Saturday, December 19, 2009

NFL Marketwatch - Week 15

The public had another good run last week, and the sportsbook industry continues to feel the effects of a "square" NFL season. That said, we are sticking with our proven long-term strategies going into week 15. We think the trends (and a couple of last year's playoff teams) will get back on track.

For more insight, please read the NFL Marketwatch Article.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Week 14 edition of NFL Marketwatch is now posted. Marketwatch posted a solid 2-1 record last week, pushing our season record to 19-17-1 (52.7%).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NFL Marketwatch - Week 12 Posted

The Week 12 edition of NFL Marketwatch is now posted. Due to a unique holiday NFL schedule, Marketwatch has selected one game for this week's Games To Watch.

Click here to read this week's edition of NFL Marketwatch.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NFL Marketwatch - Week 11 Posted!

NFL Marketwatch posted another winning record last weekend, getting straight-up victories from Washington and Green Bay while losing Monday night when Baltimore covered the 11-point spread. In Week 11, Marketwatch is taking two double-digit underdogs and one home-favorite. Marketwatch rarely gives points, so be sure to read this week's article to find out why we're finding value in this matchup.

Click here to read the Week 11 edition of NFL Marketwatch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

College Basketball and Betting Against the Public (November 2009)

We are pleased to bring you this year's College Basketball article on "Betting Against the Public." SportsInsights' research analysts took a closer look at several parameters and ideas that we have mentioned previously. For example, in our College Football "Bet Against the Public" article, we studied why results may have been better for SIs Square Plays versus plain vanilla "betting percentages." In this article, we show that a simple method of using "Number of Bets" can help to "key in on Public games" and improve contrarian results.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NCAA Football Week 11 and NFL Week 10 Editions of Sports Marketwatch Posted!

Last week, our football editions of Sports Marketwatch were very profitable, going 5-1 combined.

The most recent edition of NCAA Football Marketwatch was our most successful of the season. Two nail-biters and one blowout capped off a 3-0 weekend, pushing our overall record to 17-13 (56.7%).

Click here to read the Week 11 edition of NCAA Football Marketwatch.

Our week 9 edition of NFL Marketwatch won its first two games when Carolina beat the spread against New Orleans and Tennessee beat San Francisco straight up. A touchdown toss from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson with 21 seconds left in the game gave San Diego a 1-point win, and Marketwatch its only loss for the weekend.

Click here to read the Week 10 edition of NFL Marketwatch.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NFL Marketwatch - Week 9 Posted!

Our Games to Watch returned to its winning ways,  posting a 2-1 record last week. In Week 9, Marketwatch hopes to continue to build momentum, taking two underdogs and one NFC East favorite. Click here to read our Week 9 edition of NFL Marketwatch.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NFL Marketwatch - Week 8

Our Games to Watch slumped, last week  posting a 1-2 record.  The swing game was New Orleans vs Miami, but a late interception, returned for a TD, by New Orleans -- resulted in New Orleans covering. That was a tough loss to swallow. We shake off that loss off -- and look to bounce back in the Week 8 edition of NFL Marketwatch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2009 NBA Betting Systems Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics tipped-off last night, signifying the NBA season is officially underway. Each team's record has been reset to 0-0, as have the records of SportsInsights' Betting Systems. As a result, we have compiled results from previous seasons and have identified the most profitable sportsbooks in recent years for NBA Smart Money Plays and Steam Moves.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Betting Against the Public in the NBA (Last Six Seasons, ending June 2009)

SportsInsights is pleased to bring you this year's "Bet Against the Public" results for the upcoming NBA Season. Our database now includes six seasons worth of data --- and almost 8,000 games. Most importantly, the results continue to show that "contrarian sports investing" can help put the "wind in your sails." In this article, we also present results for "betting against the Public" -- on Visiting teams. Visiting teams appear to be undervalued in the NBA.

Click here to read this article.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday (10/23) Football Editions of Sports Marketwatch - POSTED!

Sports Marketwatch is a FREE weekly column, available to all SportsInsights' members, published by, covering the sports betting world written from the sportsbook's perspective. We speak first hand with the oddsmakers at of our contributing sportsbooks. They provide us with an all-access pass to what's really happening on the sportsbook side.

NFL Edition - Our NFL Picks are riding a hot streak, having hit on 5 of our last 6. The public is in big on a lot of heavy favorites playing bad teams. Click here to see who we're taking on Sunday.

NCAA Edition - After correctly calling last week's Red River Rivalry, our NCAA column for this Saturday touches on a couple smaller schools that are being undervalued. Click here for this weekend's college picks.

NFL and NCAA Marketwatch articles are typically published on Friday, with NCAA sometimes being released a day early to accommodate the inclusion of a Thursday night game. All articles are posted on the website, but early editions can be received via email hours in advance of publication.

Sign up here to have the early editions of Sports Marketwatch send directly to your inbox!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Historical Betting Odds Archive Database

SportsInsights offers an archive of historical betting odds, including opening and closing odds and final scores. Our databases also include our proprietary betting percentage trends data. You’ll know which team the public bet in every matchup. We’re the only company in the world to offer historical betting trends data in a downloadable format.

Databases for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, CFL and NCAA football are all available for purchase. To learn more about our archives or to purchase a database, head to our Historical Betting Odds Archive Database page.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday (10/9) Football Editions of Sports Marketwatch - POSTED!

Sports Marketwatch is a FREE weekly column, available to all SportsInsights' members, published by, covering the sports betting world written from the sportsbook's perspective. We speak first hand with the oddsmakers at of our contributing sportsbooks. They provide us with an all-access pass to what's really happening on the sportsbook side.

NFL Edition - NFL Marketwatch has gotten some strong opinion from the sportsbook managers for this week's games. To see who we're backing, read our Week 5 Article.

NCAA Edition - NCAA Football Marketwatch is going back to basics this week, taking a couple of home underdogs with big line movement on their side. Click here for this week's college picks.

NFL and NCAA Marketwatch articles are typically published on Friday, with NCAA sometimes being released a day early to accommodate the inclusion of a Thursday night game. All articles are posted on the website, but early editions can be received via email hours in advance of publication.

Sign up here to have the Early Editions of Sports Marketwatch sent straight to your inbox!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NHL Betting Against the Public - 2005-09 Seasons

NHL Data from 2005-2009 (Includes four seasons of data) -- October 2009

The NHL Season dropped the puck for its 2009-10 season just a few days ago. The excitement of the football season almost over-shadowed the start of hockey season -- but not for serious sports investors!

Although the NHL isn't the most popular sport, many sports investors are excited to have the NHL season start. The NHL offers many profit opportunities -- with many teams playing many games. And, SportsInsights is pleased that the method we highlighted the past few seasons continues to perform well.

Click here to access this article.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Join SportsInsights on Twitter for Breaking Injury Reports

Join SportsInsights on Twitter for Breaking Injury Reports

You can now receive breaking injury updates from SportsInsights instantly via your Twitter account.

NFL Oakland Raiders - Darren
McFadden, Knee, Out - will miss 2-4

about 16 hours ago from API
NCAA FB Oklahoma State - Kendall Hunter, Ankle, Doubtful -
missed last game, is downgraded to doubtful Saturday (10/10) at
Texas A&M

about 21 hours ago from API

The statuses of Matt Hasselbeck, Eli Manning, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow are still unknown. Be sure you know who's in and who's out before making any decisions about this weekend's games.

Simply head to SportsInsights' Twitter page, signup to follow our alerts and never miss another injury update!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday (10/2) Editions of Sports Marketwatch - POSTED!

Friday (10/2) Editions of Sports Marketwatch - POSTED!

Sports Marketwatch is a FREE weekly column, available to all SportsInsights' members, published by, covering the sports betting world written from the sportsbook's perspective. We speak first hand with the oddsmakers at of our contributing sportsbooks. They provide us with an all-access pass to what's really happening on the sportsbook side.

NFL Edition - NFL Marketwatch is backing two big favorites and one even bigger underdog in this week's edition. To see this week's games, read our NFL Marketwatch - Week 4 article.

NCAA Football Edition - For the fourth straight week, NCAA Football Marketwatch won two of three games, giving us a season record of 8-4 (66.7%). Click here to access this week's college football edition of Sports Marketwatch.

MLB Edition - MLB Sports Marketwatch is +21.13 units this year and is looking for a strong finish to the 2009 regular season. Tonight's edition of baseball Marketwatch can be found here.

NFL Marketwatch is published every Friday, while the MLB edition is written on Tuesday and Friday of each week. NCAAF Marketwatch is usually published on Fridays, but is sometimes released a day early to accommodate the inclusion of a Thursday night game. All articles are posted on the website, but early editions can be received via email hours in advance of publication. To make sure you don't miss a single edition, click on the link below and signup to receive advanced copies of our Sports Marketwatch articles.

