FRANK'S CORNERFrank Rosenthal is undisputedly the most famous handicapper of all time, and arguably the greatest of all time. His knowledge of sports betting and casino sportsbooks is legendary in Las Vegas and across America. But few know that Frank’s roots stretch back to Chicago and include a particular tie to Chicago baseball. GOM asks Frank Rosenthal what he thinks about betting Major League, finding value and what to watch out for this Autumn.
Frank, how much action does a superstar like Barry Bonds bring to a regular season game?
The higher the profile of the players, the more interest with the wagering public - there’s no question about that. Sure, headliners such as Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez attract more wagering than a guy like Gobble from Kansas City.
But when you attract more bettors, you don’t always attract the smart money. Line changes and line movement is really dictated by talent – professional talent. Public money, some might say, moves the line a little, but when lines move or run, it’s 99% based on talent. John Smith from Chicago wagering $10-$15,000 on a ball game is going to do very little to the line. Most bookmakers pay much less attention to the average player, but always respect what we call ‘wise guy sharpies’.
Every office offshore deals to professionals whether they want to or not. By that I mean professionals sometimes use beards when there’s a need to do that – people that might appear on the surface to be amateurs but in fact are not.
What insight might you have for someone wanting to bet this year’s World Series?
If I were the average guy, looking to bet on the World Series, I would take a coin out my pocket, flip it, heads-American League, tails-National League, and pray.
The series is a chuck-a-lug – it’s like shooting dice. The World Series prices will be fine tuned and it’s highly unlikely that there’ll be an advantage either way. Once a line comes out and it’s filtered a little bit, there’s virtually no edge to either side for the average bettor– it’s what we call the ‘bull’s nuts’.
What about during the regular season, is there advantage to be found while the betting industry takes its summer vacation?
Yes but it’s hard for me to imagine that the average fan is capable of detecting what we call a ‘hole in the line’. Unless that particular fan is a baseball scholar who understands dollar value (that’s what the pros play on), I wouldn’t expect to win over time. Sharpies play using dollar value and they do make money by the end of the season. The average fan is looking to win every time he or she makes a bet - professionals know it doesn’t work that way – again they’re simply looking to get an advantage of a nickel or dime or more, and if things work out evenly and they are in fact gaining value, they’re very likely to be on the plus side when the smoke clears.
Does it make sense for bettors to hire professional handicapping services to help them spot things like a hole in the line?
No, it really doesn’t for the most part. Handicapping services are usually smoking mirrors. For a while I was in that business, I will no longer accept a client who would ask me to do their handicapping. Yes, I still maintain my site, but if you look at my site it’ll say ‘sold out’. I can’t in good conscious tell a prospective client that he/she can beat the game by following me or anybody else. I’m not a fan of sport services and telephone service handicappers –they fall in the category of touts, and I will not be associated with that.
But you’re the best handicapper that’s ever lived, if bettors can’t win following you, how can they win?
The reason that they can’t win following me or any other service, (unless they get lucky, and if you want to get lucky go to Las Vegas and try that out) is because they have to do literally everything that I do – their moves must be identical to mine, they can’t afford to look and choose, the only way to follow and to be successful with a top professional is to have a piece of that professional as opposed to try and follow that professional. I might make a wager at 7:04 in the evening when the game kicks off, first pitch at 7:05 and my followers just aren’t there. There are a number of reasons why players cannot win by using services or blindly following the handicappers; it’s just impossible and I speak from experience when I say that to you.
Can the average bettor, who’s sitting around waiting for the football season to come into swing, find value in betting Major League Baseball?
The best shot the average guy has in baseball is to wager with an office that has a skinny line, what we call a ‘true dime line’ whereby the theoretical hold for the operator is small. If the player is disciplined – meaning a bit more when you win and less when you lose – they have a square chance betting baseball. Wagering on sports, baseball in particular, you have much more of a chance to win than you do by shooting craps in Las Vegas or going out to Hollywood Park in California to bet on horses, much better.