Category Archives: Bet On It

Roll ‘dem electronic bones.

This New York Times piece on sports betting and how it will affect viewing has an air of inevitability about it, for one obvious reason:  there’s too much money at stake.

Not just on the obvious level of what states and casinos can pull…

“I was talking to some economic development people from Alabama,” says Jack Evans, a District of Columbia council member who introduced a sports gambling bill there that is expected to become law in March. “They were asking how they could raise money. I told them: ‘Put in sports gambling and you can pay off all your debts on the Alabama-Auburn football game alone. One game, Alabama and Auburn. You’d make billions.’ ”

… but also in how creative broadcasters could get in monetizing the product.  Here’s one example.

But gambling’s greatest impact, at least proportionally, could come in the new professional leagues it spawns and the moribund ones it helps to resurrect. The Arena Football League once included 19 teams spread across the continent; last year there were four. Leonsis owns the Washington and Baltimore franchises, which makes him not only the most powerful owner in the league but the only person preventing its demise. He has positioned it as an ideal entertainment vehicle for the next generation. That includes gambling, of course. Arena Football averages a touchdown every six plays, Leonsis notes, as well as 98 points a game. “Lots of data generated,” he says — and a multitude of possible bets.

Greater than $30 billion has been bet legally on football since 1992, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. That’s about 50 percent more than on basketball, and double the amount bet on baseball. Leonsis wants to expand the A.F.L. to six franchises, and eventually to 12. But his vision mandates a network partner that will market the game as the anti-N.F.L.: informal, expressive and gambling-friendly. It doesn’t matter that the league, as currently constituted, has almost no history, he says. Your favorite team will be the one you have money on at the moment.

On a private flight to New York last fall, Leonsis ran through a pitch he planned to show Sean McManus, who runs the sports department at CBS. He envisioned fast-paced telecasts of A.F.L. games on an affiliated sports channel. But as the plane landed in Teterboro, N.J., he confided that he doesn’t believe CBS will end up investing. Its executives are leery of jeopardizing their relationship with the N.F.L., he said, and that’s probably wise. The N.F.L. most likely wouldn’t look kindly on one of its primary partners’ televising another football league’s games. As usual, though, Leonsis was looking further ahead.

“If the N.F.L. is smart, they should want CBS to do this,” he said. “See how far they can take it. Let the A.F.L. be the canary in the coal mine. See what works and what doesn’t work, and then they can pull back from there on their own telecasts.”

Umm… (and I know I’m getting ahead of myself here) doesn’t CBS hold the broadcast rights to SEC football?

It’s coming.  Okay, maybe not in that precise format.  But it’s coming.  (And somebody will sell it as being good for the kids.)  It’s coming because we want it.

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Filed under Bet On It, College Football

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance.”

File this under “Legalized Sports Betting, What Could Go Wrong?”.

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Filed under Bet On It

Prop bets for Alabama-Georgia

Wanna make a wager on who wins the Dr. Pepper halftime contest?

Sheesh.

8 Comments

Filed under Bet On It

“SEC schools draw action.”

The first day of legal sports books in Biloxi went exactly as you’d expect.

At the Imperial Palace Casino’s new sports book, each sport has its own betting sheet, and the sheets, stacked neatly in baskets for prospective bettors with corresponding labels: NFL, college football, MLB, golf, tennis, NASCAR.

One basket is different. It is labeled not by sport but by conference, the three letters recognizable to anyone ’round here, as they might say: S-E-C. “They don’t have these in Vegas,” says George Cole, the Imperial Palace’s sports book director. “SEC football—it’s where the action is here.”

… For now, the sports book will have to do. And that’s O.K. at the Hard Rock, where Schenk says they’ve seen a 15% uptick in foot traffic since opening their book. Next door at the Beau Rivage, the second set of college games is winding down, and it’s still packed, with nearly every seat occupied and a standing-room crowd encircling the venue, each craning their necks to see one of the eight games on the 24 televisions, many of them in college football apparel—a camouflage LSU hat, an Ole Miss wind-breaker, a Michigan T-shirt, a Texas visor. They were all here for a historic day: to, legally, bet on this region’s religion.

“The South,” says Schenk, “they love their SEC, love their college football.”

There’s an SEC promo just dying to happen.  I give Sankey a couple of years before he green-lights it.

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Filed under Bet On It, SEC Football

ESPN’s biggest wish for the 2018 season

Sure, Mickey, there may be 14 teams with a chance to make the CFP, but that’s not what the betting public believes.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide enter the season as the consensus favorites for a third consecutive year. Alabama is +175 to win the national championship at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. According to Sportsoddshistory.com, those are the best odds for a preseason favorite since USC was listed at +160 before the the 2005 season.

Alabama has won two of the past three national championships and has been favored in 110 of its past 111 games.

Yeah, Clemson’s getting its share of early love.

No. 2 Clemson, at 4-1, is the clear-cut second favorite and has attracted significant interest from bettors in Las Vegas and New Jersey. More money has been bet on the Tigers to win the national title than has been wagered on any other team, including Alabama, at several sportsbooks.

At William Hill’s books in Nevada and New Jersey, 22 percent of the money bet on the national championship odds is on Clemson, substantially more than how much has been wagered on Alabama (14 percent) and three times more than has been bet on any other team.

But, ‘Bama.

More than half of the money bet on the national championship odds at DraftKings’ new sportsbook in New Jersey is on the Tigers and Tide, with 30 percent of it on Clemson, the company said.

Just think what one regular season upset would do for the talking heads at the WWL.

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Filed under Alabama, BCS/Playoffs, Bet On It, ESPN Is The Devil

Tuesday morning buffet

You know you want some.

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Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Bet On It, Georgia Football, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

“Although, that wouldn’t make it much fun for the gamblers or for the media.”

Ah, the tension.

Right now, there is no standard in the NCAA for discussing player injuries.

“My university’s attorney told me, ‘You cannot be specific with any injuries. You can say upper body. You can say lower body,'” said Todd Berry, who coached college football for 34 years and is now executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “Many times the media would already know what it was, but that’s all I could reference.”

Some coaches are more specific. Others are reluctant to share anything at all.

Washington State’s Mike Leach has a history of not even answering questions after a game about a player who was injured on the field. Chip Kelly also never talked about injuries while at Oregon — he’s now at UCLA — and eventually neither did his successor, Mark Helfrich, who’s now in the NFL. Miami’s Mark Richt used to be pretty open about injury updates but started to cut back because other coaches were withholding information.

Others are more forthcoming, like Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State and Duke’s David Cutcliffe.

That inconsistency could potentially raise red flags as legal gambling grows throughout the United States. If one coach reveals more than another, it opens up questions of whether it creates a chance for some gamblers to gain an unfair edge.

“When there’s less info out there, you have a greater chance of having inside information,” said Brad Powers, senior college football analyst for Pregame.com. “When there’s more information, when everyone knows everything — like the NFL, you know exactly if a guy is probable, doubtful or questionable — then nobody really has any inside information.”

Powers said bettors want a common language across the conferences. Coaches also want consistency, Berry said.

That could mean only releasing a player’s status for the game — an availability report, which may be the safest option. Or injuries could be defined as lower or upper body only.

“The more specific you get, the greater the chance is that you will wander into an area that is protected by one or both of those statutes (HIPAA and FERPA),” said attorney William H. Brooks, who works in the NCAA compliance and investigations group for his firm, Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC.

To be honest, I don’t get all the fretting about this.  As that quoted passage suggests, an availability report would seem to meet the concerns of both ends.  Or am I missing something here?

14 Comments

Filed under Bet On It, College Football, The Body Is A Temple