With the biggest American betting event of the year on the horizon, this week we welcome Todd Furhman to the show, former odds maker for Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and creator of the Bettor’s Code. David discusses the various laws and elements of Todd’s Bettor’s Code to clarify how they can help bettors everywhere, and apply to us punters and other forms of gambling as well. You’ll also hear Todd’s take on the Super Bowl coming up and where there might be some value.
Punting Insights You’ll Find
- Why you should never ask another man how much he bets.
- The protocol for gambling honesty, and why it matters among punters.
- Striving for the best price, and how that gives you the best value as a bettor.
- Why trashing handicappers can ruin your betting and give the industry a bad name.
- How confidence, even during losing streaks is absolutely necessary for your success.
Todd’s Closing Tip:
” I think proposition markets are always going to create a good opportunity for the punter.”
Episode 32 : The Bettor’s Code with Todd Furhman
Welcome to Betting 360, your number one source for horse racing and sports betting insights. Coming around the bend is your host David Duffield, with another expert view to give you the winning edge.
David: Hi, this is David Duffield. Welcome to another edition of the Betting 360 podcast. Today on the podcast we have Todd Furhman. He is an expert on FoxSports, Out Kick The Coverage, Don Best and also his own website Toddstake.com. I have got him on to talk about the Bettor’s Code as he calls it. The rules that any punter should live by. Also to have a chat about the Superbowl as that is not too far away and I think most Australian punters will be checking it out. Let’s have a chat with Todd right now. Thanks for joining us today Todd.
Todd: Thank you for having me David. Looking forward to it.
David: Yeah, it is going to be good. Some of the listeners will have seen your work on Fox Sports or Don Best or your own site Toddstake.com, but for those who that have not, can you just give us a quick overview of your background in sports betting?
Todd: Sure, I was a former odds maker at Caesar’s Palace for the better part of five years. About two years ago decided that I was going to look to explore some other opportunities that try and really go after writing about the industry; covering it for mainstream media. Fortunately enough I have found a few outlets to explore that creative side and like you alluded to FoxSports and Donbest have created two great homes. Then for a little bit unique stance where I can kind of be my own voice so to speak, Toddstake.com a blog and more or less an overflow than anything else.
David: You mentioned Toddstake.com. That is one of the reasons I wanted to get you on the podcast here. You came out with the Bettor’s Code, the rules that you suggest bettors should live by. So I will run through those and then get you to expand on them. The first one was never ask another man how much he bets. What do you mean by that? How does that apply to betting?
Todd: It is one of those things that is an unspoken rule between bettors. You need never go up and ask another man how much he made financially for the calendar year or exactly what he was spending all his money on. The same type of ethics and protocol should adhere to sports bettors. There is a sharp opinion out there whether it is a five dollar punter or someone who is playing for a little heavy stakes. It is all relative in terms of what your expectations are. Is it professional? Is it recreational better? But my own take on that is no opinion should be discounted based on just the volume that you are actually putting into action.
David: What about this one? Always reciprocate with those who share confidential information.
Todd: I think it is important to develop a network. Now in this day and age as sports betting becomes more and more global, you see the proliferation of European soccer leagues here in the States and North American sports not only in Australia but throughout Europe. You need sources in on the ground floor to try and share that best information for you. I would not feel comfortable walking to the window placing a National Rugby League wagers without some Australians in my ear to let me know what injuries I may or may not be missing. The same way that I would expect Australians that were interested in American football to contact me indirectly and kind of ask what I would look for. Especially as we are two weeks out from the biggest sporting event on our American calendar.
David: Yeah, we will get to that later on. The Superbowl definitely attracts a lot of once a year Australian punters and also the serious guys. Next up in the Bettor’s Code we have never say a game is in the bag until it is officially over.
Todd: This is more so superstition than anything else. I hear it all the time from people and it is funny because my dad is a smaller punter in the grand scheme of it. He loves to send a text message or give me a phone call part way through a game saying “Oh, this was a great call.” Inevitably that lead quickly starts to evaporate and you can never cash your ticket until you play the game out in its entirety. No matter if it is college basketball or rugby, gridiron soccer. You have to wait until that clock hits triple 0 before you can walk to the window and collect that cash.
David: Okay, a good example recently was that Colts playoff game when what were they down three touchdowns or was it four touchdowns?
Todd: They were down four touchdowns at one point midway through the third quarter chasing a 38 to 10 deficit but came all the way back. I imagine there were plenty of bettors out there who thought that they had that Kansas City ticket locked up but when you have that sort of a lead that late in the game. Like you said it is never over until it is over.
David: In play betting, just to touch on that for a moment. What is the interest level like for that in Las Vegas these days because it is relatively new. In a game like that with the Colts was there a lot of interest in game?
Todd: In play wagering is continuing to grow. North America is behind the rest of the world in terms of our ability to adopt it. Largely because we don’t have a highly regulated governing body for online wagering or local shops like you guys are familiar with both through places like Sportingbet or the TAB in certain locations. The bricks and mortar places out here in Las Vegas just do not have the infrastructure in place. Fortunately though I have had a chance to get some great exposure to the in play opportunities through our division at Don Best as we look to try and build a true North American product that will be used worldwide. Not only through shops down in your neck of the woods but hopefully throughout Europe and Asia as we are able to perfect our algorithms for the NBA and some of the other major sports.
