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For its match the following day at Napoli, Spezia was getting two goals on the South Point app late Tuesday night, Jan. 5. Noah Parker had handicapped it at 1.5 goals. He viewed the -120 Spezia price as negligible.

Enticed by such value, the 36-year-old professional bettor wagered on Spezia, plus two goals at -120. He went to bed. He awoke to see Napoli -1.5 goals at -120 at that property.

Spezia won, 2-1.

Parker jokes about wishing he had put a few bucks on the Spezia money line, between +800 and +1033 offshore, but he admits that would have been folly. Raising two young children nullifies such lottery shots. Tact and discipline are paramount.

His match diagnosis involved experience and guile. Luck too, he adds. It was an artful case study that might benefit those who attempt to navigate the tricky beautiful game.

From Queens, N.Y., Parker moved to Las Vegas with family in high school, enlisted in the Marines and returned to the desert to write tickets at several sportsbooks, honing his numerical aptitude.

He left that side of the counter to pursue betting on sports as a livelihood. His near-photographic memory requires no notebooks, no daily recording of scores, records or odds.

All of those figures — SU, ATS, O/U, Last 5, etc. — on the other side of the game sheets? Parker never glances at them. He knows them. He mostly deals with day-of matches, or overnights, sometimes factoring extended road trips or homestands into his calculations.

He keeps the mortgage paid. Four years ago, William Hill, no longer desiring his patronage, had him empty his account, of $15,000. The South Point is his lone app, because it doesn’t offer in-game options — too much temptation, he says. In person, he shops all around town.

Le Aquilotti (the Little Eagles) formed in 1906 in La Spezia, the Ligurian Sea port that serves as Italy’s main naval base. Not so long ago, the club eked through bankruptcy and fraud episodes.

The history lesson is fitting since this is a historic season for Spezia Calcio, its first in Italy’s top-flight Serie A, which played into Parker’s assessment of its venture into Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples.

He figured the hosts, in the top third of the league, would approach the Eagles like the textbook minnows they are, not taking such neophytes so seriously. Spezia resides in the bottom third of Serie A.

In its past four games, Spezia had dropped three by a goal each. A bad side, Parker deduced, “but not horrible.” Napoli had just won 4-1 at Cagliari, but of its previous five matches only one had been decided by two goals.

Getting those two goals was vital value. If Napoli won by three, c’est la vie, said Parker — it proved it’s the better side.

“My victory looks good, like I did a solid job of handicapping, but I knew I got a bit lucky to win the game straight up.”

After a listless, scoreless first half, Andrea Petagna

later, Spezia striker M’Bala Nzola equalized with a penalty kick.

In the 77th minute, an Eagles defender got dismissed by a second yellow card. Spezia was down a man. Parker monitored his smartphone. Four minutes later, midfielder Tommaso Pobega scored to give Spezia the 2-1 advantage.

“I was in the catbird seat,” said Parker.

In shots taken, Napoli had the 29-9 edge. In shots on target, the home side dominated, 10-3.

The final score, though, favored the upstarts and a professional’s wallet.

“I would have taken a tie all day, and they actually won,” he said. “I saw value, took advantage. On to the next game.”


Udinese at Sampdoria, Total 2.5 Ov +110: Sampdoria has tallied nine against Udinese in their past three meetings, and more than 2.5 goals have been scored in 15 of Sampdoria’s previous 16 home matches. OVER


Juventus at Inter Milan, Total 2.5 Ov -148: Inter, featuring Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, is second in Europe with a 4.24 goals-plus-assists rate. Juve, and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, is fourth at 3.94. Grab a Moretti, relax and enjoy. OVER

Genoa at Atalanta, Total 3 Ov -151: Josip Iličić has returned to form for Atalanta, which has outscored foes 15-2 in its past four inside Gewiss Stadium. OVER


AC Milan -1 -117 at Cagliari: Since October 1998, Milan is 25-1-7 against Cagliari, with a 63-23 goals edge. AC MILAN

Last week: 1-3

Season: 30-33-3

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today, covering soccer and producing sports betting features. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. He is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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