Cliches About Pitching and Defense

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Clichés About Pitching and Defense Are So Offensive to Real Handicappers
Joe Duffy (
We recently wrote an article on WHIP versus ERA in handicapping. Despite the fact that baseball in the interest of the gambler is predominated by football and basketball, the questions we got in regards to that article exceeds the response of even our most popular NFL writings.
The prevailing area under discussion was inquiring how to weigh offensive statistics relative to pitching.
There is an old cliché that pitching and defense are 80 percent of the game. A similar timeworn saying is that good pitching beats good hitting. Putting that to the test we find that Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez must not be all that good because they have a combined sub .500 record in the postseason. The two with the best winning percentage would be Clemens and Martinez who clearly had the best bats as support. All five have a higher ERA in the postseason than the regular season and 3-of-5 by .30 or more.
The supporters of this apocryphal footnote point towards how low scoring postseason games often are. This inductive thought process never analyzes why such is. They ignore pretty important facts such how managers can greatly shorten their pitching staff, but cannot do the equivalent offensively. A five man pitching staff becomes three, but a skipper cannot condense his batting order from nine to just five or six. It is commonplace for an ace to pitch three games in a seven game playoff series. How often do you ever see it during the regular season? Sans rainouts or in a very rare case of the All-Star break, the answer is never.
No question the pitcher is the most important player on the field, but to say he and his teammates gloves are four times as important as their bats is poppycock but a boon for the books.
Most importantly there are two supremely substantial components relevant to the handicapper that do not enter the equation when run of the mill baseball fans are arguing this point over a cold brew. The referenced “good pitching” does not always come from good pitchers. Likewise, good pitchers don’t always bestow good pitching.
It is well beyond semantics that there is a major distinction between the axioms, “good pitching beats good hitting” than uttering “good pitchers beat good hitters.”
I will seize investing on hot pitching from a second-rate pitcher against besieged bats from a great offense, just as I would lay a wager against a slumping stud hurler especially when encumbered with nose-diving run support.
The value is there. We have ridden the likes of Pat Rapp, John Snyder, Scott Sanders, Rick Krivda…the list goes on as far as big dogs while they were in “the zone”. No handicapper on the planet has had more success going against future Hall-of-Fame pitchers under the right state of affairs.
We have written several articles on how fantasy and gambling information often overlap. One thing the roto player gets a great sense of is how much pitching can be a total crapshoot. If one were to compile a list of the biggest surprises and disappointments every baseball season, there will always be a disproportionate number of pitchers on that list. Oddsmakers asymmetrically make their line based on this fluid dynamic, which gives sharp players wide-open opportunity.
All that leaves value for us. As Mike Foreman, Sports Product Manager for MVP points out, “books have had to offer ‘Listed Pitchers’ and ‘Action’ wagers because a pitching change can make such a huge difference.” However you can’t specify, “Bonds must play”.
We remind you again the basic math that makes a win-loss record almost irrelevant in baseball. You need only hit 40 percent of 150 dogs (your price after the juice) to break even, but 60 percent of 150 favorites. The difference between the sharps and squares in baseball is so often the sharps know how to win hitting 46 percent, while the squares often hit 65 percent and get buried.
The gambling aristocrats are those who anticipate when “good pitching” comes from inferior pitchers or when high society hurlers come up with bad pitching and/or get minimal run support. As one need not have an above .500 record to have a winning record in baseball handicapping, and the whiz kids know they must anatomize how the oddsmakers assay the varying factors.
Substantiating which pitchers and teams the oddsmakers over or undervalue has one prerequisite that the dumb bunnies disregard—how much the linesmakers evaluate each dynamic to begin with.
Ah, but how to specifically handicap offense? Guess what our next article is regarding?
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 where daily sports handicapping information is available to crush the sportsbooks.

