Betting on basketball akin to investing.

If Pepperdine covered, we’d both win $120.

Moulin Rouge was listed at 3-1 to win Best Picture: the second favorite behind A Beautiful Mind. (The spread is the number of points that the favored team is expected to win by while parlays are wagers that allow you to bet on several games in order to increase your payout.) And just as a market neophyte would be confused by a streaming quote feed, the rows of neon numbers on a sports book’s massive board is certainly overwhelming for the uninitiated.

Betting on sports is legal in Nevada and most of the casinos in Vegas have a section called the sports book where people place their bets and watch the games. It was totally irrational. I occasionally get angry emails from readers who disapprove of negative comments I make about stocks they own. What if I bet on Penn with the spread and they don’t win but lose by only three? Would it make me happy to profit from a Penn defeat? This is too disturbing a thought to consider any further.

My friend, being a prudent lawyer, decided to bet $22 dollars on Pepperdine’s opponent, Wake Forest. A friend of mine and I placed the same $20 bet on a 3-team parlay: Kent State, Missouri and Pepperdine. (Go Quakers!) Part of me wants to bet big on Penn (they were four and a half point underdogs as I wrote this) so I can reap the financial rewards when they win. Betting the money line means you think a team will win the game outright, regardless of the spread.

Odds for the Oscars

LAS VEGAS (CNN/Money) – This will be blasphemy to hardcore followers of Wall Street, those who think of the market as a rational way to try and accumulate wealth. Pepperdine, a 4-point underdog, played after these two games were finished. But I, hate to admit, am a bit of a hypocrite in this regard.

It would have been nice to be able to make real bets on the Oscars though. You can’t actually make bets – – they’re only for “entertainment purposes” – – but many of us were left scratching our heads about the favorites for the major awards.

When it comes to sports, the numbers for the most part don’t lie. OK, there certainly has been some point shaving in the past – – the City College of New York scandal of the 1950s comes to mind – – but that doesn’t even come close to the scam that was Enron.

I, however, was not so wise. If Wake Forest won by more than 4 points he would lose his parlay bet but win $20 on the Wake bet. Example. Kent State and Missouri both covered. I maintain that getting too emotional about a stock is not a good thing. Some of the odds did seem pretty good. Fortunately, a $100 windfall at a blackjack table that day kept me even for the day. Kansas (boy did Holy Cross give the Jayhawks a scare!) isn’t going to announce that the NCAA is investigating it for improperly recognizing hundreds of points scored in Big 12 games from 1999.

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All in all, I made six bets on Thursday and won none, for a total loss of $100. Pepperdine was competitive for the entire game but missed some crucial shots in the last few minutes (the bitter loser in me would say that they choked) and lost by eight.

Savvy strategies

Hoops junkies pore through the stats published in the USA Today college basketball special pullout section (an essential purchase for any NCAA fan) with the same amount of rigor that accountants use to audit financial statements.

There’s also the emotion factor. Penn didn’t cover, losing by 7 after this story was published. I was convinced that Pepperdine would cover. But after spending most of Thursday watching college basketball at the Paris Casino’s sports book in Las Vegas, I can safely say that betting on the NCAA Tournament has a lot in common with investing in stocks.

Betting on basketball isn’t even as risky as you might think. Huh? Ewan McGregor singing Elton John (quite badly I might add) is more worthy of the cinema’s highest honor than The Lord of the Rings, Gosford Park or In the Bedroom? Whatever.

That’s what sleep deprivation does to you folks.

I reacted quite angrily any time one of the CBS announcers said a bad thing about a team I bet on. Hey, I actually thought the Waves would win the game outright (similar to how many investors were convinced back in early 2000 that tech stocks could only go higher and higher) and even have a chance of upsetting Oregon in the second round. A sports book during the height of March Madness is a wild, profane, testosterone-charged pit fueled by greed and fear. When the color commentator pointed out that Tulsa is a small team, I probably did not need to act as if he was insulting my mother.

. Instead of P/E ratios and mutual funds, you have “point spreads” and “parlays”. Kind of like the way VCs invest in many risky companies with the hopes of having one big initial public offering make up for all the flops, I made several “money line” bets on huge underdogs. It’s kind of like making a covered call on an option, selling the right to buy shares at a certain price while also having a long position on the stock.

Speaking of auditing, the fact that stats in college basketball cannot be manipulated is actually a reason why betting on a college basketball game might be a wiser move than buying a stock. Just goes to show that you can’t discount the importance of luck any time you put your money to work.

Why betting is better than investing

With that in mind, I have no idea what to do when my beloved alma mater Penn plays California on Friday. Sounds exactly like the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

(Disgruntled writer’s note: As it turned out, my fears were for naught.

Like investing, gambling has a lingo that you need to learn in order to be successful. “Best bet on the board?” observed my friend Jamey Tesler, “Ian McKellen for Best Supporting Actor at 6-1. You don’t have to worry about whether or not Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski set up special purpose entities in order to keep some of star player Jason Williams’ turnovers off the stat sheet. But another part of me is slightly worried. Grrr)


In addition to the NCAA action, you can also get odds for the Oscars. So it would essentially be a wash. There are even ways to hedge and minimize your losses if you really know what you’re doing. Gandalf, baby!”

