I’ve got a hunch that sportsbooks prefer bettors win our 1st few bets. Ultimately a bookmaker hopes that lots of people will keep buying into his markets, knowing there will be enough Casual Joes (TM) in the mix for the house to turn a profit from careless and sloppy wagers.
Volume means customers, and winning feels better than losing. It’s easy to imagine a lot of would-be sports bettors depositing cash, losing it all on an unwise bet or 2, and then giving up on the hobby forever. People think bookmakers cackle and count $20 bills in that scenario, but actually it’s a bad thing from the house’s POV. Bookies want to cultivate long-term clientele which is hard if everybody’s leaving in disgust after a maiden try.
When legalized online betting began to sweep the USA, I was as anxious as the next speculator to try it. I We were all tired of the 50-bucks-on-the-sly here, office-pool there, Nassau-golf-matches everywhere environment. Out of the closet and hello to the 21st century! But what did I really feel confident making my 1st legal sports wager on? I sure as hell didn’t want to go down as having lost it.
The NHL barred its superstars from the Winter Olympics in 2018. NHL betting sites offered odds on Men’s ice hockey gold anyway, which I happened to glance at. It was the kind of lucky break handicapping dreams are made of.
AP and BBC reports pronounced the Russian “OAR” Olympic team dead-and-buried due to some kind of “KHL boycott” in early 2018. Bettors had soured on the Russians in December and January futures action, leaving Olympic Athletes from Russia at (+250) to win an NHL-absent event.
I knew that Vladimir Putin would produce the genuine Red Machine, especially with the Kontinental Hockey League bringing the dominant pool of talent to the rink in South Korea. “KHL boycott” turned out to be as fictional as MSNBC’s sonic-spy weapon grasshoppers from Cuba, and I won my maiden “clean” sports bet…but not without having a heart attack at the 59:00 mark.
— Complete Hockey News (@CompleteHkyNews) February 25, 2018
Voila – the winning gold-medal payoff “hooked” me. I was ready to become a sports-betting hobbyist, and the bookmaker smiled. He – or she – didn’t know I’m a pro handicapper and would happily stay afloat, passing time with a cheering interest in whatever sport scratches an itch that day without having to deposit any more dollars.
But there are many side-effects of my newfound legal habit, and at least 1 of them is a true blessing.
Yep. A blessing. No B.S., and no OAR for that matter.
When the Sports Gambling Experience is a 2nd Education
What % of Americans know about jai’alai, a 1960s-fad sport profiled alongside other strange and wonderful gambling events at LegitGamblingSites.com?
I wouldn’t want to guess the % but I can tell you this – the sport of jai’alai remains alive in 2019 thanks to betting. Heck, the finest frontons left on the planet are built into casinos.
There’s another international sport with a strong Latin-American heritage which has been making a King’s ransom on legal action, with big-money benefits passed on to the players. Can you think of it?
Come on, now. Don’t be like the goalkeeper of Pele’s Dummy.
Beautiful Game, Beautiful Dollars
Soccer is finally showing signs of taking hold in the USA, and even the USMNT doesn’t absolutely suck for once. You can’t overlook legal gambling as a reason why. European soccer – and soccer from Asia and Australia – may not be convenient for typical prime-time viewers. But for those who like to spend prime-time TV hours with their family or friends and then gamble at another time, the Beautiful Game is a live-action refuge…along with Aussie Rules football of course.
Hence, a lot more sports fans are watching and reading about soccer in Japan and Australia. Work during the day? Gamble at night? There’s only so much out in the “domestic sports” department for the west-coast (or Midwestern) action hunter at 1:00 AM.
Sure, you could place bets on American sports happening the next day. But that won’t help. Not if you’re a bona-fide fan of sports and gamble as a means to a rooting interest – the best and safest way to buy-in since Odysseus wagered on Hercules to win the Cross-Atlantic Discus Toss. If it’s not convenient to watch then it’s usually not worth an investment.
Responsible bettors budget their time as well as managing their bankrolls. Sometimes, that pregame bet made at 7:00 AM with the outcome at 9:30 AM isn’t the sign of a foolish gambler but of a person who likes to spend exactly 2 hours and 30 minutes handicapping and gambling before moving on with life. Major U.S. sports aren’t there to cooperate with AM-hour sports bettors, though, they’re looking to appeal to the biggest television-watching crowd. English football has thus laid claim to internet news scrolls and sportsbook betting in the morning. Outside of the occasional big golf or hockey event overseas, soccer has a nice monopoly on Las Vegas in the wee hours.
Heck, surely I’m not the only college football/NFL bettor who’s ever gotten itchy at 7 AM and taken-out a live-betting moneyline on Chelsea Football Club to beat Cherries, Toffees, or some other food by the time NCAA or pro pigskin kicks off on a Saturday or Sunday.
