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Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and host of the True Gambling Stories podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @PokerTraditions.

Cashing Tickets: Stanford Stunner Saves An Eight-Leg Parlay Worth $62,000

Sean Chaffin September 25, 2018

Longshots, long odds, and big wins. It’s what many who head to the betting window hope for – cashing that big ticket. A few players were lucky enough to bring home some big bucks over the weekend in NFL and college football action.

A Cardinal miracle

A bettor at CG Sportsbook at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas completed a $365 eight-leg college football parlay that scored $61,932.98 on Saturday. The first few teams (Michigan State, Ohio State, Clemson) all covered easily. Stanford (-2.5) was another story, winning 38-31 after completing the most improbable of comebacks.

The Cardinal trailed 24-7 in the third quarter and were only 1% to win the game according to ESPN’s predictive analytics. Then one play turned it all around. Oregon was driving deep into Stanford territory in the third quarter to put the game out of reach, but Stanford returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown.

The Cardinal still appeared done and dusted with 51 seconds left in the game and the Ducks salting away the clock up 31-28, but Oregon running back CJ Verdell fumbled while fighting for extra yards and Stanford recovered. Moments later they kicked a game-tying field goal, sending it to overtime and keeping our bettor’s parlay alive.

Stanford opened the overtime period with a touchdown and then intercepted a Ducks pass in the end zone to seal the win and keep this parlay intact.

It must have been quite the scene in Vegas after Wisconsin closed out the big win.

Another huge parlay

In a bet that many only dream of, a bettor at the William Hill book in the SLS Las Vegas Casino completed a 10-leg parlay on Saturday. The $100 bet was all on college football and earned $72,000. It all came down to Old Dominion facing a +27.5 against Virginia Tech. The Monarchs went on to a massive upset beating the Hokies outright 49-35.

Amazingly, many individual legs on the parlay came through pretty easily with few close calls – even Ohio State, favored by 37, won handily over Tulane 49-6. Clemson was favored by 16 and won 49-21. Western Michigan was favored by 16.5 and beat Kansas State 35-6. Old Dominion then made it a sweet victory. It’s that easy!

Buffalo bonanza

Bills fans must have been happy as their team bounced back from big losses in the first two weeks of the NFL season. Buffalo had a surprise 27-6 victory over what was expected to be a tough Minnesota team at home.

One bettor at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia, must have had a premonition and booked a $500 straight bet on the Bills at 10-1 odds. It certainly paid off, netting him a hefty $5,000 profit. Cha-ching!

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‘Old Vegas’ Will Soon Have A New Sports Betting Experience For Gamblers

Sean Chaffin September 11, 2018
downtown las vegas

Downtown Las Vegas received some big sports betting news last week, as D Las Vegas President and CEO Derek Stevens announced new forthcoming sportsbooks for the Fremont Street area.

Stevens will introduce three new sportsbook and entertainment venues throughout his downtown Vegas properties. The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will serve as a prototype for the new developments, which will feature a multi-level venue and stadium-style seating. The Golden Gate is also expected to feature the largest single screen television in the city and numerous other HD screens and personalized customer service kiosks. The company is also developing a mobile sports app to complement the entire project.

“The State of Nevada, and specifically Las Vegas, has always been the hub for sports wagering in the United States and with the recent Supreme Court ruling, we believe sports wagering will accelerate tremendously,” Stevens says.

The book is expected to open in the third quarter of 2019.

Major downtown projects

After the Golden Gate facility is complete, sports venues will also be built at the new 18 Fremont project and then at the D Las Vegas, which serve as the hub for the sportsbook. 18 Fremont is a working name using the new property’s address.

“It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do,” Stevens told TheLines about entering the market. “But when we just had the Golden Gate and the D, we never thought we had a base big enough to justify getting into the business. Now that we’re building our third hotel casino, we need to be in the sportsbook business.”

Opening the first two books before adding a facility at the D will allow the company to perfect its system and service to customers before building at its signature property, Stevens said. The company is taking sports betting seriously. The book won’t be outsourced to another company like William Hill. It will instead be an in-house project.

Also, Stevens hired longtime Vegas industry veteran Matthew Metcalf as sports director. He previously worked at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, where he helped build it into one of the best sports betting scenes in the country. What can gamblers expect from the new sportsbooks that they can’t find elsewhere? Beyond unique design elements, Stevens directs this question to another interesting aspect and how it benefits gamblers.