Signup to Receive the Early Edition of Sports MarketWatch

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday (9/25) Editions of Sports Marketwatch - POSTED!

Sports Marketwatch is a FREE weekly column, available to all SportsInsights' members, published by, covering the sports betting world written from the sportsbook's perspective. We speak first hand with the oddsmakers at of our contributing sportsbooks. They provide us with an all-access pass to what's really happening on the sportsbook side.

NFL Edition - NFL Marketwatch is taking three underdogs Sunday as it looks to bounce back in Week 3. To see this week's games, read our NFL Marketwatch - Week 3 article.

NCAA Football Edition - For the third straight week, NCAA Football Marketwatch won two of three games, giving us a season record of 6-3 (66.7%). Click here to access this week's college football edition of Sports Marketwatch.

MLB Edition - MLB Sports Marketwatch is +18.07 units this year and is looking for a strong finish to the 2009 regular season. Tonight's edition of baseball Marketwatch can be found here.

NFL Marketwatch is published every Friday, while the MLB edition is written on Tuesday and Friday of each week. NCAAF Marketwatch is usually published on Fridays, but is sometimes released a day early to accommodate the inclusion of a Thursday night game. All articles are posted on the website, but early editions can be received via email hours in advance of publication. To make sure you don't miss a single edition, click on the link below and signup to receive advanced copies of our Sports Marketwatch articles.

Signup to Receive the Early Edition of Sports MarketWatch

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday (9/18) Editions of Sports Marketwatch - POSTED!

Sports Marketwatch is a FREE weekly column, available to all SportsInsights' members, published by, covering the sports betting world written from the sportsbook's perspective. We speak first hand with the oddsmakers at of our contributing sportsbooks. They provide us with an all-access pass to what's really happening on the sportsbook side.

NFL Edition - NFL Sports Marketwatch picked up right where it left off last season, going 2-1 during opening weekend. To see this week's games, read our NFL Marketwatch - Week 2 article.

NCAA Football Edition - Our NCAA Football Marketwatch has posted back-to-back 2-1 weekends, giving us a season record of 4-2 (66.7%). Click here to access this week's college football edition of Sports Marketwatch.

MLB Edition - MLB Sports Marketwatch has won seven of its last eight games and is currently +19.7 units this season. Tonight's edition of baseball Marketwatch can be found here.

NFL Marketwatch is published every Friday, while the MLB edition is written on Tuesday and Friday of each week. NCAAF Marketwatch is usually published on Fridays, but is sometimes released a day early to accommodate the inclusion of a Thursday night game. All articles are posted on the website, but early editions can be received via email hours in advance of publication. To make sure you don't miss a single edition, click on the link below and signup to receive advanced copies of our Sports Marketwatch articles.

Signup to Receive the Early Edition of Sports MarketWatch

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009 Football Early Bird Special - 50% Off Premium Pro Membership

To help kick off the new football season, we're taking 50% OFF the Premium Pro membership rate, PLUS throwing in the entire month of August for FREE. This will be the best sign up promotion of the entire year. The sooner you take advantage of it, the more you'll save! You'll receive the entire NFL and College Football regular seasons plus MLB, NBA, College Basketball, and let's not forget about the NHL. You'll enjoy an All Sports pass from now until Jan 4th 2010 for only $349!

This promotion expires on August 31st, so head to our Football Early Bird Special page and get signed up today!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

MLB "Betting Against the Public" Mid-Season Report Card

With the Major League All-Star Break upon us, the team at SportsInsights took the opportunity to review the current season and see how SportsInsights Sports Investing tools have been faring. Over the past five-plus years, baseball has been one of the more consistent sports in terms of "contrarian sports investing." How has baseball "performed" this year? Any interesting "standouts" in the baseball season so far? We'll take a look at all of these items in this article. The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

SportsInsights MLB Square Plays

Since SportsInsights has been publishing MLB Square Plays in 2004, Square Plays have been profitable in 4 out of the 5 seasons. Since inception, MLB Square Plays have won at a rate of just under 43% while picking moneyline underdogs. SportsInsights has averaged about +12 units per season on a relatively simple approach of "betting against the public" and the "square" bettors. In 2009, MLB Squares have connected at a rate of 47% and we are already up +24.5 units! Our Members have access to this valuable information as well as more sophisticated analyses we discuss below.

Click here to continue reading this article.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 MLB Betting Systems Mid-Season Report

This week's All-Star break marks the halfway point of the 2009 Major League Baseball season. Through the first three and a half months of MLB play, the betting systems at SportsInsights have proven to be profitable across the board. We offer a plethora of ways to pad your bankroll, and it's time to check in and see how our methods are performing.

So whether you're a fan of Steam Moves or a follower of the Smart Money, whether you love riding the underdogs with our Square Plays or wait on our daily Best Bets, or if you're just wondering how to beat the big, bad sportsbooks, visit and see what's happening!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Martingale Systems and Scamdicappers Article -- Martingale Systems and Scamdicappers

A few months ago, we published an article that debunked one of the more popular scamdicappers on the internet. In this article, Sports Insights looks at how some scamdicappers use math and marketing to look good, but they add little or no value to their customers' accounts. The information on this site is for entertainment and educational
purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

Martingale Systems

Martingale approaches and results often seem tantalizingly easy to most people. Everyone wants to find a "system" that works and makes some money, and why shouldn't it work, right? These systems often rely on human nature and the over-confidence of most gamblers by increasing bet size during a losing streak. The Yankees can't get swept in a series, right? We have an edge, so we shouldn't lose too many in a row, right? The gambler thinks,
"let's double our bet and make some money back." Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the probability of winning the next play is independent of the past (as in the famous quote: "luck has no memory.") The gambler is merely increasing his bet size, with no increase in expected value or profit. The gambler is therefore increasing his "risk of ruin." There are many variations of Martingale systems, but let's first take a look at the classic Martingale system.

Classic Martingale System - Double Your Bet Until You Win

Continue reading

Friday, May 1, 2009

NBA Teams of Interest - Farewell Edition

by Chris Arena,

As those of you who have read Wesley's MLB Teams of Interest article from a couple weeks ago already know, my time as a writer here at Sports Insights is coming to an end. This will be my last article for some time - I don't want to say ever, but I won't be writing any weekly features in the future. It has been a pleasure for me to write these articles and I hope that you have enjoyed my work. If you would like to keep up with me in some fashion, you can follow my twitter feed ( and I will also continue to browse our forums and stay active in the community. Otherwise, look for Wes to take over with a weekly column and continue to enjoy Mike's excellent MLB Sports Marketwatch bi-weekly feature.

Last week's article was a mixed bag, but mostly successful - Cleveland kept right on pounding Detroit and covering every spread in the series as I predicted they would, Orlando beat Philadelphia 4-2 in their series and went 2-2 ATS in games 3-6, and the Lakers split the final two games of their series ATS in winning the series 4-1. I believe everything I wrote still applies going forward: the Lakers will struggle ATS, Orlando is mighty overrated and will also struggle ATS, and Cleveland is going to steamroll through the Eastern Conference bracket. Here's my take on the upcoming series - let's hope I go out with a bang!

LA Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

The Lakers dominated Houston throughout the regular season and will probably continue to do so here. As I have said, I think the spreads will be adjusted to account for massive amounts of public money on the Lakers and I would bet accordingly, even given their regular season 4-0 record ATS. I think the Artest/Bryant match-up may lead to some entertaining altercations, but Kobe has learned to rely on his teammates and the bigger match-up will be Yao versus Pau. The two x-factors in this series will be Andrew Bynum and his ability to contribute without racking up fouls, and Aaron Brooks and his blazing speed against an aging Derek Fisher. This should make for an interesting if short-lived series, and I don't have too much else to add other than that I think the smart bet throughout this series will be Houston and the Under.

Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas Mavericks

Of all the second round series, I think this is the most exciting of the bunch from a gambling perspective. I believe Denver is generally underrated as a team and Dallas highly overrated, which leads to a lot of value in the betting marketplace. Dallas beat an injured, aging San Antonio team that was never really in the series and should not be confused for a "hot" underdog team to be wary of. The "Mark Cuban" factor also makes them a sentimental favorite in the minds of the public and a much more visible team than the Nuggets. However under the radar they may be, Denver should not be underestimated as they embarrassed a New Orleans team in round one that many people picked for the upset. Denver is like the anti-Orlando Magic, as their mid-season struggles have seen them change into a force to be reckoned with as they continue to grow in strength as the season wears on. Additionally, Denver boasts a 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS record vs. Dallas in the regular season, and I like Denver to take this series in 5 or 6 games and to cover the spread consistently.

Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics/Chicago Bulls

First of all, the Chicago/Boston series has been absolutely stunning to watch and fascinating from a gambling perspective. Almost every game has finished Under the Total at the end of regulation, only to finish Over once overtime after overtime is being played. Also, other than Game 3, every game has finished with the two teams separated by no more than 3 points at the final buzzer and so I urge you to either take the Bulls and the points or Boston straight up in Game 7. Jalen Rose has stated numerous times he expected Boston to win by double digits, but I have my doubts and so should you.

As for the semi-final series-to-be, I am going to be wagering against Orlando regardless of who comes out of the Boston/Chicago series. Orlando struggled against an unimpressive 76ers squad and will continue to struggle going forward. Both Chicago (Thomas and Noah) and Boston (Perkins) offer very active big men and have shown a proclivity to play a physical brand of basketball, to which Howard does not respond well. Also, Orlando does not defend the perimeter very well and will have trouble with either Ben Gordon or Ray Allen, who have both been on fire for their respective teams. As for my prediction in this series, if Boston faces Orlando than I like Orlando to make the East Finals, but if the Bulls beat the Celtics than I like their momentum to carry them past the Magic. The Bulls have much more depth at Center and many more fouls to throw at Howard (career 60% at the line), which will be the key to victory. Whichever way the series shapes up, I think the Under is going to be the smart play, just as it was in Orlando's opening-round series and Boston/Chicago's as well (through regulation, that is).

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks/Miami Heat

I don't care who wins in the Atlanta/Miami series (though it will be Atlanta) and I don't care what the spreads look like, I will continue to pound Cleveland as heavy favorites until they give me any reason to do otherwise. They have shown an ability to hold their opponents to ridiculously low point totals due to their stout defense while consistently scoring around 95 points-per-game on the offensive end. Their Points For/Points Against per game for the regular season is an eye-opening 100/90.7, tops in the league by a wide margin. LeBron continues to assert himself as a player never before seen in the NBA, and his teammates have really learned how to play to his game and utilize his otherworldly help defense - maybe the only improvement left in LeBron's game is to learn how to catch the ball when blocking a shot instead of swatting it into the 12th row. It's going to take some guts, but I see another four game SU/ATS sweep for Cleveland and will be betting accordingly. The only part of the gambling equation dependant on the Atlanta/Miami winner is how I would bet totals; against Atlanta, I think the series stays Under consistently, but against Miami, I actually think they will go over the Total consistently as the James/Wade personal battle will become more of a focus than team defense on both sides.

Finals Prediction

Cleveland Cavaliers over the L.A. Lakers in 7 Games (with Cleveland going 5-2 ATS)

Friday, April 24, 2009

NBA Teams of Interest

by Chris Arena,

Cleveland vs. Detroit

The only thing keeping this series interesting is the intense disliking that so obviously exists between these two teams. Cleveland has dominated both games and covered the identical 11.5-point spread in both games, although just barely in Game 2. The only reason Detroit lost by less than 20 in Game 2 was because Coach Mike Brown was resting his entire starting lineup from the start of the fourth quarter, prompting an unlikely 27-5 run by the Pistons before Cleveland pulled away again and won by 12. One sure sign that Detroit is entirely outclassed by Cleveland is that their 27-5 fourth quarter run only resulted in cutting the lead to nine, an absolutely astonishing factoid. As of this writing, Cleveland is a 4.5-point favorite at Detroit for Game 3, and this is a line I feel is ripe for the picking. Home-court advantage only ensures that Coach Brown will be less likely to take chances in resting his starters, and simply put, home-court advantage is useless when the home team is at such an incredible disadvantage talent-wise.

LA Lakers vs. Utah

This series was shaping up to mirror the Cleveland/Detroit affair until the Jazz took Game 3 in Utah on Thursday, winning on a last second jumper from Deron Williams. The Jazz came into the game as 2.5-point underdogs, putting them at 2-1 ATS for the series. Despite the two dominating wins by the Lakers in L.A., this series has come has been a stressful one for spread bettors, as each game has finished within 5 points of the oddsmakers' lines. I think the sportsbooks have done an excellent job of taking advantage of the public's propensity to over bet on the Lakers and I expect them to continue as this series continues. Game 3 offers Lakers apologists plenty of excuses (or as they will tell it, justifications) for why they lost the game, including poor free throw shooting and unfair officiating. However, the Jazz were basically equally bad from the stripe (64% for Utah, 61% for L.A.) and equally officiated (22 fouls vs. 25 against the Lakers). I expect the Lakers to once again be favored by around 2-3 points heading into Game 4, and then again by 10+ at home in Game 5, and I like Utah to continue to win this series against the spread, despite losing in real life. Furthermore, I can easily see a scenario where the Lakers win the title and post a below-.500 record ATS for the entire playoffs.

Orlando vs. Philadelphia

With a 3-0 record ATS in the regular season against Philadelphia, it's safe to say Orlando has been a rather large disappoint through two games in their first round series against the 76ers. Sporting a 1-1 SU record but 0-2 ATS, Orlando has not been able to utilize whatever game plan they had during the regular season that led them to three wins and three covers in three regular season meetings, and now they face two road games as they try to take control of a series they were expected to dominate. Will Orlando turn things around or will they continue to struggle? Recent history suggests the latter, as Orlando is surprisingly just 5-11 ATS over their last 16 games. Perhaps Orlando simply isn't the same team that beat Philadelphia three times in the regular season - they finished the three game series on February 28th and featured Jameer Nelson as their point guard for 2 of the 3 match-ups. Additionally, Orlando finished the season 2nd overall ATS mostly due to their torrid start to the season as the oddsmakers were slow to adjust to their unexpectedly superb play. As bettors' confidence built and the lines adjusted, things changed dramatically, as the above-mention 5-11 ATS stretch can attest to. I still think Rafer Alston is a much bigger downgrade than the public believes and I don't think Orlando is as good a team as the lines suggest, so I will be fading the Magic often as the NBA Playoffs continue.

Friday, April 10, 2009

NBA Teams of Interest

by Chris Arena,

Posted: 4/10/2009

Each week, we're going to take a look at a few teams around The Association that we think deserve extra consideration. We will not be giving picks; however, we believe these insights can help the prudent bettor looking for that extra bit of information to help them make a more informed decision on upcoming games. We welcome your feedback - contact us! Also, you can comment and subscribe to our blog. For previous articles, please visit our archive.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have officially lost Manu Ginobili for the remainder of the season and analysts everywhere are writing them off to win even one series in the Western Conference playoffs. Ginobili is an interesting player, and certainly a big piece of the Spurs offense when healthy, but will the Spurs really not be able to win without him? The best way to tackle this question is to analyze the Spurs record with and without his presence off the bench and project those numbers to the futurr. With an eye towards the playoffs, let's take a look at what Ginobili's loss really means to the Spurs.

First, how important has Ginobili been to the Spurs during the regular season? He's played in 44 games, averaging 15.5/4.5/3.6 (points/rebounds/assists) and shooting 45.4% from the field. The Spurs won 32 of the 44 games he played in, for a winning percentage of 73%, almost 10 percentage points higher than their overall mark of 64% (50-28). Over an 82 game season, the Spurs would be expected to win about 60 games with Ginobili, an impressive mark, but in the playoffs they need only win 4 of 7 games (57%) to win a series. Clearly, the Spurs a better team with Manu than without, but are they good enough without him to win a playoff series?

In games without Ginobili, the Spurs have a record of 18-16 and a 53% winning percentage, just below the 57% that would be expected of a playoff-series winner. However, the Spurs played their worst basketball without Manu at the start of the season, losing 5 of their first 7 games. After this adjustment period, the Spurs went 16-11 without Ginobili, good for a winning percentage of 59%. Compartively, the winning percentage of the worst playoff team in the West, Dallas, currently stands at 60%. The teams that San Antonio are most likely to face sport even higher winning percentages: Houston and Portland at 64% and New Orleans at 62%. It seems as though the Spurs have a legitimate reason to be worried.

The following table presents some final research that will be useful to sports bettors once the Western Conference standings become final. It includes the head-to-head record of San Antonio against each possible opponent, with and without Ginobili.

Opponent - Spurs Record w/ Manu - (Spurs Record w/o Manu)
New Orleans - 1-2 (0-0)
Portland - 0-0 (1-3)
Houston 0-1 (2-1)

Portland is the worst match-up and New Orleans is untested, but I would fade the Spurs against both of these teams if San Antonio faces either in the first round. New Orleans has gotten the best of them with Ginobili, so you have to assume they would fare even better in his absence. Portland has taken three of four games against the Manu-less Spurs, including a recent 95-83 pounding on April 8th. Clearly Houston is the best match-up for the Spurs, and given the Rockets history in the playoffs I would feel good betting on San Antonio to take the series.

