Michael Shackleford is a former professional actuary and Adjunct Professor of Casino Math at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has made a career of analyzing casino games and is the author of ‘Gambling 102’.
He has plenty of insights to share on the Sports Predictor podcast:
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Michael Shackleford (also known as “The Wizard of Odds”) is an American mathematician and an actuary, best known for his professional analysis of the mathematics of the casino games. He is also an adjunct professor of actuarial science and mathematics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He became interested in the mathematics of gambling at a young age after reading John Scarne’s Guide to Casino Gambling. Shackleford discovered his affinity for mathematics when he first began to study algebra in school which led him on a path toward becoming the Wizard of Odds.
In terms of my own sports betting, I went through a big phase here trying to mainly bet exotic stuff, especially NFL proposition bets, especially on the Superbowl. I used to bet hundreds of thousands of dollars on Superbowl props and I’ve also looked for lines that I just thought were off.
For example, I used to at least perceive a lot of value in betting money lines on underdogs in the NFL and college and as well as taking advantage of things like half-point parlay cards, teasers that cross the three and the seven.
A book that I really want to put in a good word for is Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong. It takes a very mathematical look at at sports betting. It requires absolutely no handicapping knowledge and it just looks at taking advantage of things like parlays and teasers and I must say that this book rather out of date now and a lot of the advice is no longer valid, but I pretty much followed the Wong philosophy on how I made bets.
He does not say one word about handicapping and I know other people here in Vegas that do pretty well in sports betting and they don’t handicap. They pretty much follow the philosophy that the market is efficient and they tried to take advantage of certain kinds of exotic bets that the sports books offer that, if you look at the data, offers a player advantage.
For example, I’m sure you know that you can buy a half point off of a bet against a spread in the NFL, but if you can get that half point for only 10 cents off of three, it’s very valuable. The price to pay for a half point off a three is somewhere between 20 and 25 cents. So to get it at a 10 is a bargain.