York Jets or Eagles? Go look for the lines in the hearts of those fan bases.
legal nfl betting in new jersey could make bookmaking interesting for bettors and oddsmakers
When phone and online betting opens soon in New Jersey and if you can, as expected, sign-up and fund mobile accounts without an in-person visit, serious bettors and, perhaps, the less serious, will likely open mobile accounts at every book possible and shop the lines to get the best number. Such shopping will be an important element and will make sports betting even more exciting that ever. After all, everyone loves a bargain, real or imagined.
Pennsylvania and New York will both (likely) enter the sports betting fray in the next 12 months. Serious players who live near the border of both states and near New Jersey are likely to have accounts in all three jurisdictions, so if the opportunity presents, they can make a short drive to access, via their mobile device, the number they like.
Whether they know it now or learn it later, bettors will soon realize how crucial getting the best number can be when it comes to fattening the wallet. Right now, with legal sports betting regimes still some time away in New York and Pennsylvania, residents will flood across the border to New Jersey to open accounts. You don’t have to be a state resident to bet in New Jersey, only physically located there to get down.
I can see cellular phone lots being built on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge (GWB) or at the Garden State entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel so players can park, bet and go home. Along the New Jersey border, savvy tavern and restaurant owners will cater to these players, too. The promotion-minded Meadowlands, when it opens, may even offer to reimburse bettors for the GWB toll, now $15.00, or Lincoln Tunnel toll, now $10.50 on weekends.
Look for the smarter players to shop their number and the less experienced ones to learn quickly. As always, learning what to do and what not to do will cost money.
The post NFL Betting Lines Conundrum: What Happens When Everyone Bets the Home Team? appeared first on SportsHandle.

William Hill

7 Parlay Bets That Overcame Long Odds And Paid Big

The post 7 Parlay Bets That Overcame Long Odds And Paid Big appeared first on SportsHandle.
Ten-leg parlays or more are the sports betting equivalent of the the New York State Lottery slogan, “Hey, You Never Know.
Of course to a much greater extent, sports bettors control their own destiny, even with long shot exotics. But rarely do big-payout parlays actually hit and they favor the house in the first place, which is why we listed playing long shot parlays among the most common “beginner” mistakes.
Still, for many recreational players, a long parlay ticket is just entertainment and an expected strikethrough on the ledger. And, well, you never know! Sportsbook lounges and mobile software has to get financed somehow.  So with some mild jealousy and lot of admiration, let’s explore some of the luckiest, craziest, odds-defying multi-leg parlays that cashed.
Parlay Bets Paying Big!: Longshot NFL Parlay Bets and Others That Struck for Some Awesome Paydays.

parlay bet on nfl games paid out big time at william hill


During the 2015 NFL season, novice sports bettor Tayla Polia won a 15-leg NFL parlay (above), according to CBS Sports. Polia beat 20,000-to-1 odds when she cashed in her $5 ticket for a $100,005 payday. She successfully called 14 NFL games against the spread and nailed one “over” as well (Broncos-Steelers combined for 61 points).
Polia initially thought she had lost her bet when the New York Giants fell to the Carolina Panthers by three. Fortunately for her, she had taken the spread — Giants +5. The closest game on the ticket ended up involving the Steelers, who beat the Broncos 34-27 in that shootout. That spread was Steelers -6. Polia


odell beckham jr touchdown giants packers in october 2016
Over to ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell’s feed (we’ll be going back there) for Week 5 of the 2016 football season, which treated one bettor very nicely on a 12-leg parlay victory. Fortunately for the bettor, s/he got the Giants with the hook at +7.5 for the last leg of the parlay, and needed every half point. The Giants trailed the Packers 23-9 when the Giants took possession with under seven minutes left in the game.
Eli Manning and the Giants strung together a 10-play drive from their own 37 that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Odell Beckham Jr., which OBJ brought down with a toe tap in the VERY back of the end zone. As with all scoring plays it went under review (scary) and the score stood, preserving a 23-16 Packers win in the final “W” to make the parlay:


On Dec. 2, 2017, one bettor correctly called 12 football games — college and pro — against the spread. The wager was made at the Sands Regency in Reno, Nevada.  The bettor hit eight of 16 NFL games played during Week 13, and successfully avoided two trap games when the Eagles (10-1) lost to the Seahawks at Seattle (7-4), and the Steelers (9-2) won but did not cover against the Cincinnati Bengals (5-6).

As most of these types of parlays go, this winner required some dumb luck. The Titans were favored by 6.5 at home against the Deshaun Watson-less Texans. Tennessee led 17-13 with under a minute and only needed to run the ball (or even kneel) one more time to nearly salt the clock completely… when running back Derrick Henry took a pitch on a 3rd-and-5 and ran 75 yards to the house for a touchdown, giving Texans backers an incredibly bad beat and helping this parlay bettor here to an incredible payday.


