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Law & Order: Gambling Edition

Law & Order: Selling Gambling Selections

In truth, I’ve been meaning to write this article for some time, however, sometimes I have to walk a fine line because of a conscious choice I made to not cross two worlds. In simply writing this article I’m going to open myself up to comments that “I sell picks” or “You’re writing this to garner interest.” I get that because, in fact, I do sell picks. What I believe makes me different, however, is I sell my picks.

I’m not trying in the least to make this about me. I do, however, want to point out that as soon as someone does decide to sell picks, they are looked at as a scam, which I’m going to attempt to prove to you isn’t the case. If you have listened to Inside Vegas, within the niche handicapping market series, I have had some people who do in fact sell picks. what I believe makes them different and do things the “right way” is that they are selling their own picks.

I’ve thought about changing names, ignoring them, and I really put some thought into it. I’m not here to call anyone out and embarrass anyone, but if the content is put out there, I’m going to pull from it, because that person clearly felt that was the best way to do it.

This is my Law & Order: Selling Gambling Picks

Opening Argument:

Here’s the thing, selling picks is in theory, easy. Winning is not. The quick buck thought process of “pro-handicappers” selling picks via social media-specifically Twitter has boomed in the last few years. The debate over “free” and “tout” handicappers is one that has raged on forever. The blueprint has been there for as long as I’ve been on social media, at least within the gambling aspect of it.

1.Make an account, add location: Las Vegas, header photo: Sports Book

2. Post for free

3. Do well for about 1-2 months

4. Go “tout” create a “VIP” Twitter for clients, and collect on what you’ve done. 

Rinse, Wash, Repeat. The amazing thing? With the alias aspect of Twitter, if you fail at selling, you can repeat this process over and over again.

I can not and will not sit here and defend handicappers who have no track record aside from a recent streak of wins making money, because, at some point, I truly feel that there is some responsibility on the customer to do their due diligence. However, that doesn’t excuse what this industry has become. If you haven’t noticed, with the boom of social media, the new guard is taking over the old guard, for better or for worse. The days of the 1-800 tout numbers are over. The over-the-top ways of selling picks screaming at the TV station or radio are coming to an end. I’m here to tell you first hand, you’re being laughed at, regardless of how your pick selections actually do.

As I touched on above, I’m not here to make fun of anyone. But I’m willing to bet if you took the time to watch that, you laughed. But what you have to remember is that back when those were around, that was a proven way to make money. Look, I’ve never bought a pick from Stu Feiner in my life, but I have never laughed more in my life than I do every day when I pick up my phone and look at his Snap Chat. In some way, that’s marketing. I can’t fault anyone for that. Especially when he does well. If it works for you, I’m not going to tell you there’s another way to do it.

If you’re a gambler, the chances are you’ve seen Two For The Money. In some ways, it’s an over the top misrepresentation of the tout community, but in some ways that is what existed back then, and still exists to this day, just in a very different way. Me, personally, as entertainment value, I love the movie. I love it because it’s the first time gambling has been brought into anything close to mainstream media, although this was the prior generations thesis statement if you will.

Here is what I do want to point out. Stu Feiner had to work his whole life to get to that point above to be on that TV and scream at you. With the introduction of social media, anyone with a one-month winning record and some followers now has that opportunity.

It takes you one Gary Vee youtube video to understand that with the right work and the technology available to you in today’s day and age, it’s somewhat crazy for you not to be earning a secondary income based upon social media if you know what you are doing. But that is in the form of creating a business usually, which by definition usually is based on selling a product for profit.

“IM GOING TO SELL SPORTS BETTING PICKS”

….No.

The other aspect of a legitimate business via social media without selling a product would be a consulting firm, personal trainer, life coach, dating coach, or a person-to-person business without a product involved. Guess what though, hiring a “gambling” coach is exactly what is being done. Let’s say you want to get in shape, a quick google search within Las Vegas will get you there.

