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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Week 10 recap and week 11 twin picks. Back on the winning track.

OK, we got a winner!! I had the 49ers +2.5 over the hapless NY Giants and the Niners came through to get their first win. Woo Hoo!!! I am now 6-3 on the season! Let's keep it going this week with another win. Or two?

One win is going to come from the Kansas City Chiefs, who this week take on those same hapless Giants, this time playing at home in New York. Now Kansas City is giving up 10.5 points, which seems like an awful lot to give up for a road team, but there is a method to my madness.

Kansas City has lost three of its last four games, and is coming off a bye. I feel like they will be highly motivated to get back on the winning track as they head for the playoffs. They have had an extra week to prepare, and Andy Reid has the best record among active NFL coaches coming off of a bye week. The Chiefs are going to want to not only win, but dominate the Giants. That should actually be pretty easy to do.

The Giants look dead and lifeless. Right now, they are as painful to watch as a school bus fire with your own kids in the bus. I don't look for them to win another game this year, unless one of their opponents decides to throw 6 interceptions or do something equally stupid. 10.5 points is not too much to give in this case, I would still take the Chiefs even at 14.5. The Giants do not have either the players, the coaching talent, or the overall team attitude to even keep this game close.
Take the Chiefs and lay the points.

Another game that I'm going to recommend you play is the Detroit Lions at the Chicago Bears. The Bears are home underdogs in this one, getting 3 or 3.5 points depending on the book.

I always like home underdogs against division rivals, they have a knack of winning outright if not just covering. I feel that the Lions are actually a bit of a fraud, and are being overrated by both the bookies and the betting public. Chicago is 4-0 ATS as a home underdog this season, while the Lions are 1 - 2 in division games. I am going to bet the Bears on the moneyline at +130 as I expect them to win outright.

Good luck everybody.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Week 10 pick

Sorry I haven't been much in the mood for posting g content the past two weeks. Personal stuff.

I do have a week 10 pick. And it is a wild one. It's the battle of two terrible teams, the 1-7 NY Giants vs the 0-9 SF 49ers. The loser will have the inside track on getting the first pick in the next draft.

I am picking the 49ers to win here, or at least cover, as they are getting 2.5 points at even money.

The Giants are a hot mess, having lost two in a row after posting their only win of the season. Their problems are well documented and numerous,  and they are on the road on the far side of the country from their home base. A team this bad should never be a road favorite.

The 'Niners should be highly motivated to get their first win here at home. The 2.5 points (at even money) are a gift. Take the points and the 49ers Sunday.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

No pick this week.

Sorry, everybody. I've been really sick this week, had a chemotherapy infusion on Wednesday & Thursday and haven't even looked at the cards this week.

See you next week. I'll try to have my free pick out by Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New podcasts available

New Casino Confidential show podcasts are now online and available for download. Click here and look for shows posted on 10/24 & 10/31.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Week 8 pick

Sorry about the lateness of this post, but I've been dealing with more medical issues.

As a result I'm just going to post my pic here, without the usual accompanying reasons that I'm making the pic. You're just going to have to trust me.

This week I'm taking the Atlanta Falcons on the road against the New York Jets. I made my pick several days ago and got it at minus 5.5, the line has moved to -6.5 as I write this now. I still think it's a good bet anything under a touchdown I feel like the Falcons will cover with no problem.

Good Luck everybody.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My sincerest apologies. Week 7 disaster recap.

I, Uh, am really sorry. I let you all down last week, picking the Arizona Cardinals to win outright against the Los Angeles Ram's in London. The Cardinals lost 33-0.  I have never been so strong about an NFL game in my life.

Let's analyze why it happened. I underestimated how well the Los Angeles defensive line would play, and how they would be able to shut down Adrian Peterson. He was a complete non-factor, which surprised me based on how well he did the previous week, his first game in a Cardinals uniform. I thought that he, and the Cardinals as a team, would be more motivated to do well. And I was wrong.