“One thing that’s terrific is you’ve got a great ability to line shop because only 100 feet away you’ll have a William Hill over at the Plaza, and then you have an independent sports book at the Golden Nugget,” Steven says. “Even within just a couple hundred feet, you can line shop and get some pretty good value. It’s a great place to bet sports in Las Vegas.”

VSiN City

Along with the three sports facilities, Stevens’ company will be building a new studio for VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network) at its 18 Fremont property. The network launched in February 2017 from studios at South Point Hotel Casino with Brent Musburger as a lead voice.

The network broadcasts on Sirius-XM Radio and its website, and was the first network built exclusively catering to sports bettors.
Stevens, who also purchased a 10 percent interest in the network, said the network will continue to broadcast from South Point. The new studio will allow VSiN another option for programming and allow bettors to check out the in-depth news, analysis, and statistics from some of its experts first-hand. Fans and visitors will be able to watch and interact during live broadcasts. He also said the network has plans to open a studio in Atlantic City in the future as well.

Network officials were pleased to be partnering with Stevens.

“Since launching VSiN, one of the things I’m most proud of is the people we’ve been able to partner with to help grow this business,” CEO Brian Musburger said. “We’re thrilled to partner with another of this industry’s most successful luminaries, and honored to be involved in the 18 Fremont project. The VSiN team is looking forward to delivering the news and analysis sports bettors need to win – both here in Vegas and around the country.”

Downtown vision

The 18 Freemont project will be the third addition in an effort to revitalize downtown Vegas. That began with the opening of D Las Vegas in 2012. The property was formerly Fitzgerald’s and underwent a $22 million renovation to give it a more modern feel. A few years earlier, Stevens took over the Golden Gate and completed a major renovation in 2012. The property also received its first major expansion in 2017 by adding the property next door, formerly La Bayou casino.

The 18 Freemont project is a new casino being built at the former location of the Las Vegas Club. Stevens purchased the land in 2015 to continue his vision of revitalizing the west side of the Fremont Street Experience. It will be downtown’s first casino to be built from the ground up in decades.

So far, the new resort and the sportsbooks are without official names, but Stevens’ company is expected to announce those in October. Beyond the new sportsbook and VSiN studio, Stevens said there weren’t many specifics he could unveil quite yet.

With three properties, Stevens’ company will have a major stamp on downtown – an area that wasn’t too attractive to many visitors even only a decade ago. In recent years, however, the area has taken on a hip new vibe with revitalized properties like the D, Golden Gate, Plaza, and Golden Nugget as well as new restaurants and bars, the Fremont Street Experience, and the SlotZilla zip line attraction bringing more visitors to “old Vegas.”

And as more head downtown, Stevens is betting many of them are sports fans – and looking to wager in the new offerings. Stevens adds this about his new vision: “It’ll definitely be something worth seeing.”

Also Read: The Linq Sportsbook Opens In Las Vegas Featuring ‘Fan Caves’

Bettor Broadcasters: An Influx Of Sports Betting Programming Arrives For NFL Season

Sean Chaffin September 8, 2018
sports betting

That C-note is just eating a hole in your pocket. You want to make those Sunday NFL games interesting, but not sure where to “invest” your cash. Unders, overs, underdogs, favorites, trends, and streaks – it can all be a blur. Will the Patriots cover? How will the Cowboys do this weekend with so many unknowns?

With so much news moving so quickly in the world of sports betting, many media outlets and personalities are looking to offer some help. In just the last couple months, several new shows have been announced offering betting advice. Here’s’s guide to some of these new sports betting shows and what they offer.


While most may know the TVG network for its horse racing coverage, FanDuel announced in July after its merger with Paddy Poker Betfair that the company will be partnering with the network to produce shows about sports wagering. TVG, which also part of the company, has wide distribution and will allow the network to also branch out beyond horse racing.

The network announced this week that two new shows would be unveiled on Sundays during the NFL season. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, the network will air new programming to replace international horse racing. The first is the syndicated 30-minute show, The Barstool Sports Advisors,” a syndicated 30-minute show that will examine Sunday pro football games “in a way that only Barstool Sports can deliver,” according to the network. It will be followed by a separate 30-minute show exclusive to TVG titled “The Barstool Sports Advisors After Show.” Both programs will be hosted by Barstool Sports personalities Daniel “Big Cat” Katz, Stu “The Source” Feiner, the pseudonymous “PFT Commenter,” and Barstool founder Dave Portnoy.

