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Monday, December 01, 2008

How to Bet on MLB

The MLB season just ended with the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Tampa Bay Rays in five games in the World Series.  For Phillies fans, it was a dream come true.  But for some baseball bettors, things didn’t turn out the way they imagined.  We may forget but the Tampa Bay Rays were actually favored to beat the Phillies in Las Vegas when the World Series started.

This was true even though the Phillies appeared to have the right blend of good pitching and good hitting to get them the trophy.  I, for one, never even considered placing a wager on the Tampa Bay Rays.  To me, the Phillies winning the series was a foregone conclusion.

Why?  Well, that’s the nature of baseball betting.  Unlike almost every other organized sport in the United States, baseball is a game of simplicity.  Part of that simplicity is understanding baseball cycles.  Teams go up and teams go down.  There is no other sport, excluding horse racing, where this future’s trading type affect is so readily obvious.

Baseball betting is most like future’s trading in the sense that future’s traders on Wall Street are just like baseball bettors.  In future’s trading, the trader looks to numerous factors regarding the commodity he wishes to trade futures on.  For instance, if he wants to trade futures on coffee, he takes a look at numerous factors involving the coffee industry  - - weather, political future of the various countries, trade pacts, etc.

When a bettor takes a look at a game, or a series of games, he takes a look at the relevant factors involving the teams that make up that game.  Some of these factors for baseball are:  pitching, hitting, injuries, management, ownership, mental toughness, etc.  He also tries to calculate the “hot” factor of a team.  The Phillies were definitely hot going into this year’s World Series.

The best example to understand how to bet on baseball is to look at the single game strategy.  Although there is a multiple game strategy involved in betting, it’s convoluted and would take a very long time to explain.

So, let’s stick with the single game strategy for now.

Single Baseball Bets - - Single Games

Most sportsbooks, besides offering various prop bets which we won’t discuss in this article, offer three bets.  The first is what’s called the run line.  We’ll get back to that in a moment.  The second is called the money line.  The third is called the over/under.

Let’s take a look at the money line wager first.  Here’s a typical money line baseball wager that sportsbooks offer to bettors.

BostonRed Sox                       - 110

New York Yankees                   - 125

The way to read this is, “The Boston Red Sox are visiting the New York Yankees.  The Boston Red Sox are – 110 straight-up to beat the New York Yankees.  The New York Yankees are – 125 straight-up to beat the Boston Red Sox.”

I know that the Boston Red Sox are visiting the New York Yankees because the Yankees are the “bottom” team.  This is true for not only sportsbooks but also for the scores you see on various websites and on your television.  The home team is always listed second. 

 

Now, what exactly does – 110 and – 125 mean?  The money line is always expressed in terms of a $100 dollar unit.  You’re going to hear the word unit quite a bit if you start betting on baseball.  A unit is simply the amount of money that a gambler is willing to put up on each single bet.  For instance, if my unit was $100 and I put 2 units on the Red Sox, I would be putting $200 on the Red Sox.  So, in terms of – 110 it means this, a gambler would have to put up $110 dollars to make a $100 profit on the Red Sox in this game.  A gambler would have to put up $125 dollars to make $100 profit.

 

Of course, baseball bettors still need to look at each team regarding their chances of winning this game. 

Over/under betting is quite simple.  The concept is this:  what is the total that both teams combined will score in this game.  In other words how many runs will the Red Sox and Yankees together score?  Usually, in a game like the Red Sox and Yankees the over/under will be between 9 to 10 ½ runs.  If you believe that the two teams together will score less than 10 ½ runs, if that’s the total, then you want to bet the under.  If you believe that the two teams together will score more than 10 ½ runs than you want to bet the over.  The ½ is a key factor in this.  It means that the total can’t land exactly on the number.  Why is this important?  Sportsbooks always want one side to win and the other to lose.  The sportsbook will have to give everybody their money back, minus the juice (that’s the “10” in football betting) if, for instance, the total was 10 and the total runs scored landed exactly on 10.  That is why bettors see a lot of wagers instilled with a ½ point.  It ensures that one side wins and one side loses.

The run line is a strange bet.  Most of the time it has to do with the starting pitchers on each team.  Betting the run line involves deciding which pitcher will perform the best on that day for at least five innings.  A pitcher has to last for five innings for “action” on a run line bet.  Here’s an example of what a run line bet looks like:

 

Boston Red Sox

Daisuke Matsuzaka                   - 1 ½  - 120

New York Yankees

Andy Petite                              + 1 ½  - 145

The way to read this bet is, “Matsuzaka is – 1 ½ runs at minus 120 to beat Andy Petite at + 1 ½ runs minus 145.”

The way this works is this - - if you like Dice-K in this match-up then you are betting that he will be ahead of Andy Petite and the New York Yankees by at least 2 runs at the end of five innings.  You are giving up 1 ½ runs to Petite and the Yankees.  You are also putting up $120 to win $100 profit.

If you like Andy Petite in this match-up, you are betting that he won’t be behind Dice-K and the Yankees by more than a single run after the fifth inning.  With Petite you get a run and a half (hence the name “run line”).  That wager will cost you $145 to win $100 in profit.

Betting Strategy

It is important to realize that teams go through a 182 game regular season schedule.  During those 182 games, teams will be hot and teams won’t be hot.  The key for success is figuring out exactly when that hot streak is going to occur.

For instance, once the Milwaukee Brewers traded for C.C. Sabathia, they got hot.  Why?  A lot of it had to do with confidence.  C.C. brought a certain brand of confidence to the team that ended up going through individual players.  If it sounds crazy, it sort of is, but it also makes total sense.  Baseball is at its core a psychological game.  Although physical talent is important, mental toughness is much more important.

Because of that, it’s a good sign to always look for starting pitchers that have that mental toughness when making bets.  For instance, in game six of this year’s ALCS, the Boston Red Sox sent Josh Beckett to the mound.  Even though Beckett had a bad regular season, I knew that his mental toughness could carry him to a victory in that game against the Tampa Bay Rays even though the Rays were at home with one of their better pitchers, James Shields, on the mound.

Information is king when betting on baseball.  Having a good understanding of which pitchers do well under pressure situations is the biggest advantage that a baseball bettor can give himself.

Good Luck!

 

Joe Gambler Posted: December 01, 2008 at 08:24 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:27 PM (#3018643)
A person could get a nagging shoulder injury doing this much back-patting.
   2. Fridas Boss Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:31 PM (#3018646)
It is important to realize that teams go through a 182 game regular season schedule.

I usually try not to realize falsehoods.
   3. RJ in TO Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:32 PM (#3018650)
A person could get a nagging shoulder injury doing this much back-patting.


With his discussion of how he knew that the Phillies would win, it could also get him killed by Ray DiPerna.
   4. The District Attorney Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:39 PM (#3018655)
It is important to realize that teams go through a 182 game regular season schedule.
I definitely did not realize that.

it’s a good sign to always look for starting pitchers that have that mental toughness when making bets. For instance, in game six of this year’s ALCS, the Boston Red Sox sent Josh Beckett to the mound. Even though Beckett had a bad regular season, I knew that his mental toughness could carry him to a victory in that game against the Tampa Bay Rays even though the Rays were at home with one of their better pitchers, James Shields, on the mound.
Oh, yes, of course. My only question to you would be, how do you know? For instance, Shields had the nickname "Big Game." How did you know ahead of time that Beckett had mental toughness and Shields did not?

