Two gambling heavyweights, Barstool Sports and Las Vegas Westgate Casino are having a set-to regarding proprietorship over the cliché, “Good teams win, bad teams cover.” Barstool President Dave Portney business acumen is indisputable. Consequently, is he spewing this hackneyed canard because he believes it or is he cunning like a fox? Like Westgate, Portnoy owns his own sportsbook, Barstool. Hence, there is plenty of incentive for perpetuating this farcical hoax.
The fact-based truth is that great teams are overvalued. In the NBA teams with winning percentage of .880 or above are 600-652-26 ATS. However, when playing a horrific team, it’s even worse. If their opponent has a winning percentage of less than .410, the great team covers at an abysmal .373 at 85-143-3. When the records are not deceptive and the “great” team is the favorite by at least 1.5, the elite squad covers at a .368 clip.
Do great teams cover in NFL? If a team has a winning percentage of .900 or above and at least 11 wins, one could proclaim they’ve gained admission to the great clique. Yet said teams are 25-59-1 for .298 winning percentage all-time.
None of this is a revelation to pro gamblers. The gambling society yearns to wager on superior and hotter teams, hence betting on premium lineups comes with a premium price. Pay the piper for that façade of security of betting on great squads to cover.
I’m no atty and I’m preoccupied winning bets to play one on the computer. However, I handicap Portnoy’s claim, “By the way there is literally no chance they invented that (phrase),” to be irrelevant in a court of law. Barstool’s head honcho compared it to “Saying you invented the question mark.” Or the term “barstool” perhaps.
My reasons for making Barstool the substantial underdog are anecdotal, but personal and related to the gambling sector.
Our free scorephones were called “Sportsline.” Many years later, Sportsline was trademarked by the founders of website now owned by CBS. After getting a cease-and-desist letter demanding we stop using the name, our corporate attorney advised us to not fight it. Apparently, “Literally no chance they invented that” holds up in court as well as “Great teams cover” holds up at sportsbooks.
Anyone who believes the urban legend about a correlation between great groups of players and covering may not have invented the question mark. They just epitomize it.
Grandmaster Sports Handicapper Joe Duffy has been making scientifically-based winning picks since 1988 on the scorephones. He is CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com