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As I See It

5 May 2003

by Jimmy Vaccaro

It is May 1st and one thing is becoming clearer in the NBA first-round games: the gap between the teams' performance and ability has definitely narrowed. The old 1 and 8 match-ups are getting a lot tougher as do all the first round entries.

As of this writing only the Kings have advanced and, on this Thursday night, there are four games that are currently 3-2 in the best of 7. So with the best-of-seven format (and the likelihood of games in this round and a strong possibility of stretching series to the max in the upcoming rounds) there are a lot more betting opportunities that will be coming at you in the next four weeks.

Naturally, with the betting of more games and the consumer (i.e. us) having to lay 11/10, getting juiced out is a strong and logical conclusion when you put your cash out on a daily basis. Once the game kicks off and your cheese is in action your choices are substantially narrowed, but you still have one and that naturally comes in the form of half time betting.

Once again through my years of this stuff and speaking to people who understand the math and logistics of sports betting, everyone is pretty much down the middle with strong arguments for both sides on what do at the half if you are in a favorable position. I believe you now understand what I am getting to. The protection of the half time bet to you is that you can put yourself in a better position to show a profit for your day's work.

I can site numerous examples, but one that comes to mind quickly was the game the other night when the Celtics were at the Pacers and the number basically closed at Pacers - 6½ and the score at the half was Celtics 50-48. The first send out on the half was Pacers -5. If you had played the dog for the game you had the lead at the half and now were basically taking 8½ for the game. Now you could also see that you had a two way bet going for you if you wished to "protect" and lay the -5 on the Pacers. So, with the bizarre overtime, the Celts going scoreless and with the Pacers winning by 5, the second half comes 7 and now the Celts get the money for the game (the Pacers win the halftime).

For arguments sake, you bet 110 plus the 6½ and a bet on the half against your initial pick at a percentage of roughly 25% of your initial bet; you have cashed twice. What you have done was simply putting yourself in a position to win both bets and in no danger of losing both bets, but still having the high side on your initial handicap.

No don't let me get too Polly-Annish that the middle comes all the time, as that would be a silly insinuation on my part and you are still laying 11/10 on both bets, which will always have some negative impact on you BR. But with one falling every now and then, it does give you latitude. In addition, with the games playing around the number, you will be in a lot of these number falling spots throughout the playoffs. That is the one side, but with some other people (whom I respect) their answer is a simple and dominant "No. WHY GIVE UP ANYTHING IF YOUR SIDE IS WINNING?"

If you feel your ability is to pick more winners than losers, they feel it is not in their best interest to give up anything to anyone at anytime. Personally, I am basically in the middle of the argument and can put some credence to both sides. I play halftimes quite a bit and also hedge, but not on every game occurrence. Maybe 2 out of 10 bets where I am ahead at the half will I buy back, but the number has to be to my liking. "The number" meaning basically how many numbers I have going for me as they pertain to the outcome of the second half.

Also very paramount is how you bet the game from the outset. If you bet the top number for the game, and the game has moved, you have much more latitude to put this system to work for you.

A simple example: let us say that a game opens pick and one side gets the money and the game closes 2. Remember this: a lot of halftime send outs will be based on the closing number as opposed to the opening number so, once again, betting good numbers from the outset will definitely put you in a better spot to make a wise decision on protecting some of your bet.

With numerous outs you may find a valuable half point that could also make the difference to a middle as opposed to a side. Some books will shade the side they want to push people on; they have that ability and can afford that different number because, once again, they have the 11/10 going for them. On your two bets if you wish to hedge you are giving up basically 5% and on theirs they are always taking, so the ball is always in their court.

Basically it is a personal decision that only comes between you and your phone or computer at the half. The real reason that I brought this up is to simply state that you must have all the options afforded to you if you take a crack at this stuff.

Money, outs and patience (sprinkled with a little luck) might just make the month of May pretty enjoyable.

Take care,

Jimmy V

This article is courtesy of Don Best Sports, the industry leader in live lines service. Please visit our website at to get the latest odds, scores, lines, and sports information.

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