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February 2, 2006

Coaches in Preseason Handicapping Tops Sports Betting Tips

Filed under: Sports Gambling Strategy Articles | — Mike Godsey @ 2:09 AM

Don’t Have a Tendency to Overvalue Coaches Preseason Tendencies

Just say no.  Too often the wannabee sharp player will tell you how much they love a preseason game because one coach is 7-3 ATS in the preseason and the other is just 10-20. The non-reasoning is that the first coach wants to win more.

First of all, ATS trends have little or no value in preseason NFL betting, but even if they did just about any that apply to a coach’s preseason record would be statistically insignificant. But more importantly one must ascertain if there is a rhyme to the reason.

For example Jimmy Johnson had a horrible ATS record in the exhibition games at Dallas because the variables basically stayed the same.  They were a marquee team that had high bettor’s appeal but they barely gave their “Triplets” of Smith, Aikman and Irvin a cop of coffee in a game. However the same spread fate continued with Barry Switzer because the same set of circumstances applied until the day Michael Irvin’s career ended on the dreaded Veterans Memorial Stadium turf.

And the Pokes being a great fade had absolutely nothing with their lack of motivation to win, it was simply a lack of justification to play their front line players. I would not bet my worst enemy’s money on for example any Steve Mariucci preseason historical record because a complete change of circumstances makes all numbers irrelevant.

Fluid circumstances are the primary reasons for the coaches’ historical record in preseason. Bluntly I’d rate coaches inclinations barely above random chance as a rationalization for the records and thus as a handicapping tool.  True Bill Parcells is a rare example of a coach who does seem to consistently put emphasis on the final score but an overwhelming majority of perceived annual dispositions of any specific coach are more imagined than real.

Offshore Drilling  Requires a Refinery

Yes we drill the offshore books the same way we did the Vegas sports odds and outlaw books before that.  We keep refining theories, systems and angles. I keep a database of what I half-jokingly refer to as “almost plays”.  These are plays I like but the base principles are established more on theory than proven track record and hence cannot rise to the level of premium play.  I then group each play under the theorem in its own memory based program. Once this premise has been proven to withstand the test of time it is upgraded to our empirical process.

Some recent revelations have resulted in our releasing and winning many more favorites in baseball. We were in some respects victims of our own success. “Bad” days consisted of going 2-3 and thanks to big dogs we still turned a small profit. We had slumps that resulted in hitting 44 percent yet still with a positive ROI.  Potential chalk winners resulted in us passing on the games because we got so biased against laying the lumber.

We deprived ourselves of the profitable fact that even with the much higher winning percentage required, baseball favorites under the right set of circumstances can have the same probability/risk ratio as our tried and true dogs and small favorites.  Thanks to tracking theories we have rectified that.

Another demonstration is how we rate our system plays. In the past we yielded to what statisticians use to measure the reliability of data: z score.  Who are we to argue with PhDs? However upon tracking the deviation from the mean as it applies to handicapping we discovered that the simple return on investment (ROI) is an even more accurate way.  The ROI is based simply on one-unit per play and includes the juice.

So instead of insisting a system have a z score of 4.0 or above to be statistically reliable, we now use 80 units or higher as standard.  Essentially it puts more emphasis on sample size and less on winning percentage.

We Love the Information Age

It looks like one of our favorite sites for college sports information has added even more colleges to the network.  This will both increase and streamline our ability to not miss a beat both on the gridiron and hardwood.  Along those lines now that ESPN U, CSTV and Fox give us three channels dedicated to college sports, they and the other major sites such as CBS Sportsline are greatly increasing the amount and quality of coverage in their respective premium and “insider” packages.

The offshore sportsbooks are somewhat handcuffed because intense competition has forced them to come out with lines earlier and earlier.  Yet the pinpoint accuracy of information available late in the week from the ever increasing sources continues to widen the gap between handicapping’s upper, middle and lower classes. Luckily there is no shortage of rank and file gamblers to keep to books solvent.

Now many sports bloggers are a worthwhile source.  Not so much gambling specific but there is no shortage of sports fanatics out there and a few do have some good insight.  We will keep an open mind and two open eyes.

Grand Master Handicapper Joe Duffy is widely accepted as the top sports handicapper ever. He was General Manager of the Freescoreboard scorephone network and CEO of, the premier hub of world-class handicappers.


