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Four years ago, the offshore betting world was rocked by the failure of Aces Gold. While many players were surprised, most professionals and other gaming companies weren’t – any sportsbook that books irresponsibly, offers “unique numbers” or unreasonable bonuses is always at risk of going under.
Although the industry has matured and companies with deep pockets like Pinnacle Sports continue to pull away from the pack, as the end of the NFL season approaches you should ask yourself an important question: How safe is my money?
The sad reality that some players risk being slow paid or not paid at all has still not been completely eliminated from the offshore industry. For those of us that have followed offshore gaming since the beginning, the only surprising thing about the recent failure of Rich Coast Sports is that it happened during the regular season. The fact is that there is a greater risk of failing sports books going out of business in the two weeks after the Super Bowl than during any other period.
This has been a rough year for some sports books. Many that are publicly-traded have already issued profit warnings to the markets citing: “the NFL sports betting margins in the US have been adversely affected recently as a result of a large number of favourites winning” or “adversely affected by a run of poor trading results on professional American Football”.
Books that cater to recreational players were hit particularly hard, since the favorites covered at a 58% clip this season. Given many books have chased the traditional “dog and under” sharp players to routinely take positions on sides against the public, it has left them exposed to this run of results.
The possibility that your money could disappear when a sports book goes under is a frightening thought. However, with just a little planning, you can greatly mitigate the risk and ease your mind. Start by making an inventory of the sports books you use then ask yourself: Which of these has ANY chance of going under?
Questions to ask yourself when evaluating these companies, include: How long have they been in business? Are they offering uncharacteristically large reload or sign-up bonuses? Perhaps they offer an increasing number of no juice games or free half points? Are they putting out “unique numbers” (a sure sign that they are gambling and not booking the games)? What are the forums and gambling press saying?
The safest bet is to simply avoid playing at any place you fear losing your money. If you choose to play at an unsafe book, keep your balance as low as possible – only enough to make bets you know you will make.
After the Conference Championships are concluded on January 22, there are two weeks before the Super Bowl. How much do you need at each book? You want enough money to bet on the game and perhaps on props as well. If you have already made your Super Bowl bets or aren’t making any bets at a certain book, withdraw your money.
Most books in trouble will try making payouts in the weeks before the Super Bowl as they are still collecting deposits and don’t want to do anything to prevent those from drying up. If you wait until after the Super Bowl, your odds of collecting from a failing sports book drops drastically.
There’s another reason to keep less money at individual sportsbooks and that’s all thanks to payment processors like NETeller. Your money at NETeller is flexible since you can have it credited at most gaming companies almost instantaneously. At Pinnacle Sports, NETeller payouts are made seven days a week and the money is usually in your account within a matter of minutes. If your sports book cannot offer this same level of service, it may be another sign to lower your balance to avoid disappointment.
While you’ll want to keep a healthy balance at books you play at regularly, lesser-played books are best kept with balances sufficient for only a few bets. If you see an opportunity, you can always re-deposit. It’s one thing to make a conscious decision to risk money at a weak book with a balance you can afford to lose. It’s quite another to get blind-sided when your withdrawal request is denied and the sportsbook’s website disappears. Spend 20 minutes to ensure your accounts are in order, and you won’t have to worry on Monday, February 6.
You can however rest assured that your money is safe at Pinnacle Sports. Established in 1998, our low margin wagering offers players up to 60% better value on NFL sides than other books. This means we are a high-volume, low-margin shop that always tries to balance action on games. With low minimums and the highest limits online, we attract both novices new to sports betting and seasoned pros alike.
Whether it’s the Monday after the Super Bowl or any other time, you’ll always receive lightning-fast NETeller payouts at Pinnacle Sports. If you don’t believe me, try us at www.pinnaclesports.com
We still have playoff games before the Super Bowl. Which teams do the wise guys like? Read below…
Washington (+9) at Seattle
The Redskins’ offense was flat last week. They won, but managed only 136 yards of total offense. Washington forced three turnovers, including a 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The Bucs had over twice as many yards, but were one for three in the red-zone. Everything that could go wrong for Tampa Bay did, although the Redskins still looked lackluster. Washington will need a perfect game to beat the Seahawks, which boast the top scoring offense in the NFL at 28.2 points per game.
Our opener of Redskins +9 (-113) saw heavy two-way action. Washington is clearly the public team, with twice as many wagers on them as on Seattle. Overall, the larger bets have been on the Redskins, but we are still relatively flat on the game. The sharps are split on this one and have played both sides, with some buying Washington to +10 and others Seattle to -7.5.
New England (+3) at Denver
Tom Brady is now 10-0 as a starter in playoff games for the Patriots. In addition to his playoff streak, the Patriots won the final four regular season games that he started and played the entire game (many Patriot starters were rested against Miami in week 17). The Broncos are coming off a bye week and could benefit from the return of cornerback Darrent Williams. How much does that bye week matter? Since 1990, home teams off a bye week in the playoffs are an impressive 40-10.
We opened with the Patriots at +3 (-112). Once again, the public likes the underdog by a 2:1 margin and the wise guys are split. There has been a moderate amount of point-buying, which makes a 3-point Denver win a bad result for us.
Pittsburgh (+9.5) at Indianapolis
Despite being the only team in the AFC to make the playoffs six times in the last seven years, the playoffs have been a general nightmare for the Colts. In the last seven years, they are 2-3 in Wildcard games and 1-3 in Divisional/Championship games. This Indy team has something those past Colts teams didn’t – the #1 defense in the AFC, allowing just 15.4 points per game.
This game opened with Pittsburgh at +10 (-111) and saw light volume. A few of our winning players took the Steelers early at +10, but the sharps have mainly avoided this match-up. We have taken slightly more Steelers action that has caused this line to drift down to +9.5.
Carolina (+2.5) at Chicago
This game features the #1 and #2 defenses in the NFC. Chicago allows only 12.6 points per game, while Carolina gives up 15.2. The last time these two teams played, the Bears recorded eight sacks on Jake Delhomme en route to a 16-3 win.
From a bookmaking perspective, this game is almost a mirror of the New England-Denver game. We opened with Panthers at +3 -111 and took heavy two-way action. The wise guys were playing both sides buying off of the “3”, setting up another reverse-middle situation for us. The line on the game has now settled at Carolina +2.5 (+105).