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Best of Mark Pilarski
How the house makes its bread on the spread30 June 2000
Whenever you place a point-spread type
wager, Nick, you lay 11 to win 10. That means if you want to win $100,
you have to wager $110 no matter which team you are betting. If you win,
you will collect $210-your $110 wager plus the $100 you just won. This
commission, also called a vigorish (aka vig), is the compensation
taken by the house on every sport bet wagered.
To break even against the house edge, you need to win at least 52.38% of any point-spread wagers you make.
I once developed rotator cuff tendonitis patting myself on the back when I picked winners in 19 out of 20 horse races over two days when my ponies either won or placed at Del Mar. Also, I have done extremely well handicapping the Indianapolis 500. Other than that I feel I'm like the veteran losing gambler who was hopelessly hooked on football betting. Nothing else interested him. Unfortunately, he lost almost every bet he made. Finally, even his bookie felt bad for him. "You lose all your bets," said the bookie. "Why don't you bet on hockey instead of football?"
"Hockey?" said the gambler in dismay. "But
I don't know anything about hockey!"
Sports betting is a combination of both skill and luck. Your wins, Randy, come from your superb handicapping skills. Just blame your losses on a late game interception or fumble.
Nevada casinos do offer account wagering via the phone, Russell, but ONLY if you live in the state of Nevada. Making a bet from outside of Nevada violates the Interstate Wire Act (18 U.S.C. 1084). This code provides criminal penalties to anyone engaging in the business of betting when using a wire communication facility for the transmission of interstate (that's you, Russell) or foreign commerce of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest. Russell, you technically can't even call up a high school buddy who is dealing dice at the Mirage and ask him to place bets for you.
A circled sporting event indicates that
you will not be able to bet the normal maximum. If the normal maximum
betting limit is $5,000, the casino may accept only a $2, 000 wager on a
circled game. Circled games generally mean that the sportsbook
is unsure of the correct line or the status of an injured key player is
The casino will pay you 500 for 1 when you hit a 10-team parlay, but your chances of hitting one are 1,023 to 1. Ouch! Too sweet a profit for the casino for my hard-earned money.
Best of Mark Pilarski