February 1, 2006

The Initial God’s Tid-Bets

Filed under: Sports Gambling Strategy Articles | — Mike Godsey @ 9:45 PM

God’s Tid-Bets, Vol. 1
Joe Duffy (
Most of the articles I’ve written are one basic concept or theory discussed in great length and detail. But this is the era of the Internet blogger. Random thoughts are in vogue. Of course we have our daily “blog” in which we amass news and notes compiled from websites and hometown newspapers from around the county.
But consider this my “evergreen” blog, a synopsis of recent discussions, debates and questions that I’ve had on gambling theory.
In response to a question about crowd sizes and homecourt advantage—in this particular case it was college hoops:
There are endless quotes from players and coaches alike who have spoken of which are the toughest arenas in which to play. There have been many articles written by said participants.
Back when Penn State played in their gym, it was considered one of the great home court advantages in all of hoops. Ditto for the West Virginia Coliseum. Sharp players are very aware of home/road dichotomy. The even more acute look beyond the stats and scratch the surface. It stands to reason that home court advantages become even bigger when a sell-out crowd is on hand.
I’ve spoken in the past of a handicapper who while I admit at times is blinded by what he calls intangibles. I must confess that I used to laugh when he would go nuts over such things as a team with their first sell-out in three years or first game on national television, etc. But in hindsight, these nuggets can have some use, though unlike the aforesaid handicapper, I prefer to use it as part of the preponderance of evidence rather than basing a huge play on solely it.
I have found home court advantages are much less when students are on Christmas break or particularly in the smaller conferences on Spring break because of the condensed crowds. This has been especially true in the NIT where many teams host games while students are on Spring break.
Using revenge in handicapping:
Revenge is among the most misused angles in selecting winners. It seems 95 percent of the time I hear someone touting “revenge” it’s predicting one team (almost always a favorite or at least virtual pick ‘em games) annihilating their combatant
But in yet another example of what separates the discerning from the “dis-earning” is knowing where retaliation pays its biggest dividends. Year in and year out, we have found ill will is a huge factor when a big dog is avoiding being thoroughly embarrassed again.
For example if an inferior team lost by 40 points to a superior team and is getting 15 points in the rematch, the dog is much more motivated to preserve one’s dignity by avoiding another whitewash.
There is no better motivation to have a big underdog provoked to keep a score respectable than to have previously been obliterated by their opponent.
Top teams taking out their frustrations following a loss:
John Q. Public loves betting on a top shelf team following a rare loss. In the elongated NBA or MLB seasons, often it would be an embarrassing loss needed for a wake-up call. We are not minimizing this consideration, but knowing the public embraces this theory, oddsmakers can ready for the square who blindly bets it. However win, lose or draw, the unsophisticated gambler disregards this dogma after the ensuing game.
Especially in college football, basketball and the NBA, we have found top shelf teams heed the lesson and take out their anger for several games.
The premier teams did not become that way by subscribing to a philosophy that one win cancels out a loss. There is more spread value in riding preeminent teams two and three games following a loss. In fact in our daily news and notes, so often we give you nuggets like “Since their loss to Acme State, Generic University is 4-0 with the average margin of victory 23.2 points.”
If you would like to ask a question or suggest a topic for future blogs, please email us at Duffy’s plays are part of the Dream Team at He is perhaps the most published and respected author on sports gambling theory and has been featured as a regular guest as the handicapping expert on the Rick Ballou Show on Sporting News Radio, Gamblers Zoo national radio show, the Meat and Potatoes gambling show, Pro Fantasy Sports Internet radio and Grogan’s Fantasy Football show. His Wise Guy Plays available exclusively at are widely respected as the biggest play in the handicapping abyss.

