Hi, folks, Bob Akmens here. Welcome to basports.com. Let's discuss college and pro hoops - and the unique challenges they present to all handicappers. Two
major things set basketball handicapping apart from the other sports. First, the magnitude of importance for each score during the game is the least of any of the sports - you'll never win a hoops game 2-0, but you will win a baseball game 1-0. And secondly, the size of even an NBA team is limited to just 12 active players on the bench - some of
whom will get splinters in their butts the whole game and not even play.
Bob Akmens Sports handicaps three discretely different forms of basketball: NCAA college games, the NBA, and the WNBA. Let's do what your teachers told you to do in those boring essays: compare and contrast these quite different forms of hoops-action.
Is there really anything more continually exciting than watching a top-notch college-hoops matchup? I love watching baseball, but it's often like a war: a few minutes of
exciting terror or elation (depending on whether you're on the losing or winning side) and many minutes of ho-hum waiting. Not so with college hoops. It's just exhilarating.
And because these kids see a real chance of making the pros (though very few do), most of them are not yet jaded in their attitude towards the game: they dive for balls and they
usually try hard – almost all the time - though these days you see altogether too much 'tude on those hardwood courts.
As to handicapping college hoops, it's a lot of work. A lot of lot of work. On a typical Saturday in January, you'll have more than 100 games on the board. That's a couple-
hundred+ teams to keep track of and analyze. And unless you have an almost unlimited amount of "free" time, you just can't do that and hold down a job at the same time.
That's one of the reasons I got into this crazy business: I couldn't do justice to my great day-job where I was making more money than any 20-something should have been making - and being able to spend the time to handicap all those games and win more than I would lose. So I took a gamble and chose a life of gambling. But, trust me, when I say it's paid off - many, many times over what I ever imagined it would or even could.
One of the great truths I learned many years ago about betting college hoops games is this: beware of the road-favorite. Unless you have a very valid reason for laying points on
the road with a college hoops squad, you should be cautious. The home-court advantage is far and away the greatest overall in college hoops compared to other sports. There are
some arenas where the line on the home team will actually swing 6-7-8 points from what it might be playing that very same team on the road.
I know about this first-hand. I played some college ball years ago. It wasn't at the top-level, but I learned that the road is a lonely place for almost all college players.
Remember this: while these "kids" may look like strong-specimens of manhood, so many of them are just that: kids. And many are stunted emotionally. Realize that these young dudes have been coddled and treated like demigods for years before they get to the top college programs. It's getting so out of hand, that I recently read a 14-year-old - in the 8th grade - had signed a letter-of-intent to play at USC! Why not just measure them when they're in the cradle and snatch them away from their mothers and have them raised by breast-feeding she-giants?
Here's an indisputable fact: the fragile egos of so many young, incredibly immature college-hoops players are often shattered when they face what they find so hard to handle: crowds that don't adore them and actually - gasp - treat them with hostility. That's why you'll see road teams collapse on leads much more often than you'll see home teams blowing big margins playing in front of their adoring fans.
Does this mean you should just bet home teams? Of course not. You should play the team you believe has a good shot of covering the spread - or playing an under or an over in a game where the line looks out of whack to you - that is, assuming you have a sound reason for believing that line is out of whack and you’re just not going on "feel" or intuition alone.
Speaking of totals for a moment, let me tell you another truth I've learned doing this for a living: bookies don't like totals; or more accurately, bookies don't like the guys who bet lots of totals. Why is that? Well, let's look at NBA-game lines, side & total, to better understand this. If you have the biggest mismatch in the entire league, what will the line on that side be? If you rarely hit -20, I'll be amazed. More like maybe -14, -15 points. Now, let's assume there's a great earth-shattering upset in this game and the crap team actually wins straight-up - by say, 10 points. This is a genuine shocker, huh? Not only did the bum-team win but they covered by maybe 25 points. And for most players (which is what serious gamblers are called - I’m not referring to the ball players), that game is a big deal and there will be a lot of discussion about that result.
But now, let's look at the total on that same game. Let's say the line on the total for that very same game was 190. And now let's say that the final score, with the dog winning, was 120-110. Are most players shocked that the total went 40 whole points over the line? Not at all - virtually the entire discussion on sports talk radio shows or online forums will be that the lousy team beat the good team. You see what I mean?
Also, the range for totals-lines in the NBA can be from the mid-160s all the way into the 230's. A 70-point range can exist in NBA totals - but only, maximally, about a 20-
point range for sides. All the more reason books hate totals. For the sharp player who has a sound methodology for picking totals, they can invariably be beaten for a higher
percentage than one can beat sides.
In March of 2008, I was in the midst of a long-run of publically-posted college hoop totals which peaked at a spectacular record of 50-17. That's a damn good run, and I know (since I'm the guy who created that run) that I'm better at totals than I am at sides. And the reasons are precisely what I've mentioned.
