Rounders is perhaps the best gambling movie ever made because it was not just a great story but truly informational as well. It was also the spark that landed the World Series of Poker on ESPN. Poker is not a sport but it is a battle of wits very much like chess. Shit, better not give ESPN any ideas or they will add a World Series of Chess too...whatever.
In Rounders, the character Joey Knish (John Turturro) is a New York Legend, a true rounder. Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) is Knish’s protégé and "poker' friend. When Mike gets in some real trouble with Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) he hunts down Knish to borrow money because he owes $15 large and has til morning to make good.
[Knish]: What kind of trouble you in?
[Mike ]: I'm in the worst kind, with the worst guy.
[Mike ]: Yep.
MIke is really scared and he has good reason, who wouldn't be scared of a Russian Outfit Member named Teddy KGB? Luckily for Mike his kind law professor, Abe Petrovsky, loans him $10 grand. I hope that no one here ever gets in this kind of trouble but it makes for a great movie:) If you have never seen Rounders, I highly recommend it.
Knish is frustrated with Mike when he tells him "I was giving you a living Mike showing you the playbook I put together off my own beats..." Like Knish, I too have a playbook I put together off my own beats. I took some huge risks maybe I shouldn’t have taken, some paid off big, others...yea i'd rather not talk about that now. Gambling can provide immense fun and excitement but it is like everything else, too much of a good thing...So be careful if you do gamble, don't risk what you can't afford to lose.
Recently Michael Bean posted the regular season over/under odds courtesy of Bodog and I wanted to follow up with a few comments. The following table shows initial odds prior to the start of pre-season and odds as of Friday August 26 as well If you are unsure how to read the table at the end then I will try to explain it here. On August 8th Bodog offered bettors the Arizona Cardinals regular season odds to win over 6½ games at (-140)o and under 6½ at (+110)u. Today, Bodog is offering (-190)o for the over and (+155)u for the under.
A negative number like (-140) or (-190) means that to win $100 on either of these bets you must bet $140 and $190 respectively. On the other hand, a positive number like (+110) or (+155) means that on a $100 bet you win $110 or $155 respectively. So any time there is a negative number you pay more than $100 to win $100 while a positive number payout on $100 is greater than $100. In other words, negative means more expensive or worse payout while positive means cheaper and a bigger payout. When the numbers get more negative they are discouraging bets and when numbers are too positive they are encouraging bets. Now, when you see (+100) or (EVEN), this means you win $100 on a $100 bet, hence the terms "even money" or "even odds." When it says "offline" that means no odds were being offered at the time i checked.
Now when you look at the table showing all the odds there were some great wagers to be made. The two best were San Diego & Chicago, had you bet $100 on the August 8th even odds you could have hedged your bet on 8/26/11 at (+135) by betting the other side. So in essence you are turning it into a zero risk bet with profit potential. Huh? I thought betting is always risky? And you are correct but in this case you are "hedging your bet" and flipping the odds in your favor.
If you bet $100 on Chicago on the under at (EVEN)u odds you now bet the over at (+135)o, With San Diego you started with the (EVEN)o on the over bet so you would bet $100 on the(+135)u . Why? Well, now if Chicago goes under 8 ½ you get $200 back and if they are over you get $235 back but your total bet was only $200. This means you are at worse guaranteed to break-even and at best win $35. Now multiply all these numbers by a factor of 100 or 1,000 and you see how professionals and sharp amateurs make $. This is also referred to as a +EV or positive expected value. If you were able to lay 1,000 bets like this say you only win 300 but break-even on 700, you are still way ahead of the game.
Now let’s look at the Steelers because this is a BTSC Blog. Originally, the odds were (-130)o / (EVEN)u now they are (-115)o / (-115)u. So Vegas was originally trying to entice you to bet the under but a little too much money came in on the under. Now they are looking for a little more money on the over to even out their book. It is a better deal to bet the over now than before but keep in mind no team is a lock to win 11 games. Last 10 years we averaged 10.6 wins per season so it is definitely winnable but one key injury (Troy, Colon or Ben?) and your bet could get flushed.
As you can see one of the keys to successful betting is limiting the "vigorish" or "vig." When you bet even money or +100 there is no vig when you bet (-130) you pay $30 vig. If you are not careful about the vig you are stacking the deck against yourself.
August 31st lines are also included to show how the line move after the Lions & Patriots pre-season game. Lions crushed the Patriots if you remember but the Patriots line only moved slightly as bettors give them the benefit of the doubt. However, bettors jumped all over Lions to win more than 7 ½ games. It was probably a great bet at even money but it's a terrible bet laying $190 to win $100!
These lines change for various reasons, not all based on play on the field. Professional bettors or syndicates are always trying to move these lines by over-betting one side. But these lines are also a reflection of the public’s perception of team strength based on pre-season games. Notice any interesting patterns here? There were 9 +EV bets (Chargers & Bears I outlined above) to be had between August 8th & 26th and two more that came on August 31st.
2011 NFL Regular Season Win Over/Under Odds
|Green Bay Packers||11½||(EVEN)o||offline||(+120)o|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7½||(-130)o||offline||(-105)o|
|New England Patriots||11½||(-130)o||(-125)o||(-115)o|
|New Orleans Saints||10||(EVEN)o||(-140)o||(-145)o|
|New York Giants||9½||(+115)o||(+145)o||(+150)o|
|New York Jets||10||(EVEN)o||(-115)o||(-115)o|
|San Diego Chargers||10||(EVEN)o||(-165)o||(-190)o|
|San Francisco 49ers||7½||(-130)o||(-115)o||(-105)o|
|St. Louis Rams||7½||(+105)o||offline||(-110)o|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8||(-130)o||(+110)o||(+120)o|