Trust me, I’ve looked deeper into a Cherry’s backside, er, backline than ever before with $ on the line…the whole blessed point of it all.
Overseas soccer is far from the only game sportsbooks (with a hand from social media) have helped North Americans become more-acquainted with since Uncle Sam began legalizing the action.
Gambling on Overseas Ice Hockey: Look at Those Limeys
Another miracle of my sports-betting education is that I’ve learned more about international hockey than ever. Me – a total nerd from childhood about all things IOC and IIHF.
For instance, I’ve learned that a determined batch of KHL players can defend on large ice like nobody’s business. So have lots of other early-hour sports gamblers who have gotten to know the Russian league. It comes in handy when Latvia or Finland is leading a favored team in the 1st period and yet the KHL’ers in-play moneyline remains in the plus-range.
Handicappers are happily touting pond shinny in Europe now that Twitter and other forms of communication (and the fact that NHL Network is canny enough to broadcast the games) have made it easy to learn about the World Championships and other events.
“Why not just wait for the NHL to come on” the casual fan might ask of the community of nerdy ‘cappers looking at European results on the pond. The answer is the same as ever – we’re often scouting talent for our next pick and posting it online while the St. Louis Blues are facing-off.
As for the hobby gambler who’s waiting your table at a Gateway City sports bar? He can’t enjoy a $10 play on the Puck Line and would prefer to bet when there’s nothing but 3 periods and a screen in front of him.
Sportsbooks nearly took day-opening losses when Finland appeared to win the 2019 Women’s Worlds at about noon PST, then breathed a sigh of relief when the golden goal was overturned and the United States won again a few minutes later. Las Vegas odds on the newly-arrived Great Britain men’s team surviving the IIHF Worlds in May ’19 were as long as gold-medal futures had been on the Lady Lions. But the Brits – a team of absolute underdogs from the English Premier Ice Hockey League – somehow conquered France and avoided relegation.
My friends, if you’re going to win a (+500) futures bet, that’s the way – not waiting for 3 years of FIFA World Cup cycle, or waiting on brunch for that matter.
Great Britain got a bit o’ mainstream American notoriety for the Cinderella bid in Slovakia, but myself and thousands of others who celebrated might not have known to pay attention, if we weren’t carefully watching and speculating on overseas sports that we can conveniently watch play-out live.
What do they say about inspiration and necessity? I wouldn’t have chosen to become an English ice hockey fan…but the sportsbook helped drive me to it.
2019 FIBA Worlds Offer Salve to Itching NBA Gamblers
Speaking of what’s convenient and what is not, leagues and competitions with long off-seasons are not always convenient for the household sports bettor.
FIFA really has the longest “offseason” of all considering that its most rapid-fire cycles are annual, and the Federation is only now starting to compete with UEFA for the “seasonal” event market. Japanese and Korean baseball leagues continue to develop elite players at an impressive rate, but if you live in the right school district a full day of MLB gambling can last from morning to dusk and beyond. There’s only a spike in Asian hardball betting action when the state-side majors aren’t promoting dates.
Basketball bettors have the NBA – but the hoops offseason stretches for months upon months, and if your hometown team (or $50 futures pick) bows out of the NBA postseason early, the offseason is close to half a year. EuroLeague is getting more attention as a viewing alternative these days, though I have to believe the fans’ education on EuroLeague comes not simply from gambling interests but from NBA Draft junkies and hardcore-educated fans following young prospects who’re warming up across the pond. That’s all well and good, but it still precludes betting on Jayson Tatum.
Or does it? The FIBA Worlds are a gambling bonanza for action-starved NBA-heads in early September. For fans of the NBA and especially fans of NBA and NCAA and European hoops, the Worlds are like those trading-card games we used to play when you got to mix ‘em all up and come out with new teams.
Except this time, there are real live games and not just Nintendo avatars…and we can legally gamble on the outcome if we want to.
The United States’ woeful plight in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Championship is well known by now – James Hardin and other superstars fleeing a ship that was already missing Stephen and LeBron.
But the worldwide basketball press has also picked up on a Las Vegas narrative of Team USA taking razor-short gold medal futures action at NBA betting sites, only for the line-to-win gold to expand and expand longer now that the Yanks are down to a razor-thin lineup in China.
Everyone in the world is scrambling to re-handicap the lineups, taking a crash-course in FIBA tournaments and the rules of international hardwood. Meanwhile, somebody, somewhere…probably a service-worker or otherwise an AM sports gambler just like me…is smiling to themselves.
Why wouldn’t they? Their FIBA Worlds betting slip is from March ‘19, and it reads “Serbia, 50-to-1.”