Nothing to Spare in Striking it Rich Going Bowling

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Nothing To Spare In Striking it Rich Going Bowling
Joe Duffy (
The bowls are soon to be here. A lot of money is to be made, but let us make sure it is not the bookmakers! One of the first mistakes that so many gamblers make is that they feel they “have” to bet larger amounts on bowl games or bet every side and total.
Do not get me wrong; there are true harmless “recreational” gamblers. By that we mean people who are couch potatoes and bet only “entertainment” money to insure that they have someone to root for on that chesterfield with a Budweiser in his right hand and a Vegas Offshore schedule in his left.
While this practice defies money management, if one can objectively assert that they are not realistically expecting to make a profit, but just adding to the excitement of the game with the chance of making money along the way, there is really no harm.
The bookmaker will thank you, but there are some Joeybagofdonut guys who will bet lunch money on the bowls then regardless of how poorly or well he does not bet again until March Madness. To them, money management is mere gingerbread. But the serious player must bet postseason games using the same money management techniques mentioned in previous articles here.
The factors to look for and not to look for when handicapping are numerous. A classic gambler’s trap is believing that one should focus on teams that finish the season on winning or losing streaks and to bet those streaks to continue.
The truth is nothing can break a team’s momentum more than several weeks off. Conversely, not anything is more valuable to a struggling team than to have time to regroup such as which the weeks between the bowls offer.
In addition one must look at why a team performed the way they did down the stretch. Was a team really improved or just “in a groove”? Did injuries play a big part in a teams skid to end a year and did the time off help heal them? Or was it a case of several players improving as the year went on?
In 2001, Ohio State is an example of a team though that truly did improve as the year went on and that must be considered in handicapping. Jonathan Wells their breakout running back was arguably the most improved player in the nation. Chris Vance’s improvement at wide receiver was legitimate.
Everything must be considered when looking how a team did in September as opposed to how they performed in November. If there was a huge dichotomy one must instead of making the assumption that they progressed as the year went on—which may be the case but may not—do significant analysis and look further.
Keep an eye on injury reports, but not just of guys who return from injuries but also guys who played banged up late in the year. Did the time off allow them to return to 100%?
Joe Duffy is General Manager of, the premier hub of world class handicappers. Duffy’s handicapping prowess is now part of the Dream Team with Mike Godsey at, widely considered to be the most powerful handicapping alliance ever.

You Can Recover From Being Half Bad

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You Can Recover From Being Half Bad
Joe Duffy (
We get a lot of questions about halftime lines. As our expertise is with game side and totals, we posed the question to Leo Shafto of as to how such lines are figured. Leo the premier first and second half handicapper on the planet and is one of the few who have been on both sides of the window having been the head oddsmaker for several sportsbooks including MVP Sportsbook. What follows is his answer.
The first thing is you have to have an initial second half projection and work from there. For instance, let’s say a game line has San Antonio -8 with a total of 186 against the Nuggets. We see a posted first half number on the game of SA -4.5 and the total is 92.5. Thus we can mathematically conclude that the second half number projection is automatically San Antonio -3.5 with a total of 93.5.
Then of course, the first half is played. If it holds very close to form, then the second half number will likewise be very close to form as well. For instance if the halftime score is 47-44 in favor of San Antonio, you can be assured that the second half total will be 93.5 as it is very close to the first half projection. Likewise, San Antonio (originally projected -3.5 in the second half) will most likely be -4 to -4.5 in the second half to compensate for just falling short of the initial projection.
If the two teams combine for 100 points in the first half, then the second half total will not be compensated down, it will likely be compensated up because the pace of the game is higher than expected. You may see a second half total of 95 in this case.
One more thing that can influence a second half total is whether the game is a blowout (especially in football). If one team is drilling another at halftime, the second half total may be reduced dramatically to account for the winning team being more interested in burning clock than scoring points. The score of the game makes a huge different in totals. If San Antonio were winning 65-35 at the half, one may knee-jerk into believing the second half will be high scoring because they 100 points already. When in fact, by the 4th quarter, both teams will be looking to get out of the game uninjured and the worst offensive players will probably be on the court.
There is a method to the madness and you have to take many factors in to account. This is just one example of many.
Now with the knowledge of how they are made, a few of my long-term clients use my picks to bet second half lines and in fact scold me for not doing the same. The key is having a well handicapped game. Without that, nothing else matters.
Our picks are based on projecting the final score, not the halftime score. Hence it’s no surprise our selections generally look much better at the final buzzer than at the half. If there is some type of seemingly cataclysmic score at the half, say for example a three-point chalk losing by 11, our sharp customers use that to their advantage.
If the halftime line is -5, that means there is a ton of leeway that enables the team to cover the second half line even if they don’t come close to the game line.
In other words, the square player in that situation is more likely to panic and hedge a bet. The sharp player essentially buys insurance. In the perfect example of buying a game at bargain basement price, the prodigy gambler looks at it as buying the game line at a much cheaper price than he could have at the beginning of the contest.
For example in said illustration, the three-point chalk could lose the game and still cover the second half line. The rule for betting halftime lines is using well handicapped selections, if the aberrational halftime score enables you to essentially buy the game spread at a significantly reduced price, jump on it.
If the “right” team comes back and covers the game, you win twice. If they cover the half-time cut-rate spread but still fail in the game, it costs you juice. In well handicapped games, our sharpies assure us the number of times they go 0-2 is outnumbered drastically by the other two scenarios.
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. is the top source for NFL picks, college football winners and more. There is no better source for sports handicapper free information to crush sportsbooks than

