bettingroundup013117 Betting roundup

One-sided coin toss action prompts line move; Mobster avoids jail until after Super Bowl

Twice weekly, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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A barrage of money coming in on heads for the Super Bowl 51 coin toss forced Bookmaker to make a big adjustment to their odds on the bet.

So when, an online betting site based in Costa Rica, set the odds on whether the team making the call this year would choose heads or tails, it seemed like a fairly standard bet. And logically enough, they made it even money. Sometimes people call heads and sometimes tails, right?

“It’s a pretty standard Super Bowl prop,” Scott Cooley, a spokesman for Bookmaker, said. “I don’t think a lot of thought went into it this year.”

Although the bookmaker may not have done much due diligence, bettors had. The Patriots are the designated visiting team for this year’s Super Bowl, and thus will get to call the coin toss. And you may not have noticed it, but the Patriots always call heads. Indeed, as Bookmaker eventually discovered to its chagrin, the Patriots have called heads every time for at least two full seasons.

At least some bettors had noticed this, and, smelling a sure thing, they began betting heavily on heads. “We started getting some pretty good action on it,” Cooley said. “Whenever we get one-sided action, flags go up.”

At first, Bookmaker merely adjusted the odds slightly, but eventually the torrent of bets on heads led it to stop taking wagers on the proposition at all for a few days. When Bookmaker was ready to post the odds again on Sunday, it considered making heads an 8-1 or even a 10-1 favorite, before settling on 6-1. That means a bet of $60 on heads will earn only a $10 profit.

The Westgate SuperBook debuted about 400 prop bets for the Super Bowl on Thursday.

It was like Christmas morning for many of the bettors who quickly lined up in front of the props-only betting window, where there was a steady line of more than 25 bettors for the first hour and beyond.

Many bettors, including professionals who declined comment, placed some wagers and then headed straight to the back of the line as it took time to digest the enormous amount of props on the menu.

The Golden Knights made their debut on the extensive list of cross-sport props, where bettors can wager on who will have more: Knights goals in their first NHL regular-season game later this year (minus-½ goal, minus-130) or total field goals made in the first half by the Falcons and Patriots (plus-½, plus-110).

Patient bettors also can bet on who will have more: Knights total 2017-18 regular-season points (minus-20½, minus-110) or Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman rushing yards (plus-20½, minus-110).


If the Falcons were to win the Super Bowl, they would extend the recent trend of underdog success.

Leicester City beat astronomical odds to win the English Premier League title and the Cubs and Cavaliers each ended long championship droughts in 2016, making it the unofficial Year of the ’Dog.

The 2016 Falcons will try to extend that trend Sunday against the Patriots, who are 3-point favorites in Super Bowl LI in Houston.

A mobster with federal gambling charges against him is waiting until after the Super Bowl to turn himself in.

Prosecutors have argued that his apparent disappearing act makes him a flight risk.

Camisa’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, made a bail petition anyway. McMahon said Camisa’s rep as an alleged gambler actually shows he was absent for a “practical reason” rather than a criminal one.

McMahon argued during a Jan. 12 bail hearing that his client wanted to be available for a major event in the sports-betting world before surrendering.

“Your Honor knows that the government claims that my client has a gambling business,” McMahon said. “Without being indelicate, I think it is fair to say that my client expressed to me that he intended to surrender after the Super Bowl … ”

“Judge, I told you what the reality is. The reality is he was going to come in after the Super Bowl,” McMahon later added at the hearing.

“If we accept the government’s allegations for purposes of this bail hearing that he is a gambler, there is a practical reason why somebody would wait until after the Super Bowl to surrender,” McMahon said.

Daily fantasy sports betting was legalized in Mississippi last year. Now, lawmakers are working to tax and regulate it.

The House Gaming Committee on Thursday passed House Bill 967, which would have the state Gaming Commission regulate the fantasy sports industry and which would charge operators an 8 percent tax on their Mississippi revenue, same as the state tax on casino revenue. A Senate judiciary committee passed SB2896, a mirror to the House measure.

In 2016, a state attorney general ruling declared online fantasy sports games constituted illegal gambling in Mississippi. Fan Duel and Draft Kings — two of the largest online fantasy sports companies — halted operations in Mississippi, drawing an outcry from fantasy sports enthusiasts. Lawmakers last year passed a bill authored by Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, legalizing fantasy sports, but also creating a commission to come up with rules, regulations and fees to present lawmakers this year.

Rep. Scott DeLano, R-Biloxi, presented the bill to the Gaming Committee on Thursday. It would treat fantasy sports similar to casino gambling, under the purview of the Gaming Commission. DeLano said it would set up a “robust licensing process” — and only companies licensed in Mississippi could operate. It would require annual, independent audits be submitted to ensure companies are complying with regulations. Fantasy sports gaming under the bill would also be allowed in Mississippi casinos, and would be restricted to those 21 and older.

Three Americans are facing charges related to their involvement in illegal sports betting.

In an earlier forfeiture motion filed in December 2015, prosecutors claimed that in a 32-month period beginning in January 2012, Doug Hazer received at least $380,000 in cash from illegal gambling. CJ Hazer received at least $124,000 in five years and Mahfood received nearly $500,000 in just over six years beginning in 2008.

Mahfood, the motion said, laundered the cash through local businesses in exchange for paychecks for services that were never rendered. He also bought tickets to sporting events with credit cards, then used the gambling proceeds to pay down those cards. CJ Hazer laundered money through her computer business and Doug Hazer used some of the money to buy his house.

In 2011, a Mahfood relative used gambling proceeds to loan $100,000 to a St. Louis software firm, then assigned that note to an LLC with the same name as a south St. Louis parish. That note, and others, were then converted to 727,652 shares of stock.