CBS Sports Says No NFL ‘Point Spread’ Talk During Broadcasts In 2018

Posted By Marc Meltzer on August 28, 2018
nfl point spread

CBS Sports President Sean McManus says that their announcers will avoid gambling talk during football broadcasts.

Thank goodness.

It’s painful to listen to mainstream media try to weave sports betting into a game when they have no idea what they’re talking about. Not a single person on Twitter showed any mercy to poor Joe Buck when he tried to explain the futures odds for the Cleveland Browns. (It would be nice if the intelligent sports bettors offered advice to TV networks on how to discuss sports betting information but that’s a story for another day.)

Thankfully CBS Sports will avoid the same issues with an announcer trying to speak about gambling. The last thing anyone needs to hear is Jim Nantz flubbing the point spread or Tony Romo trying to comprehend the difference between over and under for a prop bet.

Someday Nantz might say “Hello friends, the New York Jets might be 3-to-1 to win the Super Bowl at the Westgate in Las Vegas but they’re a seven-point underdog at home against the New England Patriots today.” The announcers just aren’t educated to talk like this…yet.

Get the knowledge first

Believe it or not, sports betting is still not mainstream. It’s going to take time for sports betting to become mainstream. While there are plenty of people who gamble on sports, the majority of Americans have never placed a wager. According to a survey by the American Gaming Association, last year not even half of sports fans say they’ve bet on sports.

Most NFL announcers are older broadcasters or NFL players. There’s a learning curve for older sports media talent to learn gambling terminology. On the record, most football players won’t admit to gambling knowledge. It will take time to cycle new broadcasters with knowledge of sports betting into mainstream media jobs so be patient with the gambling talk during broadcasts.

Over the years the major TV networks have dabbled with discussing gambling on football. However, that’s a Jimmy The Greek here and an Al Michaels there. There hasn’t been much gambling talk during actual game broadcasts.

Fantasy football is a multi-billion dollar business but it’s still only a fringe part of NFL broadcasts. While the broadcasts might highlight the numbers on a screen crawl the broadcasters don’t discuss it much beyond the occasional “fantasy owners will be happy with that score.” That’s similar to Al Michaels saying things like a game is OVER-whelming.

The majority of fantasy football talk is during TV shows devoted to the topic. Game broadcasts are devoted to broadcasting the game. Gambling will be treated the same for now and CBS is making the right play by just outlawing sports betting talk during the games.

The announcers don’t even know the rules of the games they’re calling. Good luck to the announcers trying to understand and the Use of Helmet rule. Not mentioning gambling alleviates any possible stress on the broadcast teams for the 2018 season.

Sports betting will become legal in more states in 2019. When it’s legal in two of the most populated states in the country (New York and Pennsylvania) there will be a much demand for football announcers to speak about the topic. Meanwhile, analysts can take the year to research and learn about sports betting.

Legal gambling is just getting off the ground for most of the country outside of Nevada and it’s going to take the noobz some time to learn about sports betting. Be patient.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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