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Be Weary of Tired Old NBA Adages
Joe Duffy (
Oh true we have had more than our share of success with computer generated time-tested and statistically significantly systems, which have proven to be their absolute best in the NBA. Also the NBA is second to college hoops when it comes to our “sharps versus squares” games. That means most of the sharp money is going one way and most of the sucker money the other way according to our offshore, Vegas and “outlaw” contacts. We go with the sharp money.
But there is no substitute for great analytical handicapping in any sport including the NBA. There are some very common dynamics that apply often and mastering the conceptions and misconceptions is imperative.
Very high on that list is the NBA scheduling dynamics.
I know of some guys who almost religiously bet with a more rested team. This is especially so if one team is playing their third game in four nights, fourth in five or fifth in seven and the other team (generally the home team) is rested.
Or at the very least if they don’t religiously bet it, the only alternative is to pass. They would never bet on the presumed more weary team. Let us leave no doubt that scheduling intricacies is imperative in handicapping, but sometimes the above philosophy is true, but often it is not.
First of all, it overlooks one of our Golden Rules of Handicapping: always realize the oddsmakers are one step ahead of you. The line absolutely takes into account such factors, so you are not getting the same price as if both teams were equally rested.
When a team is in the middle of a cluster of games, we weigh how they had done in their previous three games much more heavily than other circumstances. Momentum and adrenalin are the best cures for exhausted bodies. If a team is playing their fifth game in seven nights but won their previous two, three or more games a short vacation is the last thing they need.
Being “in the zone” more than nullifies any supposed rest disadvantage. Make no mistake about it, we still must take into account minutes played in recent games by the star players, depth, whether games went down to the wire on in overtime, but overrating scheduling ins and outs is one of the many mistakes a square player makes time and time again.
Conversely common notion is that rest can only be good. We find very often hot teams can loose their edge with three days off. We can’t dispute the common belief that being road weary and playing poorly is a bad combo, but being well rested while playing well can be.
In short, we have found the accurate dogma is that rest is best for teams that clearly need it. So a team playing inadequately can make adjustments. A respite in the schedule can be counterproductive for teams that are in a groove.
We put some stock in the “look ahead” theories but for the most part limit it to big favorites playing a very tough opponent the following night or about to enter a difficult stretch.
Remember when mommy told you, things are not as always what they seem. One must scratch the surface and evaluate all factors in their entirety. Those who do can, dare we say, rest easy this NBA season.
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. His Wise Guy Plays available exclusively at are widely respected as the biggest play in the handicapping abyss.
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The Only Ways to Manage Money In Gambling

