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Thursday, October 4, 2007

FROZEN ASSETS


BAD LINES, SOFT LINES, AND CONFERENCE ODDS





Welcome to another edition of Frozen Assets. Every week I offer general tips for successful futures wagering and I examine odds in the hockey futures market. This week, we will look an important way to avoid having your futures wager voided and then take a look at NHL Conference betting.

“Gambling is the future of the internet: you can only look at so many dirty pictures.” – Simon Noble, NFL handicapper. The offshore online gambling industry is thriving, with hundreds of sports books for the player to choose from. Some of those books are reputable, while others are fraudulent. Last week we discussed how to avoid fraudulent sportsbooks. This week we will look at ways to minimize the opportunity that your futures wager will be voided by examining the difference between a bad line and a soft line.

Bad Lines

A bad line refers to a line that is favorable to the bettor because of an obvious error. Bad lines are usually due to an error by the bookmaker inputting the odds. In futures betting, most of the time a bad line will involve an extra zero at the end of a team’s odds. For example, yesterday I noticed that on the site Bet1128 Buffalo was offered at odds of +11700 (117/1) to win the Stanley Cup. This is an obvious bad line, as the Sabres are considered one of the top teams in the NHL. Bet1128 intended to offer the Sabres at odds of +1170, but accidentally added an extra zero.

When sportsbooks post a bad line, it is usually acceptable for them to cancel your wager as long as the market has not been settled. If the market has already been completed, it is acceptable for the sportsbook to honor the winning bet at the correct price.

If you spot an obviously bad line, you have three choices: you can wager at the odds of the bad line price and hope for the best, you can choose to ignore the bad line, or you can inform the sportsbook of the bad line.

If you take a chance and wager at the favorable price, most of the time your worst-case scenario is that your bet will be voided. The problem with your bet being voided in the futures market is that you do not know when it will be voided. It could be voided in a week or in three months from now. The sportsbook could wait and see how the futures bet was doing before deciding to cancel it. If you are lucky, they will not find the bad line and you will have a wager at substantially better than odds offered to the public.

If you choose to ignore the bad line you can save yourself the heartache and uncertainty of not knowing if and when your bet will be voided.

In my opinion, informing a sportsbook that you think a line is bad is the best option. First of all, you build rapport with that sportsbook. Building rapport may seem unnecessary, but when you are sending money to strangers in foreign countries for the purpose of gambling, it can only help you to be on good terms with them. Second of all, some sportsbooks will give you a bonus if you point out a bad line to them. Finally, you can get confirmation from the sportsbook as to whether the line is actually bad. You do not have to point out the specific line, you can instead ask if a particular market is accurate. By asking to confirm that a particular market is accurate, you strengthen your case for the sportsbook honoring your wager if you can get someone to confirm in writing that there is nothing wrong with a particular market.

Soft Lines

When we discuss the concept of “finding value” we are looking for soft lines as opposed to bad lines.

Soft lines refer to lines that are favorable to the bettor, but not because of a computer or typographical error. Soft lines can exist for a number of reasons: most likely because a bookmaker is not adjusting odds as often as s/he should.

In futures betting, soft lines generally occur when a team shows significant improvement over a short span of time. For example, at Sportsbook X and Sportsbook Y the Phoenix Coyotes are +15000 to win the Stanley Cup. Then, the Coyotes then win 9 games in a row. Sportsbook X adjusts the odds to +5000 to reflect the Coyotes’ new placement in the NHL standings. Sportsbook Y does not adjust the odds and they remain at +15000. Sportsbook Y is offering a soft line on Phoenix.

When you take advantage of a soft line posted by a sportsbook, they are not allowed to void your bet. If they do, contact Bill Dozer of Sportsbook Review for assistance. The longer it takes the sportsbook to void your bet, the stronger your case is to be paid the full value of your wager.

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When it comes to futures betting, I generally wait until the season starts to make my wagers. Though hockey is played every night, sportsbooks do not update their odds every night, especially during the middle of the season. Though there is occasional value at the beginning of the season, generally there is a consensus by bookmakers of what appropriate odds are on each team to win at the start of the season.

Here is a compilation of the best odds on each team to win their respective conferences as of the morning of Thursday October 4, 2007.



Eastern Conference...Best Odds.... Site............Rating of Site

Ottawa Senators..................+450..............Bet365.................A-

NY Rangers...........................+550..............Betfred................B-

Buffalo Sabres......................+800..............Carib...................B

Pittsburgh Penguins............+700.............Ladbrokes...........A+

Philadelphia Flyers.............+1200............Ladbrokes..........A+

New Jersey Devils...............+1300............Bet365.................A-

Carolina Hurricanes............+1700............Bet365.................A-

Tampa Bay Lightning..........+1700.............Stan James.........B

Atlanta Thrashers................+1800............Carib....................B

Montreal Canadians............+1800............Carib....................B

Toronto Maple Leafs...........+1800............Stan James.........B

Florida Panthers..................+2500............Ladbrokes...........A+

Washington Capitals............+4000...........Carib....................B

Boston Bruins........................+4000...........Stan James..........B

New York Islanders..............+5000...........Stan James..........B


Western Conference...Best Odds....Site.............Rating of Site

Detroit Red Wings.................+450..............Bet365..................A-

Anaheim Ducks.......................+400.............Ladbrokes...........A+

San Jose Sharks......................+700.............Bet365..................A-

Vancouver Canucks................+1000...........Carib.....................B

Calgary Flames.......................+1000...........Carib.....................B

Colorado Avalanche...............+1000...........Ladbrokes...........A+

Minnesota Wild......................+1200...........Ladbrokes...........A+

Dallas Stars..............................+1400...........Stan James..........B

Nashville Predators................+2500..........Carib.....................B

St. Louis Blues.........................+3300..........Ladbrokes...........A+

Edmonton Oilers.....................+3300..........Ladbrokes...........A+

Los Angeles Kings...................+4000..........Intertops.............B+

Chicago Blackhawks...............+7000...........Bet365 ................A-

Columbus Blue Jackets..........+7000..........Bet365..................A-

Phoenix Coyotes......................+15000........Bet365..................A-


My advice to you is to wait until a few games have been played before making any decisions.

In the East, Buffalo should still be a serious contender for the Eastern Conference. +800 is a decent price for a team that could win the division and possibly the conference. Also, wait a few games and see how the Panthers, Capitals, and Bruins open the season. They have young teams with promise, and if they start the season off with a few wins, the odds currently posted on them to win the East will provide excellent value.

In the west, keep an eye on Chicago at +7000. The Blackhawks are a talented but injury-prone team with many young players. In other words, they are unpredictable – wait a few games to make sure they can play a few games without Havlat and Ruutu leaving with serious injuries.

Finally, last week I recommended San Jose at +200 to win the division. I have since found them at +225 to win the division at Betfred. Jump on it!

For illegal curve, I’m Ari Baum-Cohen.

About the writer: Ari Baum-Cohen’s first sports betting victory came in 1989 when he won his father’s office pool at age 8. Since then, he has been interested in many different types of sports betting. His first major futures win came in November of the 2001-2002 hockey season when he selected “field” (field included Jarome Iginla) at odds of 30/1 to win the National Hockey League goal scoring title.


FROZEN ASSETS September 20, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS September 27, 2007

Ballhype: hype it up!

2 comments:

Ari Baum-Cohen said...

Well it only took one game for Havlat to get injured.

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