How about Beckett's previous start, against Scott Kazmir, a 24-year-old who had never pitched in an ALCS before? Did you predict that Beckett would give up eight runs that game and the Red Sox would lose?

Having a good understanding of which pitchers do well under pressure situations is the biggest advantage that a baseball bettor can give himself.
Again, great. Can you, y'know, provide us with that understanding?
   5. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:41 PM (#3018659)
Betting on baseball is a fool's errand in my view. It is the most random of sports on a day to day basis with many cases of lesser teams/pitchers beating superior teams/pitchers. This column doesn't do anything to make me change that view. There's a lot of stuff in here that looks good in retrospect but doesn't hold up to simple analysis. The two most glaring examples were;

- Beckett was mentally tough in Game Six (but not in Game Two?)
- Phillies were hot (any hotter than the '06 Tigers who won the ALCS in 5 and played a team that won the NLCS in 7?)
   6. The District Attorney Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:41 PM (#3018661)
Heh, just noticed the previous article in this section, which was from this same guy saying "I love the betting odds on the Red Sox right now at + 450 to win the World Series", and also seemingly touting his sportsbook.

Anyone home with keys? Anyone?
   7. John M. Perkins Posted: December 02, 2008 at 03:02 PM (#3018696)
Not worthy of a feature.
   8. BDC Posted: December 02, 2008 at 03:10 PM (#3018708)
Having a good understanding of which pitchers do well under pressure situations is the biggest advantage that a baseball bettor can give himself


This is similar to knowing which horse is going to run well in a given race. Piece of cake.
   9. Gamingboy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 03:11 PM (#3018710)
Insert Obligatory Pete Rose Joke Here.
   10. LVHCM Posted: December 02, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#3018779)
BostonRed Sox - 110

New York Yankees - 125


Ah yes, the old 35 cent baseball line. Seriously, who let this imbecile post this nonsense?
   11. Chris Needham Posted: December 02, 2008 at 04:32 PM (#3018826)
I'd bet (hahaha) anything that Jim's getting a pretty hefty check for this. I used to get betting sites offering money if I'd let them do a post.

The link he posts in the article helps bump his googlecred a bit, Jim gets more money for booze, and we get to snark in comments. It's a win-win-win!
   12. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 02, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#3018841)
BTF could get huge profits if they let Ana Tzarev do a regular column about baseball art or something.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 05:01 PM (#3018861)
You know, I'd bet (pun neither intended or not) that there is an interesting column to be written on this subject, if you did some real analysis.

Some lines are probably wacky due to disproportionately large fan bases.

I wouldn't be suprised if the Yankees/Red Sox/Mets/Dodgers/Cubs tend to be expensive to bet, and you could get good odds betting against their 4th & 5th starters.

It would still be very hard to overcome the vig, but there are professional gamblers, so something must work for somebody.
   14. SuperGrover Posted: December 02, 2008 at 05:59 PM (#3018930)
Ah yes, the old 35 cent baseball line. Seriously, who let this imbecile post this nonsense?


Glad I'm not the only one who caught this. Makes it a mighty bit tougher with that kind of juice methinks.

Personally, I love betting baseball. My alltime favorite bet was an over 9 1/2 with Fassero and the Rockies at Cleveland during interlague play. I can't remember who was throwing for Cleveland, but my friends and I all put 75% of our Vegas stash on the over. the score was 10-5 after three innings. Twas a thing of beauty.
   15. tribefan Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#3018941)
Over/under betting is quite simple. The concept is this:


Does anyone really not know the concept of over/under?
   16. Khrushin it bro Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:16 PM (#3018946)
I like betting on baseball too. I once threw a hundred down on Tim Hudson and the A's on their home opener while I was in Vegas and Hudson threw a shutout. Got the baseball season started in a great way. This game here. That was also the same weekend I realized that Jet Blue has Direct TV in the plane so I could watch games while flying from Long Beach into Vegas which was also pretty epic.
   17. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:19 PM (#3018949)
Oh, the home team is on the bottom!
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:24 PM (#3018956)
I hope Jim is getting paid for this. I clicked both links in hopes that it will help.
   19. cfrtb Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#3018991)
Betting on baseball is a fool's errand in my view.


With the relatively low vig, arbs, and line shopping I think most posters on here could easily come out ahead betting baseball. If you can find enough books that allow for correlated parlays one could almost bet blindly on some plays.

Also, there is a reason that sportsbooks have low maximums for baseball.
   20. Dolf Lucky Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:00 PM (#3019119)
Using a pretty simple pythagorean model injected with some strength of schedule data, I tracked hypothetical bets over half a season, making plays in favor of teams underperforming their expected win totals. As I recall, the method worked pretty well, but I assume it would stop working once I actually put real money behind it.
   21. Scott Kazmir's breaking balls Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:52 PM (#3019203)
If the writer is so certain that his system works, why isn't he at his mansion running naked through his mountains of cash instead of tolling away at his keyboard hoping to sell a book?
   22. Shock Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:51 PM (#3019290)
You know, I'd bet (pun neither intended or not) that there is an interesting column to be written on this subject, if you did some real analysis.


I know he's not all that popular around here, but I bet that mgl could write a more-interesting article on the subject.

And I too clicked the links in hopes that it benefits the site.

Don't RTFA, but CTFL.
   23. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#3019335)
I know that the Boston Red Sox are visiting the New York Yankees because the Yankees are the “bottom” team.


Hmmm... the Yankees are bottoms and not tops? Who knew? I wonder what Mike Piazza thinks of this!
   24. Shibal Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:02 PM (#3019348)
BetUS (the link listed in the story) are one of the shadier sportsbooks out there. They do offer nice affiliate deals for websites, so you see them all over the internet. Just make sure you don't win a lot of money there...you may not see the winnings.
   25. TomH Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#3019359)
those Rockies sure were hot going into the 07 Series :)
   26. Kyle S Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:25 PM (#3019367)
BetUS also has a link at the top of the right hand column. This must be part of a sponsorship or something.
   27. cfrtb Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:29 PM (#3019371)
If the writer is so certain that his system works, why isn't he at his mansion running naked through his mountains of cash instead of tolling away at his keyboard hoping to sell a book?


I am not defending this guy's 'article', but one could say the same thing about Stanford Wong's book on sports betting. From my understanding, for Wong, it was more about being able to beat the sportsbooks than actually making a living doing it. At the same time, there really isn't a 'system' in wong's book; i.e. one would still have to do their homework, line shop, etc... Anyways, my point is that people can come up with ways to 'beat the system' for the sake of beating the system. A lot of computer hackers do things just because they can or want to, but don't profit from it.

Using a pretty simple pythagorean model injected with some strength of schedule data, I tracked hypothetical bets over half a season, making plays in favor of teams underperforming their expected win totals. As I recall, the method worked pretty well, but I assume it would stop working once I actually put real money behind it.