The Only Ways to Manage Money In Gambling
Mike Godsey (
Frankly the formula to winning in sports is educated handicapping and money management. Even if somebody can win consistently, if one’s betting amount is haphazard one can lose a lot of money.
Bookmakers drive around in new Porsche’s not just because most of their clients grapple to hit 45% of their plays, but also because a preponderance of gamblers use the “panic” or “greed” methods when deciding how much to wager.
Any sports investor who increases his bets when he is down to try to win it back in one bet is destined to live in a box by the river. That is why Monday Night Football is the greatest thing to ever happen to a bookie. The bookie’s second best friend is the Sunday night game. Both are considered “bail out games” by the uneducated risk taker.
But even worse is the player for stakes who presses his luck during a hot streak and increases his bets. I have seen so many suckers go 15-5 for example and still squander capital.
The quandary is a $50 bettor for example when he is hot has the attitude, “Could you imagine how much I would have made if I bet $200 a game?” Even worse is the guy who goes 5-0 and realizes how much he could have made if he put money on a parlay. Yes 20/20 handicapping is great but I do not know a sportsbook that takes those types of antes.
Any bookmaker will tell you with 90% of gamblers, the more they win one week, the more the bookie looks forward to the gamester’s phone call the next week. Too many gamblers always find a way to give the money back and then some.
Well to steal an old cliché, gambling is not a sprint it is a marathon. Even I have had nightmare days, but because of money management the Wise Guys and I have no idea what a losing month or season is.
The recipe is to stake the same amount based purely on how much one likes a game, not how much one is up or down in the short run. However there are actually two adaptations of acceptable money management.
One is the Godsey Theory, which is the most straightforward and the other is the Kelly System, which the units are equal but always relative to the bankroll.
The Godsey Theory is a fundamental as it gets. The way to divvy the units can be different as long as it is constant, but the key is not change the rating system or units per play.
Personally I only bet plays in two different units. Wise Guy plays are my top play and majors are .75 units of a Wise Guy play.
So as it applies to a $100 player, he would bet $100 on my Wise Guy plays and of course, $75 on my majors. Much like putting the same amount every month into the stock market, this method must be bet religiously.
However the Kelly System is similar but is based on a set percentage of one’s bankroll, not a set amount. Generally the maximum bet is 1/20 of the total bankroll.
Using the same one unit and .75 unit rating procedure, if one’s bankroll starts out with a $2,000 bankroll, Wise Guy plays would be $100 (5% of 2,000) and a major would be $75 (3.75% of (2,000).
Let’s say the gambler goes on a huge losing streak and his bankroll drops to $1,325. Then a Wise Guy play is still 5% of his bankroll, but is it $66.25, while a major is still 3.75% at $49.69.
When his bankroll is increased to $3,330 for example a Wise Guy play increases to $166.50, while a major would be $124.88.
Accurate handicapping and great information is the heart and soul of sports gambling. But without a responsible and thus concordant money management modus operandi it will all go for naught.
Mike Godsey AKA “God” of Los Angeles, is a well-known advisor to most of the world’s largest betting syndicates, high rollers and big name sports handicappers. He is now part of the Dream Team at with Joe Duffy, General Manager of
The Dream Team is the most powerful handicapping alliance ever formed at

Sharp Players Don’t Disappear, They Just Fade Away


Should I go with, against or ignore the public consensus? What do I do with line moves? Are they one and the same? You ask some good questions.

Probably at one time or another you have joked, or maybe were quite serious when you said something to the effect, “Bet against my buddy, JoeBagOfDonuts. Every game he picks, he loses.”

I knew a old hand sportsbook clerk who maintained fervently that every time some loudmouth came into his sportsbook and bragged that the oddsmakers were giving away money on a particular game or that a line was so far off, then plopped down $25 on such a “sure thing”, the clerk would immediately go to another casino and bet the other side.

He vowed that about 70 percent of the time, the big bragging, small-playing egomaniac would lose.

In actuality, the basic philosophy behind that is very compelling. Fading public consensus plays—contrarian plays—can be actually be a very genuine and priceless starting point of handicapping. A little known fact is that the oddsmakers very much study public betting trends when making the line.

That is, in many circumstances, the linesmaker before he even posts a line, knows that recent data shows that the public is going to lean towards betting Team A against Team B, regardless of what the line is. Hence a team that should be a 14 point favorite is posted as a 16-point chalk. Just an extra half-point here and an extra point there can prove huge over the long run.

The great equalizer would of course to have the exact information of which teams are overpriced because of public perception. As we like to say, you can use the oddsmakers’ knowledge against them.

I have heard both first hand and second hand stories about guys who ran parlay card operations (for amusement only of course) who every week would compile a consensus from among their hundreds of participants.

They would then bet against all of biggest consensus plays and do very, very well. We have found that the public consensus plays as found at contest sites such as Bigguy and Sports Insights have been very accurate in measuring public perception. Generally the top consensus plays at those sites and from outlaw information that we get fairly parallel. only considers something above 70-percent to be significant enough for “fading” purposes. Consensus plays that overwhelming are often few and far between, but just like in everything else that we do, we set the bar very high.

However, so often the public confuses line moves and “public plays”. Line moves are much more affected by the sharp player than the majority, thus merely tracking line moves does have some value, but is not a foolproof indicator of fade plays.

That’s why I compare the information that I get from my outlaw book acquaintances, offshore contacts and compare them to the Internet contest sites. When all such information coincides, we have the chance to fade sucker plays.

