Ex-Cons Take to the Air on CNBC September 10th

Set to premiere September 10th, the first day after opening weekend of the 2013 NFL season, CNBC’s “Money Talks” already has a bad reputation on the online gambling community for what many people call an “outright scam” of a show.  And you know if most in the gambling community think its a scam, then it’s really bad!

The show documents Steve Stevens, a tout, and his boiler room operation selling picks using agents to clients.  Most of the previews feature high-pressure tactics followed by screaming 1″ from the speakerphone at prospective clients, telling them how badly they need Steve’s picks and how “money” he is.

But apparently around Vegas, Steve Stevens isn’t known as “money”, he’s known as “nobody”.  Todd Fuhrman, of DonBest.com and former oddsmaker at Caesar’s Palace, wrote: “No one, and I mean no one, in the sports betting community I speak with daily knows who this guy is.”

Yet Stevens claims to be “the Michael Jordan of [the gambling] business”.  Clearly, something doesn’t add up.  Either Stevens is the most popular and successful person in gambling, or he’s a nobody.  It’s hard to find a middle ground.

According to Wagerminds, “the Michael Jordan” of sports betting registered his website under the name Darin Notaro, who was arrested and convicted in telemarketing scams going back to 1999. Per the Las Vegas Sun, Notoro was sentenced to a year in jail for a scheme that “bilked elderly citizens across the nation out of at least $234,000,”

While CNBC is “aware of Steve Stevens’ 1999 conviction”, they state “we are very clear in the press release that VIP Sports clients risk big dollars in the hopes that Stevens and his agents have the expertise to consistently deliver winners, viewers should tune in on September 10th at 10pm ET/PT to draw their own conclusions about VIP Sports. We are merely betting that viewers will be interested in the world of touts and handicappers and in no way endorse either Stevens’ picks or his business model.”

I spoke with one of the most respected and well known legendary sports bettors Las Vegas has ever seen, Bill “Krackman” Krackomberger on the subject of CNBC airing this program on Steve Stevens:

Krackman said “The minute I was alerted to this airing I knew he was a fraud and CNBC had been had.  Shame on them for not doing any background work on this scum”.  He added “The second I saw this I laughed more than I cried when Obama was re-elected”.

Combining all the information, several interesting questions arise:

  • Of all the touts/handicappers out there selling picks, why would a major network choose to profile one who has:
    • Been convicted of telemarketing scams in the past, and
    • Just launched the website a few months ago?
  • When did CNBC learn about Stevens’ criminal record?  Before inking the show to a contract?  Or were they duped by Stevens just like he duped the elderly citizens?
  • Why would you create a reality show using a headliner who is completely unknown and is not a “celebrity” at all, when there are well known touts/handicappers out there who surely would bring a much larger and interested audience to the table?

The only thing I agree with CNBC on is the fact that viewers ARE interested in the “world of touts and handicappers”.  However, putting the spotlight on a tout who has both 1) a brand new website without longstanding track record for his website AND 2) who no one in the industry has heard of before is more than odd.  If I’m CNBC and I’m doing a reality show that I want to gain viewers, I’m going to target a lead character who is well known and is actually somewhat successful, to show the struggles and how hard it is to win betting sports.  There are MANY real life people who could fit into a show like this.

Filming a show based on a “made for TV” character with a criminal background and a “made for TV” business is both odd and concerning.  With CNBC promoting (intentionally or not) this individual to viewers world wide, the potential exists to cost individuals millions of dollars if they purchase picks which lose.  Not only that, it paints the picture that sports betting is a shady, sneaky, boiler room type of operation where big money comes in quickly and goes out just as fast in strip clubs.

So much more could be done for sports betting if an actual real bettor or tout/handicapper with sound bankroll management were profiled.  It would show that you can really make a living betting on sports, but it is very hard and takes a lot of discipline.  Because nothing is easy in this business.  When you ask the real bettors, the Krackmans, the Billy Walters and other syndicates, they will tell its true (only the shady phonies will tell you its easy).  The struggle to turn information into winning bets and the grind of getting the best number would paint a realistic picture of life for big bettors in Las Vegas, and the drama would create gripping television.