I don't see why you couldn't test your method on past games. You could import the data from previous years for each team (minus the playoffs, since you might remember those results and bias the study), get the past lines, and then 'place' your bets. If you got the past lines from a source that had the average, or even mode, line for each game, and broke even using those lines, then you might have a winning 'system' (not really a system, since you are using actual analysis/stats), since with line shopping you would have come out ahead. Of course, it might have been a winner either way with line shopping alone. You could even 'tweak' your system using this same data if you didn't see the results of individual bets (ehhh...that might be cherry picking/biasing a bit though).
   28. cfrtb Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:34 PM (#3019373)
I meant to mention this earlier, but I wonder how much this guy bet on COL vs BOS in 2007 WS. I don't know why I feel that he would have recommended taking the huge underdog COL. I cannot remember what the actual line on that series should have been, but I remember BOS was extremely underrated according to the line(which is pretty rare).
   29. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:45 PM (#3019379)
somehow, this column would have a lot more credibility if it had been posted on, oh, I don't know, October 22nd, let's say
   30. Foster Posted: December 03, 2008 at 12:15 AM (#3019391)
Mr. Gambler,

Your system seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?
   31. Phil Plantier's Famous Toilet Seat Stance Posted: December 03, 2008 at 01:03 AM (#3019417)
The run line is a strange bet. Most of the time it has to do with the starting pitchers on each team. Betting the run line involves deciding which pitcher will perform the best on that day for at least five innings. A pitcher has to last for five innings for “action” on a run line bet.


I'm still a little confused by this line. I'm almost certain I've never had a runline bet cancelled because the pitcher was knocked out early. In fact, I know I've watched the starter get yanked in the first inning of games before while wearing a smile on my face because I bet -1.5 the other way. If the starter gets scratched, then yeah, a bets cancelled, but I've never heard of the runline being cancelled because one guy got shelled and didn't make it through five.

Of course, my book does offer the 5 1/2 inning line on nearly every game (much like first halves in football), I've never played them, so maybe they do get cancelled if the starter is lifted. But I'm fairly sure that his explanation of runlines is incorrect.

Either that or my book pays them out incorrectly.
   32. Corn On Ty Cobb Posted: December 03, 2008 at 01:17 AM (#3019426)
No, that explanation is incorrect. The only way a run line bet is nullified is if one of the SPs that was scheduled to start when you bet is scratched. When you bet a run line at a casino, it doesn't even list the teams on your ticket, just the starting pitcher's. I had a run line bet canceled late last year when Dice-K was on the board and scheduled to start but pushed back a day right before gametime (I believe there were issues about an impended rain delay and the Sox didn't want his start washed out). I bet the run line a lot; I'm positive there are no specifications on how long a SP must go.
   33. cfrtb Posted: December 03, 2008 at 01:51 AM (#3019452)
I know as long as the listed pitcher pitches one pitch it is action on the RL (or if you pick listed in a straight bet), but and it probably doesn't matter: If the road team scores, for example, 8 runs in the first inning of a game (assume a playoff game 6 which is a must win for road team) and the manager decides not to send the road team's pitcher out, in order to save him for a highly likely game 7, would there still be action? I would assume 'no' in the AL. What if it was the NL where the pitcher is now pinch hit for?
   34. Eugene Freedman Posted: December 03, 2008 at 02:52 AM (#3019483)
A few years ago, before the internet gambling law, I bet the money line all season long and almost tripled my money over the course of a season. The following year I tried again and finished up only 10%. I generally only bet underdogs +130 or better. The first year the Yankees had a terrible April and were frequently -175 or worse, so I made a lot betting against the Yankees.

I also totally contradicted the author's strategy and bet against streaks. The longer the winning/losing streak the more likely I was to bet the opposite. I realize that it's not exactly the most mathematical of strategies, but hot and cold is bogus to me and the longer a streak goes the higher likelihood it is broken, not really in that one next game, but there are just so many fewer streaks of longer amounts in history that the odds are very low.
   35. Shibal Posted: December 03, 2008 at 03:59 AM (#3019529)
This guy is a tool. What an embarrassing article.
   36. Dan Evensen Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:56 AM (#3019557)
The home team is on the bottom? Damn -- why couldn't someone tell me that 15 years ago?

The MLBPA really should get on the owners about that 182 game schedule.

Seriously, somebody should prevent this guy from writing another one of these articles. There are enough advertisements on BBTF as it is.
   37. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:59 AM (#3019575)
Of course, my book does offer the 5 1/2 inning line on nearly every game (much like first halves in football), I've never played them, so maybe they do get cancelled if the starter is lifted. But I'm fairly sure that his explanation of runlines is incorrect.

Either that or my book pays them out incorrectly.


No, you're right. The explanation of run lines is where the article crosses the line from laughably awful to deceptive and shady. I don't know why it's posted here, but it reflects very poorly on BTF. It feels like a scam.
   38. Padraic Posted: December 03, 2008 at 06:17 AM (#3019579)
Not sure if it's a scam, but certainly not worthy of BTF. Agreed with the above; it's embarrassing.
   39. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 03, 2008 at 08:21 AM (#3019586)
Phase 1: Find a way to place a bet
Phase 2:
Phase 3: Profit!
   40. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: December 03, 2008 at 08:40 AM (#3019587)
All I can think of: The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!
   41. zack Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:49 PM (#3019807)
Can someone actually describe baseball betting instead of this article, then? Early last year there was a season wins over/under on the rays at 78 that I really wanted to take the over, but didn't know where to even start.
   42. Shibal Posted: December 03, 2008 at 06:23 PM (#3019919)
There is a book by Michael Murray that shows how to use sabremetrics to bet baseball. The guy that wrote this article would do well if he read it a few times.
   43. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: December 04, 2008 at 06:59 AM (#3020492)
BetUS (the link listed in the story) are one of the shadier sportsbooks out there. They do offer nice affiliate deals for websites, so you see them all over the internet. Just make sure you don't win a lot of money there...you may not see the winnings.


Absolutely. BetUS was my one foray into internet wagering, and it was enough to keep me from ever doing it again anywhere. I bet TB to beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl, and took eight weeks to get my winnings after repeated e-mails and phone calls. What I saved on gas not driving to Reno wasn't worth the hassle.
   44. Jeff K. Posted: December 04, 2008 at 07:47 AM (#3020499)
Can someone actually describe baseball betting instead of this article, then? Early last year there was a season wins over/under on the rays at 78 that I really wanted to take the over, but didn't know where to even start.

I can't tell what you're asking for. Do you want to know about run lines and the like? A glance through the comments leaves me feeling it's pretty well explained. Do you want to know where to place a bet? There are sportsbooks and bookies, of course. And there's still online. I use Sports Interaction on the rare occasion I place a bet online. Bet on pretty much anything. 2009 WS Futures are already up. 34-1 on Atlanta, 29-1 for the Marlins and Twins, and 15-1 Dbacks would be the ones I'd like off the top of my head (I loooooove to gamble, so I have restricted myself online to just poker and placing a couple of bets a year, otherwise I'd go nuts and then broke.)
   45. Jeff K. Posted: December 04, 2008 at 07:53 AM (#3020500)
Funny, a couple of days ago, I wouldn't have posted a link to the site in my comment. I might not even have mentioned the name. But if it's in a posted "article", it's apparently all right with all involved.
   46. p2w Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:06 AM (#3020501)
I don't know Jim Furtado at all, but my opinion of him just went south a few notches.

Someone knowledgeable should post some links to more reputable gambling sites as an F-U to BetUS.
   47. cfrtb Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:19 AM (#3020502)
Jeff K: Are you logged in when you see 15-1 on TB? I am seeing 10-1. Was it recently that you saw 15-1?
   48. Jeff K. Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:25 AM (#3020503)
I've talked to Jim on the phone for 30-45 minutes, back before we started the Blogpark here. It surprises me that this is here, but I know a good bit of what his outlay was 2 years ago, and it presumably hasn't gotten cheaper. It could be easier to donate money to the site (honestly, I never even think about it, any more than I think about it when I'm at The Onion or the UT website), but I couldn't fault him for taking money to let this be posted. Not that I'm in any way saying that's the case. I assumed it was something that slipped past, but it's been up long enough that there's little chance Szym hasn't heard about it, at least.

baseclog: That's 15-1 Dbacks in #45, not Rays. I saw 11-1 Rays on sportsinteraction, that was exactly at the time of the post. Takes Visa and Mastercard, you can use your debit card.
   49. Jeff K. Posted: December 04, 2008 at 09:10 AM (#3020505)
I went to BetUS to check it out, and clicked on the affiliate program link, and then details:

Online gambling is growing rapidly and by the end of next year its revenue is projected to be over $6 billion. Not only is online gambling one of the largest entertainment industries, but is also an industry that you can easily be a part of and profit from.

