Tony George, a Pregame alumnus, told me touts are free to negotiate their own rates. In an hourlong conversation with Vegas Runner, whose real name is Gianni Karalis, he repeatedly boasted that he was the biggest seller at Pregame; he never once mentioned winning. Producing quality content is a combination of talent and effort…If a capper proves those qualities, then Pregame.
What no tout service will tell bettors is that they stand to pocket even more money when their customers lose, thanks to their referral agreements with sportsbooks. First when customers buy the picks, and again when they fork over their money to sportsbooks on those losing bets.
Pregame has every incentive to keep buyers in the fold, and keep them betting. For instance, Fezzik aggressively sold his WNBA expertise last season, but by mid-August his record had turned negative and his picks dried up. Before he left Pregame, Johnny Detroit patrolled the forum looking for similarly unhappy customers. He would privately contact them and offer incentives to keep them on board. One thing I strongly suggest is letting me know the type of handicappers you like best, and I can recommend the best to follow for each sport.
And if you want to take advantage of long-term discounts, I can put together custom packages to perfectly meet your desires. Even though we no longer need that info I think it motivates them to accept the coupon. We just want to make the coupon a better option for them. With that coupon, they buy more picks, but more importantly, are obligated to continue wagering—almost always online, where most U.
And they continue losing. They find the clients for us. And tout sites are paid lavishly for those coveted referrals. Losing is. At his request, I emailed Bell a list of questions about the the issues raised in this story. He declined to respond to them individually, instead sending this statement:. I hope they get it. My participation will be limited to providing the following key facts: Pregame consistently stresses how hard it is to beat the bookie. We spend hundreds of hours a week producing content to help improve those difficult odds.
Every pick ever sold by any active seller is graded and archived online, allowing customers to make fully informed decisions. In a follow-up email sent shortly thereafter, Bell requested to be allowed to provide information on background—that is, without using his name.
He claimed that I would be reporting factual errors but refused to tell me what they were. I told Bell that if he could provide factual information that disproves my reporting, I was happy to hear it. I told Bell that a fair and accurate story would benefit from him answering individual questions on the record.
He again declined. The next day, he published his second statement on the Pregame forum. Twelve domain names included gambling terms, like ncaabasketballodds. In hindsight, the NCAA and the administrative panel may have missed a seemingly major connection. No public record I could find showed Giancola ever living anywhere but Ohio.
Her listed address in Shadyside, a small coal-mining town close to the West Virginia border, is the same three-bedroom house near the Ohio River in which Bell grew up. But the gambling domains were hers to keep. The gap between appearance and reality is something Bell real name: Randall James Busack understood long before he started running a pick-selling operation. Fundamentally, the touts at Pregame are marketable personae crafted by Bell.
It says so in their contracts. The most important of those claims is that these handicappers actually win. Everything rests on this assertion—it even says so on the checkout page after you buy a pick. But do they even bet sports as a full-time job? Pro is short for professional. If you make money selling picks for Pregame, you are quite literally a Pregame Pro.
In other words, what qualifies you to sell picks is selling picks. He routinely advertises winning streaks from 54 to 73 percent. He picked the total score over It not only lost—despite overtime, the game ended at His analysis included cryptic references to other bets:. Why would sports betting picks be held to a higher standard than mutual funds? But mutual funds must reference their one-, five- and year performances in all ads. And on the Vanguard website, as WagerMinds pointed out , it takes all of 30 seconds to find complete and customizable long-term performance data for any of their funds, over any length of time.
Wheatley-Schaller, 28, is one half of the pair who cracked the code to the Pregame database. Last June, he was looking through older picks on Pregame when he noticed that the entire grading system had changed. The grading system at Pregame seems designed to encourage chicanery. Teaser and prop bets also cannot be entered into the system.
The same goes for bets placed on the first half of a game. The tout has to load a full-game play and then specify in the write-up that it is not for the whole game. If these are incorrectly graded as wins, the tout has to ask tech support to manually re-grade the play.
I found plenty of examples where touts never amended winners to losers, or they did so only after pressure from Contrarianville. On October 10, , for instance, Fezzik sold a first-half college football bet on Miami , a four-point underdog. Miami covered the full-game spread, however, so the Pregame system incorrectly auto-graded the first-half play as a win.
They were actually two-point favorites. There had been no move. George told me it was an honest mistake, although he was not regretful. After an outside uproar , George got the axe. I was probably a career percent capper over there. I also found several touts who made a habit of releasing plays at a casino after it was closed for the night. Stephen Nover, a former Las Vegas newspaperman and radio host, has done exactly that at Pregame on at least 41 picks, according to the Pregame data and a pick-by-pick analysis of one watchdog.
Five hours earlier, sportsbooks had taken the game off the board because of the scratch of one of the starting pitchers. Their reasons? Nover told me he spends a lot of time in Europe due to family considerations, and the time difference forces him to work with overnight numbers. Wheatley-Schaller says that Bell profits from the fact that the public understands so little about sports betting.
Selling picks in six or more sports, plus different bets in each, plus the ability to segregate plays by the number of units, gives touts dozens of options from which to advertise on any given day. Streaks are arbitrary—their beginning and endpoints are chosen to make a point—but recreational bettors are attracted to them nonetheless. So the more touts an operation can employ, the more chances it has of digging up streaks to push.
Few outfits are as large as Pregame. Pregame makes sure that its handicappers know what to do when they do string some wins together. We wanna create special packages around that level of hotness. Judging by the public record, RJ Bell never did much winning himself.
