‘Gamble On’ 206 Highlights: Give Those California Tribal Lobbyists A Raise!

Podcast features roadblocks in Cali, smooth sailing in Kansas, college football talk with Alex Hardin
pay raise ahead
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Over the course of more than four years and 200 episodes, Gamble On has established itself as the leading gaming industry podcast, delivering news and analysis as well as interviews with the most influential names in gambling every week.

Episode 206, posted Aug. 25, 2022, features an interview with RotoGrinders analyst Alex “fearmyturtle” Hardin, who ranked third out of nearly 6,000 DFS players last year on the RG college football leaderboard. With the CFB season set to kick off this weekend, Hardin shared some of his research and wagering philosophies specific to the college gridiron.

“Most weeks, I won’t have a strong take on a lot of the big marquee games. Like, Alabama’s playing Georgia and it’s minus-3, I’m like, ‘Well, looks about right, that’s going to be a good game,’” Hardin said. “In general, I’m looking more at the smaller conferences. That’s where I think I would have an edge.”

Listen to “206: California GOP opposes Prop 27, Kansas ready to launch, college football betting with Alex Hardin” on Spreaker.

Hardin’s money quotes

Who’s going to win the national championship? Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia are all priced at short money, as the sportsbooks try not to lose big on any of those three favorites.

“The problem with this [national championship] market specifically is there’s such a high hold percentage,” Hardin said. “If you go through all the odds and add up all the implied odds, it’s going to be, some books … 200 percent. So it sets a landscape that’s tough to identify true value.”

Hardin on betting spreads in mismatches: “This offseason, I was interested in those high numbers, so I found a really good data source that had all the closing lines of the last, like, 25,000 college football games by point spread. Closing lines of minus-30 or more, they covered 49 percent of the time. You’re expecting something around 50. But when you move to minus-40, they covered 47 percent. And spreads of 50 and over, the favorite covered only 42 percent of the time.”

Hardin on when a powerhouse school has to turn to its backup quarterback: “If Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young goes out, and they’re a 35-point favorite, and Jalen Milroe comes in and plays, to me that doesn’t change anything. But if they’re on the road at Georgia? That might be a bit more impactful. Then there’s teams where if the starter gets hurt and the backup plays, they might actually be better! Yeah, I’m looking at you, Clemson.”

Gamble rambles

  • Podcast hosts Eric Raskin and John Brennan analyzed the latest news impacting California’s hopes of passing a sports betting ballot measure in November: the state’s Republican Party aligning with the state’s Democratic Party (!) by opposing Proposition 27. “Some lobbyists in Sacramento for the tribes clearly deserve a bonus and deserve it immediately,” Brennan said. “Because the fact is, not all tribes oppose this, but apparently the ones that matter do, and the ones that have the most power do.” Raskin offered a contrarian take in trying to identify how the mobile betting bill — clearly looking like an underdog now — could still pass: “What if all the confusion created by the various ads leads, say, to 75 or 80 percent of the people stepping into the voting booth to just not vote on these measures at all, because they’re so confused? Maybe in a twist, the confusion actually helps Prop 27 pass if most of the people voting on it are people who are informed and support it.”
  • Like California, Florida is facing a complex slog toward legalizing sports wagering, and this one is tied up in the courts. Brennan offered analysis of the latest legal briefs: “This is an effort to clean up some messes, really,” he said. “The real bottom line is that I think if a judge is inclined to side with the [Seminole] Tribe, these briefs provide enough ammunition to make for a factual-seeming rule now. Whether it will be accurate based on the minutia of Florida gambling law? That one’s above my pay grade. But I think the tribe, and maybe more importantly Florida bettors who want to gamble legally, I’d say they saw their prospects improve a bit.”
  • There are no such complications in Kansas, where a sports betting launch date has been announced: next Thursday, Sept. 1. This would make Kansas the second-fastest state, behind only Iowa, to go from legalization to launch. Raskin is a fan of the legislation overall, even though he suspects “they’re leaving some money on the table” with a 10% tax rate. “But, no restrictions on college betting, eight mobile operators is plenty for a smaller state — this is a solid approach, I’d say.”
  • Closing thoughts: Brennan wrapped up the podcast by noting what Jeff Gural, a casino and racetrack owner in New York and New Jersey, had to say recently about his expectations for where the third NYC-area casino license will land. Your hint: Pete Alonso might be able to smash a baseball through a kiosk with one hard swing. 

Photo: Shutterstock

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