Of all the affiliate programs available to webmasters on the internet, none are as profitable as an online gambling affiliate program. And better yet, there is no online affiliate program more profitable than the BetUS Partner program.

Here's why: Affiliates earn up to 35% of the losses from the players they refer. That's 10% higher than the average online casino affiliate commission.


If that's the way they're paying here, which I still tend to doubt, I am astonished that Primer is participating in such a program. It's one thing to make your money directly off the "suffering" of others, after all they don't have a bet on. It's another thing entirely to associate yourself with all the evils of gambling, and they are there if overhwlemed for most by the good things about it, for some bucks on the side. This is kind of like if the Gateway stores started selling RU-486. I don't have a problem with the product and I don't have a problem with selling it, but were I a big Gateway fan, I'd rather they just stay away from it, and if they didn't, I'd be a little disappointed in them.
   50. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 04, 2008 at 10:13 AM (#3020511)
What happened to TradeSports? It looks like they very recently closed up shop.
   51. cfrtb Posted: December 04, 2008 at 10:56 AM (#3020515)
Monsieur: I don't know for certain, but I would assume it is due to their company Intrade. They offer so many different events to trade on, and a lot of those trading, and hence money, comes from the U.S. Trading on these events is not as much of a legal 'gray' area as online gambling is in the U.S. (though this is gray as well). I imagine to stay on the U.S. government's good side they decided to stop offering sporting events, as the amount of money made from other events is not something they would want to risk losing. Plus, if they are in no way a gambling site, U.S. banks are probably way more likely to allow their customers to fund their accounts. Also, if any of the owners/shareholders of Intrade are U.S. citizens, they might be nervous about being arrested, or other legal action, when in the U.S.

Jeff: Duh, I totally misread Dbacks and saw 'drays'. The reason I had asked was I know that there were rumors in the past that they dealt two different lines (I don't think it was 100% confirmed..Bodog, on the other hand, was confirmed (though they might have stopped now) to deal two different lines. They didn't try to hide it at all, as they wanted only 'recreational' and losing bettors.)
   52. Eugene Freedman Posted: December 04, 2008 at 12:09 PM (#3020518)
Takes Visa and Mastercard, you can use your debit card.

Most credit card issuers either won't allow transactions with gambling sites. This is due to some issues early on with poker sites where people challenged the charges after losing their money. Moreover, if it is a US based bank as the card issuer, it cannot knowingly transfer money to a gambling site anymore. It's against the law. You usually have to use a straw man money transfer company like neteller that charges a small vig on the transfer. Neteller has recently been charged by the DOJ with illegal money transfers and paid hefty fines.
   53. Jeff K. Posted: December 04, 2008 at 12:30 PM (#3020521)
Oh, I'm well aware. Not true with SportsInteraction. Or at least it wasn't true when I started up through last year's Super Bowl. They take deposits directly from and pay withdrawals directly back to my debit card, which is a Visa.
   54. tribefan Posted: December 04, 2008 at 12:42 PM (#3020524)
I don't know Jim Furtado at all, but my opinion of him just went south a few notches.

Oh get off your high horse. You realize these internets aren't free, right?
   55. villageidiom Posted: December 04, 2008 at 01:52 PM (#3020561)
I've talked to Jim on the phone for 30-45 minutes, back before we started the Blogpark here. It surprises me that this is here, but I know a good bit of what his outlay was 2 years ago, and it presumably hasn't gotten cheaper. It could be easier to donate money to the site (honestly, I never even think about it, any more than I think about it when I'm at The Onion or the UT website), but I couldn't fault him for taking money to let this be posted.
Alternate options are for people to click on some ads every now and then, or to provide content that will bring more traffic to the site. The last ten "featured" articles that weren't posted in Transaction Oracle (Szym) or Notes in a Minor Key (Emeigh) are:

How to Bet on MLB (Joe Gambler) - 12/1
Happy Thanksgiving (Jim) - 11/27
David Cameron finalist for scholarship (Vogon Poet) - 11/16
(Gonfalon Cubs) Offseason Thoughts (Moses Taylor) - 11/11
Final 2008 Offense Plus Defense (OPD) Results (Chris Dial) - 10/20
THE OFFICIAL UNOFFICIAL GAME 7 DISCUSSION: FOR LACK OF A CHATTER! (Gamingboy) - 10/19
Betting the World Series Means Concentrating on Pitching Match-Ups (Joe Gambler) - 10/18
Looking Forward to 2008: The 2008 Playoffs (fra paolo) - 9/30
Fun with Leverage, Part 2: Leveraged Performance, 2004-2007 (Mike Emeigh) - 9/17
AL MVP Race - Offense Plus Defense (OPD) - Through Sept 02, 2008 (Dial) - 9/4

Szym provides content. Emeigh does. Dial does. Of course, there's plenty of content that doesn't end up in the "featured" section - most notably the Hall of Merit work of Joe Dimino, John Murphy, and others - but there's three months' worth of non-Oracle, non-Minor "featured" content up there, carrying through the playoff races, the playoffs, and the start of free agency. I would've thought there'd be more than this. Heck, Joe Gambler is among our most prolific in that time.

I was thinking about all this yesterday after seeing this thread, and wrote up (and submitted) an article. It's marked up poorly, and probably could use some editing, and might obviously appear to have been assembled in a short period, and frankly isn't the greatest attempt at content this site has ever seen. But it's something. I don't feel I have as much time as I'd like to commit to this kind of stuff; but I hope I won't be alone in making an effort. Let's raise the signal-to-noise ratio.
   56. Darren Posted: December 04, 2008 at 02:44 PM (#3020601)
Poorly edited content of questionable quality? You should take over Sox Therapy!

Personally, I'm not that worried about featured content here (I think that ship has sailed). I come for the news threads usually.
   57. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 04, 2008 at 03:03 PM (#3020615)
If that's the way they're paying here, which I still tend to doubt, I am astonished that Primer is participating in such a program.

I completely agree that this piece of crap article reflects badly on BTF, but let's not jump to conclusions. There has been no indication from Jim as to how this article got here, and no indication that he is "participating in such a program" other than letting this crap appear on the site.

I was thinking about all this yesterday after seeing this thread, and wrote up (and submitted) an article. It's marked up poorly, and probably could use some editing, and might obviously appear to have been assembled in a short period, and frankly isn't the greatest attempt at content this site has ever seen. But it's something. I don't feel I have as much time as I'd like to commit to this kind of stuff; but I hope I won't be alone in making an effort. Let's raise the signal-to-noise ratio.

