Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Delaware to Legaize Sports Betting

That's right. The Governor of Delaware is supposed to introduce a bill to Delaware that would allow for legal sports betting. Delaware is one of four states that was grandfathered out of the current federal laws that prohibit sports betting. The other three are Nevada, Montana and Oregon.

While proposing the legalization of sports betting used to be the "taboo" of gambling proposals for politicians, with the struggling Delaware economy (estimated at a $700M deficit) and with surrounding states taking away from Delaware's slot and horse racing revenues, this should be the year that Vegas won't be the only place where Americans can legally place a sports bet.

racebook

It is rumoured, however, that a bettor will be required to bet a parlay. A parlay is a single bet consisting of two or more bets and the bettor has to win all bets for the bet to be considered a win. Usually when you push (tie) for one of the plays within the parlay bet, the bet is then reduced to the "next tier down" from the original parlay. In other words, if you place a 3-team parlay and you push one of your bets, your parlay is reduced to a 2-team parlay and the corresponding odds. It is still unclear as to whether the Delaware Sportsbook will offer the standard parlay odds or not. They should, especially if a parlay bet would be the only type of bet a bettor could make.

If all goes as planned, Delaware hopes to have everything in place in time for the upcoming NFL season, the most wagered on league in the U.S. Some estimates of illegal online gambling taking place within the U.S. are as high as $380 Billion! If Delaware only gets a small percentage of this action, they should be able to make a great profit, reason enough to continue with the program once it starts. Delaware better get ready to service some large numbers. Anyone within a three hour drive who likes to bet on football will be making the trip, especially those who have been scammed and scorned by illegitimate online sportsbooks.

The bettor will undoubtedly view local legal sports betting as a much better choice than illegal online gambling- not just because of the legality of it. But, also because of the security of it and the ability to get paid out right away, instead of having to wait for days and verify information like bettors currently have to do, even with quality online sportsbooks. Giving up the convenience of betting on the computer to drive a couple hours to place a wager is well worth it for smart sports bettors.

It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds and we look forward to the possibility of legal sports betting on the east coast. We hope others follow suit. If this bad economy is the spark for such change in out-dated and unconstitutional laws, so be it!

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Monday, April 6, 2009

How Do Sportsbooks Make Money And How Does This Affect The Line? Part II (How To Take Advantage Of This Knowledge)

So, now the question is: knowing what you know about why lines move, how can you use this knowledge to your advantage? Let's examine an example.

Let's say the Steelers are playing against Tampa. The first thing you should know about this match-up is that the Steelers have the largest fan base worldwide and they are the most bet-on team in pro football. Tampa, on the other hand, doesn't have nearly the fan following. They are a younger franchise with an embarrassing past and they compete within their own state between Miami and Jacksonville. So, what does this all mean?

It means that the opening line may anticipate a large number of people betting on the Steelers and so it may be set higher than what the odds makers think the difference in the final score will be (They start the line at Steelers -8 when normally it would be Steelers -6.5). By doing this, they try to entice as much money on Tampa's side as there will be for the Steelers. In other words, the line is incorrectly high and you should put your money on Tampa.

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Other times, the line will start out correctly and move throughout the week (or day depending on when the line is posted relative to the start of the game) to account for the lopsided betting that will take place for the Steelers, as discussed in part one of this article.

So, what you want to do is watch the line. If it seems to start inflated in this type of situation (a large-market team playing a much lesser-market team), it probably won't move much and most of the time the smart money will be on the lesser-market team. When the line starts "correctly," you should wait until the line starts moving. Once it moves in the direction of the large-market team, wait until you know it has stopped moving and put your money on the lesser-market team at this time.

With big movement in the line, there is also the opportunity for you to "double-up." Let's say the point spread starts (correctly) at Pittsburgh -6.5. If you anticipate the line moving up, you should bet on the Steelers at -6.5. This will be the best line for you to get on the Steelers. Now, let's say that by game day the line has moved to Steelers -8.5. At this point you should bet an equal amount of money on the Buccaneers +8.5. This way, if the Steelers win by seven or eight, you win both bets. And, even if the actual point differential doesn't end up between each line you bet on, all you lose is the vig since you are guaranteed to win at least one bet. It's the lowest risk/reward ratio you can get while conventionally betting (straight bets, not parlays).

You should also know that this strategy works bets for sporting events where the lines are posted days before the start of the event, like football.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Do Sportsbooks Make Money And How Does This Affect The Line? Part I

Many people, especially experienced sports bettors, know the answer to this question. But, for some people it may be hard to understand. But, it's really not that complicated and once you understand how a sportsbook works it will also help you to understand why a line may move on a particular sporting event.

The first thing you must understand is THE VIG. The vig, short for vigorish, is the sportsbook's commission and it is usually set at around 10%. It is also commonly called "the juice." If you have ever placed a bet before, you probably noticed that you had to risk more than you could win (assuming you placed a straight bet, which is what we are discussing here). Usually, you will have to risk $110 on a bet in order to win $100. If this is the case, it will be designated as -110. Whenever you see a minus sign, the number after it (in this example 110) represents the amount you would have to risk to win $100. That ten dollar difference is the vig.

So, let's say that you place a bet like the one described above. Let's say you risked $110, you won the bet and now you are $100 richer. Good job. Now, let's say there's someone else who places a wager on the same event, except he puts his $110 on the other team. Of course, he loses. He just lost $110. So, now pretend you are the sportsbook. Between both of these bets, you just made yourself $10. One guy won $100 and another guy lost $110. Now pretend that one thousand people bet and win and one thousand people bet the other way and lose. If you are the sportsbook, you just made $10,000 ($10 * 1000).

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Once you understand this, you understand that the main goal for any sportsbook is to have 50% of all bettors betting one way and the other half betting another. If this is the case, the sportsbook can't lose.

Now, let's look at how this may affect a point spread. Let's say there is a game between Oakland and Dallas. Let's say the line opens up at Dallas -11. Well, there may be many people out there who think that Dallas will win by more than 11. So, let's say that 75% of the money on this game is for the Cowboys (initially). If that is the case, the line will start to move. It will go up to 11.5, then 12, then 13. It will continue to get higher and higher until the percentages get as close as possible to 50. If a sportsbook doesn't adjust the line and allows for 75% of the money to be for one side, essentially, the sportsbook is gambling. Generally, a sportsbook does not want to gamble. They merely want to sit back, take bets and collect on the vig.

Sometimes a sportsbook has no choice but to gamble. If well more than half of the money happen to be on one side of a particular event, sometimes there is nothing the sportsbook can do to adjust it. Still, when you look at all of the events that a sportsbook accepts wagers on, the vig on the 50/50 games far outweighs their potential losses for the few lopsided events. Also, don't forget that when a sportsbook gambles, they may win.

So, now you know that when a line moves it is likely due to an uneven amount of money being placed on a particular team. In our next blog, we will discuss how you can take advantage of this knowledge.

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