Most of the information in the FAQ was taken from the Art Manteris book "Superbookie". Published by Contemporary Books Inc. Copyright 1991.
Changes or additions to this section of the FAQ should be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last modified: 2-15-96
You can bet legally at licensed Nevada Sports Books, and illegally with bookies in virtually every town. Most of the following describes the ins and outs of gambling at sports books. There are two points worth noting here. First, Nevada Sports Books can set up phone accounts, but will not accept wagers across state lines. Second, odds with illegal bookies are often worse than those one can get in Nevada.
Betting with offshore (international) sports books seems to be on the rise, and promises to spread from phone services to internet based online services. From the point of view of bets and odds offered, these books are similar to licensed Nevada Sports Books. The legality of these services is, at best, ambiguous. There are claims and opinions on all sides of the argument, but few legal precedents. In addition, some offshore books are run by old trustworthy firms, some are fly-by-night scams, and many are somewhere in between. Cavaet Bettor.
The last way (and other than in state Nevada betting the only other clearly legal way) to bet on sports in the US is the Oregon Lottery. This was described as follows in a rec.gambling post:
The Oregon lottery is alive and well as far as football betting. The game is called sports action. The line is set by Jim Feist. It is set and printed on Wednesday and does not change. This can work to the bettor's advantage due to changes in team lineups due to injuries and such. The minimum wager is $2.00 and the minimum number of games bet is 3. The payoffs for a three game win is $5.00 per dollar wagered. Four games gets $10.00 per dollar wagered. All other wagers are paid on a paramutual fashion. For example, a seven game winner usually pays around $160 to $350. The maximum number of games that can be bet have a winner. A week or two ago $14,000 carried over in the 14 pool. There are also some games that are called special play games with over/under total score. The line seems to be fairly consistent with the Vegas line on the Wednesday that it is set.
A team covers the spread if it wins the game with the score modified by the spread. If Dallas and Washington are playing and the spread is (Dallas -7), then Dallas has to win by at least 8 points to cover. Half-point spreads are also possible.
Dallas -170 Washington +150What this means is that for every $17 you bet on Dallas, you win $10 if they win. For every $10 you bet on Washington, you win $15 if they win. This is the way SB's make money off games by not giving points.
Tampa Bay +19 1/2 Miami -19 1/2This means that if you bet on Miami, Miami needs to score at least 20 more points than Tampa to cover. If you bet on Tampa, the score must be at least within 19 for you to win. The bottom team is almost always the home team.
Chicago -5 1/2 -180 1:00 pm Atlanta +5 1/2 +150 42 1/2This gives the money line, the point spread, and the total for the game. It also tells you that Atlanta is the home team, and the game starts at 1:00 pm. As far as I know, this is the standard posting at mosts Books.
# of plays Standard Odds True Odds ---------- ------------- --------- 2 plays 13-5 3-1 3 plays 6-1 7-1 4 plays 10-1 15-1 5 plays 20-1 31-1 6 plays 40-1 63-1 7 plays 80-1 127-1The more events parlayed the worse the odds shift in the casinos advantage. The advantage for the player for parlays lies in the fact that he can bet more on the same game (spread and over/under) and he can bet more on two teams who are playing at the same time.
In order to be competitive, some casinos offer ties-win parlay cards. This greatly helps the player. The Las Vegas Hilton SB is one of these.
# of teams 6 pts 6 1/2 pts 7 pts ---------- ----- --------- ----- 2 teams 11-10 5-6 5-7 3 teams 8-5 3-2 6-5 4 teams 5-2 2-1 9-5 5 teams 4-1 7-2 3-1 6 teams 6-1 5-1 4-1
# of teams 4 pts 4 1/2 pts 5 pts ---------- ----- --------- ----- 2 teams 11-10 5-6 5-7 3 teams 8-5 3-2 6-5 4 teams 5-2 2-1 9-5 5 teams 4-1 7-2 3-1 6 teams 6-1 5-1 9-2
Orkin, Mike. "Can You Win?", W.H.Freeman and Co., 1991. IBSN 0-7167-2155-4 (soft)
Presents a general overview of gambling presenting the real odds of various games. It only assumes a high school level of mathematics understanding. The 32 page section on sports betting doubles as a guide to the various betting options available, and there is also a 16 page section on horserace betting. A brief treatment on Kelly betting as applied to sports gambling is included.Sugar, Bert Randolph. "The Caesars Palace Sports Book of Betting", St. Martin's Press, 1992. IBSN 0-312-05058-5 (paper)
An overview concentrating on the question posed by the title, the author concludes the sports section with the observation:
"If you're going to gamble, which games should you play? I recommend sports betting. There are two reasons for this: 1 - Unlike in roulette, craps, and keno, it's impossible to prove that you can't win in the long run. 2 - When you win, it's because you're smart, and when you lose, it's because somebody fumbled."
