The Misleading Media

This week’s Sports and Gaming News attacks the mislead media, takes a look at the new $6 minimum wager at many offshore shops, and more. A must read.

Sports & Gaming News

Sportswriters who haven’t paid for a ticket, travel, parking, food, or booze at a ballpark in their careers are whining about Atlanta’s baseball fans not paying $45 for nosebleed outfield seats that are $1 and $5 during the regular season. Atlanta has been in every NLCS since ’91; it’s inevitable that some complacency has set in. But a closer look at attendance figures indicates that Atlanta fans are more supportive of their team than those claiming to be lifelong fans of the Metropolitans by a large multiple. Since 1991, a total of 27,072,742 people have attended regular season games in Atlanta as opposed to 16,598,517 at Mets’ home affairs. The Braves have drawn 10,474,225 more fans in nine years.

Taking it a bit further, let’s examine some population stats and how they relate to the attendance figures. We’re using metropolitan area populations of 3.5 million in Atlanta and 20 million in New York as estimated by the US Census bureau in 1997. From ’91 to ’99 the average Atlanta area resident attended 7.73 Braves games while a New Yorker attended 0.83 Mets games. This data indicates that locals in Atlanta are 9.31 times more likely to frequent their local National Leaguers than they are in Gotham. Yet a bunch of ticket scalpers hold an all night drunken camp out at Shea Stadium to service the frontrunners leaping on the Mets bandwagon and suddenly the media makes New York out to be baseball heaven.

Why do some online sports books have a minimum wager of $6 instead of $5? Many of them used to have $5 minimums but the software used by some houses either rounded down or up the juice on certain numbers so that $5 bets were vig free. Now the ‘net books didn’t miss the fifty cents, it was the sharpies who would bet the same game 100 times to effectively give themselves a juice-free nickel pop that got the minimum kicked up to $6. Betting that many times to beat the juice qualifies as a sleazy move in my book. But a small bettor who takes advantage of software that allows you to bet $15 to win $14 instead of $22 to win $20 is still paying vig yet has cut his breakeven to 51.72% from 52.38%. The active small player might enjoy a dinner for two at the end of the season with the savings.

Three or four times a year the Hilton contest consensus play loses in the most painful fashion imaginable. If you suffered with the Colts or lost with the Lions on Sunday you need to call 770.618.8700 every Sunday morning to see which games you need to be warned “off”. Right now we’ve got a report posted that will help you examine whether or not you should be betting at all. Does it enhance your life or hurt you? Call 770.618.8700 to find out. The Hotline is a free 24-hour service, so give it a call.

Never has someone been prouder of a win over an expansion team. Bengals rookie QB Akili Smith, apparently unaware that he will be playing Cleveland twice a year for the rest of his career, taunted the Browns’ bench after his game winning TD pass on Sunday. After the final gun, Smith adroitly headed straight for the Dawg Pound to flaunt his glee with Browns’ partisans. Smith was upset that Tim Couch was drafted ahead of him by Cleveland, which left him with a signing bonus of only a quillion dollars instead of the gazillion dollar package that Couch got. I’d like to thank Mr. Smith in advance for the opportunity he has presented us with Cleveland plus the points over the Bengals on December 12.

Those too young to remember his career may not realize that Wilt Chamberlain was a prolific scorer on the court as well as off. Here’s his line from his 100-point effort in Hershey, Pennsylvania: 48 minutes, 36-63 from the field, 28-32 from the line, 25 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 fouls. The free throws are particularly eye-catching, as Wilt was the Shaquille O’Neal of his time and even experimented with tossing them in underhanded for a while.

We’ve been looking for a place to fade the Redskins and may find it this week with the Cardinals (+3) this Sunday. Washington is the perfect team for Plummer to break out of his early season funk (assuming his thumb is healthy enough for him to play). As we mentioned last week, while the ‘skins lead the NFL in offense (measured by yards gained) they have actually allowed more yards on defense than their offense has gained. The return of Arizona’s Swann fortifies the Cards defensive line. Redskins allow Cards to get on an offensive roll and Arizona wins a high scoring (surprise) game.

The suspension of British jockey Frankie Dettori for misuse of the whip was upheld in a recent hearing. Dettori will miss Champions Day at Newmarket, which is a big deal across the pond. No sympathy for Dettori in this corner, as his horrific ride of Swain in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year cost me what would have been a nice winner and a sizable exacta. Though my wager on the race was significantly less than a football bet, the opportunity cost to my fiance was about a half-carat on her engagement ring.

Here’s how good our NFL has been this year. We went 75% (loser was by a half-point) last weekend and our winning percentage DROPPED for the year. We’ve won every week in the pros and are enjoying a 77% winning mark against the spread, as documented by the Sports Monitor of Oklahoma City (look for Strategic Sports Publishing). We’re down a little in colleges but nothing a decent day on Saturday couldn’t take care of. We’ll have a Saturday phone selection for free for you starting on Friday night on the Hotline at 770.618.8700.

