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Since I decided, about three weeks ago, to start releasing Syndicate Selections in my pick packages, I've been getting questions about them. In my first article I answered the question "How often do you release Syndicate selections?"   In this article we'll discuss:

Ques. 2:  Why does the Syndicate bet so late?
There's an old Las Vegas saying, "Smart money bets early, smart money bets late.  Those in the middle take the bait."

Once upon a time, in the ancient world, about 30 years ago, in a land far, far away called Las Vegas, before there was a Michael "Roxy" Roxborough or a Las Vegas Sports Consultants, there lived a kindly old King of odds-makers named Bob Martin.  Martin is considered the best oddsmaker to have ever lived.  Unlike the weak excuse for lines foisted upon bookmakes since 1983, Bob Martin's lines were rock solid.

Martin ran the Churchill Downs Sportsbook, and later the Union Plaza sports book.  Until he was arrested by the FBI in 1983 for taking an out-of-state bet, Martin's lines were used by every bookmaker across the entire country.

One of the ways that Bob Martin assured that the line he posted to the public would adequately split opinion, and stay solid, was to offer the preliminary line privately to bettors known to have the best opinion and bet the most money in town.  After they bet, Martin would make changes to the line and post it publicly.

Martin was known for booking very large action to anyone, including the most astute bettors, without blinking an eye.  The wussy corporate bookmakers of today's Las Vegas, who limit bets in some sports to a maximum of $2000 to $5000, are very different from Bob Martin, who sometimes placed $5000 limits in the other direction, making the minimum bet $5000, and taking bets as high as $1.5 million.  A few years before his death, Martin is quoted as having said, "I don't understand bookmakers today.  Taking bets is their business, and then they don't take bets.  When I was making book I didn't tell the clerk to take the line down when certain bettors were on the phone for fear they'd win a bet.  If you have a good line and know hot to make book, you don't need to be afraid."

It was in Bob Martin's world that the "smart money" got the reputation for betting early.  Martin allowed them to make substantial bets into the preliminary line without moving it.  Although betting early has disadvantages due to lack of information such as weather and the extent of injuries, the wiseguys considered that disadvantage to be outweighed by being able to bet into a line that was significantly better than the spread that was publicly posted later.  

After Martin left the business, the amount of ealy betting decreased significantly.  The independent bookmakers such as Churchill Downs are gone.  Hotel/Casino owners such as Jackie Guaghan of the Union Plaza are also gone.  Las Vegas sportsbook policy is now set by Harvard MBA's in far away coporate offices who never made a bet and don't understand the business.  The main oddsmaker, Las Vegas Sports Consultants, is not a bookmaker.  They don't take bets.  There is no preliminary line being offered for the wiseguys to bet into.  

Today, in Las Vegas, lottery numbers are handed out to the people on line before the first point spread is offered.  Everyone, the smart money and the tourist with miniature beer cans hanging off his hat all have a chance to bet first.  As bets are made, the line moves.  If one or two big bets are made before your number comes up, the line has moved by the time you get to the window.  

Much like the coporate sportsbooks in Las Vegas, the majority of offshore bookmakers are wiseguy phobic.  The books that are willing to open the first line severely limit early bets to amounts that are of little interest to large bettors such as the syndicate groups.  

The original advantage to betting into the early line is gone.  Now, the only reason to bet early is line manipulation.  The early betting is very thin.  Big bets make a much bigger splash early than the same size bet will make late.  The Wall Street Bankers put a great deal of effort into disguising the side they truly like, and a great deal of money into maumpulating lines to their own benefit.  It takes less money to move a line 1.5 to 2 points in early action than in late action when the public money starts pouring in.  

Syndicates will often bait the public in daily sports by betting the wrong side early in the day or overnight, and in weekly sports by betting early in the week.  The "steam" followers, seeing the line move, will push the line even further in the wrong direction.  Once the public betting starts in earnest, the Syndicate can then bet larger sums the other way, on the side they really like, with very little effect on the line.  At that point, the Syndicate money is merely balancing the money on the wrong side coming in from the public, who believe they are betting with the smart money.  Only when the Syndicate money outweighs the public bets will the line "steam" the other way.  

