Sports and Gaming News 11

Obnoxious offshore sports books, Fran Tarkenton in trouble and more.

If you’ve always wanted to be a sportswriter but didn’t think you have what it takes.believe me, you have what it takes. This space we’ve chronicled the inaccuracies foisted upon unsuspecting readers by Boston Globe college football reporter Mark Blaudschun. Since readers alerted us to Blaudschun’s laughably inaccurate column which we spoke of last week we’ve been on the lookout for more of his work (or lack thereof). You can imagine the disappointment when Blaudschun’s usual Monday column was manned by another Globe staffer on Monday. Fortunately Michael Vega didn’t let us down. Here ‘s a sampling of this week’s Boston Globe college football fish wrap:

“So who are the winners and losers among first-year coaches after the first month? The winners: June Jones has Hawaii at 4-0 after the Rainbows snapped a 26-game losing streak on the road with a 20-0 victory at Southern Methodist. It also was Hawaii’s first Western Athletic Conference road victory in 15 games. And Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has the Sooners off to a 4-0 start, good enough for the No. 23 spot in this week’s Associated Press poll. The losers include Lou Holtz, who has started 0-4 for the first time in his career when South Carolina sustained a 17-10 loss to Mississippi State.”

Amazingly, Vega presents untruths as fact in four consecutive sentences, all in the same paragraph. 1.) Hawaii is not 4-0, they are 3-1, having been sandblasted 62-7 by USC in their opener. 2.) Hawaii had actually only lost 15 straight road games, not 26, as they won 58-30 at UNLV in ’95. 3.) It would be difficult for Oklahoma to be 4-0, as they have only played three games and are 3-0. 4.) South Carolina lost to Mississippi State 17-0, not 17-10. Keep up the good work, fellas.

Why did Jimmy Johnson remind me of Bill Clinton this week when he stood in front of the media and said that Demetrious Underwood’s health and well being are his “number one concern”? Boomer Esiason has co-written (a.k.a. attached his name for marketing purposes to) a novel entitled “Toss”, in which a NFL quarterback fixes games. Hmmm. Former pro football player turned TV color guy writes a book where an NFL QB gets in deep with the mob and shaves points? Don’t be surprised if Esiason is arrested and charged with impersonating Tim Green.

Speaking of former NFL QB’s in legal difficulty, Tony Robbins spokesmodel Fran Tarkenton has been fined by the Securites and Exchange Commission for accounting fraud and financial reporting violations. It seems Tarkenton directed the overstatement of his former company Knowledgeware’s earnings by 200% a few years back. Tarkenton’s former team, the Minnesota Vikings, scored 24 points or more in all 18 of their games last year. In their three outings this year the Vikes have scored 17, 17, and 20. Minnesota clearly misses the influence of Offensive Coordinator Brian Billick, who may be the Tommy Bowden of the NFL. Don’t be surprised if Stoney Case develops into a serviceable signal caller in Baltimore under Billick’s tutelage.

The best college football player you’ve never heard of is 5 foot 6 inch San Jose State back Deonce Whitaker, who is averaging almost 8 yards per rush in tallying 627 yards in four games. Factor in receiving and kick returns and Whitaker leads the NCAA in all-purpose yardage with 223.3 yards per game. Whitaker had big games at Colorado and LSU and figured to give Stanford fits this Saturday. Unfortunately, Whitaker sprained his ankle last Saturday against Tulsa and may not play against the Cardinal. Stanford ace QB Todd Husak also is questionable for the game. “The Tree” has dominated Pac Ten opposition after their putrid performance at Texas in their first game, but this could be a letdown spot for them.

The Jets-Broncos game this week really looked marquee three weeks ago, didn’ t it? Has anyone ever seen Rudy Martzke and Fred Edelstein in the same place at the same time? The Ryder Cup Eurowhiners conveniently ignore not only soccer hooligans, but also the shower of beer bottles that greeted Marvin Hagler’s knockout of Alan Minter to win the middleweight title way back when.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants report to their casino customers indicated that it was a better Saturday than Sunday for the sports books, as Green Bay’s win was huge for the public. Vegas’ biggest win was the Virginia victory over “popular” BYU. The public did well in “steaming” Syracuse, a 30-7 winner that covered late despite being outgained by West Virginia on the strength of a +3 turnover ratio. Incidentally, West Virginia’s seven points came on a field goal and two safeties, a permutation I don’t recall seeing before.