Schleps can be of great value to smart players. The more you fade them, the brighter they begin to look.


It is Good to Pick Bad

Some of the biggest mismatches in college football will occur over the next few weeks as elite BCS schools tune-up against mid-major patsies. Professional gamblers have the courage of thieves knowing in many cases betting with the inferior team getting the points is like stealing.

Let me divulge upfront that I am not a connoisseur on picking stocks.  But I know those who have been triumphant on the stock market have done it by selecting stocks that nobody else sought.  They purchased stocks when their worth was at their lowest and going with them.  The other end of that equation is selling stocks when they reach their zenith.

That is exactly the modus operandi that I have used to become the foremost all-sports handicapper in the world.  Of course I don’t win 365 days a year and even on winning days, I will get some hate mail about a particular pick.

I can candidly say in all my years of handicapping, 98% of people who interrogate a specific selection, second-guess my picking of a big underdog.  The handicapper who hits 48% of his plays but elects to choose almost all favorites will get less hate mail then the guy who hits 56% and picks mostly big dogs.

Especially in baseball, if I have a losing night and I picked several big dogs, I already know of the four guys who will question how I could make those picks.  Of course, I must add this caveat: they keep re-signing with me.  As you may guess, when I go 4-0 with all dogs I do not hear from them.  But my most unforgiving critics are more times than not, my most loyal clients.

I have flat out had gamblers tell me, “If I am going to lose, I’d rather lose betting (the vastly superior team) than betting on (the grossly inferior team).”  Never in my life have I heard a more self-fulfilling prophecy.  Attitudes like that keep the bookmakers in business for those of us who do win long-term.

It is no secret that the public loves betting favorites.  I am not sure why.

I suppose from a cardiac perspective, it is easier to root for a favorite.  For example, if a gambler has Florida State laying 28 to Duke, even if FSU is winning by only 10 entering the fourth quarter, in the back of his mind, he knows the Seminoles are more than capable of scoring three quick touchdowns.  On the other hand, if he has Duke, he can never breathe that sigh of relief until the final buzzer.

So if a fallacious feeling of security from a rooting standpoint is all you want, true going with grossly rated too low teams necessitates sweating wins until the end.

By hook or by crook, going with a 10-point dog that loses by 14 is so much more painful to the typical gambler than having a double-digit favorite lose outright.

This is so much truer in baseball betting. I am flabbergasted at how few gamblers truly have a notion of how baseball betting works.  Winning percentage is so irrelevant in MLB betting.  One has to hit 60-percent of 150 favorites just to break even, but only 40-percent of 150 dogs (after the juice) to reach the break even point.

I have been very triumphant in the back pocket going against Cole Hamels, Johan Santana, Zack Greinke, and the Yankees etc in choice situations.  But it never fails, every time I pick a huge dog that loses, my email box has a small number who say, “How could you EVER pick against Roy Halladay…?”

Wise Guys don’t elect to choose huge baseball underdogs expecting to strike 70-percent.  But the best baseball handicappers put themselves in a position where they can go .500 and take home a ton of money.

It takes parallel thick skin in other sports.  Of course if you are going with undervalued teams against overvalued, meaning big dogs, inescapably you will be on the wrong end of a 56-7 score.  But I have news for the chalk lovers. It is the same in the wallet as picking a 10-point favorite and winning only by a touchdown.  But again, the “at least I lost picking the better team” attitude gives the average Joe a façade of solace.

It’s the bad teams that are thought too little of, not the great teams.  We made big money going with the Detroit Lions late last year for example. We had to be on pins and needles for a lot of them, believe me, but taking the undervalued dogs is the way to win long-term.

Do not get that false sense of sanctuary by going with Florida in college football (or basketball for that matter), the Boston Celtics or Duke in basketball all of the time.  No gambler hits 100% of the time, but eradicate this bizarre human nature of second guessing yourself when a horrible team fails to cover and being so content when the superior team loses in the back pocket.

This is not to say that there are not games of value in betting the big favorite.  But while all the psychological advantages of betting favorites cause the public to love laying the lumber, those of us who win more than we lose know that the best value comes with select big dogs in the right situation.

But those of us who sell picks for a living have to develop mental sturdiness when getting feedback from clients.  Even the most realistic clients understand that no handicapper is slump-proof, but they still seem to only second guess me when I pick an underdog.