I've made such attempts in the past, and will probably pick up again when the season starts on Gonfalon Cubs (way too much to do otherwise, and the idea of even thinking about the Cubs right now is too painful). But I don't fancy myself to be a baseball blogger, and would prefer to see people with bigger ambitions and more interesting things to say pick up the slack. I just want this to be a place where these discussions happen. It still is, but some original content by some good writers would be nice.
   58. Meatwad needs baseball Posted: December 04, 2008 at 03:17 PM (#3020624)
a lot of our featured content writers have been bought up. THT has done mot of this but cant really blame them for it
   59. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: December 04, 2008 at 03:24 PM (#3020628)
If the road team scores, for example, 8 runs in the first inning of a game (assume a playoff game 6 which is a must win for road team) and the manager decides not to send the road team's pitcher out, in order to save him for a highly likely game 7, would there still be action? I would assume 'no' in the AL. What if it was the NL where the pitcher is now pinch hit for?
I am almost certain you can not pinch-hit for the starting pitcher in the top of the first inning. I think he has to bat for himself.

This has nothing to do with your post, but I'm pretty sure it's right anyway. ;)
   60. Darren Posted: December 04, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#3020629)
Although I don't like what appears to be going here in general, I don't see a big distinction between taking a chunk of money for an ad that leads to your users losing money gambling, or taking a chunk of the losses. Seems like like a difference in name only.
   61. UCCF Posted: December 04, 2008 at 03:44 PM (#3020638)
Although I don't like what appears to be going here in general, I don't see a big distinction between taking a chunk of money for an ad that leads to your users losing money gambling, or taking a chunk of the losses. Seems like like a difference in name only.

If it is an ad (or part of this program), then it should be clearly identified as such. Newspapers take ads that resemble news stories in appearance, but the reader can easily figure out what is an ad by the "paid advertisement" header (or footer).

If you post an ad here posing as an article, that's misleading at best.
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 04, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#3020648)
The best thing about this sort of silly article is how it's getting its silliness exposed by so many Primates.

With the relatively low vig, arbs, and line shopping I think most posters on here could easily come out ahead betting baseball. If you can find enough books that allow for correlated parlays one could almost bet blindly on some plays.

I'll listen to this sort of talk from one type of person alone: Personal friends and / or acquaintances who tell me BEFOREHAND what they're betting on, and how much, and then come out ahead for an entire season. There are probably 10,000 folks out there today who will tell you how much money they've made up to now, but it's funny how so few of them seem to come out ahead once you begin tracking their bets.

Try it the easy way sometime. Go to an internet sports book and play fantasy betting, like the guy in the New York Post. Track your winnings and see how you do. And then if you win, try it for real. But don't let it get to you if your best thought of the week blows up in your face. Cause it'll happen time and again sure as you're born. You're smart, but probably just not quite smart enough. Probably you're about on the level of Joe the Plumber Gambler.

I'm not saying that baseball can't be beaten, but it's like that $100 bill you see on the sidewalk: If it were real, the chances are 99 out of 100 that someone would have grabbed it long before you spotted it.
   63. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 04, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#3020661)
a lot of our featured content writers have been bought up.

I'm not sure "bought" is the right word and there are really just a handful of former regular BTF contributors now at THT.

Anyway, as Darren said, BTF's niche has turned out to be not so much about original content, which THT seems to have adopted. The big thing here is the Newsblog, but I think there remains a great deal of unexploited potential: the team blogs and the game chatters, mostly. I think it hasn't taken off for a number of reasons, but I think that potential remains.
   64. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 04, 2008 at 04:44 PM (#3020680)
a lot of our featured content writers have been bought up.

I'm not sure "bought" is the right word and there are really just a handful of former regular BTF contributors now at THT.

I'm not sure "bought up" is the best way to describe it at all. THT didn't approach me, I approached them. Mainly because I was sick of having a lag time of 4-6 weeks between when I submitted an article to Szym and when he actually posted it.
   65. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: December 04, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#3020842)
The poor editing in that piece was what turned me off.


Baseball betting is most like future’s trading in the sense that future’s traders on Wall Street are just like baseball bettors.

I knew he had nothing to offer after that. Forget the horrible overall structure and style. The mistake on the vig was over the top.
   66. Meatwad needs baseball Posted: December 04, 2008 at 06:40 PM (#3020847)
eh bought probly is the wrong term but basically it was ment they went to else where to post their stuff, btf is kind of a launching point for a lot of people chadbradfordwannabe espically
   67. villageidiom Posted: December 04, 2008 at 07:47 PM (#3020948)
Anyway, as Darren said, BTF's niche has turned out to be not so much about original content, which THT seems to have adopted. The big thing here is the Newsblog...


The thing there, though, is that BTF doesn't own the news. Any other website with original content can provide a space to post news items and allow discussion. If that happens, the only things distinguishing this site are (a) the people who come here (which there will be less incentive as other sites mimic what happens here), and (b) the original content being provided here. I know I started the "There's no content!" ball rolling, but there is content here. The chief suppliers of content are in Transaction Oracle, Notes in a Minor Key, Dialed In, and Hall of Merit; and there's quality stuff there. I just think there needs to be more.

I'm not Jim and I don't know what the financial situation is behind the scenes... But if I'm going to get content here, I'd much rather that it's not an extended advertisement being disguised as content. That kind of content is a short-term fix, potentially driving current traffic away. I'd rather see real content, something to drive traffic up. This is a community, and I'd rather not see it wither away.

...but I think there remains a great deal of unexploited potential: the team blogs and the game chatters, mostly.
A year or two ago there were a lot more "features" from team blogs: Gonfalon Cubs and Sox Therapy were the most active in that time, but Count The Rings™, Royal Ingenuity, and Baseball Centrist (AL Central blog) were all cranking out content - or at least discussion-starters - often. I think only two of those are "active" now, and the level of activity has been low. (No offense meant to the keyholders; I know y'all have other things on your plate, and I recognize it is a natural low point of the year for this kind of stuff.)

Poorly edited content of questionable quality? You should take over Sox Therapy!
You've done well, but I suppose I could pitch in. I don't think anyone benefits if I "take over" anything.
   68. sardonic Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#3020969)
The thing there, though, is that BTF doesn't own the news. Any other website with original content can provide a space to post news items and allow discussion. If that happens, the only things distinguishing this site are (a) the people who come here (which there will be less incentive as other sites mimic what happens here), and (b) the original content being provided here.


I would not discount (a) at all. It's incredibly hard to build an online community as large, sticky and enduring as this one, and there is a lot of network capital here, IMO.
   69. villageidiom Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#3020982)
A quick tangent... back to the subject of this article, somewhat.

Many years ago I was part of an office pool that went like this:

Monday morning each person puts $X into a pot. In return they get $200 of fake money (denoted here as F200) they can then use to bet on Monday's games. They can bet as much or as little of that F200 as they want, on as many or as few MLB games as they want. Put it all on the Royals to beat the Angels? Put F10 on the home team in every game? Bet nothing? Whatever people wanted to do, they could do, the conditions being that they had to ante up their $X ten minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the first game on Monday.

The betting line used was whatever was in the morning paper for the home team. The visiting team's line was ignored, and instead we used the opposite of the home team's line. So in the Red Sox/Yankees sportsbook line given above, on the Yankees you had to bet F125 to win F100, and on the Red Sox you had to bet F100 to win F125. (Yes, this gave a little more incentive to bet the underdog.)

Tuesday morning the results are tallied by whoever was designated to tally them. Each player can then use their net amount (The starting F200 plus or minus their results from Monday's games) to bet the Tuesday games. Likewise for Wednesday and Thursday. After the Thursday games, whoever had the most in fake money won the pot of real money. The following week, it starts over. Ante $X again, start with F200 again.
   70. villageidiom Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#3020989)
I would not discount (a) at all. It's incredibly hard to build an online community as large, sticky and enduring as this one, and there is a lot of network capital here, IMO.
I agree. But it seems like the original content is seeking larger audiences. I guess it's the distinction between an audience and a community; but I think it's easier for the former to become the latter than it is for the latter to stay together.