Now, with gambling (especially in a state where its illegal, you don’t use google. Enter: Twitter. These are the 100% first people who come up when you search “professional sports bettor”:

Please believe me, I’m not trying to embarrass anyone or anything like that. That was the 100% truth as to who came up for the first group of people as soon as I typed in, “Professional sports bettor.” I have never heard of any of them. Now, if some of those happen to be tout, is it really any different than you choosing a life coach or personal trainer at random via Google?

The point I’m trying to make within scams is that at some point, it’s on the customer to do their own research when selecting a handicapper’s picks to buy.

The overall point I want you to take away from my opening argument is that there are very good handicappers who sell their pick selections on social media, specifically Twitter. I’m not going to sit here and run down records of everyone in every sport, I’m not going to open myself up to people saying I’m trying to help my friends or anything like that. What makes a good “tout” handicapper in my estimation? They are selling you their picks, not just today’s picks.

Defense Re-Direct:

If a handicapper is so good, why don’t they just bet more on their own picks instead of having to sell them? if they are a pro-bettor, they have no reason to sell picks. If they have wealthy clients they are going to move lines, and not everyone is going to be able to get down at the same number.

This is the number one question that has been fielded amongst legitimate tout handicappers who have to deal with the sins of scam handicappers, and I get that. To me, it comes down to the principal. Make no mistake about it, there are levels to this game. A legitimate syndicate group (notice I said syndicate and not “sharp” because they are two very different things.) Is not going to be on Twitter selling pick selections for a reasonably priced package. They do not need to waste their time, and frankly, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. They are financially backed by millions of dollars and line value, secrecy, and outsources are much more important than selling picks for possibly $80-$100,00 a year, which I would classify as the ceiling for handicappers, although some do more than that.

However, if an actual handicapper (professional or not) is going to sell you their own pick selections, is it so far out of left field to be asked to be compensated? Let’s say someone puts in 40 hours a week handicapping an NFL week and has hit no less than 58% the last three seasons. Why should it be the expectation of that handicapper to share all there hard work, contacts, money, and most importantly time for free with you when you have done nothing to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Proving themselves is one thing, but over time I just don’t think it’s fair for that to be the expectation.

Now, I get it, this is under the assumption everything is done on the up-and-up and you’re dealing with an actual handicapper, with anonymity within Twitter, truthfully there is no way to know if you are dealing with a 17-year-old high school student, although in my opinion, talent should be the number one priority over age, but you get the point. For a handicapper to ask to be compensated for their work after a proven track record isn’t this sin that people clambering for free selections want to make it.

The actual another aspect of it isn’t the consumer’s fault. If someone is, in fact, a professional handicapper (Someone whose only source of income is betting sporting events) does being compensated for their selections not provide them a secondary income? Again, guys, there are levels to this, and I’m here to tell you, the level of syndicate group plays you all feel is the “holy grail” are NOT for sale unless you invest in one or have contacts within one or can trade information with. An actual professional handicapper is the highest level for sale. People do however garner access to information of syndicate groups via accounts. I’m not here to name anything, but syndicate groups need outs and if people have access to those accounts, those can be posted.

Being a professional handicapper does not mean you are part of syndicate group. Being “Sharp” does not mean you are a part of a group. All that being “Sharp” means is that you routinely get the best of the closing number and hit above 56.5% A $1,000 bettor with those credentials will move lines 10x more than a Whale with a bet size of $10,000 who hits 43%.

Defense Re-Direct:

The sins of the past guard are still being fought by the new generation of handicappers because they are still given a platform and are still so well known, There are so many well known and not so well known micro-scams out there that why should the general public trust anyone buying picks?

I get it, and instead of beating around the bush, let’s get down to it. The single biggest black eye on the tout industry: The Deadspin article outing Pregame.com

How America’s Favorite Sports Betting Expert Turned A Sucker’s Game Into An Industry

In truth, I can’t defend this nor would I want too. However, if one personal training company turned out to be a 50lb overweight man who was uncertified or prepared does that mean the whole industry is as such? If one stockbroker or CEO is convicted of insider trading (Bernie Madoff) should we never invest in stocks or invest our money again?  There are more parallels than you think.