MLB Teams of Interest

by Wesley Griffin,

Just like our NBA Teams of Interest article, this article is going to examine some teams around Major League Baseball, searching for value opportunities in the sports betting marketplace. We will not be giving picks; however, we believe these insights can help the prudent bettor looking for that extra bit of information to help them make a more informed decision on upcoming games. We welcome your feedback - contact us! Also, you can comment and subscribe to our blog. For previous articles, please visit our archive.

Those of you who have been keeping up with our NBA and MLB Teams of Interest for a while now may be surprised to see a name other than Chris Arena at the top of this column. You’d be right to consider it a small tragedy to miss out on his baseball insights, but don’t worry; there’s nothing amiss. A proud UNC alumnus, Chris had the wherewithal to bet his entire life savings on an outrageous prop bet, namely that the Tarheels would coast to – and through – the Final Four, winning every game by double digits and thus denying America any real March drama, much less any madness. If I were to guess at his location, I’d say he’s probably lounging in some white sand, sipping on a couple of mai tais, and tossing a line into the surf in the hopes of catching dinner. So I hope you’ll abide this jaded and altogether-in-denial Duke alum as I begin contributing to this esteemed baseball column. At least you know that I’ve had ample time to think about baseball since the Sweet 16. Now, on to the diamond…

Count me a member of the relative minority that considers the hypothetical race for best division in baseball a competitive one. The argument for the AL East is certainly legitimate, and I do think the improvement shown by perennial bottom-feeders Baltimore and Toronto is real. Neither have the pitching to compete, but the Orioles’ composure and execution against the already-crowned Yankees at Camden Yards this week – not to mention the Rays taking two at Fenway – foretells a bit of the slugfest that we can look forward to from this heralded division in the coming months.

Their counterparts in the National League, however, are no slouches. The top two-thirds of the Mets lineup can hit with anyone in baseball, and thanks to some generous spending, their bullpen went from a major liability to a strength. The Braves, for the first time since their dominance of the 90s, have real pitching depth, not to mention two of the most talented prospects in the game in centerfielder Jordan Schafer and starting pitcher Tommy Hanson, who is not long for Triple-A. As for the Phillies…well, it’s hard to argue with a trophy and a largely returning roster. The Nationals are the DC-area analogue to the Orioles, if perhaps not quite as good. Who have I left out?

That would be division-leading Florida Marlins, who are hosting the aforementioned Metropolitans this weekend. Florida is a funny franchise, content to repeatedly dismantle championship teams and rebuild with young, inexpensive talent. They led the NL East last season until the beginning of June, and they could be on their way to a similar start this season. Why? Their roster is heavier laden with young, improving talent than any team in the majors. That’s right folks, these are not the Marlins of old, who bit their nails and looked away every time Jeff Conine had to jog in from left field. The oldest player in the top two thirds of their lineup is 30+ home run hitting second baseman Dan Uggla – at a geriatric 29-years-old. There’s little reason to believe touted prospects such as Cameron Maybin and Emilio Bonifacio will do anything but get better with time, while outright All-Star and 30-30 (HRs/steals) shortstop Hanley Ramirez is only 25. Surrounded by solid contributors John Baker, Jorge Cantu and the ever-promising Jeremy Hermida, the ceiling for this offense is truly very high.

As far as talent is concerned, Florida's pitching isn’t far behind its hitting. However, it would be fair to say that they lack a true ace.  Nolasco can’t yet be mentioned with the likes of Santana, Hamels or Lowe, but the stuff is there. Behind him fall Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad and Anibal Sanchez, three guys with the talent to compete for the number two spot in any other rotation in the division. The major reason the Marlins fell off the playoff pace last season – other than, perhaps, lack of hometown support – was a rash of injuries to their pitching staff that entailed long disabled list stints by both Johnson and Sanchez. They’re healthy this spring, and hopefully, as far as Fredi Gonzalez is concerned, for the entire year.

As sports bettors, we don’t have to be concerned with August in April. The Marlins are likely to be underdogs in all three games of their upcoming series against New York. Sanchez, who no-hit the Diamondbacks as a rookie in 2006, matches up with John Maine in the first game. Johan Santana, arguably the best pitcher in baseball, is not a favorable duel for anyone but will definitely offer some juicy odds. Johnson should close the series against Mike Pelfrey, who had to be bailed out by his offense against the Reds. With a healthy Josh Johnson projecting a mid-3 ERA and almost 200 strikeouts over a full season, I like this match-up the most.

You know what they say about youth: it makes you feel invincible. Let’s play on the Florida kids while they’re healthy and hot off a sweep of Washington. We may be singing a different tune late in the season if injuries or oddsmakers catch up to the Marlins, but for now, we’ll take two out of three underdog lines and cross our fingers for the sweep.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reading Between the MLB Lines

By Aaron Hermann for

The world of Sports Investing is full of nebulous verbiage, trite clichés, and axioms treated as Gospel, and perhaps no word encapsulates this more so than “value”. With the 2009 Major League Baseball season just days old, soon the sports forums, tout service advertisements, and various web sites offering their free “MLB Play Of The Day” selection write-ups will be peppered with the word “value”. Such phrases as “this favorite is greatly overpriced which gives the underdog extreme value here”, and “this favorite is underpriced and offers a great value play in this spot” will once again make their way into our sports betting lexicon, but what does the concept of value really mean within the realm of wagering on Major League Baseball?

It is one thing to casually refer to “looking for value” when analyzing a potential investment, but it is another thing all together to be able to quantify value in regards to specific Moneyline pricing. In addition, how do we go about recognizing true value and turning that into a profit? What pricing dynamics will create the most profitable investment opportunities, thus providing the true value we are seeking? This article will explore the concept of value in reference to the first month of the Major League Baseball season and will provide a foundation for you to get off to a profitable beginning to the season.

In an effort to quantify the concept of value and how it applies to Favorites and Underdogs in the early part of the Major League Baseball season, I went back and looked at every game featuring a favorite priced -150 or higher for the month of April the last three seasons. In addition, I went one step further and broke down the Moneyline pricing into four different price sectors: -150 to -175; -176 to -200; -201 to -225; and -226 and higher. The goal of this analysis was to identify whether or not there were any consistent price levels, in regards to Favorites and Underdogs, that offered consistent profits over the early portion of the last three seasons.

We will begin our analysis from a wide perspective and look at all games featuring a favorite with a closing line price of -150 or higher, the won-loss record of Favorites and Underdogs in those games, and the corresponding profits (all lines taken from Pinnacle sportsbook, an 8-cent sportsbook for lines up to -190/+182. For more information on how they calculate their underdog lines, please click here):

63-35 (64.2%) -1.7
35-63 (35.8%) -10.96
52-41 (55.9%) -11.83
41-52 (44.1%) +19.64
60-42 (58.8%) -5.74
42-60 (41.2%) +4.77
175-118 (59.7%) -19.27
118-175 (40.3%) +13.45

The next table breaks down games featuring a favorite priced between -150 and -175:

Favorites -150 to -175
32-27 (54.2%) -7.9
27-32 (45.8%) +6.66
26-24 (52.0%) -8.51
24-26 (48%) +10.28
40-32 (55.6%) -6.55
32-40 (44.4%) +8.09
98-83 (54.1%) -22.96
83-98 (45.9%) +25.03

Here we have the games featuring a favorite priced between -176 and -200:

Favorites -176 to -200
11-3 (78.6%) +2.98
3-11 (21.4%) -5.78
17-3 (85.0%) +6.67
3-17 (15.0%) -11.89
13-6 (68.4%) +1.6
6-13 (31.6%) -2.66
41-12 (77.4%) +11.25
12-41 (22.6%) -20.33

This table breaks down games featuring a favorite priced between -201 and -225:

Favorites -201 to -225
7-2 (77.8%) +1.35
2-7 (22.2%) -3.17
5-10 (33.3%) -7.63
10-5 (66.7%) +15.15
5-4 (55.6%) -1.62
4-5 (44.4%) +3.34
17-16 (51.5%) -7.9
16-17 (48.5%) +15.32

Lastly, we have the games featuring very heavy favorites priced -226 and above:

Favorites -226 and higher
13-2 (86.7%) +2.84
2-13 (13.3%) -8.67
4-4 (50%) -2.36
4-4 (50%) +6.1
2-0 (100%) +.83
0-2 (0%) -2.0
19-7 (73.1%) +1.31
7-19 (26.9%) -4.57

Based on the results within these tables, we are able to make some rather strong conclusions regarding value investing in the early part of the Major League Baseball season. An indiscriminant Sports Investor who only played Underdogs in games where the favorite was priced -150 and higher would have made a respectable 13.45 units over the first month of the season from 2006-2008 with an ROI of 4.6%. While these are very respectable numbers, you can greatly improve your profits and ROI by implementing some Moneyline price-level dynamics into your analysis.

