MLB Playoffs Get Interesting, NFL Week 5, Artificial Intelligence for Sports Betting
And Patrick Mahomes made bettors mad with his football brain.
Henderson, Verlander, Acuna Jr., Harper, Associated Press; Brant James illustration
MLB’s Wild Card round was a tidy one this year.
The fourth-seeded and favored Rays, with the second-best record in the American League, were swept by the No. 5 Rangers at home in front of a scant few.
The third-seeded and slightly favored Twins mopped up the No. 6 Blue Jays.
Underdog sixth seed Arizona spilled the homestanding Brewers.
And the bandwagon and betting darlings, the fourth-seeded Phillies, booted No. 6 Miami.
This means two things, immediately.
You’re probably going to sigh and watch the Bears and Commanders on Thursday Night Football.
Now it’s on to the Division Series and best-of-fives.
In the American League:
Rangers vs. Orioles
Twins vs. Astros
In the National League:
Phillies vs. Braves
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers
Now, observant as you are, you might be wondering why there’s no Dodger - probaby Mookie Betts - in our snazzy graphic above? And why’s there a wild card guy in there instead of someone from the 100-win NL West division-winner?
Part of it is we’re buying into the Philadelphia hype, too and after polling our network of scouts and touts, the Playbook firmly expects whoever emerges from that Braves series to …
The Orioles and Rangers opened as co-favorites at DraftKings (-110), while the Astros, Braves and Dodgers were the initial selections to advance to their respective league championships.
Pro tip: Mattress Mack just bet a ton on the Astros again. Generally, we try to not patronize his publicity stunts but he always loses and can probably afford it more than us.
Odds, picks, info from Gaming Today
How dare you, Mr. Mahomes!
Patrick Mahomes made the completely sensible football decision to slide down at the New York Jets 2 and bleed the final seconds of a surprisingly strenuous 23-20 Sunday Night Football victory last week.
No one gets hurt taking a knee. (Even at MetLife Stadium).
Wave bye to Taylor Swift and get on the plane.
But, oh, my it was a big deal for some bettors, spinning up the latest in a seemingly weekly outrage echo chamber on the Androids and the Apples.
Everyone, please care about my bad beat!
Or something like that.
In short, if Mahomes had scored, the Chiefs would have covered the eight-point spread over the slightly-less-hapless-this-night Jets.
That this played out in the most-watched Sunday TV show since the Super Bowl only amplified the din. (We couldn’t find a Swiftie with a Mahomes complaint, though).
People were mad, ridiculous conspiracy theories floated around X like embers, igniting hotter and hotter takes. Among them, “Vegas,” this amorphous all-powerful entity, had rigged the game.
As one observer observed: if you can’t take the loss, don’t make the bet.
Good observation, observer.
The United Kingdom had its own version of bettor rage tsunami last week when the video replay system used in English Premier League matches completely bollixed up a Liverpool-Tottenham game.
That, however, was worth it as Liverpool’s coach and fanbase had to come to grips with finally getting the hurtful end of a bad VAR call for once.
Oh, and one more thing: we told you so first!
Do not anger the sportsbook director
Jeffrey Benson is a rarity as a sportsbook operations manager in the United States. Working for non-corporate, Derek Stevens-owned Cira Sports, Benson has the freedom to say and Tweet pretty much what he wants, when he wants.
When he does, it’s refreshing and entertaining.
Something had pissed him off on Monday morning after a trip to open retail and mobile sportsbook operations in Illinois.
Florida sports betting update!
There is no Florida sports betting update.
Sports betting remains grid-locked like I-4 by 3:30 p.m. as the Florida Supreme Court awaits the response of Gov. Ron DeSantis on the claim by West Flagler Associates that he and the State Legislature were over their (water) skis in entering into a 2021 compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The contentious and litigious part of this deal involved Hard Rock Bet being allowed to offer mobile sports betting off tribal lands. If allowed to stand, this would be a paradigm-changer for tribal gambling in the US, would bring legal sports betting back to one of the most populated states, and harden the Seminoles’ gambling monopoly there.
If you’re really into wonky stuff, state senior deputy solicitor Christopher J. Baum was named as DeSantis’ proxy in a court filing.
Sept. 19 feels like so long ago.
The most recent timeline:
Sept. 26, 2023: West Flagler Associates asks the Florida Supreme Court to prevent Florida sports betting from re-launching on multiple grounds, including that it constitutes an expansion of gambling that DeSantis and the State Legislature had no power to conduct.
Sept. 28, 2023: US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit denies a stay request after it had exhausted its appeals at the federal level.
Oct. 2, 2023: Florida senior deputy solicitor Christopher J. Baum logs in as legal counsel for DeSantis.
Dec. 10, 2023: Deadline for West Flagler Associates to appeal to the US Supreme Court. Attorneys for the parimutuel outlet have said they planned to do so.
Check out the podcast …
We interviewed Megan Lanham, CEO and co-founder of a new AI-powered sports predictive service, Rithmm, that for a fee ($30 or $100) purports to win your sports bets about 55% of the time.
We have both flavors:
And if you’ve used Rithmm or any service like it, please let us know how it worked for you.
The Coalition for Fantasy Sports announced that Michigan will move to join New York and Florida in banning pick ‘em, against-the-house fantasy contests. Eliminating these over/under player props will most impact PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, and Sleeper. DraftKings and FanDuel don’t offer them. Legislators in those three states argue they too closely mimic sports betting.
Paintball, CarJitsu, Strongman: Would you bet on this stuff? Check out this interesting piece from Cole Rush about the possibility.
The NFL groomed its gambling policy this week, which was good news for Lions WR Jameson Williams. Brush up here.
Brant James, Gaming Today Senior Writer