One Born Every Minute: The Pregame.com Racket

When one wants to learn the techniques of baking a cake, he does not go to his mechanic for advice. When one wants to learn how to heal a sick dog, he doesn’t ask his butcher. And when one wants to make a winning bet, he doesn’t pay a failed gambler for advice on a play.

But that’s not what the fine folk at Pregame.com are hoping to hear. Pregame.com is one of the top tout sites in the United States today. Its handicappers are heard all over the radio, from ESPN’s Colin Cowherd to Jim Rome. When journalists want to show off their hipster gambling side, owner RJ Bell and his stable of handicappers are the ones they call.

But do these handicappers know what they are talking about? Do they win? Are they good enough to allow bettors to make money, taking into account the price of the picks and the vig taken from the bets?

Pregame.com says yes. However, an exhaustive study of over 14,000 picks from Pregame.com handicappers show that this is not the case. A $100 per unit bettor, wagering on each of those 14,000 plays, would have lost over $27,000 over the course of his gambling journey.

That’s not a surprise to most people who actively handicap. “The only reason a gambler sells picks is because he can’t make money on his own,” said one Las Vegas veteran. “Betting for a living is a tough game, and most can’t do it. The ones that can, do. They certainly don’t sell picks.”

But what about the individual pro’s at Pregame.com, one might ask. We tracked those players as well. 20 of the 26 handicappers were net losers over the course of the study. Handicapping star Fezzik lost his backers over $2,200 with his 95-95 record. Vegas Runner made nearly 1,000 plays and lost $4,100, all the while claiming wise-guy syndicates were giving him their top-secret plays. The list goes on:

Stephen Nover, whose expertise involves years of experience and an instructer teaching college courses at UNLV on handicapping, was 197-247 for $-12000.

Chuck Edel, claiming to be a Las Vegas professional sports bettor since 1992 and 2011 LV Review Journal college football contest champion, 215-234 for $-9468.

Andy Iskoe, a long-time Vegas gambler claiming two Top 10 finishes in the Hilton NFL SuperContest, was 192-197 for $-7773.

Scott Spreitzer, featured handicapper for over a decade on national TV: 375-328, $-6579

Joe Gavazzi, claiming an“unmatched career net profit (winning high volume since 1979)”, 343-311: $-6485

JR O’Donnell, former PGA caddy and “Five Factor” handicapper, 504-473: $-4239

Dwayne Bryant, self-described “low volume bettor; extremely selective “, 112-110: $-3801

Tony George, claiming “22 Years Experience – respected brand name, 48 time top 10 award”, 142-150: $-3569.

Rocky Atkinson, “ relentless, hard-working grinder “, 117-113: $-2745

Marco D’Angelo, declaring himself to be “Known as the “Country’s Big Play Expert”, and a three time World Champion in something, 269-254 for $-1922

Denver Money, NHL-only specialist, 161-160: $-1740

Johnny Detroit, bragging that he has been “Banned or had limits lowered by 9 sportsbooks and counting”, 67-72: $-1655

Ed Meyer, Physics PhD who parlayed that knowledge into selling sports picks, 328-331: $-1200

Ken Thomson, 25 Years announcing sports, announced for multiple colleges – connections at over 50, he claims, 192-171: $-828

Bryan Leonard, featured by ESPN, CNN, and MSNBC, pro bettor since 1984, 226-215: $-328

Brady Kannon, “won The Las Vegas Hilton NFL SuperContest in 2011”, doesn’t mention he was one of four on the ‘team’ making one pick each week. 92-84: $-190

It is quite remarkable to have such a crowd of losing gamblers, especially when you take into account the creative accounting done by Pregame.com. The handicappers can do their own line-shopping at Pregame, allowing them to get the best number that most clients are unable to bet. Vegas Runner likes Bodog, despite the fact that Bodog will quickly boot anyone who bets the off-market lines that are generated by the unsophisticated customer base at Bodog. Johnny Detroit, thinking it is a badge of honor to be banned at nine separate books, can still bet overnight lines at 5Dimes.com. Most sharp bettors get booted or limited from 5Dimes. Apparently Johnny Detroit doesn’t fall into that category.

Pregame.com also brags about the wealth of free information given out by the site. They don’t, however, explain the usefulness of said free information. Does it matter what the pros think is important in handicapping a game when they have clearly shown they have no skills in handicapping?

Which brings us to free plays put out by the Pregame Pros. Those, like many free things given out in this world, aren’t so free after all. Free plays from Pregame.com handicappers, over 250 plays, are hitting at a 43% rate. Quite a remarkable achievement. It isn’t easy picking 43% losers; coin-flipping donkeys should hit around 48-52%. The Pros at Pregame.com, however, can’t even do that. Bravo.

We will keep an eye on Pregame.com in this space. Specifically, we’ll release the previous night’s record each day, and do the dirty work an honest sports-handicapping business should do for themselves. Best of luck, Pregame.com

Richard Nichols
RNichols@rouletters.com