Oh well, you can't win every time.  I promise to come up with a winter this week. My pick will be out on Friday.  In the meantime, you can ivory yourself by betting on the World Series.  I cashed in on game one (although I didn't post it) talking the Dodgers on the run line, -1.5 runs at +120.  I won $36 for my $30 bet when Justin Turner hit a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 6th to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead which held up for the final score.

I expect the great pitching to continue tonight when the Astros send their ace, Justin Verlander, to the mound. He has been nearly unstoppable since coming over in a trade from Detroit. The Dodgers counter with starter Rich Hill, who has been a quality starter, but isn't quite on Kershaws' level (but who is?).

This is a good chance for the Astros to steal a game in LA, but I think the real play is on the under. I look for another low scoring game and will be taking the under 7.5 at -120.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Blackjack (and baseball) update 10/21

After watching the Astros beat up on the Yankees last night (which netted me a nice $75) I decided to play a little blackjack at my favorite low limit tables. I had an interesting thing happen that I went to tell you about.

I was on spot 5, just to the right of the third base player, who appeared to be a novice player. At one point he tucked a busted hand. This is when you bust, but tuck the hand under your bet like you didn't bust.

The guy was a littler tipsy, but not really drunk, and he probably just counted wrong.  He had drawn a 3+3+7 while holding a 5 + 4 for a total of 22.

What I found unusual is not that he tucked the busted hand, it happens from time to time, but that the dealer did not notify the Pit Boss when it happened. She just said something to the player and then continued on with the take and pay.

This is the sign of a sloppy dealer. The reason that the Pit Boss gets notified about it is in case the player does the same thing with a different dealer. Having this happen once is probably an honest mistake, with most players. But if it happens more than once in the course of an evening, then it's probably the player trying to take a shot at getting a free payout.

Since the dealer changes at least once an hour, and the player can change tables at any time, the only person who can track this properly is the Pit Boss. It's definitely in the dealers' procedure manual that the Pit Boss should be notified whenever a player does such a thing. So the dealer is sloppy, and doesn't follow procedures, and apparently the Pit Bosses either don't pay attention or don't care.

I'm not saying that you should ever cheats or attempt to cheat at a blackjack table. This is just a piece of intelligence that you need to file away in the back of your mind, as it may someday help give you an advantage.

By the way, on the Yankees/ Astros game, I had the Astros on the run line giving up 1.5 runs and getting +150 for it. So for a $50 bet I won $75 plus my fifty back. I felt like the Astros were due to start hitting well, after not doing so for most of the series.

As for the Blackjack session, I ended up losing all of the $75 that I had one on baseball. I played for about an hour, mostly flat bedding at $5 although I did go up to $20 on a positive 7, which I won. It didn't matter in the long run however, as I don't remember the dealer busting once. At least I was playing with house money.

Good luck everybody.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Week 7 pick

Okay, eagle-eyed readers of this blog will recall that a few posts ago I said something about not betting on the London game, no matter who's playing. The travel to London, along with all the distractions that go with playing there plus the time difference, make it a very difficult game to properly handicap. And I still believe that is, for the most part, true. That having been said, I'm going to bet on the London game because this situation seems too good to pass up. I think the wrong team is favored.

The Arizona Cardinals are a different team since picking up Adrian Peterson. He is much more suited to this offense than the one in New Orleans.  And that means bad news for the Rams.  

Arizona is 3-3, while the Rams are 4-2 and have the division lead. If the Cardinals are going to make the playoffs, they've got to start putting together win streaks. I think they will be highly motivated as a team to get the win here against a division opponent just above them (record wise) in the playoff race. 

Adrian Peterson will continue to be motivated to prove that what happened in New Orleans was the result of being in the wrong system for him, and that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. He was very effective last week rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Look for that to continue here.

The fact that Arizona getting 3 points in what is actually a neutral site game is a bonus. Peterson's arrival is the boost Arizona needed to turn their season around. I look for the Cardinals to win outright here.

Week 6 reflections. I lost!