David: It must be just an obvious growth area. I mean the pre-game betting is ingrained in American culture, but the in-game must be an area where they see a lot of opportunities.
Todd: Yeah, it is one of those things that is interesting for whatever reason. It is real difficult for people to try and wrap their heads around whereas half-time wagering is common place. Folks just do not understand that I can bet after this T.V. timeout or I can take full advantage. I think the reality of it is it lends itself very nicely to sports like tennis and soccer, a little more adjustment for folks that are trying to use that in gridiron where they have to wait out an entire drive or a series before they can down their wager. Hockey is another sport though I think that North Americans will be able to gravitate towards and hopefully pick up where the Scandinavians have so much fun betting; not only the North American league, but the European leagues in progress.
David: Back to the Bettor’s Code, never say a line is a joke unless you are willing to plow into it with your own money.
Todd: This is one that I have plenty of friends that are non-gamblers and they always look at point spreads after the fact. You can almost say that it is hindsight is 20-20 on this. They go, the odds makers clearly made a mistake. I said well if you guys felt so confident about that, I said where is your six figure wager to try and put down on a particular game. It is always easy once the game has been played and it is made final to try and look like you are a Houdini and a true soothsayer. If folks want to try and comment and they want to talk to gamblers about things, I tell them unless they are putting their own money into action, you have to swallow your pride a little bit and learn how to do it like the rest of us.
David: If the line looks out of whack for what you would expect it to be, normally it is a good reason or a good indicator to do some more research because it is not just put up on a whim; there is a fair bit of work that goes into it. If it looks unusual, it is normally a good start to take a deeper look into it.
Todd: That is for sure. I think if there is always something that you know you do not have a trained eye just yet for some of the recreational bettors that are just getting their start. You hit the nail on the head. Make sure you do a little bit more research and when you can explain a point spread then you should feel comfortable betting it. Along those same lines, we say that every number tells a story. If you do not understand what that story is telling you, you may be better served to pick up another book.
David: What about always remain confident no matter how cold you are. The cream always rises and the breaks will come.
Todd: I think a big part of it is we all go through stretches of confidence whether we are betting sports or playing them ourselves that it is impossible to stay on top of the world the whole time. But if you trust your methods, know you have put the hard work in that it takes to be successful, then things are going to start to break your way and that 3 and 7 losing skiff will all of a sudden become 7 and 3. That is one of the toughest parts for some of the younger bettors out there who are just getting started or even people who want to try to do this more as a hobby. You just have to maintain that true bankroll management to go through the inevitable ebbs and flows of a major sports team.
David: Never ask someone what they saw in a game once the outcome has been decided.
Todd: I think part of that goes into one of the aforementioned rules about being able to plow into a game. You know if you want to try and pick apart someone’s handicapping method, ask them before a game goes. Everybody can look like they saw this coming a mile away; but the reality of it is for every game you are on the right side of this 30-point blowout you will have games that go the other way. It is funny because our brains more than anything else are trained to remember the blowouts where you are in the wrong side more so than when you are the right side of a perfectly handicapped contest.
David: This is a good one; always encourage others in the field to be more honest. Most gamblers lie.
Todd: I think it is one of those things that you can always try and convince yourself of something very different. I tell people that if they ever have intention of taking this hobby seriously, you always have to document your plays, know exactly where you are winning and losing across all sports, dollar amounts, sides or totals. This also adheres to the tipster industry which is big here in the States where a lot of people will try and blow smoke to try and sell products. But if you are just selling snake oil to your clients, do not be surprised when you do not see that return business. There is a lot to be said about a field that does not always smile and encourage ethical behavior to try and be a trendsetter in that arena.
David: Related to that, never trash another handicapper or take delight in their misfortune.
Todd: I think this is one of the golden rules; not only of handicapping but also in life. You never wish onto others which you would not wished onto you. I think you see that largely through social media. Jealousy plays such a role in what goes on. People are often rooting against handicappers for whatever reason. The bottom line is you should worry about winning every bet that you place and do not worry so much about the other bets that people have going for their own benefit.
David: You always take accountability for your own bets.
Todd: It is important like anything else in life that no one is forcing you to walk to the window and place a particular wager. Win or lose you are the one with the final decision that can determine whether if it was a good bet or a bad bet. Do not be pointing fingers at other people claiming that you took their advice and it led you astray; because at the same time we know full well that you are not willing to complement them when you take your advice and you actually get to the window successfully.
David: Never skate on a debt whether it is 50 bucks, 500 or 5,000. Todd: This is always tricky. The unfortunate part of some of these folks out here that will bet and they will primarily on credit. When you lose money, only wager the money that you can afford to lose. Everyone one of us can afford to make more money but if you go through a lean period, you never want to have to dip into your savings or ask your friends for a loan. So whether it is 50 bucks or 500 make sure you have that money aside because the worse thing that can happen to you is you get labeled as someone who does not pay their debts and no one is going to want to take your action moving forward.
