Highlights: Twitter Spaces 9/6
Pro bettors Michael Craig and Eddie Walls discuss difficulty of winning, college football, and offer tribute to Dink
This week’s Twitter Spaces was a good one. In this episode, professional bettors Michael Craig and Eddie Walls gave listeners a sense of what their typical week looks like and explained their day-to-day processes. Later in the episode (roughly 15:30 mark), they offered Week 1 college football observations before previewing games on the Week 2 slate (19:20). Finally, Eddie shared personal stories about sports betting legend Dink, who recently passed away. A partial transcript of the Spaces is below, but you’ll want to tune in at about the 29:20 mark to hear Eddie talk about Dink. The Spaces will continue to be held weekly at 9 pm ET on Tuesdays.
Opening discussion (0:00-15:25)
Eddie Walls: So tonight, we’re going to talk about how hard it is to win. Like, the realities of how difficult it is, and the process it takes to actually win. I was just going to start off by telling you about what I do in a typical week, and it’s definitely a lot of work, and you can tell me what your week looks like. So, for instance, this past Sunday, I woke up at 7 am, I made new numbers for the week. Then I combined them with my numbers from the prior week. Then I scanned over injury reports, that takes two to three hours probably. Then I’m waiting for openers and kind of taking a guess at what numbers might be. Then openers come out. I’m hesitant to hit openers for obvious reasons. Then Sunday night, after all that work, I have to start tracking box scores. That takes me four to five hours on Sunday. Then I’ll wake up Monday, start to bet some more, continue to track box scores throughout the day. Tuesday, which is today, I wake up in the morning, add some more bets. And then throughout the week, I’m constantly checking DonBest, checking injuries, weather, everything else, and all of it leads into Thursday. Then I begin making numbers for the next week, or at least a rough draft of them. Then the games start, I’m sweating the games, still working the entire time, and then Saturday rolls around and I’ve got 14 hours of basically taking notes, watching games, and the same process repeats itself every week for the next 13 or 14 weeks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s your typical process?
Michael Craig: Well, as I expected, your week is a lot more structured than mine. I guess it differs from the beginning of the year to the end. At the beginning, it’s a lot harder for me because I’m doing a lot more things manually and learning the teams, and I’m sure I don’t watch as much as you do. But I do look at a lot of box scores for misleading boxes and things of that nature. So anyway, early week, Sunday, you’re waiting for openers to come out, kind of guessing where lines are going to be. We do a call on Sunday nights at RAS to get everyone’s initial thoughts of potential plays, what we agree on, what we don’t. Then throughout the week, it’s different iterations of that same thing, where we’re checking in often, and of course betting and releasing, and just seeing what kind of information has come across, or to see if anyone has formed any new opinions throughout the week.
Eddie: It’s unbelievable, I was thinking about this. How many hours do you think you work in a typical week?
Michael: It depends on the season. I feel like right now, it’s a lot, because there’s more going on. Like I said, learning the teams and making adjustments and things. Once there’s eight to 10 games of data, I think it’s easier to trust the math at that point. Early season though, if you count everything, it’s a lot. Because you’re working weekends too. You’re probably in the 70-hour range. Right?
Eddie: That’s what I think, yeah. It’s hard for me to put a number on it. I was trying to think about it, and it’s gotta be 60 to 70 hour weeks every week for the first month. I take a lot of notes while I’m watching games and I try to watch as many games as I can. I’ll never be able to watch all of them, so I’ll go back if I can’t find something, I’ll go on Youtube. But especially coaching changes, it’s important to me to watch as many games as possible to get a feel for the coaches, especially ones I’m not familiar with. But why does nobody talk about this? Like, why is it that this is something nobody ever talks about? It’s hard work, it is all these hours to try to have continual success in this business. It’s never discussed. I mean, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I never hear anyone talk about struggling with sleep, or saying there’s not enough hours in the day. Maybe a few people here or there. But for the most part, it feels like everybody is just happily winning and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. Do you get that vibe too? Or is it just me?