But CNBC and Stevens don’t want to tell that story.  They would prefer to make one up.  It seems they will likely paint a picture that betting is easy and can make people rich quickly if they follow the advice of a boiler-room style tout.  Experience tells us that its unlikely that either is true.

Here is a video of Steve Stevens bragging, yelling, and creating hype (contains language not safe for work):

Preview of 1 of 8 Season Win Totals

Like last season, I released 1 of my 8 NFL Season Win Totals free for all to view.  This season, instead of sharing one of my plays that I feel hits 70% of the time, I’m going to go more risky.

This play needs to hit 44% of the time to show a profit, and it’s a total fade of the market which has bet the Bears to the over this preseason.

Line shopping is key, as you can imagine.  Most books have Chicago Bears Under 8.5 wins from +135 to +130.  I’ve also seen a prominent book with Under 9 -105.  I released this at the most widely available number but if you can get Under 9 -105 I would strongly recommend doing so.

If you enjoy this analysis and want to see many more trends and historical angles which you can apply to future seasons:

Purchase the Regular Season Win Package today – 8 Win Totals with Complete, In Depth Analytical Write-Ups – these were 6-2 (75%) last season!

The information alone makes it worth the price, as you won’t see as useful angles and insights that you can apply next season and beyond for sale online.

Chicago Bears Under 8.5 Wins (+130)

In 2012, Chicago went 10-6 in the regular season after a 8-8 campaign in 2011.

Turnovers

Last season, the Bears had a turnover margin of +20, the 2nd best in the league.  Teams who average +20 margins have averaged 11.5 wins historically.  The Bears won 10 games.  So slightly below average.

You may think from looking at the Bears and their defense that they usually perform great in turnovers, but that actually hasn’t been the case:

In 2011 they were +2, in 2010 they were +4 and in 2009 they were -6.  That’s a 3 yr avg of zero.  But they turned that around last year by going +20.

– I have a turnover trend which examines team’s recent history compared to what they did last year, to look for potential season wins fades for this season.

Its record the last 10 years is 24-2 (92%) for teams who qualified, and these teams lose an avg of 3.5 more games the following season.

The Bears qualify for this trend, and losing 3.5 more games than they did in 2012 would put them at 6.5 wins in 2012, obviously below the win total.

Non-Offensive Touchdowns

Because the Bears had such luck defensively with turnovers, they scored a whopping 10 non-offensive touchdowns last season.

However, for a 10 win team, they scored a ridiculously low number of offensive touchdowns.  They scored only 32 offensive touchdowns.

Since 2002, 32 offensive touchdowns is equivalent to a 7 win team.  10 win teams average 40 offensive touchdowns.  So the Bears offense wasn’t nearly as productive as a 10 win team last season.

In addition, factor in that they recorded 5 offensive TDs vs. the Colts and rookie QB Andrew Luck in his first ever NFL game week 1, and they scored 4 offensive TDs vs. the miserable Titans in a 51-20 blowout, and the Bears scored just 23 offensive TDs in their other 14 games, which is just 1.6 per game. 10 win teams average 2.5 offensive TDs/game.

In addition, the raw percentage of non-offensive TDs the Bears scored last year is stunning.

24% of the Bears TDs were non-offensive TDs.  (10 non-offensive, 32 offensive).  Only 7 other teams since 2002 (that’s 2% of the total team-seasons) recorded a larger percentage of non-offensive TDs.  And their average wins was 5.5.  The Bears almost doubled that.

Since 2005, on teams who score 20% or more non-offensive TDs average 6 wins.

The Bears were the only team to score 20% or more non-offensive TDs and record over 8 wins.

To further illustrate how rare a feat the Bears pulled off in 2012:  There have been just 19 teams out of 352 team seasons since 2002 who recorded at least 7 non-offensive touchdowns AND had a winning record.  As you know, the Bears had 10 non-offensive TDs and won 10 games.

They were the ONLY team the last 11 years to record double digit non-offensive TDs AND wins.

