I frequently get asked which sportsbooks people should play with and my standard answer is to ask what type of bettor they are. If you’re a good-sized bettor, Bookmaker is the place for you to be. For everybody else, there’s Bovada. Ideally, an account at both is the best way to go, as you’ll find line differences and the occasionally chance at taking a middle due to Bovada’s tendency to shade the line to the public side.
About five years ago Bovada made the decision to turn into a top-notch sportsbook. They no longer boot you out at the first sign of you actually knowing what you’re doing. And their payouts have gotten to be much faster and reliable. In short, they’ve become a top-notch sportsbook, which is what they set out to do.
The best reason for playing at Bovada is they have a tendency to favor the favorite and the over. Unless the underdog is the popular play with the public at which point they shade the line that direction. But if a popular team is an 8.5-point favorite, Bovada will likely have it at 10. If over 47.5 is a popular football play, Bovada could have it at 49. Simply put, if you like to go against the grain, Bovada is a great place for you to play.
For baseball, Bovada isn’t the greatest, as they use a 20-cent line and usually shade 5 cents both ways. If Boston is -135 over Tampa Bay and the Rays are +125 at Bookmaker, Bovada will have it -140 and +120. That’s about the only knock on them.
Bookmaker’s line is usually one of the sharper lines out there and you can usually find decent differences between their numbers and Bovada’s, giving you more opportunities to aim for a middle.
The United States Supreme Court surprised a lot of people when they agreed to hear New Jersey’s appeal of a lower court ruling that prevented the state from offering legalized sports betting. At the heart of the matter is PAPSA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that prohibited states from offering new forms of sports-related betting activities. If they allowed something when the bill was passed, they could continue to do so. That’s why Nevada is still able to offer a full variety of sports betting.
Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, that does not mean sports betting will be legal in the United States. What it means is that states will have the right to offer sports betting if they choose to do so. Not all states will. For sports betting to be declared legal in the United States, it would take an act of Congress or federal statute and that isn’t what New Jersey’s lawsuit is all about.
On the merits of their case, New Jersey has a good chance of coming out with a victory. The Constitution was designed to keep the federal government out of the affairs of individual states as much as possible. So when the federal government tells one state you can’t offer sports betting, while letting another state do so, there are going to be problems. Remember, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case even after the Solicitor General’s Office said he didn’t believe they should. Obviously, there are at least several members of the Court who have an interest in the matter.
The leagues and the NCAA will continue to argue irreparable harm and challenges to their integrity if sports betting is allowed, but they are quickly losing ground in that area. With the NHL and NFL moving teams to Las Vegas, the stigma of gambling as harmful to athletics is making less sense.
The leagues and the NCAA aren’t made up of dumb people. They know betting is taking place and will continue into the future regardless of what happens in court. More, such as the NBA’s Adam Silver are in favor of legalized, regulated sports betting. People in the U.S. are going to be able to wager on sports legally sometime in the near future. It is no longer really a question of if, but more a question of when. The Supreme Court may answer that question shortly.
The Zig-Zag System is one of the staples for betting the NBA playoffs. It has been around for a number of years and has plenty of followers. As expected, the method is nothing special, having lost most of its edge when it gained popularity. Last season the method went 42-44, but did go 42-37-2 the year before and 49-38-2 in 2013-14, giving it a slightly profitable 52.8% winning percentage the past three years.
Naturally, that got me wondering how the method would have fared in the NHL. There’s no simple answer, as it’s 144-129 between the 2013-14 and 2015-16 playoffs. It has showed a decent profit, as the average lay price is -105, but it’s still a bit risky, as it has had a slightly above average year, a very good year and a pretty poor one.
Last season, the method was 48-43 and showed a slight profit, with a return on investment of 1.7%. Not that bad for such a simple concept. In 2014-15, it was as good as gold, posting a 54-35 record and an ROI of better than 18.5%. It was 33-15 with favorites and 21-20 with underdogs.
But 2013-14 was a bit of a disaster for the method, which went 42-51 and yielded a loss of 11.1% on the amount risked. Favorites were slightly in the red, with a 25-19 record, but underdogs were a dismal 16-32 and showed almost a 25% ROI loss.
Looking at the three years collectively, underdogs have shown a slight flat-bet loss of 1.9%, while favorites have gone 81-50 and yielded a profit of 5.8%, which isn’t bad at all.
If you’re going to follow the method, it makes sense to skip the underdogs and focus on the favorites.
April has traditionally been an above average month for baseball underdogs. Going back to the start of the 2004 season, betting every underdog would have yielded a 1983-2482 record and a profit of $4803. That’s definitely better than the flat-bet loss of $27,000 that favorite bettors would have amassed over the same period of time.
But if you were to look at those games where the total is 10 or higher, you’d have essentially the same profit, but a much better return on risk, as those games have gone 233-250, good for a profit of $4,722. The big difference is obviously in the amount of money risked. The return on risk when betting on all underdogs is 1.1%, while it’s nearly 10% (9.8%) by betting the underdogs in those games with high totals.
In 2014 through 2016, these games have gone 16-13 and have yielded a return of 18.3%. There have been no plays so far in 2017.
Underdogs fare better in games with high totals, but they tend to do even better right out of the gate and is something worth watching during the opening month of the season.
As if there wasn’t enough to try and keep track of, the revamped Arena Football League will open its 30th season on Friday when the Baltimore Brigade faces the Washington Valor. On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Storm will visit the Cleveland Gladiators.
There’s been plenty of changes since Arena Bowl, most notably the number of teams in the league, which has now dropped to five. The Philadelphia Soul is the other team in the league.
Some of the previous teams folded, while others joined different arena leagues. While the Arena Football League is the oldest and most famous of the arena leagues, which include the National Arena League, Arena Pro Football and Indoor Football League.
The AFL also has Ted Leonsis and the other leagues can’t match that. Leonsis not only only owns the Washington Valor, he also owns Baltimore Brigade, so the first game of the season will actually be his two teams playing each other. Probably not a coincidence.
Last season, we handicapped the AFL on a weekly basis with mixed results; some weeks were good and others left a bit to be desired. This year, it’s practically impossible to do anything until the first month or so is in the books. Many teams have undergone major roster changes, which make last year’s statistics pretty meaningless.
Once we get some games in, we’ll be delving into the Arena Football League season once again, provided lines are posted for their games.