By playing mid-level underdogs in games where the favorite is priced -150 to -175, a Sports Investor would have made 25.03 units over the first month of the season from 2006-2008. That is a 186% increase in profits by limiting your plays to this specific price range and sticking with only Underdogs. In addition, the ROI on these plays is a rather astounding 13.83% for an ROI increase of 300%!

The third table (-176 to -200) demonstrates that value is not a concept strictly limited to Underdogs. By investing in strong favorites priced in the range of -176 to -200, a Sports Investor would have made 11.25 units over the same time span with an ROI of 21.2%, which is higher than either of the Underdog categories! However, it is important to keep in mind that when you begin to consistently play favorites priced -201 and higher, you will begin to reach the point of diminishing returns with a rapidly decreasing ROI as evidenced in the tables above.

The last point I would like to address is in regards to the fourth table (-201 to -225). The Underdog numbers in this table are rather impressive, with a total profit of 15.32 units on a 48.5% strike rate; however, with such a small sample of games fitting this profile it would be somewhat naïve to expect to maintain such an astoundingly high profit margin and ROI by consistently playing teams that are a more than 2-1 dog. This is not to say that selective plays on live dogs with great prices should not be a part of your early season wagering arsenal, but you should definitely temper your long-term expectations when investing in such scenarios.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

MLB Teams of Interest

by Chris Arena,

Early Season Series of Interest

NY Mets at Cincinnati Reds

The opener of this series will feature Johan Santana against Aaron Harang, most likely making the Mets a huge favorite. I would avoid this game; the Mets will almost certainly win, but the odds will be astronomical. Games 2 and 3 of the series, however, should present some good opportunities for contrarian investing. The Mets will likely start Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez, while the Reds will send out Edinson Volquez and Bronson Arroyo, putting the pitching match-up far in favor of the Reds, as far as I'm concerned. I believe Cincinnati's offense and defense is currently very undervalued, as they lost their best "big name" slugger, Adam Dunn, but have a wealth of young stars in the making. As a result, I think the last two games of the series will offer very appealing underdog lines for Cincinnati that could pay big dividends for sports investors.

Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox

I like the Royals to make a splash this season in the AL Central, and I think they get started early in this series at Chicago. I like Kansas City's pitchers (Meche, Grienke, and Davies) slightly more than Chicago's (Buehrle, Danks, Floyd), although Davies is a major drop-off from Meche/Grienke and puts the third game of the series in favor of Chicago in my eyes. I really like Kansas City to take the first two games of the series for two reasons: one, as stated above, the pitching match-up is strongly in favor of the Royals, and two, I think the Royals' offense is more well-rounded than the White Sox, who will be heavily reliant on the long ball to score any runs. Look for Kansas City to take at least two out of three in what should be a low-scoring series in the south side of Chicago.

Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins

It may be the least exciting season-opening series of the year, but I think there is value to be had in the Washington/Florida match-up. While both teams are average at best on the offensive side of the ball, the Marlins actually boast solid starting pitching in Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, and Chris Volstad. The Nationals really only have one decent starter in John Lannan, but he is more equivalent to Volstad, the Marlins' third starter, than a legitimate ace. I get the sense that the Marlins will be slight favorites in each game and I would be happy to take Florida throughout this series.

LA Dodgers at San Diego Padres

The Dodgers are being picked to win the NL Pennant by many analysts, and for good reason, but I think there will be a lot of value in fading the Dodgers throughout this series. The Dodgers are a powerhouse on offense, but their pitching is merely adequate, featuring a lot of injury risks and unproven youngsters. The Padres, on the other hand, offer maybe the worst offense in baseball, but sport a legitimate ace and a solid bullpen. Petco Park is the premier pitchers' park in all of baseball and should help equalize the large divide between two team's offenses. Additionally, Jake Peavy hasn't lost to the Dodgers since September 2006 and the Dodgers' third starter, Clayton Kershaw, is a 21-year-old phenom with control problems, meaning the Padres should have a legitimate shot at taking two games of the series.

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NCAA Sports Marketwatch

Welcome to the Sports Marketwatch – March Madness Edition, where SportsInsights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the sports marketplace. If you want to know what is really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports Marketwatch!

The staff at speaks directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding. We’ll look at what’s in store for the upcoming NCAAB games.

Sports Marketplace – March Madness
Recapping the NCAA Tournament

This year's Sports Marketwatch contrarian sports investing picks have underperformed mightily, but that will sometimes happen with a relatively small sample size. Over the long-term, over tens of thousands of games -- and across every major US sport -- "betting against the Public" has proven to add value for handicappers. College basketball "public bettors" will be flush with cash -- so let's see how the Final Four match-ups are shaping up.

2009 March Madness Games to Watch: 4-11 = 26.7%

Sports MarketWatch – Sports Marketplace

Michigan State +4.5 over Connecticut

The Big East has done well in the NCAA Tournament and the "Public" is taking U-Conn in this game. At the time of this writing, Connecticut is collecting about 63% of the bets. It's still early, but the semi-final games are already being heavily-bet. We'll "bet against the Public" and sell U-Conn and the Big East at the crest of their wave (hopefully!) -- and buy a Michigan State team that has quietly gotten into the Final Four.

In addition, to some, the line seems suspiciously low. The "theory on soft lines" is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! All of these arguments point to Michigan State plus the points. If you shop around, you can grab 4.5 points.
Michigan State +4.5 (SIA)

Villanova +7.5 over North Carolina

This is an interesting game that our offshore contacts circled. Betting has been fairly heavy, with point spread bets evenly split between NC and Villanova. Including teasers and parlays, the Public favors the powerhouse NC team over Villanova. Even so, the line has decreased from its opener of NC -8 to NC -7, due to some "big, sharp money" getting down on Villanova.

Our readers know that we like to follow the "smart money" -- which usually fades the "Public." Let's go with the "sharps" and cheer for a good, close, game! There are some 7.5's available that we would grab.

Villanova +7.5 (Bodog)

Games to Watch (4-11)
Michigan State +4.5 (SIA)
Villanova +7.5 (Bodog)

It should be another exciting NCAA Tournament for the sports marketplace. Keep Sports Marketwatch picks handy and your browser pointed to for the latest real-time updates, using our exclusive Sports Investing tools.

We’ll be back soon with a new edition of the Sports Marketwatch – March Madness Edition.
Enjoy the games!

The Team at

Friday, March 27, 2009

NBA Teams of Interest

by Chris Arena,

LA Lakers

As of this writing, the Los Angeles Lakers (56-14) are 9.5 games up on the second place Houston Rockets in the Western Conference with 12 games left to play. They are all but guaranteed to lock up 1st place in the West with at least a week or two left in the season. The question then becomes, what kind of changes, if any, will be implemented in order to prepare the team for the playoffs, and how will this affect the Lakers in the world of sports gambling?

The best place to look for an answer is the coaching staff, as ultimately it will be up to Phil Jackson to decide whether or not to rest his starters. Another big decision will come when Andrew Bynum is ready to return to the court, as Jackson will have to weigh the wisdom of giving him significant regular season minutes in order to prepare him for the playoffs or holding him out until the playoffs in the hopes that additional rest will lower the risk of re-injury. Thus far, Jackson has taken advantage of nearly every opportunity in the regular season to rest starters. A fourth quarter lead of 10 or more has consistently meant a spot on the bench for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and this makes it all but certain he will be limiting his starters' minutes down the stretch. Historically, one of Jackson's notable coaching moves has been to spend the regular season improving the skill and confidence of his bench players by occasionally starting them or giving them extended minutes. Players like Trevor Ariza (now starting), Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic have become part of an extremely talented second unit under Phil Jackson's tutelage, and they should serve the Lakers well as the season winds down.

The Lakers will most likely enter full-on "playoff preparation mode" very soon, benching starters with slight injuries or limiting their minutes and giving bench players additional run, especially in crunch time. It will certainly pay to be aware of this, but at the same time, don't underestimate the talent of the Lakers' bench. Jackson has been very careful to make sure his second unit is cohesive and energetic, able to sustain a lead or provide a spark in key situations. Given the skill level of that unit and consistently excellent coaching, don't be surprised to see the Lakers play competitive basketball through the end of the regular season, with or without big minutes from Bryant and Gasol.

Washington Wizards

As Monty Python would say, "...and now for something completely different." If the Los Angeles Lakers are the princes of the NBA, the Washington Wizards are the peasants, finding themselves in the undesirable position of being the sole team in the Eastern Conference completely eliminated from playoff contention. Their team is a mess, ravaged by injury and indifference, and their corresponding 17-56 record speaks for itself (in case it doesn't, here's a fun stat - their longest winning streak of the season? 2 games). In the world of NBA basketball, this is a team hardly worth wasting a thought on. However, in the sports betting marketplace, the Wizards are actually quite an interesting subject worth a thought or two.

