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).

FREE Premium Pro Membership Offer - Try SportsInsights for One Month Free


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

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Sports Betting Champ

Just a quick update for those of you keeping up with the blog. I am in the process of writing an article about The Sports Betting Champ (, one of the biggest frauds in the sports handicapping industry. Finding material is tough because this guy really covers his bases with fake websites all dedicated to deterring anyone from being able to find any negative information on him through search engines.

If anyone has any experience with using his system or knows anybody that does, please leave a comment here or send me an email ( If you would like me to quote you, please give me permission in your email and give me your name and location.

This guy is getting rich by frauding people and we're going to do our best to get the word out. We are proud of our systems at SportsInsights and enjoy helping our customers find a real, relevant edge in the sports betting marketplace. Unfortunately, fraudulent handicappers like him give the whole sports information industry a bad name.