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Sports Betting Advice

So yesterday, via reader Andrew, Techcrunch turned me onto PicksPal, which will hopefully allow me to waste more time at work while pretending to do crucial blog research. If you don't know, it's a free betting site in which you spend real time and fake money amassing a fake fortune, whose fakeness probably didn't prevent thousands of people from watching the end of USC-Nebraska to see if the Trojans (up 28-10) would just run one more $%&@ play to cover that -18.5. One more play, Pete, ONE MORE PLAY, please. I mean, who gets hurt if you just run one more play? Please Pete. Please.

Anyhow, the bets on PicksPal are so convoluted that I'm hooked. Like, I just put 500 points on Brett Myers getting more strikeouts than Roy Halladay tonight, at 5-4 odds. Too good to pass up. Now I'm trying to figure out whether one double will happen before three singles in tonight's D'Backs-Padres game, although I should probably dump my whole stash on Ga. Tech -16.5 tomorrow night.

The more interesting news, though, is that PicksPal will start selling the picks of its best amateur punters, i.e. bettors, judged by performance over a five-week period. (The best amateur punter in the nation, of course, is Maryland's Adam Podlesh, who, a spy tells us, is attracting legions of stopwatch-carrying scouts to College Park. That pretty much sums up the state of a college football program; when scouts come bearing stopwatches for use in judging a punter's hang time).

This all reminds me of a fairly large NCAA pool I used to run a few years ago. Every year, my co-managers and I would enter a "Wisdom of the People" entry, filling out a bracket with the consensus choices for every game. It always seemed to finish in the top 10 percent, but it never won. This PicksPal thing strikes me as lunacy; the odds should be good enough that no one can really pull one over on Vegas, unless it's someone with an intense knowledge of some fringy sport like the WNBA, and why would anyone with an intense knowledge of some fringy sport like the WNBA spend his or her spare time trying to prove his or her expertise on PicksPal in order to provide winners for other people?

(PicksPal's first million-point winner, Hugh Gaston, claims the site has helped him make "smart, educated picks." Bear in mind that his winning week included a bet on whether or not Fox would show Bud Selig on camera during a playoff game.)

(And I wanted to jump right on this story, since Techcrunch predicted that mainstream media would "start covering this company in the very near future," which I guess means today.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 20, 2006; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Gambling  
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