Despite all their struggles, the Wizards are 4-2 against the spread in their last six games (actual record: 1-5) and have a 38% win record ATS versus 23% in actual play. Overall it has been profitable to fade Washington, but as the season winds down I think there may be some value in backing the Wizards. Bottom-dwelling teams usually play harder as the season wears down, looking to make a "statement" for next year and taking advantage of lackadaisical play from teams who have already clinched playoff positioning. Also, Washington's two main stars, Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas, are expected to be healthy for the season's final few weeks. While the team has done plenty of losing with Butler, the addition of Arenas should help immensely as he fills the "alpha dog" role much better than Butler, who plays much better when not being relied upon as the team's primary scorer.

All in all, I wouldn't mind riding some big underdog lines for the Wizards as the season comes to a close. Arenas is a self-centered player who would like nothing more than to take credit for a late-season surge, and he'll be aiming to do just that. The playoffs are out of the question, and it's certainly a gamble as to whether Arenas and Butler will play on any given day, but you can bet the Wizards will be trying to polish up their ugly record to try to salvage hope (and ticket sales) for 2010.

Friday, March 20, 2009

NL Central Preview

We're going to switch things up a little bit today and touch on every team in the NL Central, focusing on which teams are under- or over-valued heading into the season. We picked the NL Central for two reasons; first, it's one of the more wide-open divisions in baseball, and second, we feel that certain teams are due for a drastic change in fortunes from their 2008 win totals.

We included our predications for each team going over or under their Vegas win totals, but we also recommend keeping our analysis in mind for your early-season wagering.

Pittsburgh Pirates (Odds to win NL Central: 20/1; O/U Wins: 67.5)

While there are surprises in store later in this article, one thing that won't surprise anyone is that Pittsburgh remains one of the least talented teams in baseball. The Pirates are like the anti-Tampa Bay Rays in that they've picked in the top of the draft for years, yet have managed to accrue very little talent. They have shown no signs of digging their way out of the cellar of the NL Central; on the contrary, they seem to dig themselves into a deeper hole year after year with poor drafting and uninspired free agent acquisitions. Sporting one of the worst starting rotations in the league to compliment a horrendous offense, the Pirates will be even worse in 2009 than in 2008, so bet appropriately. O/U: UNDER

Houston Astros (20/1 ; 73.5)

Based on "Pythagorean Record" (determining won/lost record by runs scored and runs allowed), the Astros were one of the luckiest teams in baseball last year, finishing nearly 10 games better than expected. This year, they will not be so lucky. With an anemic offense anchored by two very good but aging sluggers (Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman) surrounded by a wealth of replacement-level (or worse) talent, the Astors will be scoring runs like a soccer team in 2009. With a pitching staff very similar to their offense (one stud followed by a bunch of average to below-average hurlers), the Astros will have a very difficult time winning any game not started by Roy Oswalt. All that said, the sportsbooks seem to be using the same line of reasoning as us and have set the over/under very low, so we would probably avoid any "futures" bets on Houston altogether. O/U: AVOID

St. Louis Cardinals (8/3 ; 82.5)

The Cardinals boast the game's best overall player in Albert Pujols, yet unfortunately surround him with one of the worst supporting casts in the majors. For years now, Pujols has basically carried the Cardinals on his back, and they're going to be asking the same of him in 2009. While there are quite a few home run threats on the team, Pujols is the only one who also hits for average and solo shots only help so much. On the pitching side, there is very little to like beyond Adam Wainwright, in the rotation or the bullpen. Finally, factor in the injury and regression risks on this team and it's tough to project the Cardinals to finish any better than .500. O/U: UNDER, but barely

Milwaukee Brewers (9/2 ; 80.5)

We've got the Brewers as being slightly better than the Cardinals heading into 2009, the result of a much more well-rounded offense despite a slightly worse pitching staff. The rotation, now without C.C Sabathia, is basically all question marks, although the upside of Yovani Gallardo is higher than anyone's on St. Louis (yes, including Wainwright). The offense, on the other hand, is a lock to be above-average, and may even be top 10 in the majors depending on how things pan out. Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, and Corey Hart are guaranteed to be above average at their respective positions, while Rickie Weeks and Mike Cameron both have the potential to be huge assets, or huge disappointments. We like this lineup to score plenty of runs, but will their pitchers keep enough runs off the board to allow the Brewers to finish with a winning record? We think so, but not by much. O/U: OVER, but barely

Cincinnati Reds (8/1 ; 78.5)

If there is one team that compares favorably to the Tampa Bay Rays before they made the leap in 2008, it's the Cincinnati Reds. Featuring a core of veterans like Brandon Phillips, Ramon Hernandez, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and Fransisco Cordero, as well as future all-stars in Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto, the Reds have an excellent blend of proven veterans and talented youngsters. The pitching staff has a lot of potential to really shine in the coming season, and one of the best ways to help a pitching staff blossom is by installing a solid defense behind them, a plan that worked to perfection by Tampa Bay in '08 when they moved Akinori Iwamura to 2nd over B.J. Upton and installed Jason Bartlett at shortstop. The Reds now boast one of the best defensive infields in baseball, with Edwin Encarnacion being the lone, glaring exception - a healthy Brandon Phillips and Alex Gonzalez give the Reds an outstanding defensive middle infield and Joey Votto is fast becoming one of the best defensive first basemen in the game. With expected improvement from the sophomores and a return to health for Alex Gonzalez and Brandon Phillips, the Reds are primed to be one of the best stories of the 2009 season. O/U: OVER

Chicago Cubs (4/7; 92.5)

They're the class of the division, and you don't need me to tell you that. Excellent hitting backed by solid pitching and a great bullpen means the Cubbies will be the team to beat in the NL Central once again in '09. Chicago took on a talented but injury prone star over the winter in Milton Bradley and traded for Rich Harden midway through 2008, both solid gambles for a team that can afford to be without their services if and when the injury bug strike again. With their services, however, Chicago boasts one of the best teams in baseball on both sides of the ball. The Cubs lost very little from their 2008 squad, and Carlos Marmol may even be an upgrade in the one position where they did lose a starter, as Chicago declined to re-sign closer Kerry Wood. In a weak division in the weaker league, the sky is the limit for this star-crossed franchise, and we don't see a reason for them to win any less than the 97 games they won last year. In addition, they are as much of a lock as any team to win their division, although those 4/7 odds mean you may have to invest quite a bit of your bankroll to make the wager worthwhile. O/U: OVER

March Madness Marketwatch

Back by popular demand, SportsInsights is pleased to bring our Members the March Madness Edition of our popular Sports Marketwatch publication. Note that we’ll be publishing editions of the March Madness MarketWatch through the end of the Tournament.

Welcome to the Sports Marketwatch – March Madness Edition, where SportsInsights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the sports marketplace. If you want to know what is really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports Marketwatch!

The staff at speaks directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding. We’ll look at what’s in store for the upcoming NCAAB games.

Sports Marketplace – March Madness
Recapping Round 1 - Thursday

Sports Marketwatch got started in the right direction for the NCAA Tournament. Our selections went 3-1. Getting +14 points on Akron at Sports Interaction was huge since the game landed on 13. The guideline is to typically bet favorites early and bet underdogs late. The constant pounding of Public betting, typically on favorites, makes this a good rule of thumb to follow. A half point or full point may not seem like a lot but over the course of an entire season can it often mean the difference between winning and losing.

Please check out our article on “betting against the Public” during the Final Four Tournament. In particular, we noted that betting against the Public works particularly well during sporting events that get lots of attention – as in March Madness!

2009 March Madness Games to Watch: 3-1 = 75.0%, +2.2Units

Sports MarketWatch – Sports Marketplace

Utah State +5 over Marquette

This is one of those interesting games to handicap. Utah State comes into this game with one of the best records in the nation, at 30-4. However, they don't get much respect because they play in the Western Athletic Conference. Utah State has a #11 seed and is currently a +5 underdog to the #6 seed Marquette Golden Eagles. Marquette comes from the highly touted Big East Conference.

The line opened at Marquette -7 but early sharp money moved the line all the way to Marquette -5, even with the bets being split about 50/50. We'll join the "sharps" and expect to grab some value on a conference champ to at least put up a good fight against a team that was slightly above-average in their conference.
Utah St. +5

Utah Utes -1 over Arizona
Yes: that's not a typo: we like Utah "times two" today. In the early afternoon, we like Utah St, and in the evening, we like the Utah Utes. And the reason we like both Utah teams is that SportsInsights' proprietary sports marketplace statistics show the existence of big bettors (who are often "sharp") on both of these teams.