Most of my friends and fellow gamblers that I talked to would stick to betting on games with the spread but I foolishly followed the venture capital style of investing in college basketball. All three teams had to cover in order to win the bet, which paid off at odds of 6 to 1. So I did not hedge

NBA Basketball Moneyline Bets

(You could also look at it as risking $3.30 for every $1.00 you want to win.)

Good luck in your action!

Here’s an odds conversion chart so you can get a look at what a point spread converts to when changed to a moneyline bet:

The moneyline is a great bet in basketball betting, as long as you don’t get too carried away betting favorites. There’s a good chance that if the underdog is going to cover the +3 that they’ll also win the game straight up. A moneyline is just a fancy way for saying that we’re eliminating the point spread and making it so your team only has to win by one point.

On the flip side, if you want to take a hoops underdog that would have been getting +7 points on the spread, this bet now pays +250 which means you bet $100 to PROFIT $250 (or profit $2.50 for ever $1.00 you risk). This isn’t always the case, but is often the case.

Point SpreadMoney Line-2-130/+110-2.5-140/+120-3-155/+135-3.5-175/+155-4-200/+170-4.5-220/+180-5/-5.5-240/+190-6-270/+210-6.5-300/+220-7-330/+250-7.5/-8/-8.5-360/+280-9/-9.5-400/+300-10-450/+325

. Underdogs are less likely to happen, hence why their compensated at such a high rate.

Before we go, may we recommend you check out the best places to bet on basketball on the web?

Since that gives too much value to the favored team in the bet and is not fair to the underdog, we compensate for each by creating an odds to win style bet.

As you can see, if you take a basketball game with a favorite of -7 and change it to a moneyline bet, you are not risking $330 to win $100. It’s a SUPER play when betting short (small) underdogs.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a moneyline bet is, let us explain:

As some advice from somebody who has been there, don’t even for a second think that taking a -10 favorite and turning it into a -450 moneyline play is a solid bet. It can also be viewed as 2.5/1 odds.

The reason that the favorite pays less with more risk is because the outcome is more likely to happen. While its very likely to cash, IF IT DOESN’T, you are screwed and in a hole BIGTIME.

So with a dog of +3, you would play the moneyline at +135 which would mean your bet would be risking $100 to profit $135 instead of taking it on the spread at +3 which would be risking $110 (more) to win $100 (less.)

Conversely, the underdog becomes a bet x amount to profit more proposition.

Losing one -450 play means you have to win 4.5 bets in a row just to break even and that is not easy in sports betting! In fact, it’s against the odds.

The favorite bet then becomes a bet more to win less proposition.

A great place to install a moneyline bet is when an NBA team is a short underdog, say +3 or less

NBA bets on winning back fans | Reuters

NBA commissioner David Stern dismissed the incident as nothing more than a rogue employee but the league must now concentrate on regaining the confidence of American and Canadian fans instead of wooing interest abroad.

NEW YORK After a summer spent expanding its global brand with exhibition games from Shanghai to Rome, the NBA opens a new season on Tuesday looking to win back home fans following a gambling scandal which rocked the sport to its core.

Over the last decade, none have been better at collecting championships than the San Antonio Spurs, who enter the new campaign seeking their fifth title in 10 years.

By Steve Keating

| NEW YORK

In Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal the Miami Heat still pack the NBA’s best one-two punch and if the two all-stars can stay healthy another championship could be headed to South Florida.

Since the Rockets made Yao the top selection in the 2002 NBA draft, the towering 7ft 6ins center has blossomed into one of the NBA’s most dominant players and one of world’s most recognizable athletes.

Garnett, who came to Boston in a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, joins Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in Beantown, instantly transforming the crumbling Celtics into championship contenders.

Stung by the failure, James dedicated himself to an off-season of intense training in his bid to guide the Cavaliers to the championship and secure his place among the game’s greats.

San Antonio will be part of the opening night action against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz take on the Golden State Warriors.

The aging Spurs will have a familiar look with 12 players back from last year’s squad, former league and playoff MVP Tim Duncan leading an all-star international cast that includes Frenchman Tony Parker and Argentine Manu Ginobili.

The night’s other matchup will see two of the league’s marketing dynamos clash when Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers host Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets.

The Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons also look ready to figure into the Eastern Conference battle.

LeBron James is no stranger to the spotlight and is certain to be the focus of attention again after leading the Cavaliers to the NBA finals for the first time last year only to be swept in four games by the Spurs.

Yao, however, could be in for some stiff competition off the court following the arrival of compatriot Yi Jianlian, who has hogged the international spotlight since the Milwaukee Bucks took the seven-footer with the sixth overall selection in this year’s draft.

There appears, however, to be a new powerhouse taking shape in the Eastern Conference with 10-times all-star Kevin Garnett’s arrival in Boston.

While restoring integrity will be the NBA’s newest priority, the goal for the league’s 30 teams remains the same — winning a title.

After spending much of summer demanding a trade, Bryant is expected to be on the floor for the Lakers despite a wrist injury that kept him out of the team’s final exhibition contest.

Referee Tim Donaghy’ admission he bet on games he officiated and passed on inside information to bookies has inflicted severe damage to the NBA’s credibility with the toll likely to mount as investigations continue.

The Phoenix Suns and their high-octane offence led by twice MVP Steve Nash, once again look the best in the West alongside the Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.

Trade rumors have once again started to circulate, the Chicago Bulls reportedly making another bid for Bryant.