I’ve been a professional handicapper a long time. I've known pro athletes for many, many years. I used to live in one of Manhattan's great singles-buildings on the corner of E. 65th Street and 1st Ave, and around the corner, the prototype of all sports-singles-bars was first born: Mister Laffs. On the other corner was the original Maxwell’s Plum. I
was probably in one or the other almost every night. Laffs was owned by jocks and frequented by jocks – and guys who wanted to be like these jocks and girls who wanted to be with these jocks. But what was nice for me is that I was young, made great money, and wasn’t bad looking - so I was very happy to get whatever those jocks left behind.
And I got to see, close up, how these guys think and act. Even Joe Willie Namath used to come by at times. I was not particularly impressed by any of these guys, not that I ever really idolized any ballplayer anywhere, anytime - even as a kid. So, in those great days of my youth I learned that like actors on a stage, most ballplayers constantly yearn for
adulation. When they get it, they sometimes perform superhuman feats. When they don't, they very often don't do that.
Of all the commentary about the NBA I've ever heard in all my years in this business, one remark always sticks out. I can never ignore it - and neither should you ever ignore it.
Charles Barkley - a loudmouth, to be sure, but one heck of a basketball player - at 6'6' snatching boards from guys much taller than himself. Nicknamed the "Round-Mound" by some because he liked his food, Mr. Barkley led the NBA for three straight years in offensive boards and that, folks, is very hard to do at 6'6." I'm 3 inches shorter and know
about these things. I had both shoulders dislocated several times going up or coming down with a rebound when someone decided to stretch my body a little.
But back to Sir Charles’ pithy comment that will forever stick with me. It must have been in one of his last years in the NBA just before the playoffs - in the late '90s - while he was with the Rockets. He had a great game and the network trotted-out one of those pieces of eye-candy they use to interview players. She came up to his chest in height and shoved the mike up into his face, and said something like this: "Charles, you came up big today. How do you think the Rockets will do in the playoffs?" And Barkley smiled that huge smile of his and replied something like this: "You know, we guys in this league don't really give a crap about these regular-season games from day-to-day; we only look forward to the playoffs because we all want to be champions. So I imagine all of us will play real hard in the games coming up.”
So what does that revelation tell you? Just what I knew to be true but which must have shocked many "fans." Which realize is short for "fanatics." And since so many “fans”
delude themselves by thinking these players are perpetual heroes, I thought I’d quote a popular source for the word-origin (from Wikipedia): "fan...emerged as an Americanism
around 1889. Many assume that it's a shortened version of the word fanatic, and the word did first become popular in reference to an enthusiastic follower of a baseball team.
Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1525, means "insane person". It comes from the Modern Latin “fanaticus,” meaning "insanely but divinely inspired".
Here's the essence of what Barkley so adroitly revealed in that one statement: always, always take every single run-of-the-mill NBA game with a grain of salt as to its purported meaning and importance. Never, ever assume one team will be up and the other team will be down. I've seen games where divisional rivals won by 40-50 points one night at home and then lost by 30-40 a day or two later - to that very same opponent - at the other guy’s court. Don't assume that revenge plays some sort of huge role in the lives of these guys.
I can't resist telling you some more Barkleyisms. This is one dude I listen to when he talks about the NBA. The guy was recently interviewed by Playboy. One of my clients, knowing my fondness for Barkley’s pearls-of-wisdom, sent me the article. And there, being interviewed, was Sir Charles in all his glory - but this time, not restrained by polite speech. I have railed for years about pro athletes who are spoiled, selfish creatures whose idea of team work is to pass the ball to themselves by bouncing it off a backboard. And Barkley just skewered those oh-so-lousy-role-models.
When asked why so many of today's players were selfish jerks who lack any concept of team work, he said essentially this: because of the absurd, other-worldly salaries and the inane long-long-term-contracts, the owners have consciously created these beings who now play for, as Barkley put it, f-you money. They make so much of it that they just say to any critic - even one so low on the totem pole as their coach: "f-you. I make $160 million over 9 years, so f-you. I'll take all the damn 30-foot turn-around jumpers I want and f-you!" And Barkley is absolutely right.
The women's version of the pros, the WNBA, is interesting from a handicapping perspective. Principally because they have very low team salary-caps - and thus, very, very low individual salaries. How low? Well, let me put it this way. In the richest country in the world where social and sexual equality should theoretically exist - but most
assuredly does not - on average, for every dollar an NBA player gets, a WNBA-honey gets - are you ready for this? - a penny. That's right, a penny. The average NBA salary for these spoiled man-children is roughly $4.5 million. And the average WNBA salary is about $46,000. It's not quite like flipping burgers for a living - but it's also not quite
right that such a huge disparity exists.