In this match-up, even though more bets are coming in on Arizona, the line has moved to Utah being a slight favorite. Some sportsbooks opened with Arizona being a slight favorite, so the "early sharps" definitely like Utah. One of our offshore contacts also alerted us to the early sharp action on the Utes. We'll tag along with the "big money" and give the point.
Utah Utes -1

Boston College +2.5 over USC

This game is another example where the "point spread" movement in combination with SportsInsights' "betting percentages" flag the existence of "smart money" going against the popular bet and grabbing value. With heavy betting action during the NCAA Tournament, the majority of bets are coming down on USC. CRIS opened at USC -3.5 but the early sharp money quickly moved the line down to USC -2.5. We'll bet against the majority of the bettors and join the side of the "smart money."
Boston College +2.5

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NY Yankees Preview

by Chris Arena

Having spent so many words on the Rays, I want to discuss the team many people feel is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of their repeating as AL East champions - The New York Yankees. Much has been made of the Yankees myriad off-season moves - signing C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira to enormous contracts, and adding A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher as well.

On the face of things, it seems the Yankees have made the kind of moves that should directly translate to more wins on the field and, as the Yankees always hope, World Series contention. While it's clear that the Yankees added some very skilled players to their already impressive lineup, I am skeptical that it will lead to any kind of vast improvements in their win total in 2009.

The main basis for my argument is that in order to objectively analyze the Yankees' chances for success in 2009, you can't just look at New York's moves in a vacuum. Only by comparing what can be expected to be gained from the new players against what will be lost from last year's team can we truly get a sense of how the Yankees should perform in '09.

While the additions are indeed very good, I hesitate to call them great for reasons I will detail below. Additionally, the Yankees received some amazing performances last year from unlikely places, making it difficult to expect anything more than a modest increase in their win total in the coming season.

Here's a statistical breakdown of what the Yankees lost and what they have acquired heading into 2009:

Players Lost (2008 Stats)

Mike Mussina (20-9, 1.22 WHIP, 3.37 ERA)
Jason Giambi (32 HR, 96 RBI, .247/.373/.502)
Bobby Abreu (20 HR, 100 RBI, .296/.371/.471)

Players Acquired (2008 Stats)

C.C. Sabathia (17-10, 1.11 WHIP, 2.70 ERA (against the AL: 6-8, 1.23 WHIP, 3.83 ERA))
A.J. Burnett (18-10, 1.34 WHIP, 4.07 ERA (averaged 142 IP over last six years))
Mark Teixeira (33 HR, 121 RBI, .308/.410/.552)
Nick Swisher (24 HR, 69 RBI, .219/.332/.410)

The gains here are marginal. C.C. Sabathia will do well to simply duplicate the numbers Mussina put up as the team's de facto ace in 2008. Giambi's late career renaissance means that Teixeira's offensive output at 1st base will be negligibly better than what the Yankees had there last year (although his defense will certainly save them a few more runs). Nick Swisher will be a bench player for the Yankees, and Bobby Abreu's absence will almost certainly hurt more than Swisher's presence will help.

The only major area of improvement will be having A.J. Burnett starting instead of the rag tag group of guys the Yankees employed to eat innings last year. However, Burnett's injury history all but guarantees the Yankees will not reap full value from his services.

Another area to analyze is expected gains and losses from expected gains, declines, and injuries. On the pitching side, the Yankees should gain considerably from a healthy Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain. However, the soon-to-be-37 Andy Pettitte should continue to experience declines in his skills that will counteract some of those gains. Overall, I would say their pitching has improved markedly from last year, from a C- to a B.

It's a different story on the batting side for the Yankees. Sporting one of the oldest rosters in the majors, the Yankees are almost certain to experience diminishing returns from many of their key players - Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada are all at least 34 years old and on the decline. In addition, Posada and Matsui are both coming off of injury-plagued seasons, but neither player looked good when healthy and they appear to be losing any semblance of their power stroke as they continue to age.

On the defensive end, save for Teixeira and Cano, this team is a mess and counteracting a good bit of the gains gained from their pitching improvements. Jeter continues to be one of the most overrated defenders in the game, while Posada was always known more for his bat than his glove. I don't know the exact history of offensive-minded catchers in their late thirties coming off shoulder surgery, but I can't imagine the outlook there is good.

The Yankee outfield, consisting of Damon, Nady, and some combination of Swisher, Brent Gardner and Melky Cabrera, is almost certain to be one of the worst in the majors defensively. Teixeira is a very solid player both with the bat and the glove, but Giambi was his equal with the bat last year and the gains on defense will be marginal.

And last, but of course not least, is Alex Rodriguez. The keystone of the Yankees offense, A-Rod will miss at least the first month or two of the season after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery, hoping to put off additional (but necessary) surgery until the off-season. Not only do the Yankees lose his massive value, but they also must suffer through the play of his replacement, Cody Ransom, a 31 year old with a career .251 batting average. Factor in the very real possibility that A-Rod suffers rehab setbacks and/or elects to finish the necessary surgeries on his hip, and this situation is a very scary one for the Yankees.

The fact that the Yankees are still 4:1 favorites to win the World Series and 6:5 favorites to clinch the AL East seems absurd to me. One bet I do like is taking the under on games won, currently at a ridiculous 95.5. In the most competitive division in baseball by far and without A-Rod for at least 20% of the season, I find it hard to believe the Yankees will be able to break the 90-win plateau, let alone the 96 needed to go over that line.

Friday, March 13, 2009

NCAA March Madness 2009

Betting Against the Public and College Hoops:

Updated for NCAA Tournament (March 2009)

March is here and that means it is time for March Madness! Last year, we highlighted some of the sports marketplace statistics that we study -- and came up with a simple-to-use system that has been profitable during March Madness. Note that the system we highlight below may also be used during Conference Playoffs (as the system is based on all games during March and April). There is increased public attention as we near the NCAA Tournament -- so that Betting Against the Public works particularly well at this time of the college basketball season.


Over the years, SportsInsights has highlighted the fact that "Betting Against the Public" has even more value when there is increased public attention. The NCAA Tournament -- with all of the office pools (!!) -- is a prime example of this bias. We also summarized a simple system that can be used to capture some of this bias (see below). In this updated article, we include some biases that match up well with SportsInsights' overall philosophy of finding value in the sports marketplace.

Recent Performance of NCAA Tourney Seeds

With so many people involved in NCAA office pools, we studied recent performance of various seeds "against the spread" (ATS) during the first round of the tournament. Interestingly, the performance over the past five years agrees with the "value" that SportsInsights often finds on large underdogs.

  • Since 2003, #1 and #2 seeds have gone a sub-par 20-25 (44%) against the spread in the first round of the Tournament. They have won an overwhelming number of those games, but the large point spreads are difficult to overcome. Note that this performance meshes well with the simple March Madness system we highlight below (large dogs that the public does NOT like).

  • Another tidbit of information is that # 6 and #7 seeds, in the first round, have gone a combined 37-19 (66%) ATS over the past several years. In 2008, the #6 and #7 seeds went 6-2. There seems to be some value in this range of seeds. Perhaps it has to do with the way the Tournament Committee establishes seedings (records and/or performance that give these teams their seeds, have under-valued the #6 and #7 seeds).

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Betting Against the Public and Public Games

Betting Against the Public has proven to work across all of the major sports. Its consistency is remarkable; we have seen that Betting Against the Public and SportsInsights' Square Plays have consistently won in the 53%-57% range, on average. We have also seen that this approach of Betting Against the Public works particularly well in "big games" or "games of national focus." The rationale is that with more of the public watching a game, more public biases occur in the sports betting marketplace (such as betting on "favorites" and "overs"). This leads to an increase in the edge for "sharp bettors."

Number of Bets

SportsInsights collects and displays numerous sports marketplace indicators, with Betting Percentages being its most popular. Betting Percentages are very useful at helping to uncover value in the sports marketplace. We also feel, however, that other indicators - such as the Number of Bets are important as well.

Using a simple system that typically takes College Hoops underdogs, we overlaid a filter that uses only the top 1/3 of games in terms of number of bets. The winning percentage increased by more than 2%! This makes sense, because games with public interest will lead to overpriced favorites. The moral of the story: if you are Betting Against the Public, focus on the games where there is a lot of Public interest.

March Madness: Putting things Together

The great thing about March Madness is that many of these factors come together to help make SportsInsights' betting systems and tools even more effective for our Members. We have the whole country watching the tournament due to all of the office pools. The increased attention leads to an increased number of bets -- and an increase in public biases. The team at SportsInsights decided to see how our basic sports marketplace indicators performed during this time of "national focus" on "March Madness."

Using our College Basketball database that goes back over the past five seasons -- and over 12,000 games -- we looked at a simple system.

During March and April, betting on a team that has a:

  • Betting Percentage less than 30%

  • and is an Underdog of 11 points or more

  • Has yielded a winning percentage of 56% over the past several seasons.

