By Chad Millman
Originally posted on The Action Network – Subscribe to the newsletter now!
What’s Jimmy G Really Worth?
We were all set to lead the newsletter with baseball for the second day in a row, then Bill Belichick decided to steal the show. He finally traded coveted backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo, getting a second-round pick from the 49ers. So many questions being asked: Does this mean the TB12 method really is the fountain of youth in a book? Could coach Bill have gotten more for the one player who has been his most valuable, tradeable asset? What does this mean for Kirk Cousins, who in August was plus-175 to go to the 49ers in 2018? Most important for our fair community, how does this impact the line this weekend and the 49ers’ power rating? Fortunately, ace analyst PJ Walsh answered some of those questions in the piece he posted last night. During the summer, bookmakers polled thought Garoppolo was worth one point, even as a backup. Last night’s news reflected that in the line move — and then some. The Cards had been 2.5-point road faves. At around 9 p.m., as news of the trade broke, two books both moved the line to pick. I’m fairly certain the Niners are hoping Jimmy proves he’s worth more than that.
The $20M World Series Hedge
Sometimes in the news biz stories develop at a trickle’s pace. A nugget here links to a nugget three months later and boom, you get a nice narrative. But on Monday afternoon, in my very small and self-centered world, the World Series mushroomed into the most exciting betting story since the Mayweather-McGregor fight this past summer. You may remember that in yesterday’s newsletter we had a short note about Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a Houston millionaire mattress magnate who offered refunds to anyone who bought a $3,000 mattress if the Astros won the World Series. He is hedging his bets with insurance and, as he noted in the Las Vegas Review Journal piece, some bets in Vegas.
Well, yesterday afternoon I was taping The Buffet podcast with Scooch and the World Series betting action was all we could discuss. The lines have been moving like mad, the action has been as big as Sunday football games, and ticket counts have been increasing every game. It’s an event that, rightfully so, has captured sports fans’ attention in the best possible way with drama, heroes, goats, and young stars with unbridled enthusiasm. Plus Yasiel Puig doing NSFW things with his bat. During the pod I pressed Scooch on where all the action was coming from and why lines were moving so aggressively and he was very circumspect.
“It’s really strange,” he said. “A lot of the action is coming from a big bettor all over town and all the bookmakers are talking about it.”
“You mean the mattress king,” I asked.
“Well, I can’t really speculate, but…”
Mattress Mack really is spreading cash all over town and, every time the books get some Dodgers money to balance out their rolls, it seems he’s coming in and making the line go cuckoo.
But wait. As I was recording with Scooch, Darren Rovell of ESPN fame texted me with a link that read, “Here’s something for your newsletter.”
I clicked, and it was this gem from Rovell and ESPN’s David Purdum, reporting that ticket brokers are unloading on the Astros, to hedge against any potential Game 7 losses. In total, they wrote, “there is more than $20 million in profits on the line in Game 6.” Johnny Avello, bookmaker at The Wynn, said in the story that brokers have been betting $200,000-$300,000 on past games in the series. “And that’s just me,” he said. “I assume they are spreading it all over town.”
So, aside from the game-clinching storylines, you have a whole lot of hedges to talk about with your friends. And, for the record, Scooch also noted that the bettors have been on the right side of every game so far in this series. And,tonight, they are on the Astros and ace Justin Verlander.
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Bama … And Everyone Else
Different year, same question: Alabama or The Field? The Tide has predictably steamrolled its way to an 8-0 record. And when the College Football Playoff’s first rankings come out tonight, Bama will predictably be featured in the top four, as they have on 17 consecutive occasions by the committee. With Nick Saban & Co. taking some of the week-to-week drama out of the rankings, one book spiced things up, setting the number on our eternal question at: Tide minus-140; The Field plus-120. Your handicapping will depend on how you view Bama’s 8-0 record. They’ve played just one ranked opponent so far (Florida State). But do you really want to bet against a team winning by 33.5 points per game?
PROP OF THE DAY
If it’s October, then it must be time for the Jon Gruden speculation. His odds to be the Tennessee Volunteers’ next head coach moved from plus-2000 to plus-250. Next up is Chip Kelly (plus-400), followed by Bobby Petrino and Jeff Brohm (both plus-550).