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Looking for answers why you don’t win?

Steve Schorr, Harveys Resort & Casino Full Service Games Manager

The most frequently asked question by most sports gamblers is “Why can’t I win?”

“There are only two teams and I consistently pick the loser.” What’s up? The answer is always the same. You are betting with your heart or you continually insist on betting teams that are generally favored by the public.

Here’s how it works.



The casino pays the linesmakers a monthly fee to set spreads that are expected to generate revenues. The betting public likes the best teams. Hence, if the linesmakers don’t want annoying calls Monday morning, the spreads are set to make it difficult for the favorites to cover.

The unsophisticated gamblers usually key in on teams that appear to have the least to worry about. These teams are inevitably favorites. The problem with betting these teams is any value that can be found in a favorite is lost as sports books move the numbers to balance the betting.




If an NFL game opens at D2.5 and moves to D4 based only on the public’s love for the team, the correct play is to take the points. This could be compared to a bet on a coin flip. If a bookmaker puts up a line of heads D$1.30 and tails +$1.20 because most people call heads, the only logical bet is tails.

To illustrate this point, I went back into NFL history to look at some of the finest teams in history after their championship seasons.

The best team in the early 70’s was the Miami Dolphins, who won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1972 and 1973. During 1974 they won the AFC East with a 12-4 record, yet their record against the spread was 4-10-2.

The next dominant team was Terry Bradshaw’s Pittsburgh Steelers. They won their fourth and final Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. The next year their win-loss record fell to 9-7 but against the spread they were 3-13. Predicting the outcome of an NFL game based on watching the previous weeks’ games or last year’s performance is of little value.

The “Wise Guys” concentrate on finding unloved teams playing quality teams that may not have the needed motivation to cover the spread. The search should begin with some of the bottom-rated teams. The list would include teams such as the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings and, of course, the Houston Texans. When these teams are playing top rated teams such as the Packers, Titans, Colts, Eagles and Rams, an opportunity may be present.

The key to winning is betting against the “Lock.” My favorite play is betting an away underdog, getting double-digit points. The play becomes even stronger if the dog’s key player is missing. It’s the ultimate play if the team is from a hot climate and the weather is expected to be cold, with freezing rain. Although this is an exaggeration, in most cases, all the above information is already factored into the spread.

REMEMBER: If you find yourself cheering along with a screaming crowd, you’ve probably bet the wrong team.

— Steve Schorr is the full-service games manager at Harveys Resort & Casino.


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