Some friends who claim to be football fans are getting married on November 20th. Fortunately there aren’t many big games that day. Only Florida-Florida State, Ohio State-Michigan, Michigan State-Penn State, Auburn-Alabama, and USC-UCLA. And those lower profile games between traditional rivalries being played on that date are usually devoid of any excitement, especially Colorado State-Air Force, Stanford-Cal, Purdue-Indiana, South Carolina-Clemson, Oregon-Oregon State, and Washington-Washington State. I doubt I’ll miss much, as those contests all figure to be dull games.

Another hideous non-conference embarrassment for the Pac Ten took place on Saturday, with Arizona State minus six in turnovers and giving up over 220 yards both on the ground and in the air in their 48-17 beating at the hands of mediocre Notre Dame. The conference could accurately be renamed the MAC Ten or WAC Ten. Speaking of humiliation, how did the Cleveland Indians morph into the Boston Red Sox in the divisional round? Game five of that series completed the most improbable and dramatic comeback I can remember in team sports. As a lifelong Sox fan, I’ve had my heart ripped out and stomped on too many times to get giddy, but something is different this time around. Forget where I heard this but someone compared the Red Sox-Yankees ALCS to a seven-game series between Alabama and Auburn, which I found to be a fair analogy.

While Lynn Swann is still at his best interviewing cheerleaders and people who jump out of the stands to catch extra points, I was impressed by the question he asked Peter Warrick in Talahassee last weekend. “Do you understand at this point the gravity and the seriousness of what you’ve done?” Way to go, Swannie. Attention Eagles fans. It is unacceptable to cheer a serious injury to an opposing player, no matter how better off society would be had he never been born. We all on the same page here?

On Saturday CBS television reported that Indiana enjoyed a 21-14 halftime lead over Northwestern. At the same exact moment on their web site, CBS had Indiana up 34-17 with 3:12 left in the game. We point out once again, perhaps CBS should check out their own web site. Halftime bettors should be aware that inaccuracies on halftime scores occur with frightening frequency on various web sites and broadcasts. Be sure to verify all scores with another source before making a wager. Good week for the sports books, starting with a nice day in college on Saturday. Any time you see dogs cover like they did on Sunday it’s going to be lights out on the public. Surprisingly, there was significant public support for the Jets on Monday night, which only served to add to the books’ profits.

We let you know what’s up at and last week. Let’s take a look at a couple of other sites that have been running S&G; News since it’s inception. Wild Bill of may have the most down home, friendliest sports site on the web. Bill’s lone interest is helping you win in the NFL, no strings attached. He does a marvelous job of keeping things light yet provides quality content for bettor and fan alike. Bill is on the cutting edge of the legal issues affecting internet gaming and if you want to be informed and entertained with style, you need to check out Silly Sports.

Heath Boutwell is easily the most interesting individual on the web. Heath’ s has “discovered” a number of web personalities and served as the model for many of the Johnny-come-lately’s who scavenge his contributors and litter the web with copycat sports gaming sites. Heath’s writings will inform or anger but they rarely bore. Yesterday Heath posted what is easily the most negative review of my new book yet, which surprises the reader who sticks with it to the end with a strong recommendation to buy it. Unfortunately, three quarters of Heath’s laborious review concentrates on one sentence and another chapter. The sentence calls sports betting the best opportunity in gambling to which I should have added “for people with jobs and families who don’t have sixty hours a week to devote to poker or it ‘s video counterpart”. His criticism of the chapter is mainly that I didn’t reproduce his views on sports monitors and criticize the people he would have criticized.

Consider using Virginia Tech (-12) over Syracuse on Saturday. I’ve been surprised by the impressive performance of Syracuse this year. The Orangemen lost three top skill position players in QB Donovan McNabb (Eagles), WR Kevin Johnson (Browns) and RB Rob Konrad (Dolphins). Their returnees on the offensive line and defense have played extremely well, but this is by far the toughest venue they’ve been to. Playing at Pitt and at Toledo doesn’t prepare a team for Blacksburg, which has developed into one of the toughest home fields in the country. The Orangemen have had impressive offensive performances against the likes of Toledo, Central Michigan, and Tulane, but the only defense they’ve faced that’s anywhere close to being comparable to the Hokies swarming stop unit was Michigan. In the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, the ‘cuse could manage only 249 yards of total offense, with much of that coming on two fluky pass plays.

How good is Virginia Tech’s defense? They have held every opponent they’ve played to their season low in offense by over 100 yards with the exception of Rutgers, who gained meaningless yardage in the second half after Tech called off the dogs up 49-14 at the break. Syracuse’s young QB’s will struggle against Tech’s vicious D, who handicappers can expect to score a touchdown on a return most weeks. As long as the Hokies’ redshirt freshman QB Vick avoids mistakes against the team he spurned in the recruiting process, the Gobblers should win impressively. This is a meaningful revenge game for VT, who lost in the Carrier Dome last year on a last play, cross-field TD pass. The Hokies have beaten the Orangemen by 28, 24, and 21 in Blacksburg in the nineties. Keep in mind that Syracuse is now weaker at quarterback and Tech is stronger on defense than they were in any of those three meetings. Lay a reasonable number with the Virginia Tech.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, pass it along to your like-minded friends and colleagues and email us at kevinon for a free subscription direct via email. For updated sports information and analysis call 770.618. The S&G; Hotline is a free 24-hour service. Good luck and be careful. | October 14th, 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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