He saw that his talents lay in selling those who sell picks. An oft-repeated claim by Bell is that he graduated valedictorian of his class with a Finance degree. According to the university, Bell graduated summa cum laude with a B. Bell was a recipient of a Pace Setter award, which honors top business students.
Between 50 and 60 undergraduates receive the award each year. He said he has now removed it. If he was able to earn a living as a full-time bettor, his performance as a pick-seller at Pregame offers little support. Bell sold 30 picks from October through March His results at Pregame prior to this are long gone from its website.
Eight months after his final sale, he came out of retirement to offer a freebie in college-football: Army as an eight-point underdog against Notre Dame. Army lost Before launching Pregame, Bell offered free picks. But where was the money in that? His NCAA domain squatting may offer a hint: The real profit was in lucrative referral deals with offshore sportsbooks. Bettors signed up for free picks, and Bell accumulated a massive database of names and email addresses that he could sell to sportsbooks.
According to a Pregame advertising kit circa , the average Pregame and FPBE user was a fairly avid bettor who played at multiple books. Sportsbooks less able or inclined to spend six figures could sign up as standard advertisers. Johnny Detroit was and is known for his sportsbooks connections. A testimonial of his is featured on the home page of WebPartners, an affiliate go-between and Costa Rica-based bookmaker. Ads for Mybookie.
A cookie-based tracking system and unique token ensured that those who clicked on the ads and then deposited money at Mybookie would be credited as referrals of WagerTalk. Every month thereafter, site heads would be sent a monthly statement and a check for their cut of those losses. Industry standard Sportsbook Review gives Mybookie a C rating.
WagerTalk ranked Mybookie as its top sportsbook. As Johnny Detroit was handling the arrangements with sportsbooks, Bell was doing his part to push their merged tout service to the public. To this day, numerous outlets still say Bell provided the statistical evidence that broke the Donaghy story. For example, Bell pointed out that Donaghy refereed 13 games during the season in which the margin fell within one point of the spread.
Suchanek showed that this was what would be expected from random chance. But when asked by Suchanek to disclose the list of those games, Bell declined. You guys would rather a sober recitation of the facts. Accurately, he had pegged what reporters and editors and producers and bloggers want: sensational claims, concisely delivered, for undiscerning consumers.
Waiting for them was an ocean of ads from sportsbooks and offers of generous sign-up bonuses. And maybe some surprises. Pregame would have to sell subscriptions and single-game picks by the truckload. Then I learned about the affiliate sheets. Based on the rates Bell was charging sportsbooks just to advertise on Pregame, the multimillion-dollar valuation seems logical. At any one time, Pregame appeared to carry seven preferred sportsbooks. Just watch the money roll in.
The run line is always set at —1. In the above example, the Red Sox are a 1. In the example, 1. The numbers next to each run total is the odds the bettor will receive if he or she wins the bet. If Peter bets on the Red Sox, they would have to win by a total of 2 runs in order for him to win.
A bettor can make a single wager on whether or not the combined run total will be over or under what the sports books set it at before the game. A parlay gives the bettor an opportunity to combine two separate wagers into one for a bigger payoff. The only stipulation is that both wagers have to win for the bettor to make any profit. Brian likes the Cubs —1. In another example, Brian likes the Cubs —1.
While a teaser bet is more attractive to a bettor because he or she gets to add or subtract 6 points from the point spread, a winning parlay pays more. A future bet is made before the end of the regular season or playoffs, and consists of a bettor wagering on the odds of a team winning the World Series, their division or their league. The more likely the chance of a team winning the World Series, their division or their league, the worse the payout is for the bettor.
Conversely, if the team is a long shot to win the World Series their division or their league, then the bigger the payout for the bettor if they win. Sarah wants to bet on the Yankees to win the World Series. Prop bets are similar to future bets, but they happen in a much smaller time frame, such as a game, a series or a season. If the Giants cover the 1. A bettor can use the 3pm game as his first bet and if he or she wins, then the 1pm game will be wagered as well. A Round Robin wager is basically multiple parlay bets.
A three-team Round Robin consists of one three-team parlay and two, two-team parlays. So Tim bets on the Twins, Mariners and Dodgers in the three-team parlay, as well as the Twins and Dodgers in one of the two-team parlays and the Dodgers and Mariners in the other parlay.
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To see if sports betting is legal where you live, check out our state-by-state tracker. Some of the biggest states that have legalized mobile wagering include Colorado , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , Indiana and West Virginia. The sportsbooks highlighted below are all trustworthy legal shops that take bets online.
Click to return to table of contents. In the end, you have the final say on how much to risk on a game, but a good rule is risk only what you can afford to lose. Sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be good days and bad days. As a result, we recommend a flat-betting approach. They are unique to the team, sport and league, and universal across most sportsbooks. Much like stocks on Wall Street, the sports betting market is fluid. Lines can vary based on the sportsbook, because different books have different clienteles.
As a result, one book may post the Cavs -8 while another has Having access to more than one sportsbook allows you to shop for the best line. Getting an extra half-point might not seem like a huge deal, but it adds up over the long haul and increases your chances of winning. Our live odds pages will automatically surface the best line for every game.
These are all a good thing to know, and it can allow you to maximize your winnings. Check it out for free here. Sports Betting. Best Books. Action Network Staff. Download App. Read now. Action's Preferred Sportsbook. Bet Now. BetSync book.
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