Last year, Pregame had a page on which a line service in Vegas was posting the teams receiving recognized wiseguy action.  After one season, Pregame stopped offering the service.  When it was discontinued, RJ cited complaints about the huge number of games, the many opposite sides being bet, and the poor results.  The main cause of the observed problems was line manipulation.  A large number of the early wiseguy bets were made on the wrong side, simply to bait the public.  That accounted for the extremely poor results.  

The opposite sides appeared when the wiseguys later began to bet the other way and that betting was discovered.  Other opposite sides were caused, no doubt, by the fact that wiseguys are not monolithic in their betting.  Sometimes one group likes one side and a different group likes the other side.  Finally, for those games in which the action coming back on the correct side was sufficiently camouflaged and not discovered, the win percentage was poor because what the public perceived as wiseguy action was merely wiseguy line manipulation bets on the wrong side.  

The followers of the page were further hammered by the fact that the line service could only identify wiseguy action after the game was bet, and the line had moved.  If the public tried to buy the bet back and bet the other way, they got stuck taking the worst of the line in both directions, and giving away the middle to the wiseguys, thereby risking a loss in both directions.

To be successful in betting Syndicate selections, you need to know which side is the real side, and you need to have that information from a group that bets in a manner that maintains a favorable line as long as possible.  As already discussed, playing the correct side late is the best way to keep big money from moving the line for as long as possible.  

There are many other advantages to betting late in addition to the liquidity of the betting market.  The advantages to betting late are:

1.  Line aberrations caused by square betting based on hype, favorite teams, etc has had its maximum effect.  For example, certain teams are public darlings.  The line always starts out too high on such teams, and then almost always goes higher.  Of course, on the rare occasion that  the Syndicate likes a public darling, they will bet it earlier.  Such circumstances are rare, however, since the public teams have disadvantageous lines posted from the start, and if the Syndicate likes them, they are more likely to try to manipulate the line to the a more favorable place, and then come back on the public team later.  

2.  All late information that might provide an edge is in.  If a key player pops his ACL in the pregame shootaround, it is better to know about it before betting, than have to buy a series of big bets back at an unfavorable line.  Changes in weather become known.  Game time decisions can be better discerned.

In summary, the Syndicate bets late because:
1. The full effect of public betting and line manipulation has occurred.
2. As much late information as possible is known.
3. The betting market is at its most liquid, making it easier to bet big money with a minimum effect on the line.

Thus, "smart money bets late," and the majority of early betting is now confined to line manipulation or betting on public darlings.  The public, however, still "takes the bait," and continues to consistently bet at the least advantageous time in many instances.

Upcoming and past questions:
Question 1:  How often do you release syndicate selections?
Question 3:  How do you get their selections and how did you become connected with them?
Question 4:  How much does the Syndicate bet?
Question 5:  Why do you use the Wall Street Bankers?
Question 6:  Do I need to worry about line moves.
Question 7:  What is a syndicate?  Does it have something to do with organized crime?

To get today's bets by the Wall Street Bankers Syndicate and Rob Crowne, or longer term packages, CLICK HERE.

> Read part 1 of this FAQ


  • Needham, I got bogged down with other things and forgot about the series.  I'll see what I can do about picking it up in the next few weeks.  Thanks.    

  • are we going to finish this series??? I would love to see the other topics listed covered!!

  • Agreed - very cool stuff.  The more we all learn about line movement and what it means, the better we all can become as bettors.

  • Rob, love these write ups man.  I've always tried finding information about sports syndacites, but info is hard to find.  Very interesting to read.  Thanks for writing these!

  • Great article with great insight and it all seems true and makes sense.  The biggest problem of course is no one has ever heard of the Wall Street Bankers syndicate and it makes no sense for them to give you their plays so you can sell the information.  Clever...