Can you recall pointspreads popping around like they have this year? The reason? The duo revolutions in offshore wagering and information dissemination are responsible. With fewer and fewer sports books in Las Vegas willing to take sizable bets the real action has been driven offshore. The sharp action that used to be monitored in Vegas is harder to find, as squares and tourists make up a larger share of the money. Sharp action from Vegas as well as back east now largely occurs offshore and is easier to monitor and follow via live odds feeds being offered by any number of vendors.

The same factors have also led to lines being higher in Vegas than elsewhere. Lines in Vegas used to be held in check by aggressive, dog-playing “numbers getters” whose lives have been made more difficult by the Vegas books through lower limits and active enforcement of “messenger betting” restrictions. The smart dog money is now offshore. Last Thursday morning Virginia Tech was 12 over Clemson in Las Vegas and 12½ almost everywhere offshore. Lines in Vegas that are higher than they are offshore are now commonplace. This is the reverse of what used to be the case. Vegas is now largely a “public” marketplace. For a better indication of where the informed money is flowing, look offshore.

Call the Sports & Gaming Hotline at 770.618.8700 every Friday night for one of our top selections on Saturday’s college card. The two-year spread record of 16-6 on our Sunday NFL contrarian plays. Call starting this Friday night for a fully analyzed selection completely free of any advertising. The S&G; Hotline also offers game day breakdowns of every Thursday and Monday night contest. It’s a free 24-hour service, so call 770.618.8700 all week long for solid winning information. Incidentally, our late phone selections hit 60% for the month of September and we went on a 64% tear last October. If that’s something that you could use email me at for details.

Here’s a college play you simply don’t want to make but may prove to eke out a win, South Carolina (+7) over Mississippi. South Carolina is 0-4 straight up and against the spread and have scored exactly 12 points this season. The Gamecock D is playing great ball (18 points, 246 yards per game against stout competition) and USC actually outgained Mississippi State last week. Intangibles really stack up against Ole’ Miss, as they are off a “mission” win over their former coach Tommy Tuberville’s Auburn Tigers and may have a hard time getting up for the ‘cocks.

I hate to express a theory that I really won’t have time to research for a while but here’s a gut feeling for you. The inability of the Nebraskas, Ohio States, Tennessees, Floridas, and Kansas States of the world to put away lesser opponents like they used to has inspired talk that there is newfound parity in college football. In actuality, margins aren’t all that different to what they’ve been in recent years. The difference is that lines are substantially higher on the top teams, as linemakers have reacted to the reality that they have covered for fun since the early to mid-90’s. The higher spreads are leading to the appearance of more parity, but it is not found in the scoring margins. You think?

Offshore Alert: If you’re unaware of this due to a lack of experience, consider yourself fortunate, but most of the big-name touts have made the vast majority of their sizable fortunes via aggressive telemarketing. They offer a free game, free week, free season, etc. which are no means free. They then hound you at your home or place of employment forever until you finally part with your credit card number.

Obtrusive invasion into your personal and business life is now the tool of “Diamond Sports Book”, who called me at home the other day with a “do you bet on sports?” pitch in an effort to get me to deposit. They would not tell me how they got my number, called me back again even after I expressed a lack of interest, and had the general demeanor of telemarketing phone touts. I abhor the practice of telemarketing in sports handicapping and betting, as many participants do not wish to expose their wagering proclivities to their families and coworkers. Anyone who telemarkets you doesn’t respect your privacy and should not be patronized.

After that South Carolina look, let’s stay ugly and consider using Cleveland (+12) over New England. Line value makes this one an easy selection. New England has a Hall of Fame QB, some additional talent, and not much depth. Cleveland has..not much. But the Brownies clearly have the coaching edge, as Bob Kraft would surely have hired Chris Palmer over Pete Carroll in retrospect. After the opening week whitewash at the hands of the Steelers, the Dawg Pound is itching for a reason to get riled up. New England is as poor a 3-0 team as you’ll see, and may provide them with that reason. Not an outright upset like our Tennessee Titan call last week. Bledsoe pulls out the win, but Cleveland is getting better, and they cover.

Like this stuff? Receive it directly by email. Contact us at kevinon . Call the Sports & Gaming Hotline, a 24-hour tape at 770.618. for more updated information. Good luck and be careful | September 29th, 1999

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
Kevin is the author of two best selling books on football betting. His weekly column covers the world of sports betting, the media and football handicapping.

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