I Want to Be Your Fantasy God


“It’s just a fantasy. It’s not the real thing. But sometimes a fantasy is all you need.” That is what Billy Joel tells us.  I thought it was Kenny Rogers who was the gambler.

Yes, it can remunerate to be a fantasy/rotisserie geek because it is a good dry run for excelling in the more important pursuit of gambling.  I know our good friend Rick Ballou of 1010XL radio in Jacksonville does not play fantasy sports because he does not want to have that rooting brain-teaser of betting on one side and having a player on the other side to applaud.

The cheering conflict of interest aside, the make-believe General Manager can get a lot of insight from the roto world.  In the ancient times before the World Wide Web, I found that fantasy football had me analyzing from an extraordinarily different and favorable viewpoint than before I met gambling’s cousin.

I had situations like having Emmitt Smith in his prime when he was the inimitable running back in the league.  I can for example remember one week when two offensive linemen were out and the Pokes were on the road.  Plus I had Chris Warren when he was in Seattle and he was playing a team without their two best run stoppers. Should I consider benching the world’s best running back because his match-up in not favorable? For the record, I stuck with Emmitt, but scrutiny like that actually refined me into dissecting games like few handicappers had ever before.

Fantasy sports managing helped me breakdown big match-up mismatches that occur in sports betting. It especially facilitated my acumen when it came to betting over/unders.  Quite often imprudent handicappers deduce that an injury to a key offensive player may mean fewer points or a key defensive player more points.

But in my fantasy breakdowns it became quite apparent that if a run blocker on the offensive line was hurt, it might mean the team has to pass more.  Kindred to that if a team’s leading rusher were out and his backup were an ample drop-off.   Often teams to compensate will have to fiddle with their gameplan and in such examples open up their offense.

A depreciated offense does not mean lower scoring.  So many sports speculators and general football fans fall prey to the myth that the better an offense is, the more points they will number.

One of my favorite all-time examples was in 2001 once Edgerrin James went down for the Colts.  It glaringly repressed their offense, but with a great weapon in WR Marvin Harrison and QB Peyton Manning, there clearly was one way to offset his loss: throw more often. Suckers determined losing such a weapon would mean lower scoring games.  I knew while it depleted their offense, it meant they would have to be much more high-octane.  They exceeded the total in 14-of-16 regular season games.

Let us say that a defense is lacking their two best run stoppers because of injuries and the total is high, I further investigate to see if it correlates to their opponent having motivation to run more.  If so, the end result would be longer possessions, which also means fewer possessions. Fewer possessions mean fewer scoring opportunities.

Luckily though in the hypothetical state of affairs, the total is likely posted higher because of the injuries.

A better offense is not necessarily a high scoring offense and to a lesser extent a superior defense is not inexorably going to give up more points. A great defense, whose strength is stopping the run, may force the opponent to take more risks. A bad defense that has a decent secondary may be run against more often.  Ergo the posted totals would be over-adjusted.

Hence the top fantasy sports advice sites can be priceless tools for sports cognation. is the oldest and still the best all-around.  Consummate in all sports, their judicious view for the roto player can also be incalculable for us. is also fantastic for the NFL.  Many sites do stupendous jobs of player against team or often better yet, player against coach career statistical examinations.  For example Bill Belichick coached teams have such done extremely well shutting down certain quarterbacks.  We have found player history statistics can be of great handicapping value as so long as one also analyzes how much the parameters have or have not changed. Everything in handicapping must be taken in its proper framework.

In fact, now every major sports site, from ESPN to Yahoo has fantasy information of some kind. For the most part, if it is of value to the fantasy player, a handicapper should take note.

But there are compelling contrasts too.  The word’s best fantasy player could be a dreadful handicapper and visa versa if one probes them as one and the same.

We handicappers must explore games one at a time, while the fantasy players must query long-term performances.  Really this seems to happen more in baseball with hotshot pitchers up from the minor leagues, but can also apply in football. Joey Harrington may be great for your keeper league, but there will be peaks and valleys along the way.  Actually a head-to-head league in which a participant changes his line-up is more conducive to handicapping than the rotisserie style leagues, but both are sources of knowledge.

Using fantasy sports and the foremost sites dedicated to such can make a winning football betting season more than just a fantasy.  That’s the real thing.


How Much of an Element is Weather in Handicapping?

