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Video: Al Michaels Calls Gamblers ‘Friendly Degenerates’

Al Michaels is a fantastic play-by-play broadcaster. One of the things sports fans love about him is his awareness of the point spread and over/under totals for games he’s calling. He knows that gamblers are the few people still watching games that are blowouts.

One thing, Al, those gamblers don’t enjoy being called “friendly degenerates.”

The Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith touchdown pass made the score 34-14, pushing the total to 48. The over/under line was set at 45, so the TD meant the game hit the over. If you’re a friendly degenerate, we hope you had the over.

‘Pete’ Stands to Win $10,000 from a $10 Bet if Colts Go 0-16

Are gamblers taking low-risk, huge-reward bets and coming close to winning them more often these days, or are we just hearing more about it? I’m sure it is the latter, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable to read about. Before we begin, let us note that for every @Pistol_Pete82 or rabid Cardinals fan who could win huge money through extremely unusual circumstances, there are millions of knuckleheads who might as well rip up their money and flush it down the toilet. That’s why the house always wins and will always win.

All that being said, according to the gambling website Beyond the Bets, a man named Pete took a 1,000-to-1 prop bet before the season began that the Colts — with Peyton Manning’s future in question — would go 0-16 on the year.  Pete placed only $10 on the bet and is five losses away from making $10,000.  Here is a picture from his iPhone that was posted on his Twitter page as proof.

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Hawaii Point Shaving Investigation: Spread for Utah State Game Moved 6 Points in 3 Hours

The Honolulu Police Department said on Tuesday that they are not opening a criminal investigation of alleged point shaving regarding the University of Hawaii football team because of a lack of information.

The school’s president says the office of admissions received an anonymous letter on November 3rd alleging point shaving by members of the football team. The timing of the letter coincides with suspicious movement concerning the point spread for one of Hawaii’s games.

Covers.com points out that the point spread for the Hawaii-Utah State game opened with Hawaii favored by 7.5 points, and as much as 9 in one book. Three hours later, the line was down to 3.5 everywhere.

“There was some wise-guy buzz about that game even before these allegations surfaced,” Covers reports.

The Wynn casino in Las Vegas reportedly opened with the line at 7.5 Sunday night and it dropped to 3.5 Monday morning.

The only thing we can think of that would cause a move like that is either wise guy money, or key injury news concerning a quarterback. Hawaii’s quarterback Bryant Moniz played the entire previous game and played the entire Utah State game, so that explanation does not hold up.

As for the actual game, Hawaii blew a 28-7 halftime lead and lost 35-31. They’re 5-6 on the year and 4-7 against the spread.

Denver Post Writer Jim Armstrong Loses Job Over Sports Betting Scandal

Jim Armstrong, a former Denver Post sports writer and columnist, has lost his job with the newspaper after it was learned that he bet on sports.

Armstrong was one of several people who bet on sports through a local bookmaker that was pinched. Some of the bookie’s clients had weekly limits as high as $50,000. The person who is alleged to have run the operation, Daniel Dinner, is a 70-year-old who has been doing it for nearly four decades.

Armstrong left The Denver Post Friday after being with the paper for 27 years.

“Readers have to believe and trust that all of us at The Denver Post cover events impartially and without a stake in the outcome,” said Gregory L. Moore, editor of The Post. “We take this very seriously.”

Say Armstrong were writing about baseball, but only betting on basketball. Would that affect his coverage? There are some fair questions to be asked, but when you’re involved with illegal activity that can alter the way you do your job, it’s grounds for dismissal.

Let me just say that I’m glad the sports radio networks where I worked didn’t have the same standards. If they did, half the people on staff would be out of work.

South Carolina Fails to Cover Spread After Taking Safety on Last Play

South Carolina screwed many bettors Saturday when they decided to run out the clock on the game’s final play by taking an intentional safety.

