Don’t the little fellas have enough pressure without your gambling dollars riding on them?
Call me naïve or negative but I must draw the betting line through the Little League World Series this weekend. In fact, even before attempting a Google search on this inquiry, I was hoping this wagering option didn’t even exist. After some research, I discovered it goes back to 2014 and is offered at offshore sportsbooks only.
Newly formed legalized U.S. sportsbooks will not be participating. In places like Nevada and New Jersey, by law, betting on high school events is prohibited. Pennsylvania, where the LLWS tournament takes place every year in host town Williamsport, passed sports betting rules on Wednesday that would also prohibit wagering on high school events, which include all events for lower grade schools.
However, no prohibitions at offshore wagering sites that have far fewer restrictions. For instance, on Saturday, popular sportsbook 5Dimes is offering action on an international pool game between Puerto Rico (representing the Caribbean) and Australia. Puerto Rico (-160) is currently favored, while the over/under on this feature game is 7.5 runs.
Yes, I realize it’s not to be remotely compared with kiddie porn or against any child labor laws. However, can’t kids simply be kids without the added pressure of knowing some guy at home is spewing F-bombs at a 12-year old for striking out? “Yeah, there goes another hundred bucks missing the double-play”. I mean, there are plenty of meaningless NFL pre-season games to waste money upon. And we can even make a case for it in "Week 3", where projected starters are expected to play at least one half.
My Little League Playing Days
Excerpts of my highlights (low-lights) involving little league days provide ample reason why no one should gamble on children.
Most memorable was being sent immediately to play right field and placed last in the batting order. The surest sign of early failure in life and tagged the worst on the team. Not sure anything this tragic happens to anyone in the outfield playing for the Yankees or Cleveland Indians.
I also don’t remember the added pressure of accepting I was part of a -240-betting line favorite. Sadly, at 10 years old I would have known that if I was playing for either Grandview, Illinois or Seoul, South Korea this weekend. Worse, I likely would have my own weekly allowance riding on the game.
Here’s the scenario: my team’s winning by only one run in the bottom of the 7th (last inning). I’m praying the baseball wouldn’t be hit my way in right field to potentially blow the game. Heartless friends on the team relentlessly tease and humiliate me. Certainly, early confidence with the girls would not be soaring either.
Just imagine a large national television audience turning in with major wagering money on the line to boot. Most preferred offshore sportsbooks have continued this trend of annually featuring Little League Baseball due to its wagering popularity. It’s perfectly timed during a weekend with very little competition besides meaningless NFL pre-season games and the exhausted Major League Baseball schedule.
Astonishingly, very respected sportsbooks like 5Dimes, Bovada and BetOnline even have “partial game wagering” for the LLWS featured on their menu. I cannot blame them as obviously somebody out there is betting on these options. Hopefully there isn’t a pro handicapper out there promising an experienced, proven Little League edge. Because during the first three innings of my little league games, I was just trying to predict the Over/Under on my new pubic hairs.
No Official Stats
There are no official financial stats available for the popularity of Little League World Series wagering. And as I know of, no one doing a serious analysis or background trend study. Not sure if betting the Caribbean teams in the early rounds are a lock vs. Japan. Western U.S. little leaguers 78.2% against Eastern teams playing on weekends, etc. All I know is I would be embarrassed telling anyone I did this. And better keeping to myself than bragging I had a big weekend betting on the boys.
OK, Here’s the Positives
1. No Replays. Like the good ol’ days, the umpires strictly make the calls. No going to the tape or to the review booth waiting for the decision.
2. There is Crying in this Baseball. In fact, you both can officially cry after the game. These little dudes after they lost and you for not covering your bet.
3. You’re Never Out of your Bet. A rule states each coach MUST play every player on the team during the game. Meaning any kid can potentially become your hero or goat. If I was playing and betting the game up 8 runs, I would simply tell the coach I came down with a fever. For my $5 bet, please let Johnny bat and stay in the game.
Please Be Patient
For those willing to wait only a few weeks, many rewards await in the wagering world. NCAA College Football starts this weekend. NFL real season football is merely two weeks or so. Even handicapping the U.S. Tennis Open on Labor Day makes more sense. Heck, the Travers Stakes at Saratoga will be run this Saturday, featuring an outstanding field to bet upon.
If you must, many outstanding offshore sportsbooks will feature Little League World Series game lines and partial game betting. Likely a futures list on which team from around the globe will capture the crown. Hopefully no prop wagering for MVP, etc. If I was playing back then, I’d be listed at -450 to drop a routine fly ball to blow game and be scarred for life.
Please check your conscience and bet preseason football this week. Always a full board of MLB available. Or last chance for reasonable wagering odds on a potential Trump impeachment.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.