Pregame just happened to be the biggest company of it’s kind when this happened, and actually survived this and still sells picks selections to this day with much of the same handicappers. Does this mean mainstream or single professional handicappers are all scam artists? The sins of one shouldn’t count for the sins of all. (That was deep.) You need to develop a relationship with a handicapper and person, not a screen name. Pregame made it to the pinnacle of what every podcast, website, or anyone that creates content wants to get to. They were paid to create content and given a national media platform. What they specifically did with what they were given, is their cross to bear, not everyone else’s.

Defense Re-Direct:

There are so many free handicappers out there and very good people creating free content and free picks daily, why should I pay a handicapper for something that is available to me for free, and I’m winning!

Well, to start, if you have found a great content provider who gives out picks for free and you are winning, you shouldn’t. I’m not here to sell anyone on one method or the other. But what I do want to point out is that just about every handicapper that is well known is being paid for something or their ultimate goal is to be paid for their opinion. When I was researching this article I reached out to a couple of the most well known free handicappers within social media. Here is what one said:

That’s the most honest answer I’ve ever heard. I, myself have interviewed what amounts to the face of free handicapping on Twitter, @VegasRefund and asked these very same questions, which can be found here:

Social Media Player Profile: The Vegas Refund Edition

 

There are so many fantastic free handicappers out in the space providing free content, and they are given a platform and a voice for free on Twitter. This is one of my favorite posts of all time, by The Sandman

 

 

Look, If you want a great group of free handicappers who are sharing their plays, send me a DM. There’s too many to name. What makes them unique? they are selling you their picks. So how dare anyone come at them for having a bad day, week, month, or whatever. They are only sharing with you what they are playing. They have no interest in selling you anything. Whether they are well known or not, if it works for you, stick with them. I’m not here to argue one side or another, but I want to touch on the whole morality factor.

I believe that just about everyone wants to do what they love. People getting paid to do what they love should be everyone’s dream, and whatever path they take isn’t up for your opinion. Free content at the top level isn’t really free. If someone goes on a sports handicapping show or gives you there picks on their platform, they are probably getting paid. SGP, VSIN, Covers, Oddsshark, Barstool Sports, Outkick The Coverage, Sportsline, Twitter, Podcasts (with sponsors or working on getting sponsors), and any other of your favorite outlets, those handicappers are getting paid to share their opinion.

Just because a handicapper doesn’t have the platform of the previously mentioned outlets and are in the exposure phase or are trying to make some extra money-outside of pure scammers that I have no tolerance for-shouldn’t be labeled as a scam or fraud just because they don’t have a platform to get paid on yet. Look, Scams exist in every industry but that’s on the individual person or company, not the industry as a whole.

People creating amazing content and picks via podcasts are just an extension of that as well. Ask anyone who has a podcast right now if they would turn down a sponsorship deal if there podcast garnered enough interest. If they give out picks and are paid via sponsors to do that, that’s the whole morality thing again. They are getting paid for picks, just not by the consumer.

Judge: Has The Jury Reached A Verdict?

We have not your honor. 

Judge: Very well, I have no choice but to declare a miss trial.

That’s the thing, isn’t it? Free content Vs. paid content will always be on trial and up for debate. There is no right answer and there may never be a determined outcome. If you polled 12 people, there’s going to be people who swear by both sides. I’m not here to lobby for one side or another, I’m just asking you to be informed when you use social media when choosing a side. Records, upkeep, word of mouth, relationships, and everything else are important. If one side works for you, use it. If a combination of both work for you, use it. But just don’t dismiss one side or the other all together.

I rest my case.

A jack of all trades, Christian got his start in the gambling industry using a model to predict players performance in daily fantasy sports. Eventually, he used that same model to cross over into NFL handicapping, specifically the prop market and honed his craft enough to cross over from player projections into every aspect of sports Handicapping. He then made the full time move to Las Vegas to become a professional sports handicapper, utilizing his knowledge of all sports including NFL, NCAA, NBA, UFC, and MLB. He's currently the resident #DFS expert on The Sports Gambling Podcast as well as managing editor.

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