Category Archives: Bet On It

Thursday morning buffet

Pac-12 Media Days, a target-rich environment.

  • The Pac-12 announced yesterday that the 2020 and 2021 host site for the Pac-12 Championship Game will be located in Las Vegas.  Gambling, for the win!
  • Mike Gundy“When asked how he would coach his son, Gunnar, if the situation arose: “I told him, if you come to Oklahoma State, I’ll coach you like I do everybody else… If you’re the best player, you’ll play. If not, you won’t play — even though I’m sleeping with your mom.”  (h/t Ben)
  • “A four-month external review of the Pac-12’s officiating program determined it is “predominantly consistent with best practices in the industry” and does not need a major overhaul.”  Of course it doesn’t, bless their hearts.
  • Secondary market ticket prices for Georgia-Notre Dame are going through the roof.
  • For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus looks at two Georgia transfer quarterbacks’ futures and notes that Jacob Eason has a better surrounding cast than does Justin Fields.
  • Herbie describes Jake Fromm as “arguably the best leader in the country”.
  • David Shaw says the move to an eight-team CFP field is inevitable because, in part: “If we can go from 64 to 65 to 68 (in the NCAA basketball tournament), we can go from four to eight. Don’t talk about time, we can make it work.”  By that reasoning, there’s no reason to stop at eight, is there?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Bet On It, Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Pac-12 Football, Stats Geek!

When they say it’s for the kids

Never underestimate the ability of conference commissioners to use concern for student-athletes as a lever for any topic.

“We’re seeing trends in the mental health area that should cause us all to pause before these ideas around specific event betting within college sports are allowed to take place,” he said. “And I’m talking about, for example, whether a field goal is made or missed, whether a 3-point try is successful. Is a pitched ball a strike or a ball?

“That pause should happen before any of these types of activities take place.”

Sankey managed to say that with a straight face — after the SEC announced it would be a regular participant in the Las Vegas Bowl, that is.  He’s not a sports psychologist; he just plays one in Hoover.

All I can figure is that he’s angling for some sort of health fee to be levied on sports books.  Because you never know when Rodrigo Blankenship might crack under the pressure of a $50 bet on whether he makes that 45-yarder.

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Filed under Bet On It, SEC Football

“[BLANK] imposes risks that have the potential to undermine the integrity of both the institution and the sports contests…”

If you filled in the blank with “Ending amateurism”, you got it wrong.  Not that the NCAA cares…

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Not so bad, now that we think about it.

This didn’t take too long.

The board also voted to rescind the NCAA Championships Policy Related to Sports Wagering, which prohibited hosting championship competitions in any state that allows single-game sports wagering. The decision follows the board’s temporary action last year to suspend the policy following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports wagering.

The board also reinforced its support for federal legislative sports wagering standards. While the board stressed that an exemption of college sports in any federal or state legislation is desired, it emphasized that any proposed legislation should protect student-athlete well-being and the integrity of games.

Nice touch with the “student-athlete well-being” nod there, Stacey.  As long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line, anyway.

Speaking of bottom lines, how long do you figure it’s going to take the NCAA to come up with an official March Madness pool?  Lotta money being left on the table, folks.

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Filed under Bet On It, The NCAA

Coaches vs. gamblers

Ooh, I think we’re gonna need some popcorn for this one.

The NCAA Gambling Working Group will propose the first-ever standardized national player availability report for college sports, two sources told CBS Sports.

Later this month, the working group will propose a pilot program that would have coaches list players as “available,” “possible” or “unavailable” for that week’s game without mentioning a specific body part or injury.

That seems pretty anodyne and a safe workaround for privacy concerns related to disclosing personal information about students.  Well, at least if you’re not a coach.

College football coaches are often noted for their lack of transparency when it comes to releasing injury information.

“I think as coaches we’re probably always wired not to give away the game plan,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “We try to do what’s best for our kids. I think it has to be a bigger conversation.”

Washington State’s Mike Leach, for example, has been strictly against releasing any injury information.

When informed of the proposal, Texas coach Tom Herman said, “If I said ‘unavailable,’ I still want the right to make that a game-time decision.”

Those sorts of details have yet to be worked out, according to a source.

Good luck with that, he said.  The problem is that coaches’ control is only half the concern here for the folks running the sport.  Here’s the other half.

However, professional leagues don’t have to deal with federal privacy laws in their injury reports. The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) keep an individual’s medical information private.

All of this is essentially intended to provide the most accurate information for bettors to keep the games from being corrupted. With the new gambling laws, college sources are already worried about injury information leaking out. That information could be used to get an unfair betting advantage and defraud the system.

“They’ve got to do something. They leave themselves open to corruption,” said Tom McMillen of college sports. McMillen is the president of Lead1 Association, which represents FBS athletic directors.

Every decade since the 1940s, college sports has endured at least one major point-shaving scandal.

Cue the “shocked, shocked” quote here.

The irony here is that coaches are going to lean on student privacy concerns as an excuse to defend their own turf.  And that may work!  When in doubt, doing it for the kids is always college sports’ go-to excuse.  So what if that allows for the occasional betting scandal?  If there’s one thing college athletic departments are good at — aside from doing it for the kids, of course — it’s sweeping pesky little problems that don’t affect the bottom line under the rug.

I mean, what’s a little corruption between good friends?  Just ask the NCAA as the shoe scandal prosecutions unfold.

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Filed under Bet On It, College Football

The Big 12, for one, welcomes our new gambling overlords.

Welp, this shoe actually dropped a little sooner than I expected.

Big 12 coaches are discussing the implementation of a standardized conference-wide injury report, but they would prefer some type of national uniformity.

The Big 12 is among six FBS conferences holding spring meetings at the same resort hotel in Arizona this week. The American Football Coaches Association also met this week.

Introducing NFL-style injury reports to college football has become more likely in the past year as legal wagering on sporting events has become more prevalent.

And we thought college football wasn’t trying to be fan friendly.

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Filed under Bet On It, Big 12 Football

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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Prop bets for Alabama-Georgia

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

Sheesh.

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“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