Part of the reason I want this site to succeed is that I like this community. I see this article as neither evidence of success nor a reflection of community.
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2008 at 08:33 PM (#3020994)
I agree. But it seems like the original content is seeking larger audiences. I guess it's the distinction between an audience and a community; but I think it's easier for the former to become the latter than it is for the latter to stay together.

Part of the reason I want this site to succeed is that I like this community. I see this article as neither evidence of success nor a reflection of community.


Playing off your point in 70, games are a great community builder.

Perhaps a good "content" addition would be some sort of advanced metrics fantasy league that we all could participate in.

Dan could even charge a modest fee (Yeah revenue!).
   72. Jeff K. Posted: December 05, 2008 at 12:16 PM (#3021401)
Alternate options are for people to click on some ads every now and then, or to provide content that will bring more traffic to the site.

Too true. For myself, I'm with AR. The reason the Blogpark stopped coming was that the concept of team blogs changed midstream. Szym said they were looking for one person (at least) for each one, and asked if Spivey or I wanted to do it, and we agreed to do it together. It was supposed to be a news aggregator with some original content, so that there would be a Repoz/NTN for each team. A few months later, finding news was sublimated to original content. Thing is, and again agreed with Gee, I'm not a writer. I can do it somewhat capably, but I don't enjoy doing it. This is a fantastic alternate way to donate value to the site for some, though, of course.

I completely agree that this piece of crap article reflects badly on BTF, but let's not jump to conclusions. There has been no indication from Jim as to how this article got here, and no indication that he is "participating in such a program" other than letting this crap appear on the site.

This is what I was trying to say, apparently unsuccessfully (see?) The "which I tend to doubt" in my original was meant to indicate that I doubt very much that Jim is participating in that program. If he were, I understand the motivation and don't fault the action, but I do think it is not a good idea.

Although I don't like what appears to be going here in general, I don't see a big distinction between taking a chunk of money for an ad that leads to your users losing money gambling, or taking a chunk of the losses. Seems like like a difference in name only.

Nope. There are three significant differences. The first is that of perception of the site. Right now, when an ad runs for anything, Jim can say "Look, I just contract for an ad provider, they give me money, I don't know what's going on." and then complain to the provider if users complain. It's happened before. Were he taking money explicitly for this, though, that goes away. He loses common carrier status, to borrow a term and use an analogy most will understand. Taken to an extreme, what if that means that the likes of Neyer, JoePos, Ringolsby et al can't come here? If they're told that Site X promotes baseball gambling and that MLB doesn't want them posting here because that's using their fame to promote baseball gambling. It's ridiculous, but it could happen, and while MLB can't really do anything about it other than pull credentials, ask the NCAA how effective that was wrt scoring lines in papers (the DMN didn't have college betting lines until I was in my 20s) and liveblogging.

The second is another simple difference, that those are two different streams of money. You can see the structural difference between "I'll pay you $5 to run an ad on your site" vs. "Run my ad and I'll give you 10% of their losses." It's not just a name difference, it's a revenue difference that can benefit either party depending on the skill of the ad viewers.

That difference isn't just semantic. It's key to the big one. In the first, the $5 for running the ad one, the transaction is completed upfront. In the second, the site (and therefore its owner) now has a vested interest in its users losing money gambling on baseball. I put that in bold because it's very, very, very important. That's an enormous difference, and the reason that it's big is one anyone familiar with baseball can see. Why is gambling the unforgivable sin in baseball? Not because of the gambling, but because of the perception of the potential. What if the site owner gets greedy, or his mother gets sick, or his kids need braces? It is possible, however small the probability, that he could restrict the information released on the site in order to increase the losses of his readers and therefore profit. If you were a gambler, would you use the casino's "baseball news" site as your primary source of information? Of course not. In the scenario of Primer participating in this program (to repeat, I do not believe this to be true), it becomes no different than a site run by a casino.
   73. LVHCM Posted: December 05, 2008 at 01:42 PM (#3021415)
BetUS (the link listed in the story) are one of the shadier sportsbooks out there. They do offer nice affiliate deals for websites, so you see them all over the internet. Just make sure you don't win a lot of money there...you may not see the winnings.


My bad, I didn't even realize this was a BetUs ad my first time through this thread. Shibal is correct, this is a scam book, which makes the issue look even worse for this site. In other words, even if win, you lose. Here is a review for BetUS.

The reason this ad is in the form of an article is due to the fact that accepting advertising for online gambling is risky business. I am a moderator at a sports betting message board based in Nevada and we take no advertising for online gambling.

I must say this reflects very poorly on this site.
   74. Justin T drives a crooked hoss Posted: December 05, 2008 at 02:37 PM (#3021432)
The reason this ad is in the form of an article is due to the fact that accepting advertising for online gambling is risky business. I am a moderator at a sports betting message board based in Nevada and we take no advertising for online gambling.

I don't think that's the reason. As soon as this article was posted a few weeks ago, a small ad for BetUs appeared above the Hot Topics bar.
   75. LVHCM Posted: December 05, 2008 at 02:56 PM (#3021437)
I don't think that's the reason. As soon as this article was posted a few weeks ago, a small ad for BetUs appeared above the Hot Topics bar.


Okay, I don't see the ads with firefox adblock. :^)

I can certainly sympathize with the need to drum up revenue, but this is the wrong path IMHO.
   76. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 05, 2008 at 02:59 PM (#3021439)
I don't see anything particularly wrong with posting this bogus article as a means of getting revenue, though it would have been niceif they're been some sort of explanation from Jim. But perhaps LVHCM has given us a rational explantion for that omission in #74 above.

Again, what's the harm? On a site like this it's going to be exposed as the scam every time it gets posted. This isn't like a state lottery, where the government openly tries to pick the pockets of people who don't know any better. If any site is perfectly equipped to counter this sort of phony crap and neutralize its message, it's BTF. Especially since this is a second time offense that follows so closely after their first one.
   77. Jeff K. Posted: December 05, 2008 at 09:13 PM (#3021784)
Andy,

Let's say it's not a scam. Let's say it's a legitimate betting website, and hell, let's say they don't even do the article, they just run an ad. I click on it to visit a sponsor as vi suggests in #55 (and I know lots of people who do this.) While I'm there, I decide to open an account and start laying my action at their book. Do you disagree with what I said in #73 about how that now puts my interests and Jim's interests (in the hypothetical in case anyone doesn't read what I've written) at odds? If not, I don't see how that's not a harm.
   78. Jeff K. Posted: December 05, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#3021793)
Also, even if this group is perfectly able to pick out every potential scam, it's wrong to post because it will get pointed out and it will reflect poorly. Whether or not it is a scam is irrelevant to me from the "is it a bad idea?" standpoint. It's a bad idea regardless. It's a *much worse* idea if it's a scam.
   79. Nasty Nate Posted: December 05, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#3021828)
This thread's been going all week so it's kind of odd that there's been no official clarification nor any posts from 'Joe Gambler'
   80. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 05, 2008 at 10:24 PM (#3021872)
Jeff K,

I guess it's hard for me to imagine that anyone posting here on BTF would be dumb enough to think that he could beat baseball (or any sport) in the long run, unless he were a serious professional with a huge bankroll to cushion his inevitable losses, supplemented with a good private telephone line to all the team doctors. Which is why I wrote "what's the harm?"---I think that Joe the Gambler is just wasting his money on BTF, with BTF the only winner.