This would have to happen sooner or later. There was no way I was going to go 17-0. I had the Redskins -10 1/2 points to win and cover against the 49ers in Washington. Got off to a good start with the Redskins having a 17 to nothing lead at one point. And then they lost focus, and had a rookie third-round draft pick quarterback torch them for 24 points. They were lucky to come away with a win 26-24. I actually started rooting for the 49ers after it became apparent that there was no way the Redskins were going to cover.

So now I'm 6-1on the year,  let's try and get back on the winning track this week. My pick will be coming up in a blog post tomorrow, Friday. I still haven't made up my mind about whether or not I want to bet on the London game this week.

I do have a couple of things that I want to talk about in my review of the action during week 7. First of all there are two teams you need to keep your eyes on because the spreads are going to be artificially depressed because of what's going on with those teams. Those teams are the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants.

The Packers obviously were dealt a huge blow by losing Aaron Rodgers for the season. As a result The Bookies, and most of the betting public in general, are not going to favor them for most of the games that they have left in the season. That is a mistake that you can take advantage of. I feel like they are still going to be able to win some games because they have a decent running game.

Same thing with the New York Giants, for different reasons. They have had devastating injuries at wide receiver. So they too are going to have to rely on defense and a good running game/offensive line, and as a result they may start to win some games. They're coming off their first win of the season last week against the highly favored Denver team.

Watch both these teams carefully and especially the lines, as you may find some good value over the next few weeks before the bookies catch up to the fact that these two teams can still win games, or at least cover the spread, despite the injuries they suffered.

I'll see you tomorrow for my pick of the week. Good luck everybody.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Show update! New podcast now available.

Just did a new radio show and podcast yesterday, my first show in over a month due to illness. The podcast is available
here.

Since I haven't been on the air since before the tragic Las Vegas shooting, I feel like I need to comment on what role surveillance and security would have played in the response to the active shooter in addition to how they would gather information about the shooters whereabouts and movements prior to the incident. So that's what this show is about.

It will have to be a two-parter, with the second part airing next week. You can listen live on the internet here or locate the podcast later from the same link as above. The show airs on 1180 AM KCKQ in Reno, live on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM PST (-8 GMT).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Secret of My Success

Okay, I've had a lot of people ask me what is the secret to my success. I'm off to a 5 and 0 start this year in NFL free picks, and this is not the first year that I've had pretty good success against the bookmakers. And by the way, every free pic that I release is a pic that I made a play on myself. I put my money where my mouth is.

I've had several people ask me if I'm using some kind of a system, in the answer to that is no. What I'm using is called common sense. Let me explain.

There are certain conditions in which I feel the betting line posted by oddsmakers gets distorted because of various factors. I like to identify where those conditions exist, and how they may have affected the line. Having done that I like to make plays where I feel there is a better than usual value to the pic that you make, whether you were laying points are getting points.

When I take a favorite I like to play games where the line is "cheap", or where the favorite is not favored by as much as I think they should be. When I take an underdog, I do so where I think that the favorite has been overvalued by the bookmakers.

Here are some of those conditions and situations that I like to look for:

1. Home team underdogs, especially against a divisional opponent. They cover more often than you might think.

2. Teams coming off a short week, long week or a bye. (A short week is where one of the teams played on Monday night the weekend previous. A long week is when one of the teams played on Thursday night the previous week.) Teams that are well rested are usually healthier and better prepared and usually have an advantage.

3. The Thursday night game is also a short week for both teams, but just as any games played in London, it offer the same challenges to both teams equally. Usually the better coached team has an advantage here. I usually stay away from these games though.

4. Teams coming off an emotional win against an arch rival. They usually have a let down. Often, when they are big favorites they win but do not cover the spread.

