Beating the Rock, Vol 1.: Live Wagering and Foul Trouble

I may have found a glitch in the Matrix.  Either that, or I’m one step closer to losing my mind.  You be the judge.

Now that you can legally gamble on sports in 38 of 50 states, as anyone who has stepped up their gambling game will tell you, those of us residing in those 38 are always looking for an edge.  Whether it’s scouring injury reports (the oddsmakers have those before you do), adverse weather conditions (the oddsmakers have those before you as well) or referees’ tendencies, finding an advantage over the oddsmakers who seemingly know what will happen before it does is every gambler’s un-harpooned white whale.

I’m here to tell you, however, I may have found a wrinkle.

If you paid close enough attention to most recent Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, you’d know the live wagering numbers were going haywire, particularly the over/under.  With two of the more high-powered offenses squaring off, the over/under was initially set at around 48.  Vegas expected at least a reasonable amount of scoring.

However, when the game kicked off and both defenses showed up to play, that live number plummeted quicker than the stock market during a pandemic.  Neither team scored in the first quarter.  By halftime, the almighty Chiefs behind Mahomes, Kelce and company couldn’t even muster a touchdown.  The Niners led 10-3. 

My gambling brethren and I watched as that 48 number dropped with every stunted play.  I even saw it go as low as 30.  This happened right around when Deebo Samuel left the game with an injury.  With him out, it seemed increasingly unlikely that the San Francisco 49ers would be able to put up that many more points. 

I jumped on the live wagering number at 41 ½.  Some of my friends got it even lower than that.  Of course, this story has a happy ending, that is, if you bet that over live.  Pat Mahomes found his groove, the game went into overtime and the total number rang true at 47, Kansas City 25, San Francisco 22, still under the initial number (predictably close) yet over every other number for those who were watching it live and bold enough to make the play during a game in which points were at a premium.

Of course, gambling services are paying closer attention to the most watched sporting event in history than they are to your ordinary Wednesday evening college basketball game.  That’s where I found my glitch.

The Florida Gators Men’s Basketball team was at home and a healthy favorite over the Missouri Tigers who have yet to win a conference game.  By tip-off, I’d laid off the point total but watched the game intently as Florida is my alma mater.

Florida had the game in hand yet, with about twelve minutes left, Florida’s star, point guard and leading scorer on the season, Walter Clayton Jr, picked up not only his fourth foul but jawed at the referee on his way to the bench, picking up a technical foul, resulting in his fifth.  This expelled him from the game.  Under second year head coach Todd Golden, the Florida Gators are starting to turn some heads but lack depth at the point guard position, especially those able to score with the proclivities of Clayton.

It immediately occurred to me that Florida, with Clayton out, would struggle to score and Mizzou might make a run.  I looked at the live number.  Florida was favored to still win the game by 11 ½ points.  With the inability to direct their offense and no one off the bench able to fill Clayton’s shoes, I jumped on the live line, taking Missouri and the points.  It was, as are all sporting events, a gamble, yet a shrewd and educated play based on the information at hand.  Within minutes, Missouri narrowed the lead to one.  Florida had no choice but to slow things down and regroup their offense, which they eventually did but not before it was too late.  Florida took charge in the waning minutes and my wager was almost lost, but Missouri had made enough of a dent into the Gator lead that the live number covered.  The books couldn’t recover in time, and I took advantage.

As with any wager, I could have lost.  In fact, I almost did.  But my point is I used the information at hand and reacted quicker than the books could.  They couldn’t adjust.  Therein lies your glitch in the Matrix.

None of us know how these live wagering numbers work.  One can only assume algorithms are working in full force, drumming up a formula based on odds given, points led and time remaining in the game.  But when a player the caliber of Clayton, whose team relies on him for the bulk of its scoring, is suddenly forced to leave the game, and if you’re watching that game, jumping on the live number might be a way to find the gambling apps vulnerable.

Most services will tell you they can’t protect themselves against live wagering.  And no wager is a sure thing.  However, when you are armed with information that they don’t have, that might be the best time to strike and take advantage of the glitch before they can patch it up.

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