Posts Tagged ‘Betting’

By Jesse Granger

Saturday night the UFC Octagon will be back in Sacramento, for a card stacked with superstar fights of the lighter-weight variety.  While the average weight of the eight fighters on the main card is 140 pounds, these midgets will put on a hell of a show. 

Joe Lauzon (-175) vs Mac Danzig (+155)

To start off the card on national television, lightweights Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig will face off.  Motivation won’t be a problem in this one, as both fighters will be fighting for their careers.  Both Lauzon and Danzig enter the bout on two-fight losing streaks, and have lost three of their last four.  While the odds are fairly close, I think Lauzon is a significantly better fighter, and will pull off the victory.  If you are seeking better odds than -175, a bet on Lauzon by submission might not be a bad idea.  18 of Lauzon’s 22 wins have come by way of submission, including his last five.

Chad Mendes (-800) vs Nik Lentz (+550)

There’s not much to talk about from a betting perspective in this one.  In all likelihood, Mendes will annihilate Lentz, hence the -800 line.  Mendes’ record is nearly perfect, with his only loss coming to pound-for-pound great Jose Aldo.  With those type of odds, there isn’t much value to be found here, unless you want to parlay Mendes with some other fights for a few extra bucks.

Urijah Faber (-155) vs Michael McDonald (+135)

This fight is guaranteed fireworks.  Faber and McDonald are two of the fastest bantamweights on the planet, and both possess unique finishing ability for their size.  McDonald has the most value of any underdog on this card.  The 22-year-old from Modesto, Calif. has won nine of his last 10, with the only loss coming to interim-champion Renan Barao.  Of those nine wins, seven have been by submission or (T)KO. He is the much younger fighter, and is riding a title wave of momentum.  McDonald has proven to be excellent at taking advantage of mistakes, and Faber’s wild kickboxing has plenty to take advantage of.  McDonald would probably be favored, if not for the fight being in Sac-town.  Faber will be fighting in his home town of Sacramento for the fifth time in his career.  Interestingly enough, that hasn’t served Faber all that well in the past, as he’s lost two of his last three fights there. 

Demetrious Johnson (-135) vs Joseph Benavidez (+110)

The oddsmakers have all but eliminated any shred of value in this main event by putting Benavidez at only +110.  These two faced off at UFC 152 in September of 2012, and the champion, Johnson, barely escaped by the skin of his teeth via split decision.  The fight was razor close, and no one could name a clear winner after 25 minutes in the octagon.  While I lean slightly towards Johnson in this one, there isn’t much value at -135 when these fighters are nearly dead even when it comes to skill.  Johnson has the speed advantage, but only by a hair, and Benavidez makes up for that with technique and fluidity in his boxing.  This is a great fight to watch, not such a great fight to bet.


By W.G. Ramirez

Reminiscent of Captain Renault in Casablanca, who was “shocked, SHOCKED!” to find there was gambling at Rick’s Café Américain in Casablanca, NBA Summer League founder Warren LeGarie about fell over when I asked him if he knew there were betting lines on the games being played this week at the Cox Pavilion and Thomas and Mack Center.

I don’t know if looks are facetious, but I’m sure LeGarie’s was when he said: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Nonetheless, lo and behold, the LVH Superbook is taking action on the summer league games taking place here in Las Vegas, while a scant few offshore joints are also in action.

And here’s the rundown: the underdogs have been the winning choice, as they’re 24-19 since the start of the league, with three games being a pick and a fourth not having a line. As for the totals, the Under has been an overwhelming moneymaker, with a 29-17 mark.

Actually, with the totals, since the Under broke out on a 16-2 run after the first three days, things have leveled off with the Over on a 15-13 streak since Monday.

There’s no telling how much action is coming in on the games, which are played by teams comprised of mostly no-names hoping to make the NBA. There are a few big names in the pack, and as LeGarie pointed out, the league is simply trying to put a good product on the court and a provide a good show for exuberant basketball fans still salivating from the exhilarating seven-game NBA Finals.

“All we do is want to make this more competitive, we want people to play for something meaningful, we think it adds another element, we think the fans get involved especially with our seating,” LeGarie said. “This is good.”

I’m sure there are some people having fun with the point spreads, and they’re showing up at the arenas with betting slips in their pocket. Why not, with an opportunity to wager on games and then watch the games in person?

With the championship bracket in the quarterfinals, I would imagine the LVH Superbook lines will be tighter and the totals could be a little truer to form. I would also have to assume the action will increase for the final weekend.

“I’m not a gambler, I’m not a bettor,” said ESPN NBA analyst Kurt Rambis. “From everything I’ve heard about betting and gambling they’ll bet and gamble on anything, so why not the summer league games?”

Exactly, and even Capt. Renault wouldn’t be shocked!

Every year, in the first month of the season, the Customer Service Department at my site gets inundated with questions about BETTING BASEBALL with me. Let me tell you right now: it is one of the best ways to make money, and one of the simplest forms of handicapping.