But just as LVHCM raised a very good point the liability of accepting outright advertising for internet gambling, you bring up a very good point about the possible appearance of a conflict of interest, at least if BTF were collecting from JTG on some sort of a royalty or commission basis, rather than a flat fee.

I'm always a bit conflicted about gambling, anyway. I've gambled on pool for 44 years, and used to dabble in sports betting until I quickly figured out that it was a sucker's game. But when you get into questions of morality and gambling, my only position is that the government should leave it strictly alone, with this exception---it shouldn't allow any form of advertising for it. And of course AFAIC it has absolutely no business running clip joints (AKA lotteries) itself. On a certain level they're even more philosophically contemptible than the war in Iraq.

As to this immediate issue, I wish Furtado would come here and give us the straight dirt on what the deal is, why he did it, and how he addresses the concerns that have been raised by you and others. I'm perfectly willing to give him the initial benefit of the doubt, but in the words of Ronald Reagan: Trust, but verify.
   81. Shibal Posted: December 05, 2008 at 10:42 PM (#3021883)
Just to clear up one thing: the article contains just a link to BetUS, not a link with an affiliate code. So BTF won't be getting a cut of your losses if you signed up by clicking the link.

If I recall correctly, it is arguably legal to accept this type of advertising. Getting a cut of the losses is illegal. The Justice Dept went after Yahoo and the other big boys about taking advertising and got them to settle out of court, but I don't think anyone has ever been prosecuted for doing that. Justice prefers to threaten the radio stations to get them to stop carrying advertising for sportsbooks but ignores the small individual websites that take it.
   82. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: December 05, 2008 at 10:45 PM (#3021886)
The reason this ad is in the form of an article is due to the fact that accepting advertising for online gambling is risky business.

This goes triply so so for sports betting by the way. If your servers are located within the United States, you're running the risk of a cease and desist over from the feds at best, and a possible Wire Act prosecution at worst.

The guys running this site can of course run it any way they see fit, but I would strongly advise not going any further down this road.
   83. Jeff K. Posted: December 05, 2008 at 11:28 PM (#3021903)
Okay, Andy, I can see that. Though there are some people (many orders of magnitude fewer than who claim so, as you note) that do make money betting on sports, so I can believe that there are a few of them here. Which few that would be, who knows?

I'm always a bit conflicted about gambling, anyway. I've gambled on pool for 44 years, and used to dabble in sports betting until I quickly figured out that it was a sucker's game. But when you get into questions of morality and gambling, my only position is that the government should leave it strictly alone, with this exception---it shouldn't allow any form of advertising for it.

I'm not conflicted at all. If you're a grownup and the guy you're placing a bet with is a grownup, it's fine by me. If I were Emperor of the US, one of the first things I'd do is basically shut down every vice unit in the land by legalizing all forms of gambling (that don't involve other crimes, such as dog fighting and animal cruelty), drugs, and prostitution (again, no children) overnight. US out of my poker club! (General Petraeus: We must deploy troops to Jeff's poker club immediately)

I too wish someone would stop by and leave a note, however short.
   84. Obama Bomaye Posted: December 05, 2008 at 11:30 PM (#3021904)
They're still working on their cover story.
   85. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 06, 2008 at 12:00 AM (#3021912)
Oops, didn't notice how the thread exploded.

For the article, I can't speak to that as I haven't talked to Jim about it. I saw the article the same time everyone else did and the subject matter isn't the least bit familiar to me.

The problem with new content is the newsblog has gotten so big and popular that it kind of eats the smaller niche articles with the structure that we currently have.

There have been real-life issues that have made our planned decentralization impractical for the last year (I can't go into them), but we still hope to do it and make some headway with the organizational mess that the site can be for non-Newsblog purposes. We've talked about making BTF a looser parent site, as it was prior to 2004, and bringing back the Baseball Primer name and domain for the newsblog and making thinks like the Transaction Oracle more independent.
   86. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 06, 2008 at 12:10 AM (#3021916)
Mainly because I was sick of having a lag time of 4-6 weeks between when I submitted an article to Szym and when he actually posted it.

Heh, at that point, it was taking me that long just to get into the control panel!
   87. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 06, 2008 at 01:16 AM (#3021943)
Okay, Andy, I can see that. Though there are some people (many orders of magnitude fewer than who claim so, as you note) that do make money betting on sports, so I can believe that there are a few of them here. Which few that would be, who knows?

One of my best friends is a midget (4' 6" or thereabouts) who almost never books a loser in pool (though the action is that is nearly nonexistent any more) and who plays poker six or seven nights a week and comes out ahead more often than not. But for the last 20 years, I've never known him to have a winning season betting either baseball or college hoops, and yet he still approaches every bet with complete and utter conviction---"I see VALUE here in Colorado...." For him it's all about the action (duh), but it still amazes me that someone with his skill level in poker would spend so much time donating his winnings back to his sports guy.

(General Petraeus: We must deploy troops to Jeff's poker club immediately)

Jesus, I went to that link and read the first piece, and wondered when the Onion started printing straightforward polemics. Must be some new development that I didn't know about.

And then I saw the kicker. Priceless.
   88. Jeff K. Posted: December 06, 2008 at 01:31 AM (#3021949)
Szym:

I've been looking at this for a while, after reading the link from upthread from the sportsbook reviewing service that has clearly labeled BetUS a scam. I did my own research, and I've got to agree. I'm not talking about whether they pay or anything like that, I'm just looking at easily found information.

1) They're blacklisted by SpamCop. It seems that is in the process of going away, but I imagine it will be re-added, because
2) I can find on my own specific instances where they have and continue to spam sites with bad links (Wikipedia as an example, and not just their own page) that have their URL.
3) Their domain WHOIS information changed 100+ times last year, and 200+ this year. Link You can search BBTF.org for a baseline there, it's got 3 this year, 2 last year. And it's not related to the privacy tool they use to block WHOIS info (another point in favor, though some use it legitimately, so I'm not counting it), because they started that a few months ago. I can't even think of a reason why WHOIS info would change 300 times in less than 2 years.
4) myWOT.com (Web of Trust) flags it. This is user generated, not an RBL.
5) They have Google bombed with fake sportsbook review websites, but every single one of those (I mean every. single. one.) has every user comment (every.user.comment.) as "This is a scam" relating a new and horrific story.
6) The only legitimate sportsbook review site I can find rates them a D+. It rates CiC's recommendation (Lounge) as an A+.

As to whether this was a paid post, I direct you to this:
The preceding was a paid advertisement by BetUS.com
And this

There are more.

I'm not so sure I'm giving the benefit of the doubt anymore. I don't fault the decision that I think (repeat: think) was made here. Sites cost money, and this one has a ton of traffic and is basically coming out of Jim's pocket. I don't blame him for it. I'd like to see a disclaimer, but hell, I'm not in a position to ask for anything. I'm a little disappointed and more than a little sad, though.
   89. Jeff K. Posted: December 06, 2008 at 01:45 AM (#3021953)
   90. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 06, 2008 at 02:24 AM (#3021963)
Jeff, that shlt is sick. I just sent the links to half the people I know (all five of them). My favorites were the "Oooh, Look at me, I read the Economist" and "Medication is wasted on the old."
   91. cfrtb Posted: December 06, 2008 at 11:14 AM (#3022037)
I'll listen to this sort of talk from one type of person alone: Personal friends and / or acquaintances who tell me BEFOREHAND what they're betting on, and how much, and then come out ahead for an entire season. There are probably 10,000 folks out there today who will tell you how much money they've made up to now, but it's funny how so few of them seem to come out ahead once you begin tracking their bets.


