The Hard Core Reality of Bad Beats

Posted by on 11 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

For those unlucky souls who wagered on the Denver Broncos last Sunday afternoon, you have my sympathies.  For those even unluckier bettors who never slept Saturday night after risking their dough on the Northwestern Wildcats against Ohio State, you have my even deeper condolences.  But if you’re going to live in the sports wagering world, it’s smarter to accept the hard core reality of “bad beats”. I’m inventing a term for those who bet on both teams as “tragic beats”.

Yes, it seemed impossible to lose picking Northwestern as a +5.5 underdog until remembering college teams learned the desperation lateral drill from their elders in the NFL.  Trailing 34-30 with 8 ticks left on the clock a giant backwards fumble gone wrong resulted in a meaningless Ohio State touchdown, enabling the Buckeyes to cover the spread, winning 40-30, as the final gun sounded.  Gun may be a bad choice of words as many players felt reaching for one as they could not believe their horrible luck strike near midnight.   Even ancient broadcaster Brent Musburger slyly acknowledged the bizarre turn of events affecting the wagering spread “for those number crunchers out there” as colleague Kirk Herbstreit played dumb.

Then many wounded bettors were given several hours to recover late on Sunday afternoon to potentially focus on the week’s big NFL game: Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys.

History will remember this for being the 4th highest scoring NFL contest ever, a 51-48 Broncos victory.  Denver bettors will angrily recall the Cowboys defense not purposely letting Peyton Manning and company roll in free for a touchdown with 1:40 left and two timeouts to work with.  That clever strategy might have allowed for Tony Romo and the Boys trying to score and tie the game instead of Denver kneeling for their last second chip shot field goal win.

The critical difference?  Denver wins but loses if you bet them at -6.5 or popular number -7 or higher in Las Vegas and many online sportsbooks to encourage even action.  As Peyton screamed for the offense into the crouch formation with 25 seconds remaining, the bookmakers could have begun paying those who wagered on the Cowboys immediately.

So what can we take from these ultra-painful wagering lessons that can be of some value?

First, the coaches and players on the field play every second of the game TO WIN, not cover our bets.  Secondly, there is a fundamental huge amount OF LUCK covering the spread that must be accounted for beyond what we are all willing to accept. Checking all statistical models and allowing for the customary 10% per game vigorish, a player must win at least 55.1% of all single game action to break even.  Lastly, we must account for the usual uneven per game wagering, possibly higher risk parlays and emotional decisions that follow-up those tragic beats similar to   Northwestern. Add up reality and you could be better off consulting Mr. Spock than any supposed “professional handicappers” promising guaranteed wins as high as 70%.

This Sunday’s Blackboard Lesson

A test may come as early as this Sunday when the same Denver Broncos return home to face the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars.  According to The Gold Sheet, a publication who has tracked point spreads for over 60 years, the Broncos – 28 ties as the largest NFL favorite since the Baltimore Colts faced the expansion Atlanta Falcons in 1966.  Incidentally, the Falcons covered that game but only a fool would use that example as a wagering direction.

Wisely it is best to avoid handicapping this game remembering tactical lessons learned from merely a week ago.  Should the Broncos be ahead say 38-7 in the fourth quarter, a question might be will be whether Manning will be coaching from the sidelines instead of even being remotely near the huddle?   Might the Jaguars sit their first string starters in desperation measures to preview new 0-6 players?  Again, both team’s object is to win the game or plan for next week, not evaluate the record-breaking 28 point spread.

If you bet the Northwestern Wildcats or Denver Broncos last week you did not make a tactical mistake.  You simply were the victim of fateful bad karma that is going to happen at times during the College and NFL seasons.  If you bet the Ohio State Buckeyes and/or Dallas Cowboys last week and thought you were very smart instead of very lucky, good luck this week and for the rest of the season.  You are going to need every bit of it.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Early NFL Betting Has Denver as the BIG Favorite

Posted by on 04 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

Betting on NFL football can be a tricky business. The public loves to bet on favorites and especially favorites who have just been crushing the opponent. This season there are five teams that have not lost a game. All 5 sit at 4-0 and with the exception of Seattle, all are taking over 70% of the betting action as we head into the weekend.

Still, the betting public darling is clearly the Denver Broncos. Equipped with a 4-0 record and a 22-point average margin of victory, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the action is on Denver (-7) at Dallas on Sunday. This number opened at -5.5 and has ballooned to -7.5 most everywhere. Elite-rated Bovada opened late with -8 and already have the Broncos as 9 point favorites, due to intense early action from bettors. Industry giant BetOnline informed us that “what is surprising is the discrepancy of money on each side. With a couple days worth of action yet to come in, 98.5% of the money is on the Broncos.”