Paying For Picks, the Pros and the Cons–Literally

Filed under: Sports Gambling Strategy Articles | — Mike Godsey @ 9:32 PM

Are You Handicapped Without a Handicapper?
Joe Duffy (
It’s a conundrum that many ATS fortune hunters face. Sports gambling can be a great leisurely activity for all, but for the well-versed sports prophesier, it can be a lucrative enterprise.
There are sharpies and wise guys who do make a lot of money sports gambling, but it takes the ability to both line-shop and forebode the outcome of games to make it profitable.
While my clients’ line-tracking skills are their own, the most important doomsday machine that an odds protégée can harbor is knowing the right sides and totals to monitor. Go to any search engine and enter “Godspicks” you will find endless articles on the intel needed for advantageous prophecy, but as the musician was told on the way to Carnegie Hall, the only solution is practice, practice, and practice.
Let there be no doubt that there are a limited number of qualified professional handicapping experts. Unfortunately the consumer is forced to ferret through the much more commonplace coin flippers with a grandiloquent sales pitch before unearthing the maestro confidants.
Too often desperate gamblers are clay pigeons for a windbag who talks the talk, but cannot walk the walk. Sometimes the other extreme happens. Ironically so many clients thinking they are suave patrons fall prey to the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
They are bamboozled into thinking virtuous means a virtuoso. It befuddles me how these people are the most easily hoodwinked considering how they present themselves as the more discriminating shoppers of sports investment advisors.
I have seen on Internet posting boards for example gamblers assign credibility to handicappers using the bottom rung criterion of merely admitting to losing days. Any huckster can merely come clean on heads covering when he picked tails. Professional gamblers can only sneer at such easily mislead gamblers who keep the bookmakers in business for the rest of us.
The polished magnate is much more concerned with handicappers who have few losers to proclaim than those who think sportsbooks are merely confessional booths. “Bookmaker forgive me for I have lost, it has been three weeks since my last winner.” If you can find a bookmaker who accepts “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers” as payment, more power to you. The rest of you, I would implore you to set the bar much higher when purchasing advice.
In Advertising 101, they teach to “Sell the sizzle and not the steak.” But there really is no correlation between hard-sell/soft-peddle and legitimate/illegitimate in this field.
Let me elaborate though. This is not to say that one should give merit to the notorious snake oil salesmen. Rest assured anyone who claims “inside information” or implies that a game is a sure thing; the only forgone conclusion is that you better hope the shyster that you paid used the lucky paper clip.
A sharp player never merely gives the squeakiest wheel the oil, but also does not fall for the façade of legitimacy that uninformed consumers effortlessly acquiesce to the soft-peddlers.
Some brag because they can do it, others ballyhoo because a sales pitch is all they have got.
Quite often I get an email from someone saying that they want me to give them my premium picks for a few weeks and than if they are satisfied they will purchase a long-term package.
Even though gambling by its mere definition involves, well a “gamble” I wish all the worldly endeavors that by their nature involve less risk than gambling could come with such guarantee and free lunches as requested by the likes that I just mentioned.
Well speaking of free lunches, my only other obsession besides triumphant prognostication is dining. Could you imagine if I went in a restaurant and told them they should give me a few free meals before I determined if I wanted to consent to buying a meal?
Do not misconstrue what I assert, restaurants and many other businesses give free samples. Oh, I am so enlightened on that. My wife saw on television one day about how easy it is to acquire free samples via the Internet. Our life and mailbox has never been the same since. But I digress.
Car dealers certainly allow test drives. Likewise, reputable handicappers allow you to not only get free selections, but also even more importantly enable you to experience, savor and partake in their expertise. Well-informed and experienced handicappers should have no problem proving their proficiency before a game even starts with the profoundness of their accompanied analysis.
What, there was no reasoning and justification given with their free play? Purchase at your own risk. Caveat emptor. If a selection looks like a shot in the dark, it probably is. If a sports stockbroker is well informed, he has no reason not to flaunt it. But if a robber baron is trying to simply pawn off a guess, it is tough to present scrutiny and research when it consists of a wink and a smile.
But again, those who happily make payment for blind faith underwrite the bookmakers so they can painlessly benefact those of us who live and breathe sports betting.
A learned foreteller should have articulate widely published articles on gaming theory and strategy. Any handicapper who wants your patronage would be happy to showcase gaming scholarly doctrine. It is his best sales tool.
An educated buyer is good for both the gambler and top shelf handicapper. But those who want to judge all professional speculators by the actions of the most notorious are doing themselves and the true pros an injustice. Prejudice against members of any profession may be more politically correct than preconceived notions against someone because of their race, color or creed, but it is narrow-minded bigotry nonetheless.
Neither blind faith nor McCarthyism towards professional handicappers will do you fairness. But investing money in the proper middleman is most conducive to making coach potatoism a bull market.
Duffy’s plays are part of the Dream Team at He is perhaps the most published and respected author on sports gambling theory and has been featured as a regular guest as the handicapping expert on the Rick Ballou Show on Sporting News Radio, the Meat and Potatoes gambling show and Grogan’s Fantasy Football show.

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