The author is a well known sports writer and Las Vegas insider. A good popular introduction to sports betting with equal amounts of information on betting terms, options, odds, and the like, various considerations for each major sport; advice on handicapping based on matchups, streaks, injuries and stat.s; history and color; and money management.Manteris, Art, (with Rick Talley). "SuperBookie - Inside Las Vegas Sports Gambling", Contemporary Books, 1991. IBSN 0-8092-4430-6 (cloth) 0-8092-3845-4 (paper)
A good second book to read, after perhaps the Sugar or Orkin books as an introduction, Manteris shares his observations as the Director of the Hilton Race and Sports Organization...aka the SuperBook. Interesting stories about the early days, why the house doesn't always win, how point spreads are set and moved as a practical matter, how the house calculates its take, scams, mob involvement (now mostly not) and more.Peter Asch and Richard E. Quandt. "Racetrack Betting - The Professors' Guide to Strategies", Praeger Publishers, 1986. IBSN 0-275-94103-5 (paper)
Written by 2 academics from Rutgers and Princeton, this book seems to be a trustworthy analysis of betting at the horseraces. Included is an overview and analysis of popular strategies, subjective and objective analysis of available information and statistics, utility functions as applied to the public and wagering behavior (important given the paramutual basis of the odds), and the bottom line on some complex systems by the authors, Ziemba, and Quandt which seem to actually work.Bob Carrol, Pete Palmer, and John Thorn. "The Hidden Game of Football", Warner Books, 1988. IBSN 0-446-39091-7 (paper)
While addressing sports betting only in passing, this book concentrates on innovative methods for detailed sports statistics analysis leading to accurate predictions. "Scientific" handicappers will find this book very stimulating.Miller, Colonel J.R. "How Professional Gamblers Beat the Pro Football Pointspread - a step by step textbook guide", Flying M Group, 1993. IBSN 0-9636500-0-9 (spiral bound)
This is a self published specialty book available from Gamblers Book Club or by mail order. While the quality of most spiral bound gambling editions are suspect, this book is reasonably good. It provides a detailed analysis of how a serious gambler factors in pointspreads, power ratings, injuries, motivations, weather, and statistics to win over the long haul. The section on money management should be taken with a grain of salt, as it proposes flat betting as almost optimal, a modified plateau system as even better, and the "Kelly system" as a formula for disaster, in a rather unqualified way.Michael Roxborough and Mike Rhoden. "Race and Sports Book Management - a guide for the legal bookmaker", (publisher not noted) 1991. IBSN 0-31-53873-6 (spiral bound)
Written by "Roxy" Roxborough, the provider of the spread and other services to most major sports books in Nevada via his Las Vegas Sports Consultants Inc. This book covers in moderate detail the mechanics of running a legal sports book, including setting and moving the spread, various economic measures such as the handle and practical hold percentage, overlays, parlays, limits, the law and regulations.Pascual, M. "Bankroll Control - the mathematics of money management", (publisher not noted) 1987. No IBSN noted.
While poorly published (xeroxed, white-out corrections, hand written corrections and page numbers) this odd and perhaps difficult to find spiral book is a treasure trove of practical analysis applying Kelly betting to sports and racing gambling. Theory is light and presented with (hand drawn) graphs where possible. The book presents a numerical recipe approach to even complicated betting scenarios such as simultaneous games, simultaneous single and multiple parlay plays, win-show-place betting, and more. Also included are some useful tables (variables include % of wins, number of teams, variations to include parlays or not) showing optimal bets, risk and expectancy. Also included are some program listings in BASIC for (now mostly obsolete) hand calculators that may be useful as pseudocode.
The cosmetics do not, however, inspire trust. It would be nice if a r.g math weenie would review it.