Are the Broncos, the 2007 Patriots redux? The offense is averaging a whopping 44.75 points per game and Peyton Manning is as good as ever with 16 passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 138 quarterback rating. The Broncos have won each of their last eight regular season games (going back to last year) by at least 13 points. And if that is not enough, they are 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS dating back to last year. Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager at Bovada.lv told OSGA, “We are seeing 95% of action on Denver. This will no doubt be the books’ biggest decision of the week.”

In the 2007 season the Patriots covered their first 8 games and point spreads of up to 15-16.5 points. However, they ended the regular season at 10-6 ATS. Is this the week the Broncos don’t cover the points? Don’t bet on it as the ‘Boys gave up 428 yard passing to brother Eli, who, of course, is leading an 0-4 Giants team. Until we start seeing the 20+ point spreads that doomed New England in ’07, there really is no reason not to back Peyton and the Broncos this week in Dallas.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Giants-Chiefs Face Off in Battle of Largest Movers for NFL Futures

Posted by on 27 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

Just two weeks ago we posted a blog about NFL Super Bowl futures and the odds have changed quite bit on several of the teams we wrote about. The odds for the winner of Super Bowl 47 are fluid and constantly change throughout the season. Each week’s games affect the numbers, sometimes greatly. This week two of the biggest movers so far this season face off in Kansas City as the Giants (+5, 44) travel to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Look at what Andy Reid has done with the Kansas City Chiefs!! A team that only a year ago won just two games over the entire season, is 3-0 under Big Red. The Chiefs opened the season as longshots at 50-1 to win the Super Bowl. Today they sit at 25-1 at Bovada, 22-1 at Bookmaker and 28-1 at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager at Bovada.lv told OSGA, “The Chiefs have been one of the biggest movers with odds cutting in half to 25-1, while the Giants are 75-1.”

The New York Giants are a mess so this move seems more than valid. This perennial contender has started the season at 0-3 and Eli Manning has been very un-Manninglike. The Giants started the season at 25-1 to win the Big Game, fell to 33-1 after Week 1 and are now down across the board at sportsbooks worldwide. However, it looks like many books have an opinion on the Giants! The Las Vegas Hilton has them at 120-1 to win it all, Bookmaker has them at 100-1 and Bovada has them listed lower than most outlets at 75-1.

Bradley explains Bovada’s lower number on the Giants. “Maybe you would think at 0-3 that the Giants should be a bit higher, but considering the strength (or lack thereof) of that division and if they get a couple wins a row, they could be right back in the mix.”

If you plan to bet on Super Bowl futures, it may be best to look at a team after big loss, rather than a big win. Last week the 1-2 49ers were down to 12-1 after opening the season 6-1. Today after defeating the 1-2 Rams, the Niners sit at 9-1 to win it all.

Current Super Bowl odds from Bovada list Denver as the favorite at 7-2, Seattle at 17-4, San Francisco at 9-1, and New England at 10-1. If New Orleans defeats Miami on Monday night, look at them to creep into the top 4. For the complete odds click here.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Are Huge Football Favorites Worth Betting?

Posted by on 20 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

Here we are in week 3 of the NFL season and there are some of the largest point spreads in recent memory on the board. Seattle is favored by a  whopping 18 points at home against Jacksonville and Denver is a home favorite of 15.5 over Oakland on Monday night. What is very surprising is that the number has crept up all week on both of these huge favorites.

Most of the online sportsbooks around the world have seen huge movement on these two numbers. Seattle opened as a 16.5 point favorite and the Broncos began the week favored by 14.5 points. As of this writing industry giant Bovada has moved the Seahawks to a -19 favorite and the Broncos to a 16.5 point favorite. With these point spreads already in the stratosphere, where will they land on Sunday and are huge favorites like this a good value for bettors?

According to several sources it looks like the line moves for the Broncos are being driven entirely by the public with over 80% of the wagers on the favorite. This is still an early season divisional game and the Broncos are without two of their best players in Ryan Clady and Von Miller. The Broncos are coming off a big victory in New York to travel back home to take on the Raiders in a snoozer. The line movement and public betting fury must be the Peyton Manning factor. Peyton’s gonna throw 7 touchdowns again this week!

We fully expected the point spread to move on the Seahawks and the betting numbers are similar on Seattle to cover. Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Bovada, tells OSGA, “Despite being the highest point spread we have offered since 2007, when New England was over 20 point favorites to Miami, we are currently taking 3/4 of the money on Seattle to cover.” The Jaguars are just plain dreadful this year and the Seahawks are among the league’s best team, especially at home. The line movement of 2.5 points, tells you that everyone believe that the Jags really are that bad and Seattle really is that good at home.

Bradley sees this trend continuing over the next several weeks. “Poor Jacksonville has to go into Denver in Week 6 and if the Seahawks do end up covering this weekend against the Jags and Denver is still undefeated by then, you will see a point spread of at least 3 touchdowns in that game,” said Bradley.

Here’s a note of caution for bettors who like to back big favorites, the undefeated 2007 New England Patriots had 10 games that season with point spreads of -13 or higher. Their ATS record in those games . . . 5-5. In addition, there have only been 11 times that a point spread closed at 19.5 points or higher and the favorites covered the spread in just three of those games.