The Gamecocks were up 14-10 and favored by 2.5 or 3 points in most sports books. They had a 4th and 12 with four seconds left in the game, and the ball at their nine. Instead of attempting a play, or kneeling down (the clock would have stopped and the ball would have been turned over on downs), they did the smart thing and had their quarterback run backwards until the four seconds ran off the clock.

Time expired on the final play, but the intentional safety counted in the final score. South Carolina ended up winning 14-12, screwing anyone who had the Gamecocks giving the points. It was the probably the smartest play for South Carolina, even if it hurt gamblers. Covers.com says 69% of bettors had the Gamecocks laying the points, so the move hurt a lot more people than it helped. And once again, Steve Spurrier is making many more enemies than he did in his press conference earlier in the week.

Thanks to The Wiz of Odds for the heads up

Injuries to Tony Romo, Michael Vick Could be Worth Four Points on Betting Lines

Two big-time NFC East quarterbacks got hurt on Sunday, leaving their status for week three in question. Tony Romo got hit by Carlos Rogers early Sunday and played through a cracked rib and punctured lung. Michael Vick got his head smashed against one of his offensive linemen and left Sunday night’s game with a concussion. The status of the two men has a deep impact in the sportsbooks.

The lines for both the Cowboys-Redskins and Giants-Eagles games are pending based on the status of the quarterbacks. Prior to Sunday’s 49ers-Cowboys game, the Las Vegas Hilton had the Cowboys as a 6.5 favorite over the Redskins. That line is likely to remain the same if Romo plays Monday night. However, if backup Jon Kitna ends up starting, the spread would likely be the Cowboys favored by three, or perhaps slightly less, oddsmaker Andrew Patterson of Las Vegas Sports Consultants tells LBS.

The line for the Giants-Eagles game similarly was 7.5 prior to Sunday night’s Eagles-Falcons game when Vick got hurt. Patterson tells us that line could drop to 3 if Vick isn’t cleared to play and Mike Kafka ends up starting. Patterson says the Eagles would still likely be favored because Kafka looked pretty good against the Falcons, completing 7 of 9 passes, with his last pass dropped by Jeremy Maclin.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett thinks Romo will play Monday night against the Redskins. Vick needs to pass tests before he’s cleared to play Sunday against the Giants. Not only will the teams be in wait-and-see mode, but so will fantasy football owners, oddsmakers, and gamblers.

Sideline Violation Keeps USC from Covering Against Utah (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The play in question was reviewed after the game and USC was given the touchdown. The final score was changed to 23-14 as it should have been. The penalty applied to the bench for committing unsportsmanlike conduct, making it a dead ball foul, so the penalty is assessed after the play is over.

UPDATE II: Some sportsbooks will not adjust payouts to reflect the new 23-14 final. From Todd Fuhrman at Ceasars: We do not recognize defaults prior to the start of the event, suspended games, protests, or overturned decisions for wagering purposes.

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USC was lucky to escape with a 17-14 win at home over Utah Saturday night. Folks who put some money on the Trojans weren’t as fortunate.

USC blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game to preserve the win. Torin Harris picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a score that would have made it 23-14. The only problem was half the team ran onto the field in celebration, resulting in a penalty flag.

The Trojans were hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for committing a sideline violation. The referee’s call was “unsportsmanlike conduct on the USC bench. By rule, we’ll decline that penalty. The game is over.”

The game ended with the score 17-14. The Trojans opened as a 10-point favorite in the game and the line closed at 7.5 or 8 most places. For most people, had the blocked field goal returned for a score counted, they would have covered or at least pushed. Sorry sports bettors, no dice on that one.

But that wasn’t the only controversial aspect of the ending. Prior to the field goal attempt, Utah got a poor spot on a 4th and 10 pass. Their pass went to the 38 but was initially spotted around the 40. After a review, the referees spotted the ball at the 39 (still a bad spot), and gave them a first down. They threw one more pass before attempting the field goal. Here’s a look at the terrible spot:

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