FanDuel/TVG continues its commitment to sports wagering, and NFL news and advice with “More Ways to Win,” a two-hour show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. The live studio show will preview the day’s action from a betting standpoint, and is hosted by former ESPN and SportsCenter anchor Lisa Kerney. She’ll be joined by several sports experts offering their insight. The show will feature live reports from the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey (the only U.S. sportsbook next to a pro football stadium), certainly a new insight for NFL pregame show viewers.

SportsLine Edge

CBS Sports debuted this show before the 2018 NFL opener between the Eagles and Falcons. The program can be viewed on the CBS Sports HQ free streaming service, and is hosted by Nick Kostos and features former oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman. The show boasts a panel of experts and guests to offer plenty of betting advice, lines, and fantasy football advice. SportsLine Edge will air on the service Monday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. – noon and 2:30 to 3 p.m., and Sundays noon – 1 p.m. and 3:30 to 4 p.m. (all times Eastern). CBS Sports HQ is available on Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV.

I’ll Take That Bet

ESPN was early to the sports betting party. It has partnered with The Action Network for this new show, which debuted on the sports network’s new subscription service ESPN+ in May. “I’ll Take That Bet” airs multiple times a week from 5-6 p.m. (EST) and offers viewers gambling insight across several sports. As Action Network noted about the first show in May: “Here’s the gist of the show: Our two analysts — in today’s case, Chad Millman and Paul Lo Duca — draft their favorite picks of the day from a board of 10 bets. These are real wagers you can make across the gambling universe.” As more states legalize sports wagering, it’s a good bet ESPN may be heading to the betting windows more for insight and news.

Farrell on the Bets

Scott Farrell has been a longtime sports bettor and prognosticator. The host of the popular syndicated “Farrell on the Bench” show, courtesy of CBS Sports Radio, has added a new sports betting podcast to his media offerings. During the 30-minute show that debuted Aug. 28, Farrell offers his own unique takes and picks. The gravelly-throated talker will be busy. Along with his syndicated show, “Farrell on the Bets” will be produced six days a week.

Lock It In

Fox Sports is getting in on the sports betting act with this new show set to debut on FS1 on Monday, Sept. 10,  from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. (EST). It will be the network’s first show ever dedicated to sports betting and the network notes that the new program “aims to make the avid sports fan smarter and more informed about the world of sports betting.” Hosted by Rachel Bonnetta (pictured), the show also features “Cousin Sal” Iacono from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis, host of the nationally-syndicated “Outkick the Coverage,” will also appear and is a regular sports bettor, providing listeners with his “blood-bank” guarantee picks each week.

The VSiN Network

The Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) launched in February 2017 from its studios at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. The network is broadcast on Sirius-XM Radio and on its website and was the first network built to exclusively cater to sports bettors. Brent Musburger is the lead voice of the network after retiring from ESPN in January 2017. He hosts the show “My Guys in the Desert” each day with Vinny Magliulo and Josh Towers. The network offers other sports-betting and related programming round the clock, and seems well-positioned as news on lines, odds, and action becomes a bigger part of the sports media landscape.

Every Sunday, the VSiN Sunday Preview will air at 11:30 a.m. ET on Sports USA stations leading into the 1 p.m. NFL coverage. Matt Brown, who you’ll recognize as the host of TheLines Podcast, joins Dave Farra to provide sports betting information and analysis for the full slate of games.

Also Read: Is VSiN A Sports Betting Model For Mainstream Media Companies?

Crystal Ball: When Betting Super Bowl Futures, History Says Stick To Medium Favorites

Sean Chaffin September 4, 2018
Super Bowl Futures

Football is the biggest season for the American sports betting world. For pro football fans, that all culminates with the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. No doubt many bettors are already getting in on the fun with their Super Bowl futures bets.

With so much parity in the NFL, the good news for sports bettors is that there is always hope. Each year it seems a low-wrung team manages to emerge and make a run to the playoffs, and occasionally the Super Bowl. But overall, bettors should steer clear of these longshots if recent history means anything.

In 2017, the Eagles opened at around +5000 (50/1) before beating the Patriots 41-33 in February to bring home the title. The Patriots started as a 13/4 favorite. A hundred bucks on the Eagles would have earned a lucky bettor $5,000. That would certainly fund a nice vacation – after the season of course.

Parity makes those longer-odds teams seem possible for Super Bowl or conference champions. But a quick look at teams over the last decade shows that out of nowhere long-odds champions are rare. The Eagles were an outlier.