It’s easy to say that one of these two huge dogs is going to cover, it’s up to you to find the right side if you want to bet a more-than-two-touchdown favorite in NFL games.

Super Bowl Odds: Week 1 Games affect NFL Future Odds

Posted by on 13 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines


The odds to win the Super Bowl each year are posted early each year, surfacing during the summer months. These pre-season odds are based on how the team fared in the previous season, coaching changes, personnel moves that teams make during the offseason, and strength of schedule. However, once the season starts, these odds evolve and after Week 1 in the NFL there are already several surprising and big moves in the odds to win Super Bowl 47.

Everybody is talking about Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles offense. Las Vegas dropped the odds on the Birds to win the Super Bowl dramatically and online sportsbooks quickly followed suit after their win in Washington on Monday night. Bovada moved  the Eagles odds of winning the Super Bowl from 50-1 to 28-1 after the win, while the LVH Super Book in Las Vegas went even further to 25-1. However, several other books like Diamond Sports have been less aggressive and still have the Eagles listed at 36-1.  It’s hard to blame the books for this move and it looks like a valid change after watching that offense. If the Eagles beat the Chargers at home AND cover the current 7.5 point spread look for this number to continue to push downward.

Bovada Sportsbook Manager Kevin Bradley agrees telling us that “No team has seen a bigger drop in odds than the Philadelphia Eagles going from 50-1 to 28-1 and if they win as 7.5 point favorites at home to the Chargers this Week, I see us moving those odds to under 20-1 and making them legit Super Bowl contenders.”

The same thing happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers, just in the opposite direction. The Steelers opened the year at 28-1 at Bovada and now sit at 50-1 pretty much everywhere. The lackluster play, coupled with the loss of their Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Still, this is a team that many ‘experts’ projected to  be in the playoffs.  Here Bovada’s Bradley disagrees, “The Steelers, who I was not big on going into the season proved me right last week and after one week are already 50-1 and taking no money.”

Other notable moves after Week 1 include the Redskins, who after a very poor first half from RGIII went from 33-1 to 40-1. The Vikings and Buccaneers dropped also dramatically after week 1 losses. Other top teams and perennial contenders including last year’s Super Bowl Champions dropped slightly in the odds. The Atlanta Falcons who opened at Bovada at 12-1 and now sit at 20-1 cannot be ignored, nor should the Saints or Packers who flip flopped on the odds board after their opening game wins.

The longest pre-season Super Bowl odds to cash in recent memory were on the New York Giants in 2007, who opened at 30-1. Whatever happens, however, it goes without saying that there is a lot of value to be had if you can accurately predict the Super Bowl winner so early in the season. Even the smallest win in the last seven years would have netted you $130 on a ten dollar bet made during the first two weeks of the season. Just beware big moves based on one win . . . so early in the season.

Current Super Bowl Odds from Bovada list Denver as the favorite at 5-1, San Francisco at 6-1, Seattle at 8-1 and New England at 9-1. For the complete odds click here.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Free Football Contests Return

Posted by on 06 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Bets and More, Promotions

This year the Off Shore Gaming Association is proud to again offer TWO huge football contests that players can enter for FREE!! The two contests are distinct, but share in common over $10,000 worth of prizes with absolutely NO ENTRY FEE.

After 7 years of offering season-long NFL football contests, we have again introduced the hugely popular OSGA Progressive Pick ‘Em. This contest is actually two contests in one - a weekly prize of a $300 betting account at Elite-rated BetOnline plus a progressive contest that builds throughout the season. Each week players vie for a free betting account by picking every NFL game straight up with no point spreads involved. Players can get involved at any time during the season for the weekly BetOnline betting account. The progressive part of the contest is for the player who plays every week and looks to find a contestant who gets every game on the board correct. The prize is $100 cash weekly, but grows every week if no one selects all of the games correctly. Though a perfect week seems likely throughout an entire season, last year was the first season that we had someone pick every game correctly. Still, at the end of the season players with the top win-loss records split a rollover pot of $600.

This is our first year for introducing a College Football contest. Each week players will pick 10 out of 15 hand-picked games in the first ever College Football Pick ‘Em! Players will have to choose their ten games Against the Spread and assign ‘confidence points’ to their selections. This contest will challenge players to not just pick winners, but to grab the most points possible by assigning the highest point values to their favorite games. A weekly $250 betting account is up for grabs from Elite-rated SportsBettingOnline, plus cash prizes and more betting accounts for the season-long point leaders. Register today for the College Football Pick ‘Em, where you choose the games and you identify your best picks for the biggest prizes.

Sign up today and get started with both the 2013 OSGA Pro Football Progressive Pick ‘Em AND the ALL NEW OSGA College Football Pick ‘Em. We’re happy to bring these annual FREE football contests to every fan of OSGA and wish everyone who enters, the best of luck!

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