Smart Money

An even stronger use of "betting percentages" is to combine it with "line movement."'s members will recognize this as our Smart Money Betting System. We won't go over Smart Money methods since SportsInsights has several good articles (including this one on College Hoops) on that topic. Suffice it to say that using line moves in combination with betting percentages are a very powerful method of finding out where the Smart Money is going.


College basketball offers sports investors many investment opportunities -- and at the same time, many challenges. We have reviewed some tools that sports investors can use for college hoops. This includes's bread-and-butter sports tools such as Betting Percentages and Line Moves. In addition, we highlighted the Number of Bets -- which is often overlooked as an indicator. Now, let the Madness begin -- and let the "sports investing profits" roll in! Good luck!

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist. It is impossible to predict the future. Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time. Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself. We do not guarantee our data is error-free. However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.

Tampa Bay Rays Preview

by Chris Arena

Do not make the mistake of thinking the Tampa Bay Rays were a one-year wonder. This is a solid team that continues to get better, by both developing prospects and making enlightened off-season acquisitions. The 2009 season brings few changes to Tampa Bay's roster, but the changes they have made have all been well thought out with an eye towards continued contention.

First, they signed Pat Burrell to play left field and DH and provide the power right-handed bat they so desperately needed. The Rays' main weakness in 2008 was a lineup that was very weak against left-handed pitching (combined batting line of .246/.330/.396 average/on-base/slugging) as their two best righties, Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton, actually faired better against right-handed pitching in 2008. Longoria especially stood out in this regard, hitting and slugging 40 points higher against his right-handed brethren.

Burrell brings a deadly right-handed bat to the mix, averaging 30 home runs a year over the past three years and crushing southpaws to the tune of .279/.406/.545 in 2008. He also fits Tampa Bay's progressive-thinking system of valuing on-base percentage (OBP) over batting average, as his .367 OBP is much more impressive than his .250 average.

Their second addition, Matt Joyce, is a promising young hitter who will probably start the year at AAA but should join the Rays in mid-season to spell veterans Gabe Gross and Gabe Kapler. Joyce has flashed Burrell-like potential in that he hits for power, not average, but he walks enough to keep his OBP respectable.

Second, the Rays will be utilizing the services of all-world prospect David Price for the entirety of the 2009 season. Pitching was not an issue for the Rays in '08 (3rd in the majors with a 3.82 team ERA), yet Price makes their staff even stronger for the coming year. Featuring a starting rotation of James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and Price, the Rays' rotation matches up favorably to any in baseball, including the $100 million+ rotations of the Yankees and Red Sox. Factor in Garza's superb playoff performance and expected subsequent improvement, and you have an elite rotation that will terrorize AL East batters for years.

Finally, Tampa Bay's farm system boasts many other top prospects just waiting for their turn to add even more strength to the Rays' roster. Reid Brignac is a power-hitting shortstop who has improved his defense from mediocre to outstanding and may join the team this year if his bat can rebound from an off-year in '08. Pitcher Wade Davis is an elite prospect who would be even more well-known if he wasn't competing with the best prospect in baseball (David Price) for a shot at the big league. His fastball/curveball combination is outstanding, and if he can master the change-up he will probably join the Rays as a bullpen arm and inject some youth in the only area of the team that is showing a little age. The Rays boast other prospects, such as Desmond Jennings, Tim Beckham, and Jacob McGee, who are all expected to be all-star level contributors but will not advance past the minors in 2009.

All signs point to the Rays continuing their winning ways for 2009 and beyond. They don't spend money like the Beasts of the (AL) East, but they don't have to because years of solid drafting have supplied them with home-grown talent better than almost every available free-agent on the market. The one hole that they couldn't address in '09 through prospects (right-handed hitting) was filled by the acquisition of Burrell, an ideal fit both statistically and for his veteran, championship-level experience.

From a sports betting standpoint, I like the Rays as a nice value pick for several futures. 4:1 to win the AL East is the first one that jumps out at me, and I love Tampa Bay at that kind of value. Boston and New York are tied as 6:5 favorites, and I firmly believe Tampa is a better team than both of them. With 18:1 odds to win the World Series, the Rays are a bit of a longshot, but I still like the value here with teams like Arizona at 16:1 and the Yankees as favorites with incredible 4:1 odds. Finally, Tampa Bay is getting a line of +115 for the over in regular season wins, currently at 88.5. Seeing as they won 97 games last year and I don't feel their opposition improved significantly, I really like the Rays and the over.

Stay tuned next week when we take a look at the New York Yankees' outlook for 2009.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Sports Betting Champ Exposed

John Morrison, a.k.a. “The Sports Betting Champ”, is a Cornell graduate with a degree in Statistics (as his website will tell you, time and time again), but his specialty appears to be in marketing. His website,, has generated more buzz in the sports betting community over the past few years than any other handicapping site out there.

He boldly claims an historic winning percentage of 97% and a weekly income of $50,000. You would think this guy would have better things to do with his time than try to sell you lifetime picks for $200, considering he claims an annual betting income of $2,600,000.

You would be wrong.

John Morrison would like you to believe he is the patron saint of sports gambling, willing to lead you to the promised land of guaranteed winners and six-figure betting income. It certainly seems as though that’s the case.

What other reason would a multi-millionaire have for sharing his gambling secrets with the masses, risking both his reputation and his ability to place bets by going public with a system that sports a supposed near-perfect record and is “guaranteed” to make you rich?

Surely the money he makes off selling his betting system is peanuts compared to the millions he rakes in annually from the sportsbooks, right? Right?

Wrong again.

For the full article, click here.

Please post any insights or comments.

Thanks to those that contributed their thoughts and experiences.

Friday, March 6, 2009

NBA Teams of Interest

by Chris Arena,


The Charlotte Bobcats are the third best team in the NBA this season against the spread, rewarding bettors who have backed them with a 36-24-1 record. Their 26-35 actual record belies the fact that they have only allowed 1.8 more points per game than they score, and their "Pythagorean record" is a much tidier 30-31. "Pythagorean record " is a term coined by Bill James, the famous baseball statistician. It is a calculation of a team's expected wins based on their points scored and points allowed, a commonsensical approach of determining how lucky or unlucky a team has been in regards to its won/lost record.

The Bobcats have been very unlucky in their games won thus far, and while this is an unpleasant reality for Charlotte, it presents bettors with a rather nice value opportunity. Luck tends to even out over the course of a season and so it makes sense to believe the Bobcats will win more games in the remainder of the season, bringing their actual record closer to their Pythagorean record.

I feel that the Bobcats have improved significantly as a result of their acquisition of Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Vlad Radmonivic. I also like that D.J. Augustin continues to improve and Gerald Wallace has returned to health. The Bobcats are a much better team than their record right now, not just because they've been unlucky but also because they have legitimately improved and matured as a team.

These facts lead me to believe that Charlotte may win a good deal more games down the stretch than expected and will continue to be a nice team to back with the spread. However, I want to emphasize that it may be an even better idea to take the Bobcats on the moneyline. Their record is due to adjust favorably and their talent level continues to rise, so look for Charlotte to win straight up more often as the season comes to a close.

On a final note, be aware that Charlotte is an incredibly streaky steam, either covering or failing to cover in large bunches over the past few months - the last time they did not win or lose at least two consecutive games against the spread was December 13th of last year. Having covered over their last four games, the Bobcats may be due for a few gambling losses, but don't get discouraged as there should be more winning streaks in their future.


The Dallas Mavericks, who are 6-6 against the spread in their past dozen games, have exhibited an interesting trend worth investigating. Over those dozen games, the Mavericks have alternated wins and losses against the spread in every single game, starting with a betting loss to the Bulls on February 7th. Does this mean that Dallas expends too much energy in some games, only to play down in the following game? Possibly, but that's a little too simplistic for my liking. Looking at the actual games reveals two very distinct trends with gambling implications.

First, most of the Mavs' betting losses during this peculiar stretch have been to very good teams, which may tell us that the Mavs are intimidated by better opponents, or simply not as good as the public may think they are. Their six gambling loses were to Chicago, Boston, Houston, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City twice. The six games they did cover were against Sacramento twice, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Toronto, and San Antonio. Clearly, the latter list is much weaker than the former, with a couple exceptions (namely Oklahoma City and San Antonio). This information tells us to be wary when Dallas faces better opponents, with the prudent move being to bet the spread on the Mavericks' opponent when they play better teams.

The second interesting observation is that all six of their wins during this stretch was on their home court, and this has been a trend for Dallas all season long. Their actual record at home is 23-8 while they are just 14-16 away from American Airlines Center. Dallas is much more comfortable playing at home and this should not be ignored when wagering on the Mavericks.

In summary, don't be afraid to lay the points on the Mavs when they're playing lesser opponents at home, but fade them on the road and especially against the better teams in the league.

As always, your feedback is much appreciated! Please comment if you feel compelled, and I can be reached personally at