To clarify what I meant, there is a difference between beating baseball betting and making a living out of it. If you place nothing but arbitrage bets, and are certain that the books will pay you, you cannot lose, hence will at worst break even (over an entire season this is highly unlikely) or win. The problem is that you have to do a lot of work, and unless you can get a lot of money down on each side (which is tougher to do in baseball)it is hard to make a living at it.

As far as the correlated parlay: You get almost 'true' odds on parlays. Without going into all the details here, it is probably safe to say that there is a correlation between big road dogs/ big home dogs and very low totals/very high totals.

I do agree with you as far as tracking player's bets before believing what they tell you. Almost all touts suck and almost everybody will lose if they don't shop for the best lines on the side they feel is the best bet. In the long run it would be almost impossible to win at betting any sport if you always took the worst line available.

Finally, there is a reason that sportsbook's maximum bets on baseball is lower than NBA/NFL (MLB totals are usually even lower maximums) and that a lot of books don't allow overnight bets on baseball or don't put out a line until the morning. Sure, some of this is due to risk, since not as many people bet on baseball, but is also due to the edge that sharp (not me) bettors have in baseball.
   92. LVHCM Posted: December 06, 2008 at 01:17 PM (#3022042)
Finally, there is a reason that sportsbook's maximum bets on baseball is lower than NBA/NFL (MLB totals are usually even lower maximums) and that a lot of books don't allow overnight bets on baseball or don't put out a line until the morning. Sure, some of this is due to risk, since not as many people bet on baseball, but is also due to the edge that sharp (not me) bettors have in baseball.


Not you? Everything you've said is 100% correct. Who but a sharp knows this stuff??
   93. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 06, 2008 at 03:31 PM (#3022061)
To clarify what I meant, there is a difference between beating baseball betting and making a living out of it. If you place nothing but arbitrage bets, and are certain that the books will pay you, you cannot lose, hence will at worst break even (over an entire season this is highly unlikely) or win. The problem is that you have to do a lot of work, and unless you can get a lot of money down on each side (which is tougher to do in baseball)it is hard to make a living at it.

Arb betting takes a lot of capital and an incredible amount of work to pay off in more than nickels and dimes (and here I'm talking about Jeffersons and FDRs, not the metaphorical kind!), and it's hard to believe that more than an infinitesimly small number of bettors could ever make a serious living out of it. But more power to anyone who can.

My favorite baseball "system" back in the day was to wait for the first few weeks to pass by, then make a small to medium play on the best team in baseball, playing at home, against a weak opponent, even if you were laying 2 to 1, which you usually weren't if the strength of the team was in its offense rather than in a superstar pitcher. This would always be on the first game of a three or four game series.

If you win, you bank it and wait until the next such series presents itself.

If you lose, you double or triple up the next day, and if you lose again, repeat, making sure that your potential winnings on the second or third day will more than cover your losses from the earlier game(s).

Obviously the risk was in the fluke happenstance of a great team's tanking for an entire weekend at home against a team of stiffs, but if you were paying attention to recent performance and not season records alone, your chances of going off would be almost nothing. Teams like the 1976 Reds don't (and didn't) usually get swept at home against any significantly weaker opponent.

Of course to do this you'd have to not only have the stomach for it and be also willing to accept repeated small wins instead of big scores, but you'd also have to find a bookie who'd let you keep placing this sequence of bets. Easier said than done back in the day, and I have no idea whether in real life it would be any easier to do online today.

I do agree with you as far as tracking player's bets before believing what they tell you. Almost all touts suck and almost everybody will lose if they don't shop for the best lines on the side they feel is the best bet. In the long run it would be almost impossible to win at betting any sport if you always took the worst line available.

Of course I've never hung out with gamblers on anything but the amateur and local levels, but in 40+ years I've never known one of them to beat sports of any kind, other than those who bet on themselves in games of skill such as pool or poker. The most cynical but probably the soundest "system" I've ever heard offered on sports betting is to track the games with shifting odds and then bet against the public when the number hits its peak. But the better one than that is this: Just find a more profitable hobby.
   94. Shibal Posted: December 06, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#3022086)
If you lose, you double or triple up the next day, and if you lose again, repeat, making sure that your potential winnings on the second or third day will more than cover your losses from the earlier game(s).

Of course to do this you'd have to not only have the stomach for it and be also willing to accept repeated small wins instead of big scores, but you'd also have to find a bookie who'd let you keep placing this sequence of bets. Easier said than done back in the day, and I have no idea whether in real life it would be any easier to do online today.


Ahhh...the old Martingale system. That brings some bad memories from my not so smart days of youth.
   95. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 06, 2008 at 05:14 PM (#3022090)
Yeah, it does have a few drawbacks. (smile)
   96. Jeff K. Posted: December 06, 2008 at 05:23 PM (#3022092)
Really? I never knew anyone who actually put a Martingale system into play. One of our friends came along on a Vegas trip, his first time, and on the way out, he told me about his "system", which I quickly advised him against, which was a Martingale hiding in sheep's clothing. Seeing it in action, I don't think I could have taken that. Yeah, it's rare that you lose the 65/35 prop 13 times in a row, but if you do and you play it all the way through, you're broke, broken, or both.
   97. Jeff K. Posted: December 06, 2008 at 05:46 PM (#3022102)
(That "Really?" was directed at #95, not 96.)
   98. Shibal Posted: December 06, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#3022107)
When I got out of college, I loaded up my Mustang II (the Pinto version) and moved to Vegas for the summer where I could stay with a friend for free. I had about $300 in cash and got the brilliant idea that I could stretch my money by using the Martingale system playing blackjack enough to get buffet money, then leave. It worked for a few days, then the cold streak hit. $200 gone in about five minutes while I was trying to win $3 for a damn Circus Circus buffet.

So I became a male stripper and the rest is history. Or bussed tables at night while looking desperately for a real job...whichever one seems more impressive is what I did.
   99. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: December 06, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#3022129)
If you place nothing but arbitrage bets, and are certain that the books will pay you, you cannot lose, hence will at worst break even (over an entire season this is highly unlikely) or win. The problem is that you have to do a lot of work, and unless you can get a lot of money down on each side (which is tougher to do in baseball)it is hard to make a living at it.

Also, it takes just one mistake (mis-calculating odds, mis-reading the maxmums, having one line move in the middle of getting your bets down) to lose all the money you make from dozens of small arb wins. I used to play arbs years ago, and it was fun, but I learned the hard way that there's way more downside than upside.

(Well, there's upside, too. My mistake was misreading the limits, and getting exposed to one side of a bet. But I won the bet, so it was all good. But extremely stressful).
   100. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: December 06, 2008 at 07:02 PM (#3022132)
(Well, there's upside, too. My mistake was misreading the limits, and getting exposed to one side of a bet. But I won the bet, so it was all good. But extremely stressful).

The bet was on the total number of wins that Carolina would have in the 2001 NFL season (I was able to find over 3.5 at -110 and under 3.5 at +135 or so. I misread the line on the former bet, and ended up with about ten times as much on the latter). So I was stressed out for four months. Especially so after they beat the Vikings in week 1. Thankfully, they didn't win again that year.
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