I am actually shocked there aren’t more baseball bettors out there, because of the supreme value you get with travel schedule, pitching rotations, run-line plays and even totals! Perhaps it’s the popularity – or lack thereof – since so many people would rather wager on a fast-paced game, such as football and basketball. But guys, money is money, and just like in a stock market, you’re either investing long-term mutual, or on the aggressive risk play. The same applies here.

Now, with the regular season officially getting underway Wednesday, March 28 (3:10 a.m. pacific), with Seattle (Hernandez -130, 7) and Oakland (McCarthy) opening the season in Tokyo, let’s go over some important points you’ll need to consider, or phrases I can define easier for you:

LISTING PITCHERS – I take into account the pitchers in each game, and generally surround my handicapping around the starters. Most times I will tell you to list the pitchers in a baseball game, which basically means you’re making a wager on a game and stating specified hurlers in the event.

If Cliff Lee is facing Justin Verlander, I might tell you to list Lee and Verlander, which means both must start in order for you to have action on the game. If one, or both pitchers don’t start, you have no action and your money will be returned. You can also play a team and list its pitcher, or only choose to list the pitcher your team is opposing. Bottom line, when listing one or both pitchers, whomever is on your ticket must start the game (throw one pitch), in order for you ticket to be valid.

You can also make an ACTION bet, which means regardless of the pitchers who start or play, you’ll have action on the team you’re betting on.

MONEY LINE – Instead of a point spread, we have the Money Line; and this is what you’ll be playing daily – UNLESS IT’S NOTED to play the Run Line. Money Lines are expressed in terms of a dollar. If we’re making a play on the favorite, we’ll be laying more than a dollar in order to win a dollar – the same we lay $1.10 to win a $1 in football and basketball. If we’re playing an underdog, we’re investing one dollar to win a dollar plus the juice. For instance, if a favorite is -1.35, we’ll lay $1.35 to win $1. If we’re betting the underdog in that game, we’d likely be catching +1.25; so we’d lay $1 to win $1.25.

Now, this is very important, as we must discuss Sports Books. I will never tell you where to play, and don’t offer any recommendations on any, but I will tell you this is the most important time of the season to find a quality one, or use multiple ones to shop the prices effectively, as we’re looking for ones offering “Dime Lines.” Here in Vegas, I can get a nickel line at times, but that’s irrelevant.

Notice my example above – a favorite laying $1.35 and the comeback at $1.25. There are some books that will offer a .20-cent line, and you’d only be getting $1.15 for that underdog. You lose value by not knowing these things, so take in consideration your book when signing up. Understandably, at most books, as the price reaches $1,80 or $2.00 with favorites, the come-back price is now a 20-cent line.

RUN LINE – The run line will be used throughout the week in our plays. Here’s where a “point spread” comes in. For instance, if the Tigers are a big favorite with Justin Verlander laying $2.10 to Kevin Slowey on the Money Line, I would be inclined to laying 1-1/2 runs, and reduce the price to +1.05. Quite a difference, right?

The catch is, the Tigers must win by two or more runs. Rarely would we play an underdog +1-1/2, so we won’t get much into that, but the thought process remains the same, as we’d be getting a run and a half, lose by one and still win our bet. There are have been sharps and handicappers known to do this, thinking a pitching duel will end up in a one-run game, but it is not something I am a fan of.

When making a Run Line wager, it will always be based on the pitchers listed at the time the wager is made. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, there is no action and your money will be returned.

TOTALS – Baseball totals are the same across the board, just as in any sport, as there is a number listed for the game itself, and it applies to the number of runs both teams score in the game. This includes extra innings, when applicable. Both pitchers who are listed at the time the bet is made must start for a total bet to have action. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, there is no action and your money will be returned. I will have action on totals, not a lot, but more often in baseball than in any other sport will I find value in MLB totals. Many bettors will take into consideration the umpires in handicapping baseball, particularly the totals. I’m not that big on it, though at times I will refer to the home-plate assignment to solidify a big play. For an absolutely great read on handicapping umpires, check out this article by David Payne Purdham.

SYSTEMS – No handicapper might admit to it, but when it comes to baseball, there are some age-old betting systems the late-great Mike Lee used to follow religiously. I love three of them in particular, none of which I’m ready to reveal though, as I work them into my daily lineups quite often. The key to these systems, is they’re profitable from the start of each season. It’s not something you can jump in and out of, as there could be losing streaks with them. Fact is, there’s always losing streaks in sports betting, but you cannot lose focus on the task at hand, and must play accordingly, following the rules of your money management, the sport you’re playing and the system(s) you’re following. This is the main reason I always insist on playing with me for one of two packages – through the All-Star Break, or through the World Series.

Good luck this season, and remember, it’s a very long campaign that can be grueling at times. The ups, the downs, the highs, the lows … it’s an investment, not a hunt-and-peck kind of sport you want to jump in and out of. The prices give us an advantage at times, and that’s where we make our mark.

I follow strict money management guidelines in baseball, so if you’re on board long-term, stick by everything I tell you and follow the ratings.

See ya at the ball field, and don’t forget your Cracker Jacks!