5. Bad teams that don't know they're bad. Early in the season, everyone still (theoretically) has a chance at making the playoffs. Even a team that will end up going 4-12 can, because of a weak early schedule, get off to a 2-1 start.  They start to think that they're better than they are. The Bookies and the betting public might think that too. That will distort the line, and maybe give you an advantage. Try to identify this situation, but be careful early in the year. Bad teams can be very tenacious when they still think they have a chance at a decent season. They often cover when they're an underdog, but sometimes fail to cover or even win when favored.

6. Bad teams that know they're bad. Later in the season when a team is say, 0-7, 2-9 or 3-11, and obviously going nowhere, they have a tendency to get discouraged and be poorly motivated. Especially if they have an injury or two to key players. When they play good teams, that are making a run at the playoffs the good team usually wins and covers. Teams that are going to the playoffs need the best possible record for playoff seeding, and so they are highly motivated to dominate bad teams.

And then there's trends. I take trends with a grain of salt. It doesn't matter that the Patriots have covered against a particular team four straight times at home coming off a bye if that situation hasn't occurred since 2011. Because that same team doesn't exist anymore. The way NFL free agency works, most teams are substantially different, except for a few skill players, from year to year.

And all teams go through offensive and defensive coordinators every few years, sometimes even  head coaches. That means new schemes and new plays, even if many of the personnel has stayed the same. Usually, what a team did 5 years ago is going to have no real relevance as to what they could do today.

I will look back to what a team did against another team earlier in the year or last year, at the latest. And that's to look at the revenge or motivation factor. Other than that I don't really care.

One Trend that I do follow closely is turnovers. And by trend I mean who is winning the turnover battle this year. Last year usually doesn't count for much. Turnovers usually have a lot of randomness built into them during the course of a game. You could also call it luck, or a lack thereof.

It's overstating it to simply say that whoever wins the turnover battle in a big game usually wins. In the stock market they would call this a rearward looking indicator. I don't care if your team is 8-0, if your quarterback throws 4 interceptions in each of the next three games you're probably going to be 9-2, at best, afterwards.

And then there are injuries. You need to know when a team is healthy and when it's not, so looking at injury reports is part of the deal. You can easily access them through the internet, just do a Google search for a particular team and the word injuries. The team will have official injury reports, which go out nation-wide, but sometimes you get a little better Insight from the local beat reporter in the town that the team is based in. Usually the local reporter is a little more candid and accurate.

Here's a good tip : Some of the fantasy football podcasts and TV shows are actually the best source of intel when it comes to injuries. No fantasy football nerd wants to get caught starting someone on their squad who ends up not playing because of an injury.

So, that's about it. I will occasionally look at what one or two of the sports services is recommending as a good free pic, but I am usually able to identify the situations that I like on my own. Feel free to comment on what I posted here. If you have any other systems or tips, I would love to hear about them.


Take care, and good luck everybody.


Friday, October 13, 2017

FYI

I had a comment from a reader on Google Plus who questioned why I hadn't had a podcast in the last 3 weeks, so here's an update on my medical conditions.

Some of you may know that I am going through chemotherapy for leukemia. So that has compromised my immune system. About 3 weeks ago I got bronchitis real bad and while I am feeling better it is still hanging on. Plus it makes my voice sound like crap, so I haven't been doing the radio show or the podcast. Hopefully that will change this week.

Thanks,

Jim

Week 6 pick

Well, it's official. I am on fire! I have gone 5-0 with my free picks in the NFL through the first five weeks, and I may be jinxing myself but I think my pic this week is a no-brainer. I'm picking the Washington Redskins laying 10 and a half points at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Here's my analysis.

The 49ers are really, really bad team. They are O-5 coming into this game and have a shot at running the table to end up 0-16 and guarantee themselves the first pick in next year's draft. They are playing their third straight game on the road this week, and they've got to be both tired and discouraged.  While 10 and a half points is a lot to give up, I don't see the 49ers covering the spread.

Washington is coming off a bye week (they lost two Monday nights ago to the Chiefs in their last game) so they should be well rested and prepared to face the 49ers. They also run a similar offensive scheme to the Los Angeles Rams who torched the 49ers for 41 points earlier in the year.