How Much of An Element is Weather in Handicapping?
Even those few football fans who don’t gamble surely are aware of Brett Favre’s remarkable winning streak in sub 34 degree weather or Tampa’s ineptitude when the kickoff temperature is below 40 on the archaic fahrenheit scale. It though is not just fair but imperative for handicappers to note most of those Favre games were at home where he was rarely beaten and Tampa’s incompetence was compiled when they were a doormat playing on the road.
As far as weather benefitting one team or the other, more times than not the old adage of both teams having to play in the same conditions bodes true. This is not to say though weather won’t decide the spread or SU outcome. Many teams are built for their home field and extreme weather in a battle of dichotomous styles will without question be a factor.
Come playoff time and even late in the regular season we will hear pundits and handicappers question the ability of dome teams to win or even make it to the Super Bowl. Atlanta making it in 1999 and the Rams winning it all in 2000 did take some steam out of those convinced of a dome field disadvantage but both teams were able to avoid having to play in nasty outdoor conditions.
There is one major factor missing from the aforesaid critics. We would actually agree that dome teams clearly built for dome play are at a huge disadvantage in nasty outdoor conditions. We certainly don’t disagree that the Colts horrible defense needs to be improved and nobody can question the genius of Bill Belichick. But the Colts offense is much more high powered than they are great and we question the Colts ability to beat any team in northern winter weather. The same was true for Minnesota in the Randy Moss era.
The exception to the “both teams play in the same conditions” rule would be high powered offenses. Eagles linebacker Ike Reese said. “Sloppy-weather games are tailor-made for running teams. When you have to put the ball up, you’re going to have to worry about sloppy passes, balls getting fumbled.”
The famed Dolphins of the early 70s which went to the Super Bowl three straight years, winning two including the perfect season are a perfect example of a team that could win in any conditions. In fact un-Miami like conditions fit perfectly into their smash mouth ball control style.
Teams custom built for their climate or stadium of course will be most effected by conditions that deviate from their comfort zone. But a road team’s style is more quantifying than their city of origin or whether or not there is a roof on their stadium insofar as handicapping weather conditions.
The single biggest mistake handicappers make is thinking potential weather advantages benefit mostly warm climate teams playing in northern cities. No less of an authority on the subject would be Dan Marino. He played his high school and college ball in Pittsburgh and spent a Hall-of-Fame career in Miami, but with many a road game in New York, Foxborough, Buffalo and many other cold-weather cities.
Marino states emphatically that is tougher for a cold weather team to play in a hot weather city than visa versa. Ask any chad hanging seasoned citizen New York transplant in south Florida and they will tell you there is an acclimation period adjusting to the much warmer weather. But eventually one gets quite used to it.
Fans of international soccer will note how for example the USA soccer team admits the brutal conditions of Guatemala and the Central American countries is a huge disadvantage for the Yankees and adaptation is difficult.
As a point of fact, it’s easier for the heavily padded American football players to compensate for cold conditions than it is for the blistering heat of Florida, Texas or Arizona. Yet the handicapper seems to concern himself more so with the December frozen tundra. This is not the case at the Center of the Handicapping Universe.