So what impact does that have on a bettor? WNBA players - and therefore the games they play – do play truer to past-form than does the NBA. This is logical. If Barkley is
right - and I have always known what he has said was spot-on right well before I ever heard of Charles Barkley - then you must approach each NBA game as a possible spread-upset.
But such is usually not the case in WNBA games; favorites cover more handily in the women's game because it's played much more like the NBA of the 50's, 60's, and 70's was - closer to the college game in focus, intensity, ball-diving, passing instead of taking that bad, selfish shot, driving to the hoop instead of the easy, low-percentage jump-shot, etc.
What do I dislike about the NBA? Let me count the ways! No, I won't go into a Shakespearean soliloquy about the many, many bad habits of NBA players. Those are too numerous to recount. But I will tell you this, if the average WNBA guard should be 30-35 feet from the hoop and then tried to turn around and take a 35-foot rainbow-like jump-shot just to see it wildly miss, she probably wouldn't stay in that lineup very long.
When I was a kid and learned to dunk at about age 13 when I was already 6 feet tall, we used to call this type of shot an “upchuck” on the Bronx schoolyard courts where I once played against Willy Worsley, who then led Texas Western to the Dance championship.
But, on the other hand, when Kobe Bryant does just that - and he does just that several times every game - he gets adulation and applause. Especially when he cans that shot - maybe 25% of the time – and then points his finger in the defender’s face and talks his trash – and creates a slew of obnoxious 8-year-olds who now believe this is proper behavior to emulate.
The vast majority of NBA players are selfish, non-team players; and they absolutely must have the highest percentage of certifiable sociopaths in all organized sports. The vast
majority of WNBA players are unselfish, team-oriented players. Always remember that - because it can save you - and make you – money.
Of course, my personal likes and dislikes of NBA players - where I think Dikembe Mutombo should be put up for sainthood for giving aways milions of his own money to build a hospital in his native Congo, while others like...well, we won't get slanderous here...should be thrown into dumpsters - has nothing to do with my success in picking winners.
In 2008 we were the NBA Playoff national handicapping champ, winning 35 of 52 post-season plays and winning The Sports Eye's Titanium Award in both categories they tracked: win-percentage and most bankroll won. We also finished #1 in 3 categories of The Sports Monitor (TSM) NBA Playoffs contest: #1 in overall net-winners with +17.4 net wins. And something that bugs me every time I see it over the years - if I give out 3-4 times the number of plays that the 2-3 guys who finish above me slightly in win-percentage, I'm going to point that out. Because if I give out 52 plays in the 8-week-long playoffs and I have a win-percentage of 68.96% as I had at TSM, that's a spectacular performance - period. And to me, it does not sit well that someone wins about 69% of 52 plays and yet sees the guy ahead of him with 2% more in winning-percentage but only giving out 14 plays. You see my point? I would risk huge sums of money to tell you that if that guy who won 71% with 14 plays gave out 52 plays, he would not have won 71% of 52 plays. Because, as you quadruple your number of plays, your win percentage will almost always go down - not up. Therefore, I'm pointing out that of all services tracked by TSM who had AT LEAST a minimal 15 plays in the long-NBA playoffs (which was less than a tiny 2 plays per week from April 19th to June 17th), I end up #1 in 2 more categories: #1 in win-percentage at 68.96% for all plays, sides & totals, and #1 in win-percentage for all sides-plays at 68.64%. Great performances. And we topped those by finishsing #1 in both the 2009 NBA Regular-Season Contest & the 2009 NBA Playoffs Contest at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor in the Highest Win-Percentage, All Sides-Plays categories.
We offer many different basketball packages ranging from one-game Plays-of-the-Day in each of the three types of hoops – all the way to an annual hoops package which covers
everything we have year-round in basketball. And these days, that amounts to about 46 of the 52 weeks in a year. As I've said, hoops is the toughest sport to keep up with - so let us
do it for you - and make you some serious profits to boot!
I hope some of these thoughts will help you to improve your hoops-betting tactics. They've helped me not only run one of America's most successful sports services for three decades, but have made me a boatload of money betting roundball games over those years. Thanks for visiting www.basports.com and I hope we can help you make money many years into the future. Come back often and enjoy all we have to offer!
THE LATEST CONTEST WINS & THE GROWING #1-TITLES!
CONTEST-WATCH - OUR LATEST #1-FINISH IN A DOCUMENTED HANDICAPPING CONTEST:
We are the ONLY sports service in the history of ther world to finish with over 70% winners in BOTH college football (73.47%) and the NFL (70.7%) in the same year.
We have 321 #1 catgory finishes in documented sports service national handicapping contests - more than anyone has ever had.