On average, these 19 teams recorded 8 non-offensive TDs.  But the next season, they averaged fewer than 4 non-offensive TDs.  And how about their wins?

They won 3.5 fewer games the following season.

Let’s look at 3 quick examples.

– The 2012 Lions were the perfect example.  They recorded 7 non-offensive TDs in 2011 and won 10 games.  Last year, they had 0 non-offensive TDs and won only 4 games (6 fewer).

Now, let’s look at the other two times the Bears landed on this list of 19 teams:

– In 2008, the Bears recorded 7 non-offensive TDs and 9 wins.  The following year, they recorded just 3 non-offensive TDs and only 7 wins (2 fewer).
– In 2006, they recorded 9 non-offensive TDs and 13 wins.  The following year, they recorded only 7 wins (6 fewer).

General

By my numbers, I give the Bears the 13th rated schedule this season, and it is more difficult than their schedule last year, which I gave a rating of 30th prior to the season.  The Bears played the NFC West when the Rams and Cardinals were still finding themselves, and played the AFC South.  Predictably, the Bears lost to the 49ers, Seahawks and Texans, but went 2-0 vs. the dregs of the NFC West and 3-0 vs the dregs of the AFC South.  They also swept their two non-division NFC opponents (Dallas & Carolina) catching both teams in losing years.  In division, the Bears went 3-3, the same as they did in 2011.

Overall last year, the Bears did not fare very well against the league’s better teams.  Various people use different “power rankings” to rank teams.  According to one very popular source of rankings, the Bears went 0-5 vs teams ranked in the top 10.  No team in the league had a worse W-L mark vs the top 10.  Teams who were similarly 0-5 were the Bills, Jets, Titans and Jaguars.  The Titans and Chargers were 0-4.

To put a nice bow on this point, look no further than what the Bears did vs teams who were winning or losing teams.  The Bears went 6-0 against teams who were under .500 (thru week 4 of the season), winning by a massive 16 ppg as an avg 6 point favorite.  That record is clearly the best in the league, only the Broncos won more games (8) vs teams with a losing record at the time of the game.

But the Bears went 1-5 against teams who were at or above .500, losing by 6 ppg as an avg favorite of 1 point.  The only teams worse were the Raiders, Chiefs, Jaguars and Cardinals, who were “0 fer” in these games.

So the key is, what type of schedule do they face in 2013?  The Bears don’t face any cupcake divisions this season as they did with the AFC South last year.  Their division (NFC North) is one of the two most competitive divisions in the league.  They then play the AFC North, and none of those games will be easy, save perhaps for Cleveland.  They also play the competitive NFC East, and out of division take on the Saints and Rams.

As I said above, last year they played the 30th rated schedule, this year they play the 13th.  Last season they went 8-0 when favored by over 4 points.  But when favored by less than 4 points they went 2-6 (1-7 ATS, avg line Chi +1).  They essentially were the one NFL team who played true to form.  They won the games they were supposed to win, vs bad teams they were favored over, and lost when they played good teams or teams that they weren’t favored by as much over.

This line continues to move toward the over, as the juice on the under grows more favorable.

Let the public be drawn to what they saw vs. the Raiders in preseason.  The fact is, the Bears don’t get a Raiders on their schedule this year.  They don’t get games against horrible teams such as the Jaguars, Titans and Cardinals like they had last year.  These teams, in overall efficiency, ranked 31st, 30th and 26th last year.  While they do get the Eagles (28th) in 2013, no other opponent ranks lower than 24th (Browns) and I project the 2013 Browns to be significantly better than they were last season (even if their record doesn’t bear that out).

Thus, I see a lot of things going against the Bears this season, namely:

– They surely won’t be as fortunate in the turnover department, a number last season that was VERY far from their 3 year average
– They recorded a historical amount of non-offensive TDs and their offense was not strong enough or consistent enough to be a 10 win team, and that likely will show up this season even if new HC Marc Trestman gets them a couple more wins on the board from his own ingenuity
– They play a significantly tougher out-of-division schedule and their division is getting better
– They struggle to beat good teams, while picking on the poor ones, but their schedule is not helpful in this respect in 2013

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