The Two-Minute Drill: FSU in ACC title game, Daytona 500 is a sellout
The Seminoles need a win over Louisville to ensure a spot in the CFP; the Daytona 500 for 2024 has sold out; and high school football state semifinals.
It was not ahead of the curve, but in December, Florida will make history as it becomes the 37th state — and largest — to offer sports betting in casinos.
The rollout will be a slow-moving process, beginning with just Seminole Tribe-controlled casinos in South Florida. So-called retail sports betting will begin Tuesday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood and the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek.
On Wednesday, the in-person sports gambling starts at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. That will be followed by Dec. 11’s rollout at Seminole Casino in Immokalee and Seminole Brighton Casino. Down the road, other pari-mutuel spots in Florida will have the option of sports betting, though a significant cut will go to the Seminole Tribe.
Why the Sunshine State, which is dominated by tourism, took so long is a courtroom-filled drama. Previously, the lone sports betting in Florida occurred online and was limited to just the Hard Rock app.
For now, it’s time to get your sports gambling hat on. The Palm Beach Post spoke to Bill Speros, longtime sports journalist and current betting analyst for Bookies.com.
Speros, who lives in New Smyrna Beach, talked about the electric atmosphere of sportsbooks, NFL betting trends, keys to winning money responsibly, the variety of exotic bets, and what he thinks about wagering on the 2023 Miami Dolphins.
Here’s our Q&A on sports book betting
What do you like most about casino sports betting?
“There’s nothing more exciting as a bettor than being at a sportsbook watching a game you have action on with a few hundred other people. That’s part of the thrill. That’s the big plus of retail betting. You’re not betting and leaving. You’re betting and staying at the sportsbook, making a day out of it. I covered Super Bowl 49 (Patriots-Seahawks, 2014) at a sportsbook in Las Vegas at The Mirage, the Malcolm Butler game. It was bonkers at the end. The place went bananas. It was more emotional and jacked than any in-person game I ever experienced.”
Sports betting on NFL games at Florida casinos
What sport do you consider the wisest to bet on?
“Personally, I enjoy football. The games are far enough apart where you can research. You can look at a bunch of different picks. You can track odds for days. It does give you time betting NFL or college football, gives you time to put some thought into what you’re doing in terms of picks and budget. And there’s enough action where you can bet in-game.”
What’s been a significant NFL betting trend this season?
“The best play this season has been the under (in over-under bets). The under (point total that falls below the oddsmakers’ number) has covered 60.2% of the time this year — 103-68. If you just bet the under in every game this year, you’d be up a pretty decent chunk of change.”
Why is the winning “under” wins happening?
“The consensus is a lot of what Tom Brady said the other day. Quarterback play is less than it used to be even though they changed the rules to make the game more offensively focused. There’s been 49 different starting quarterbacks so far. You’re having a lot of injuries. You’ve had 10 rookie quarterbacks play so far this year. You have a lot of inexperienced quarterbacks. The preseason was cut so guys aren’t getting the sort of preparation. You had Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the league last year and don’t have them this year. That has a material impact. And defensive play — players are smaller but getting quicker.”
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How can I bet on sports if I live in Florida?
Any general advice to the novice casino sports bettor?
“Budget your time and budget your money. If your plan is to be at the book on an NFL Sunday, make whatever bets you feel comfortable making that will be viable for the entire time you’re there. If you’re there to watch the Dolphins, bet the entire game — the spread, money line, points. Over-under on a player. Make bets that will keep you engaged the whole time you are there. The last thing you want is to be bored at a casino. That is very dangerous for your wallet. You only want to bet what you can afford to lose. And enjoy yourself. Everyone wants to win when they bet. It doesn’t always happen. If you find yourself getting too wrapped up, it’s probably not the thing for you. That’s generic advice beyond the obvious, gamble responsibly. Keep it within your means. In a casino, you can’t use a credit card to bet. Thank goodness for that.”
What do you think about bets called “parlays,” which string together two, three, four or five plays into one bet that could net a fantastic payout?
“I don’t have a problem with a parlay if you’re betting the smallest amount of money possible. If your budget is $100 a week, I’d bet no more than $5 on a given parlay with four legs or more. There’s a reason why the sportsbooks push parlays. It’s because they’re extremely profitable. It’s great for the bettor when you bet a small amount because there’s a chance of a decent payday and you’re getting four wagers for the price of one. You can track and have action on four things. I find a lot of value in two-leg parlays. If you have two teams you’re really comfortable with and they’re favored by 3½ but the money line isn’t advantageous, you stitch those two together and it’s like getting a good price on two favorites. Two- or three-leg parlays is the most I’ll ever go. That’s the best and only way to play parlays.”
You can bet almost anything online, but what other exotic bets do you like that a casino might have?
“There’s the ‘first scorer,’ ‘anytime scorer,’ ‘multiple touchdown scorer,’ passing yards on over-under. I actually like ‘anytime touchdowns.’ Trying to pick first touchdowns, that’s a roll of the dice. If you think Travis Kelce is going to score anytime in the game, it doesn’t have to be the first touchdown. Those bets go more into strategy. The first touchdown is, well, what if they lose the coin toss or there’s a pick six?”
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Do you fear an NBA point spread could go haywire in garbage time?
“I think everybody fears that. To wit, last Wednesday in Boston, when the Celtics were playing the Bucks. The Celtics were favored by 5½. Boston hit free throws to go up by six with five seconds left. The Bucks then hit a garbage 3 at the buzzer to lose by three, but they covered. My brother sent me a clip of all the Celtics fans at the Garden groaning after the 3-pointer. That’s what you fear. I don’t buy the ‘bad beat’ theory. There were a lot of Bucks fans who were euphoric after the 3 was hit. There’s money on every side of every bet. When someone has a crushing defeat, someone else had the greatest win of their lives. If you think your bet is the center of the universe, that’s a red flag. The world doesn’t care what you bet.”
Are there a couple of pro teams that seem to be superb against the spread?
“The best team in the NBA against the spread is the Orlando Magic. They are 14-3 against the spread (entering Wednesday). We saw this with the Detroit Lions. The Lions had the best combined record the prior two years against the spread in 2021 and 2022. Oddsmakers do an amazing job, but you have lopsided spreads. The Magic have covered 11 times as underdogs as smart bettors are taking the points and winning. People should bet the Orlando Magic because they’re the Orlando Magic and don’t get a lot of action.”
How are the Dolphins doing in the betting arena?
“The Dolphins are in the middle — 7-4 against the spread and 6-5 on the over. In the playoffs, the fact that they’re going to have home-field, it’s going to be a real edge. Most teams that come to South Florida — certainly wild-card teams — are coming from colder environments. People always discount the home-field edge the Dolphins have in January — in the Florida heat with a wild-card team like Pittsburgh when it’s 82 degrees on Jan. 14. That’s something from a betting perspective I’d look at. Maybe see a high point total for a team that scores a lot but because of the weather, it could be lower and the Dolphins are able to pull away late because other teams would get tired. That would be a Dolphins trend as the weather gets worse up north. It’s an edge in their favor. The Dolphins make them wear the dark uniforms and put them on the sunny sideline.”