The futures betting sweet spot seems to be in the +1200 (12/1) to +1800 (18/1) range before the season gets underway. Here’s a look at those winners and their pre-season futures odds courtesy of

  • 2018 – Eagles (+5000)
  • 2017 – Patriots (+800)
  • 2016 – Broncos (+1000)
  • 2015 – Patriots (+1500)
  • 2014 – Seahawks (+1200)
  • 2013 – Ravens (+1200)
  • 2012 – Giants (+1500)
  • 2011 – Packers (+1200)
  • 2010 – Saints (+2500)
  • 2009 – Steelers (+1800)
  • 2008 – Giants (+3000)

In this span of 11 Super Bowls, only three longshots (27.3 percent) won it all. But teams with odds between +1000 and +1800 brought home the Lombardi Trophy eight times (72.7 percent). So you’re looking at the Browns at 80-1 or up and coming squads like the Titans (+3400) or Chiefs (+2800), that money might be better spent.

This year, only around 10 teams fall within that betting range from the Rams and Vikings at +1100 to the Saints and Falcons at +1800. While the smart money should probably go there, the thrill of hitting on a bet on recent Super Bowls champs like the Giants, Saints, or Eagles convinces many bettors open the wallet for that longshot.

As the season approaches, here’s a look at every NFL teams’ odds to win the Super Bowl at the various online sportsbooks in New Jersey:

TeamDraftKingsFanDuelSugarHouseBetStars888sportMGMCaesarsWill Hill
Green Bay+1200+1100+1200+1200+1200+1100+1000+1000
Kansas City+1400+1300+1400+1400+1400+1200+1000+1200
LA Chargers+2000+2000+2000+2000+2000+2000+2500+1800
LA Rams+650+650+650+650+650+700+600+500
NE Patriots+750+750+750+750+750+700+600+750
NO Saints+2000+1700+2000+1800+2000+1800+2200+1300
NY Giants+6600+8000+6600+8500+6600+8000+10000+6000
NY Jets+8000+16000+8000+15000+8000+15000+6000+15000
SF 49ers+2800+3600+2800+3300+2800+3300+5000+2800
Tampa Bay+3300+4500+3300+3500+3300+3500+3500+5000

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Bets And Birdies: Three Memorable Phil Mickelson Wagers On The Golf Course

Sean Chaffin August 23, 2018
Phil Mickelson

The golf season may be winding down, but fans will be eager to check out at least one more event on the horizon in 2018. Golf legends Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are now confirmed to play a winner-take-all heads-up match on Thanksgiving weekend at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas.

The winner will take home $9 million. Woods and Mickelson are the top money earners in tour history and Mickelson would close the gap by a lot if he were to win this one as the underdog. Woods opened as a -130 favorite (Mickelson +110) at the Westgate SuperBook in Vegas when the match was first announced. The line moved to Woods -180 (Mickelson +150) at Westgate as of Wednesday evening.

Every shot can be viewed live, in pay-per-view, on the B/R Live app. Bettors will have no shortage of options to wager on the match; props and in-play betting will be a huge draw, especially in legal betting markets like New Jersey and Nevada where mobile betting will be available.

Mickelson said during a practice round for the Northern Trust Open this week that details are being worked out to allow various challenges during the match with Woods, including the longest drive, longest putt, and closest shot to the pin.

No stranger to throwing down a few bucks on a bet (OK, thousands usually), Mickelson is an old pro in the wagering game. We thought it would be fun to look at four interesting bets he made over the years, including three that happened right on the golf course.

Two million bucks? No problem

That’s no small football bet, but during the 2017 federal securities fraud trial of Las Vegas businessman and gambler Billy Walters, court documents revealed Mickelson had transferred $1.95 million to the gambler in 2012, according to ESPN.

The documents revealed: “Records show that in July 2012 Mickelson owed a debt to William T. Walters, the defendant, related to sports gambling.” Not one to welch on a bet, Mickelson transferred the money to Williams that September. No details on what Mickelson bet on, but his golf bets seem to have turned out better.

Not quite two million bucks

In a 2014 Masters practice round, Mickelson left a shot just off the green on the par-3 sixth hole. A fan said it was too tough a shot and Mickelson wouldn’t get up and down. A $1 bet was made – and the fan won.

Once again, Mickelson paid the bet, but had to borrow a five-dollar bill from a caddie, noting that he doesn’t carry small bills. The fan also took home a keepsake – a Mickelson golf ball. At least this loss didn’t require a bank transfer.