High Profile and the Obscure: We Love them Both

High Profile and the Obscure: We Love them Both
Joe Duffy (
I have a colleague who insists on picking the “little guys”, that is small conferences in college because he feels the big league games involving celebrated teams “everyone knows about”.
That is true. And it is false.
Having schooling of the pros and cons of each is one of the many munitions that we use in keeping our wiseguy clients in lucrative betting. First of all, let us examine how smart money affects higher profile games and the more obscure differently.
World-class vested interest makers bet on every sport and know that they can make as much money betting on Louisiana-Monroe as on Miami-Florida. Recreational players like to bet on games that they will watch and be discussed at the water cooler on Monday. Furthermore, the hunch player and parlay card level investor makes selections on games in which they have some level of insight. In 98 percent of cases, it will be on a marquee game.
Asks any bookmaker, be they in Vegas, Costa Rica or Big Ernie driving around in his van with a cell phone on whether they will book more bets on Nebraska-Oklahoma or Eastern Michigan-Toledo. Even in the heart of MAC country, the big match-up will generate more interest. Of course the burning question is what does it mean to the gambler?
Smart money will move a line a lot more in a mid-major conference than it will on a MNF game because the potential to balance it out is much higher in marquee contests. When a sportsbook will take $190,000 in action on a MNF game, a $4,000 bet is easier to offset than in game between Idaho and North Texas, where they may only get $500 worth of action on the other side without moving the line.
But the biggest books don’t merely have an exact mathematical formula for changing a line. “I really don’t move off of the amount of money but will move off what I consider to be sharp money,” says Leo Shafto of MVP Sportsbook. Shafto is certainly one of the most aggressive in moving the line when it comes to combating topflight sports betting swashbucklers.
In the games in which sportsbooks are getting low volume, books can be much more dynamic in moving the line because in the supposed situation, there was not enough money already bet on the Idaho-North Texas game that the books risk of getting destroyed by the handicapping aristocrats is more than the risky venture of getting “middled”.
For those of you not familiar, “middling” is the line shoppers Holy Grail—betting opposite sides of both ends of line moves and hoping the final score falls in the middle. In other words betting a favorite at –4.5 and the dog in the same game at +5.5. All they risk is the juice, but if the favorite wins by five, they win with both sides.
On a MNF game though, over-adjusting to smart money runs the risk of getting “middled”. Here is an illustration using the above hypothetical. A sharp player lays down that $4,000 on Idaho at -11 points. MVP Sportsbook now has $4,725 of money bet on Idaho and $600 on North Texas. If they move the line to –13 to prevent clients from jumping on the smart money, they can only get “middled” to the tune of $4,725. If they don’t adjust the line, the amount of money a sportsbook can lose by letting others gravy train the inside dope is unlimited.
Conversely if $4,000 in sharp money came in on the Pittsburgh Steelers against Cleveland, and MVP Sportsbook has $29,700 on the Steelers –6, but just $20,000 on Cleveland +6, moving the line two points like in the North Texas example leaves them vulnerable to getting middled by up to $29,700. That is why only a huge injury would ever move an NFL line as aggressively as “sharpie” activity can move a small conference college line.
Bookmakers combat that by adding juice instead of points, which too many nonprofessional players disregard, but smart players know they can get the same line for standard vig.
Also the Internet in making the spread of information so much more widely available has also caused the patsy player to outsmart himself. In the above theoretical illustration, word spreads that North Texas will be without their second best pass rusher and premier cornerback against the high-octane offense of Idaho.
Joeybagofdonuts reads about this on some gambling posting board and oblivious to the fact that the opening line was –11 and is now –14, bets the Vandals anyway. If he wins, he fancies himself to be a wiseguy and will just outmaneuver himself soon enough by pressing his luck.
A shrewd handicapper puts the line move under a microscope. First of all, were the injuries taken into consideration with the opening line? In other words, were the key players considered “questionable” only to have their status downgraded or were these injuries that happened in practice long after the lines were posted?
Not that I will mention any names (me), but you bet it abets a bet to have great fellowship in the offshore and Vegas sportsbooks. My ingenious alliteration aside, it takes out the speculation in discerning the smart money/sucker money ratio that moves a line. Or is it the linesmakers being proactive and anticipating smart money coming in on one side?
The answer varies from game to game. Opportunists find out the accurate dope sheet. We can be such mercenaries sometimes.
The more noteworthy a game is, often the more valuable handicapping revelation is easily procured. But the more indistinct a game is, the more treasured little-known bulletins can be. Conversely the public often takes the bait thinking they have the privy skinny and still bets the wrong end of an over-adjusted and off kilter line.
Time after time, the easier to get hot poop is on the games, the tougher it is for the books to adjust. Likewise the tougher-to-acquire information is on games in which the books have more leeway to react.
Bookmakers stay in business because a lot more people misapply what comes down the pipeline than those of us who synthesize and incorporate the lowdown into its proper perspective.
Shafto in fact expressed his linesmaking philosophy that is immensely similar to what I have used to beat him and his colleagues. “Bookmaking is not a perfect science. It’s having the math work for you. As soon as you become foolish and take giant pointspread leaps, you will turn the math against you. “
Luckily different linesmakers have different philosophies. That helps us line shoppers.
Too often, the bourgeois bettor outfoxes himself. We send our gratitude for helping us inverse their knee-jerk betting. It’s a “cool jerk” as far as I am concerned.
“TV or not TV?” that is the question. We say the answer is both.
Joe Duffy is General Manager of, the premier handicapping hub on the Internet and also of 866-FREE-866, the top source for real-time toll-free recorded scores, odds, injuries, weather, news and notes, free picks and more. 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.

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