The NFL East is very competitive right now, so the Redskins should be highly motivated to get a win here and go to 3 and 2. You simply must win your home games  if you want to have a shot at making the playoffs, especially when you're playing against a poor team.

By the way, in both of their losses this season the Redskins were within one score  in the 4th quarter before losing  and that was versus the Eagles and the Chiefs, two of the better teams in the league. So with a little bit of luck they could be 4-0. The Redskins should be highly motivated not just to win, but to dominate. The 49ers should pose little challenge here. Lay the points and take the Redskins.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Surveillance response to Las Vegas shooting.

I had a question comes my way about the recent , tragic shooting at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. This person wanted some insight as to the response of security and surveillance during and immediately after such an incident. I figured that this subject may be of interest to many of you out there, so here is my response.

First of all, here are some physical facts about surveillance cameras, security operations and surveillance operations at the larger casinos, both in Las Vegas and all around the world.

Most casinos have two separate surveillance rooms. One of the rooms, is manned by surveillance personnel who are experts in all types of casino gaming and cheating. These are the people who actually watch the games, the money, the cashiers and count rooms, and do all the things that you think of as the "eye in the sky" doing. These surveillance agents will have access to every single camera on property.

The other surveillance room will be manned by security personnel who will also be (usually) the radio dispatchers for the security department and also monitor the Life Safety System(s) on property. These officers will only have limited access to cameras, usually consisting of non gaming public areas, most back of house areas, all garages and parking lots, and other areas that are patrolled by security but they don't have anything to do with gaming or money handling.

Now on to recording and reviewing. In the VCR era, which ended around ten years ago, not all cameras were recorded all of the time. The only cameras that were recorded full-time we're ones which were on table games, count rooms, cash or coin cages, or anything having to do with gaming and money. Other cameras were recorded only when that they were pulled up on a working monitor, or they might be recorded on a quad screen or a multiplex, which can record and display. up to 16 screens at once.

Nowadays everyone has gone to digital video recorders (DVR's) which use computers and servers and hard drive storage arrays to record all cameras all of the time.  Even the cheapest operators (and believe me, most Casino owners try and operate surveillance as cheaply as possible) were unable to continue to use VCRs because VCRs and videotapes are not even being made anymore.

Back of house cameras are recorded at a lower resolution, bit-rate and frame-rate, and use  less expensive, (sometimes) analog cameras, but they are still being recorded. The gaming and money cameras are higher in resolution, bit-rate and frame rate. The public would  call these "hi-def", and the best of them offer absolutely amazing video quality. They are expensive, but the casino doesn't mind paying more for them because they make detecting cheating much easier.

As far as doing reviews, the security officers usually will have limited  or no ability to review what has been recorded. Most reviews get passed on to the actual surveillance Department, who's operators are more skilled, know what to look for, and are able to archive anything worth saving onto DVD's or dedicated long term storage arrays.

So that's some background into how a typical surveillance operation is set up at a large Hotel Casino. Next time we'll talk about the typical response to an incident where public safety has been compromised.

See you then.



Friday, October 6, 2017

Week 5 pick.

OK, well, Thursday night football did not go quite the way I wanted it to, with the Patriots barely covering the  4.5 point spread but I lost my parlay as the game was under.  Way under.

This was not my pick of the week, BTW, just a parlay that I was feeling good about. So much for that feeling.

Anyway,on to my fiver star free pick of the week.  I am taking the Cincinnati Bengals at home over the Buffalo Bills. Here is my analysis:

The Bengals are coming off a 31-7 ass kickibg of the Browns last week and QB Andy Dalton is red hot, completing over 80% of his passes in the last two weeks. If they have any shot at the playoffs this year, they will need a win here to get to 2-3 heading in to their bye week.

Buffalo, meanwhile, is coming off impressive back to back wins over the Falcons and Broncos.  I see them having a letdown here on the road against a highly motivated Cincinnati squad. Take the Bengals and lay the 3 points.

Good luck!