Putt it, bitch

On the course, apparently, Phil is money when bigger cash is on the line. Paul Azinger told PGA Tour Radio about a Mickelson shot many years back that netted Lefty a few thousand bucks against some golf legends.

On the 18th hole, all four golfers in the group had birdie putts, with Mickelson’s ball closest at 15 feet. The three others missed, and each had $1,600 on the line. If Mickelson made the putt, they owed him that amount.

“If he makes it, we lose $1,600,” Azinger said. “If we beg out, we forfeit $800. But if he misses it, we only lose $400. So Payne (Stewart) says, ‘I’m out.’ I said it was downhill, right-to-left. He’s not making it.”

Ben Crenshaw also begged out, locking up $800 for Mickelson. Azinger decided to stay at the full amount and said to Mickelson, “Putt it, bitch.” Lefty holed it, of course.

“Payne starts smiling and high-fiving Mickelson because I just lost $1,600 and he only lost $400,” Azinger said. “I was so mad. That’s when I knew Mickelson was going to be a really good player.”

Tin cup cash

One crazy Mickelson bet came during the filming of the movie “Tin Cup.” Cheech Marin played a caddie in the film and spoke to Golf Digest about an amazing shot he witnessed.

“We were between scenes, standing around, and someone came up with a bet,” Marin said. “There was this really tall pine tree, and someone said to Phil Mickelson, ‘I bet you can’t put your shoulder against the tree, drop a ball and hit it over the tree.’ The shot basically had to go straight up. Everybody threw in a hundred bucks. I think there was $1,200 in the pot. And he did it! When the ball was still in the air, Mickelson bent over, picked up the money, and put it in his pocket.”

Tough putts, pine trees – no problem.

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NFL Preseason Betting? Opportunity Awaits The Diligent Gambler

Sean Chaffin August 10, 2018
NFL Preseason Betting

Sports fans can finally cheer. The football season is here. (Well, preseason football anyway). While the games are pretty lame and feature many players who won’t make an official roster, they do offer something many fans have been waiting for – a chance to bet a few bucks on a football game.

Football remains king at the betting window. Of $4.8 billion wagered in Nevada in 2017, one-third was put on college and pro football ($1.7 million). Can money be won on the preseason? Is there any possible way to figure out if the Chargers’ second-stringers can top the Cardinals third-stringers this weekend? Some say the preseason offers a real chance to cash a few tickets (or get a nice feeling when that win pops up on your phone app).

Be in the know

Steve Golden with has been a sports handicapper for 12 years. He says betting preseason involved deeper research, but bets can be won. Younger teams that may be up and comers may have more willingness to play some starters or better players longer. An opportunity might be there for a knowledgeable gambler.

Veteran teams resting starters may be at a disadvantage in the preseason (at least for bettors), and drop games to inferior teams looking to build momentum with a win or nice performance.

“It’s mostly about information and knowing game plans,” Golden says. “Teams looking to have an upstart or breakout year with fresh faces are solid options. They have more motivation to perform and create a good culture of winning.”

A team that would be a heavy underdog in the regular season may have a shot at a preseason win or at least keep it closer than expected. Professional sports bettors take advantage of situations like this.

“A lot of people think the preseason is a complete crapshoot,” professional bettor Ron Boyles told ESPN. “I don’t think there’s too many things better, actually.”

Boyles advises watching for trends. For example, Mike Zimmer is 14-3 in the preseason and Pete Carroll is 34-14-1 against the spread in these games. It’s important to know what to expect in the game. Will the starting quarterback play a half or be pulled after one series? Any extra information can help.

“The best thing is finding out a team that is game-planning against a team that is not,” Boyles said. “It is just like free money, and I like to bet the first half.”

Fantasy focused

Preseason can also be a great place to really scour box scores for players who might break out. Owners in deep fantasy leagues, especially those that draft early, have a shot to load up players on their watch lists.

Breakout players come from every round in the draft and preseason offers an opportunity to really be in the know.

And who hasn’t had a player go down in the preseason. Maybe you had Ryan Tannehill in 2017. Or Cameron Meredith. Or Julian Edelman. All faced season-ending injuries before the season even started.

Quick-thinking owners check out those backups for a diamond in the rough.

The preseason may not be real football, but a winner is a winner – whether cashing a ticket or finding that breakout star to fill a roster need. And it at least serves as a nice replacement until the real games kick off.

OK, not really. But will Phillip Rivers play at all on the road against the Cardinals? The Chargers are 2-6 straight up and against the spread in their last eight exhibition games. Hmmm…