Sports Betting 101 with Brad Evans

The following appears in the June Gambling and Golf issue of Mile High Sports Magazine

It’s okay. It’s a brand-new thing.

At least to some of you. But whether you’re a wily wager with years of experience, or just a baby bettor looking to add a little enjoyment to the weekend’s slate of games, this particular Q&A is for you.

It’s one thing to dive straight into the deep end. Of course, you can always do that.

But wouldn’t you rather have a few tips from a swim instructor?

Of course, you would. And that’s why Mile High Sports called upon one of the area’s most notable sports betting experts – Brad Evans. And by notable, we mean he’s been trusted by the likes of Yahoo, Altitude Sports and SiriusXM Radio. So, trust us, trust him.

A true friend of the family, Brad was kind enough to break down betting in Colorado, something that will undoubtedly change sports around here forever.

MHS: What’s the biggest misconception about legalized sports betting in Colorado?

Brad Evans: Driving up the hill to wager physically at a casino in Blackhawk is a fallacy, folks. Progressively-minded decision-makers in this state took Mother Nature into account when debating the law, erring on the side of safety when upslope flow piles up the snow. As a result, Colorado’s brilliant mobile betting system offers considerable convenience. No in-person signup is needed, which many other states require. All you do is download your favorite sportsbook app on your phone, create an account, deposit a few bucks and you’re instantly ready to bet on Russian ping-pong matches or the over/under on Jerry Jeudy receiving yards. With the tech in your hand, every venue with a bank of big screen TVs is your own personal sports betting oasis. It’s a wonderful reality.

You’ve been sports betting for a long time, what’s your best advice for someone who’s never done it? 

Educate yourself. Though imperfect, there’s a science to analyzing lines and money movement. In our data-driven age, there are endless free Internet resources to help immerse you in the lingo and basics of sports betting. Always set an affordable budget, seek out values and bet with your brain and not your heart. And yes, that means laying action on the Avs every game isn’t recommended.

What should inexperienced bettors stay away from? 

First and foremost, following the herd is a rookie move. Oddsmakers set lines to entice action. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck — Guess what? — it’s a stinkin’ mallard. Groupthink sometimes scores, but in many instances,it leaves you in the gutter – pants-less and penniless.

In your opinion, is there such a thing as a “smart” bet? What would be an example? 

Always pay attention to public spread ticket distribution and overall handle. For example, if 77 percent of the tickets are on the Denver Broncos -2.5 against the Las Vegas Raiders, but 73 percent of the handle backs the Silver and Black, it’s highly advisable to follow the money. Always follow the money. And, in most instances, fade the majority. Some sites, like Sports Insights, offer this invaluable information to the masses.

What sports do you like betting on most and why? 

College basketball is undoubtedly my favorite vice, primarily due to the often-unpredictable nature of late-game events that wonderfully or woefully sway outcomes. Who doesn’t relish a certain level of masochism watching – three tequilas in – unpolished players in a random Saint Mary’s/San Francisco (Go Dons?!) midnight thriller? Seeing guys brick much-needed free throws with seconds remaining is an unwanted dose of bad luck, which causes sweat glands to gush profusely … Until you improbably secure a heroic cover on an unnecessary three at the buzzer. The emotional rollercoaster ride is so worth it.

How different is sports betting from fantasy football or fantasy baseball? 

“Fantasy” – whether season-long or daily versions – has some similarities to the category. Most people incentivize their experience through cash prizes. Essentially, fantasy rosters are “multiplayer futures.” You stack your chips, in this case, on a team of players for 16 weeks (season-long) or a single Sunday (DFS) in the hope of scoring a pot of gold at rainbow’s end. The primary difference resides with single-action events, which is the basis of sports betting. Fantasy, by the letter of the law, is deemed a skill game, while betting is based more in luck. However, the latter is an intangible all fantasy players constantly seek. My good luck Dick Butkus bobblehead is hands-on proof.

It seems like Daily Fantasy Sports are very similar to prop bets. How do you compare/differentiate the two? 

There’s some overlap, but the most glaring difference between the two is who you’re playing against. In DFS, you are matching wits with professional sharps who stack complex, math-driven lineups to greatly enhance their odds of scoring the top prize. Unless you’re a trained assassin, or lucky as hell, your single bullet is highly likely to miss the mark. It’s a fruitless endeavor. However, when it comes to wagering on player props (e.g. Over or under 79.5 Courtland Sutton yards against the Chargers?), you’re battling the ‘book, a more value-filled exercise. Bet maximums can be a drag with props, but your chances of returning a profit are far greater.

Side note, once marketed appropriately, player props are bound to become wildly popular. Why? In the U.S. market, many casual bettors were educated in fantasy first. Props are easy to quantify and follow. Plus, they tap into the “people follow people” mindset. We all have our pet players. We all have our guys. Mine, sadly, is a certain underachieving Bears running back, David Montgomery. This is why I drink.

Why would you recommend using more than one betting app? 

If you want to be successful in the betting game, unearthing values is paramount. Not all ‘books have the same lines or “juice” (e.g. Rockies -105 on the money line). It’s important to shop around. Additionally, every house will roll out special offers from time to time. These “odds boosts” are designed to entice signups and engage existing customers. They’re often spectacular bankroll builders. Listen to the timeless advice of Motown great Smokey Robinson — “You Better Shop Around.”

Do you have any personalities you like in terms of betting tips? 

“The Bearded One,” Preston Johnson, who’s a regular on ESPN’s “Daily Wager,” is one of the best in the business. His approach is straightforward, transparent and analytically based. Educating audiences in a growing market isn’t the simplest exercise and he does an excellent job explaining his viewpoints and supporting takes with cogent reasoning.

Brad Evans is the man behind FadeTheNoise.com, a brand-new website and podcast network focused on fantasy sports and gambling. You can also hear Brad weekdays 11am-1pm MT on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports channel and/or follow him on Twitter @NoisyHuevos

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