Secret to handicapping: Avoiding sleep

Jan 4, 2005 7:05 AM

 

The life of a top oddsmaker is about statistics, sacrifice, and coffee to stay awake.

"I write constantly," said Ken White, head honcho at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, supplier of lines to 95 percent of the sports books nationwide.

"For instance, I keep a notebook on all the players from each team in college football, the NBA and the NFL," White said. "I do the game logs by hand and rank the teams according to player ratings."

About the only free time White has is reserved for watching games. Often, the watching and updating are simultaneous.

"You have to devote all seven days each week to the business in order to stay ahead," who learned his trade from dad Pete. "We are doing things at LVSC that have never been done before. It’s a lot bigger job than just supplying an opening line."

White and his staff have the fun task of playing out the regular season, playoffs and eventual championship game on paper daily. The things sports junkies did at home for free, these guys are getting paid to do. How great is that?

"It’s what we enjoying doing," White said. "Yes, it’s very time consuming. But, this is a job a lot of people want and there isn’t much turnover."

Here’s a sneak peak at how the NFL and NBA will wind up as of this moment.

Super Bowl: Pittsburgh is a 53-47 percent winner over Philadelphia.

NBA Finals: Phoenix defeats Miami in seven games.

"There is no other way to find out how good a team is unless you do a player profile," White said. "For instance, I have the Seattle Supersonics projected for 51 wins and finishing to second to Minnesota in their division. Ask me again in a few days, and it could all be different."

White is now competing his 250-team college basketball notebook, which he said takes an hour per team. You do the math.

"Basketball is having a great year on both fronts," White said. "The talent pool in college has never been higher, which is why so many have been able to make the jump to the pros with success. The NBA wants to see 125-115 games, and the rules changes have allowed that to happen. Scoring is up about five points per contest."

White’s top two in college basketball are Illinois and North Carolina, which he calls "1 and 1A." The major disappointment, Memphis. Teams to watch: Louisville, Duke and Cincinnati, although the Bearcats nod was prior to the blowout in Vegas against Illinois.

"I’m a believer in the philosophy Rick Majerus (longtime Utah coach) used to get his teams ready for the postseason," White said. "Majerus believed in wearing down his team before the conference games began in order to test his players out. He felt that would bring his team back stronger for the stretch run.

"I use that mindset to evaluate the teams," he said. "Coaches never used to do that. They would set their teams up for failure by playing cupcakes."

White is not a believer in future bets, saying it’s money thrown away to pick one team out of a bunch. But, he did give out a few college teams to bet against.

And what of the future?

"I can see fantasy leagues being a part of what we study within two or three years," he said. "It’s been tried before, but I think with work there is a great market value with the fans. Books could put a card out with eight QBs, 16 RBs, 16 WRs. eight kickers and one defense.

"Let everyone make selections," he continued. "League members can choose two QBs, four RBs, four WRs, two kickers and a defense. On the back of a card, you can show how your players receive points. We’re always trying to explore and do everything we can to help the industry."

Sleep is optional.tried before, but I think with work there is a great market value with the fans. Books could put a card out with eight QBs, 16 RBs, 16 WRs. eight kickers and one defense.

"Let everyone make selections," he continued. "League members can choose two QBs, four RBs, four WRs, two kickers and a defense. On the back of a card, you can show how your players receive points. We’re always trying to explore and do everything we can to help the industry."

Sleep is optional.