This past Super Bowl certainly did not lack excitement as Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles rolled past the New England Patriots to secure the Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Foles, the Eagles and people who attended the parade and got the opportunity to see Jason Kelce’s legendary celebratory address, weren’t the only winners. An unnamed bettor beat the house with this 9-leg Super Bowl special parlay:

The ticket cost $15, and was cashed in for $6,000. The bet included mostly prop bets, in which the bettor foresaw a defenseless shootout speckled by odds numbers. The final score of 41-33 meant both sides finished with an odd-numbered point total, sealing the deal.


Baseball is one of the most unpredictable sports to wager on. There is value to be had but the season is an absolute slog, great pitchers have bad days, bloopers find empty spaces, and so it goes. This lucky bettor took four MLB sides and on the same games, four totals — all unders.

Jon Niese and the Mets shut out the Giants 3-0. Buehrle and Sale both pitched complete games in a 4-2 ChiSox victory. Cards-Cubs went scoreless until the 7th inning when St. Louis bats woke up and worked the Cubs bullpen in a 6-0 win. And the Twins and Orioles actually got knotted at 2-2 and went into extra innings — always cause for concern. But in the bottom of the 10th, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier took Tommy Hunter deep for a game-winning two run homer. This bettor walked away with $115,971 on a $500 wager.

15-leg progressive jackpot

In 2016, an unnamed sports bettor struck gold by winning the progressive jackpot on a 15-leg basketball parlay at William Hill sportsbooks in Las Vegas. A progressive jackpot means the total pot rolls over until someone wins, then the total pot gets reset.
This lucky winner took home $305,375 on a $5 bet. The bet included college basketball teams such as: Mississippi State, Stanford, Texas, Gonzaga, Utah, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, California, Arkansas, Ohio State, and Wisconsin on both Saturday and Sunday. On that same Saturday s/he survived a major scare with Golden State Warriors, who needed a late foul and overtime to cover against OKC.
On the ensuing Monday, the final bet was Kansas over Texas, and Kansas won easily, (86-56). Michael Grodsky, William Hill’s director of marketing, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the bettor played it safe and hedged an unspecified amount on that final Monday college basketball game.
The vast majority of us will never be this lucky. These wins stand atop piles of hundreds of thousands that were “so close” or “one leg away” or otherwise imperfect, which is the natural course of these things. But when luck does strike, it’s only right to tip a hat to our fortunate comrades.

The post 7 Parlay Bets That Overcame Long Odds And Paid Big appeared first on SportsHandle.

Best Sports Betting Movie Scenes: The Long Con Begins in ‘Diggstown’

The post Best Sports Betting Movie Scenes: The Long Con Begins in ‘Diggstown’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

As a change of pace from sports betting legislation and the US gambling legislation beat, and because we’re about sports betting culture, too, Sports Handle continues the a 15-part series on The Best Sports Betting Scenes in Television and Movies.

(Also, it’s the day before the Fourth of July and most of you are unplugged or loading up on beer and hot dogs.)

There’s a lot of high-quality movies centered on gambling, including on horse racing and poker (Let It Ride and Rounders). All quality gambling scenes, whether strictly sports betting or not, the focus of the film or a short aside, will be included/considered.

Best Sports Betting Movie Quotes and Scenes: Caine (James Woods) Begins to Set Up Gillon (Bruce Dern) In Star-Studded Boxing and Sports Betting Comedy ‘Diggstown’.

In this scene from the 1992 sports (betting) comedy ‘Diggstown,’ ex-convict Gabriel Caine (James Woods) begins to lay the groundwork for a scheme to empty the pockets and bank account of Georgia gambler and prominent city figure John Gillon (Bruce Dern). Caine challenges Gillon’s sports betting acumen and the sport that defines Diggstown: boxing.

“But would you bet 2,000 bucks on it?” Caine says incredulously of the match before the men.

“Are you joking?” Gillon replies. “There’s two things we never joke about in Diggstown, Mr. Caine: Our boxing and our betting.”

Later, the (silly) premise shapes up when Gillon’s co-conspirator Fitz (Oliver Platt) bets Gillon $100,000 that no one man can defeat ten Diggstown boxers in one day. The scene below mixes in Fitz’s pool hall hustling (he eventually wins the car). Enjoy. (It’s not on Netflix right now, unfortunately.)

[Also see: Best Sports Betting Scenes: In ‘Bronx Tale,’ ‘We Can’t Win, Mush Bet Kryptonite’]

If you have a suggestions for a great sports betting/gambling scene in movies or television, please send it to or Tweet us at @sports_handle. If it’s not already on the rundown, we’ll be happy to give a shoutout. All suggestions appreciated.

The post Best Sports Betting Movie Scenes: The Long Con Begins in ‘Diggstown’ appeared first on SportsHandle.