David: The next one that obviously you have written up mainly for sports betting but it applies to horse racing just as much, and that is always respect the market.
Todd: I think it is so important to watch the numbers and understand what some of the market clues are doing. When a point spread starts to move in an unorthodox way and you handicap the game from here until Sunday, you may want to try and back off or at least figure out what type of injury may not be there. What some of the professionals may see in a game and why that price is moving? I think even for our horse racing industry which is a little bit different, when you talk about parimutuel pools and how every dollar will get impacted in those numbers. There is usually a reason if a 50 to 1 morning line favorite ends up going off at 6 to 5. It takes an awful lot of money to be able to move that price. Typically the folks that have deep pockets are in the habit of winning a lot more bets than they are losing.
David: Yep. Never spend time reminding people of a price that is no longer available in the market.
Todd: I think this is another technique on social media you see all time. People, especially for sports where the betting markets are open for six or seven days, it is great that you have got the best of the number at the six point underdog. But if that underdog closes at plus three reminding people 25 minutes before kickoff or whatever it may be that you had this number locked in, it just shows more than anything else that you are not necessarily in it to try and reap the benefits financially, but you are in it for social currency.
David: Fair enough and the next one is something that we are constantly hammering into our guys and that is always strive for the best of the number.
Todd: I think it is called for across all sports, whether it is soccer, baseball, you name it, horse racing included. You want to make sure you lock in the best of the price because your expectations for positive ROI will decline substantially when you are taking a burnt number in the market. A lot of that is doing your homework ahead of time, being able to move, understanding what you are looking for before the game even becomes close to getting played.
David: Never call a game a lock.
Todd: I think it is always difficult. There is always a degree of chance in any of these sporting events and for me that is as much a pet peeve as anything else. If we knew a game was a so-called lock, there would be no reason to ever bet anything else. You would load up once a year and we could spend 364 days enjoying the sunshine, beaches, and fair weather for some of the better exotic destinations upon this fine world.
David: That is it for the Bettor’s Code; but before we finish up it is the Superbowl fairly soon. It is an interesting matchup. You have the number one offense versus the number one defense. They used to say that offense wins games and defense wins championships. I think some of the numbers guys have tried to discredit that in recent times, so what is your take on the game and obviously the lines that are out right now.
Todd: The game has changed so much over the years. It is a lot more offensive minded than we have ever seen in the past; but you hit on a great point. It is the first time since 1990 you have had the number one scoring offense against the number one scoring defense. I think this year more so than years past for folks familiar with American football championships, it could be played in inclement weather. We could be talking about subzero temperatures, some wind, some snow, which will definitely factor in and more so the total points market.
David: That is unusual isn’t it? Because normally or at least recently it is generally been good weather, a dome or both.
Todd: Forty-seven years and running basically that we have played in more or less optimal situations. This is the first time that the commissioner wanted to showcase the event on the big stage in New York City. All the media sites that will go out there for the galas and the balls. Let’s just put it this way, they are not looking forward to what could potentially be frigid weather; a far cry from dealing with the weather of New Orleans and places a little more tropical like Miami. That is something to keep in mind. At the same time, you are seeing that already reflected in the points market at 47 ½ where the numbers sit. Substantially lower than what we have seen at most Denver Broncos games throughout the course of the season. You talk about two teams that have really benefited from playing in their own buildings; playing on a neutral field will change the handicap quite a bit. I am a little surprised how much support Denver is getting at least through early betting. But with 13 days leading up to the game, it is anyone’s guess as to where this market will finally settle.
David: If you were forced to bet at this stage, or take a position at this stage which way would you go?
Todd: If I am forced to bet, I am looking to go under 48 in the points market. The sides market a little bit too difficult for me to try and handicap at this point. I would be inclined to take Seattle as a three point underdog if it ever gets there. But like prices at Denver anything less than that, however, it should be fascinating to see how things go here. I am sure much like the grand championships and the grand finals down there in your neck of the woods, some of the tightest numbers on the board often times it is better to have an adult beverage or two, sit back and relax, more so than trying to find a compelling gambling angle to exploit.
David: Predictive markets should be a fairly efficient market, but normally there is some proposition bets that have been available for inducing the lines, but occasionally there is a few that get through with it, it might be a decent bet to be had?
Todd: Definitely, I think proposition markets are always going to create a great opportunity for the punter as the books have to hang so many of them to try and create betting handle and volume. There inevitably be one angle worth exploiting. A lot of those props will come out through the better part of this week which is more or less 10 days leading up to the game and then early next week you will really see those markets start to mature. It offers great opportunity so just try and find one wager to give yourself an opportunity to collect a few extra bucks.
David: Look forward to it. Well, later day for now. Thanks for joining us today Todd. The premises of this podcast is to cover betting from all angles and we have definitely done that today so thank you.
Todd: Thank you for having me David. It has been a great time. I appreciate it.
Thanks for tuning in to Betting 360. Get more in depth analysis, tips and that betting edge by heading over to ChampionPicks.com.au where you’ll find a full transcript of this episode. If you like the show, share us with a fellow punter or drop by iTunes to leave us a review. Betting 360, punting from all angles.
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