WE FINISHED #1 IN THE 2013 MLB BASEBALL POST-SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE SPORTS EYE IN MOST NET PROFIT WON.
* WE FINISHED #1 IN THE 2012 NFL FOOTBALL REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP AT BOTH THE SPORTS MONITOR & THE SPORTS EYE IN MOST NET PROFIT WON AND WE WON 70.8%.
* WE FINISHED #1 IN THE 2012 COLLEGE FOOTBALL REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP AT BOTH THE SPORTS MONITOR & THE SPORTS EYE IN MULTIPLE CATEGORIES, WITH 73.47%:
#1 IN WIN PERCENTAGE (73.47%); #1 IN RETURN-ON-RISK WITH 43.14%; #1 IN MOST NET PROFIT WON; #1 IN TOTALS WITH AN AMAZING 24-4 RECORD, ETC.
* WE FINISHED #1 IN THE ULTIMATE CONTEST THERE IS FOR SPORTS SERVICES: THE 2012 COMBINED FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE SPORTS MONITOR, WITH A REMARKABLE
9+% WIN OVER THE 2ND-PLACE SERVICE (AND THERE WERE 125 SERVICES IN THIS CONTEST!). WE HAVE A COMBO WIN % OF ABOUT 72%. IN 27 YEARS OF TSM, NO SERVICE
HAD EVER WON THIS CONTEST BY MORE THAN 4%. aND OVER THE LAST DECADE THE AVERAGE WIN WAS BY 0.9%. AND WE WON BY 9+%.
* WE ALSO BECAME THE VERY FIRST SERVICE EVER IN THE 27 YEARS OF THE SPORTS MONITOR (TSM) TO FINISH WITH OVER 70% IN THE SAME YEAR IN BOTH COLLEGE FOOTBALL (73.47%)
AND NFL FOOTBALL (70.8%). iN SPITE OF THE LYING THIEVES WHO CLAIM TO WIN 80% ALL THE TIME (AND ARE NEVER MONITORED IN A LEGITIMATE CONTEST), NO ONE HAD EVER DONE THIS.
We win the 2011 NFL-Ex Football Contest @ The Sports Monitor in 2 divisions: Most Bankroll Won, Totals & Most Net Winners, Totals.
We win BOTH the 2011 NHL Hockey Contest @ The Sports Monitor & the Titanium Award (our 14th) @ The Sports Eye. See our Award Notifications HERE.
We win the 2011 NFL Football Contest (Post-Season) Titanium Award (our 13th) @ The Sports Eye. See our Award Notification HERE.
We win the 2010 College Football Contest (Regular-Season-totals division) @ LVSM. See our Award Notification HERE.
We win the 2010 NFL-Ex Football Contest @ LVSM - back-to-back. See our Award Notification HERE.
We win several more Handicapper-of-the-Week Awards at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. We have 40 of these. See our Award Certificates HERE.
We win the 2009-10 NBA Basketball Post-Season Titanium Award (our 12th) at The Sports Eye. See our Award Notification HERE.
We win the 2009-10 NBA Basketball Post-Season Contest - in every possible category - at LVSM.
We win 10 more Handicapper-of-the-Week Awards - all in a row - at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. We have 33 of these. See our Award Certificates HERE.
We win May 2010, April 2010 & March 2010 Handicapper-of-the-Month Awards at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. See our Award Certificates HERE.
We win the 2009-10 NBA Basketball Regular-Season (Top Win-%) at LVSM.
We win the 2009-10 College Basketball Post-Season Titanium Award (our 11th) at The Sports Eye. See our Award Notification HERE.
We win the 2009-10 College Basketball Post-Season Handicapping Championship at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. See our Award Certificate HERE.
We win the 2009-10 College Basketball Regular-Season Handicapping Championship at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. See our Award Certificate HERE.
We win the 2009 College Football Regular-Season Handicapping Championship at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. See our Award Certificate HERE.
We win the 2009 NFL Pre-Season Handicapping Championship at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. See our Award Certificate HERE.
We finish #1 in the NBA Playoffs Championship Contest at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor (category: Best Win-%, All Sides)
We finish #1 in the 2009 NHL Playoffs Championship Contest at The Sports Monitor (category: Best Win-% (minimum 10 plays), Best Bets)
We finish #1 in the 2009 NHL Regular-Season Championship Contest at The Sports Monitor (category: Best Win-%, All Sides)
We finish #1 in the 2009 NBA Regular-Season Championship Contest at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor (category: Best Win-%, All Sides)
We win the 2009 NFL Post-Season Handicapping Championship at the Las Vegas Sports Monitor. See our Award Certificate HERE.
321: WE HAVE THIS MANY #1-CATEGORY FINISHES IN DOCUMENTED HANDICAPPING CONTESTS
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|WE HAVE THIS MANY #1-FINISHES IN THESE