Michael: Yeah, I think I get that vibe. The people I know, I don’t really talk to that many people. But the people I know, I know they work hard and put tons of time in. I probably don’t listen to as many podcasts as you. But I generally get the sense, and it depends on the person, if it’s someone who is a true originator I think they’re putting in a lot of hours. And that’s not to take anything away from pros are helping move money, because they’re pros too, it’s just a different type of work. Most people who are at a high level in this business are putting in lots and lots of hours every week.
Eddie: I’ve thought about this in the past, and I think it’s hard to say that you’ve worked really hard at something and maybe not done as well as you expected yourself to do. So when people go on downswings, it’s easier to say ‘Well, I didn’t put much work into it.’ Rather than just saying you put a lot of work in.
Michael: I think that’s the most frustrating thing when you’re struggling or in a losing streak. People say, ‘Oh, it’s kind of like having a sales job because you’re working on commission, and if you don’t sell anything…’ And I say, ‘No, it’s not like a sales job, because if you don’t sell anything, you’re at net zero.’ If you lose in this business, you’re handing money away.
Eddie: That’s the most frustrating thing. And we’ve all been there. We’ve all worked a 70-hour week where you owe a figure on Monday. There’s no way around it. It feels like lost time of life, but that’s just the reality of this business. Now, you mentioned it, but do you sweat games?
Michael: Not particularly. I guess it’s somewhat of a rush if you’re watching and have a lot of money on a game. But I don’t even like to watch games that I have bigger bets on, honestly. I don’t enjoy it and I’d rather just … I might check the scores, but I don’t sit there and watch every play. A lot of times when I have a bigger bet—no, I just don’t.
Eddie: I sweat probably all my games that I have money on, and this started with me way back in the day. I worked with Dink, and he was a professional sweater. He had to watch every single game, and every minute of every game. But then when I started betting NBA, it became very apparent to me that you have to watch NBA because coaches change so much. I mean, they change rotations so much and stuff like that, I don’t know if it’s like that in college basketball, but in the NBA you have to pay attention to almost every game. It can definitely suck the life out of you. There are definitely Marches where I’m done watching games, but I still have to be there every day. It kind of sucks. I wanted to ask you about this. Have you always been that way (demeanor wise)? And if you could, give me some suggestions on how I can be more like that?
Michael: I think people are how they are. I don’t think it’s something that can be taught. I really don’t. I think it’s just how you are. Some people sweat every game and every minute. They cheer on their bet at the sportsbook when it’s the first quarter. Me? I just sit there. I can’t explain it. I don’t have any advice really. I think part of it is that I don’t feel like … I have so much volume, I feel like if I lose a game, it will just even out in the end. Of course, it gets harder when you’re on a losing streak or something. But in general, I just think it’s one bet out of 20 that I bet today. I spread out volume, and I don’t vary bet sizes as much as I should. So I think that’s part of it too. It’s just one ticket of many. But other than that, it is just natural. Most things don’t bother me.
Eddie: I think you gave great advice without realizing you gave great advice. You know, if you really break it down it’s one bet you won’t even remember two weeks from now. I took a horrible beat on the FAU total in Week 0, and I guarantee you that I will not remember that bet three months from now. Unless someone mentions it. So I think you have to put things in perspective. That’s really good advice. I envy you for having an even keel manner, for sure. So I’ll ask you just one more thing, but what do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to professional sports bettors? I keep bringing this up because I just had someone tell me the other day, ‘I have to go to work.’ And I was like, ‘OK, no problem.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, I have a job.’ And I was like, ‘I get it.’ And he’s like, ‘Well, I have to go to it and I actually have to work.’ And I was like, ‘You realize I have a job? This is a real job.’ This person didn’t realize that I understood what a job was. They thought I was literally just watching games and making money somehow. Do you think that might be the biggest misconception?
Michael: I think the biggest misconception is people think you hit absurd percentages, and I think they think you bet a small number of games and hit 70 percent. To me, it’s the biggest misconception because people find out what you do, or you run into somebody, and they say, ‘Give me a lock.’ And I hate the question because honestly, I don’t know what the best bet of these is. I’ll just say, ‘Here’s a few that I played!’ To me, it’s a volume thing. You’re putting in a lot of bets that have small edges for the most part. If you’re lucky enough to find some that have big edges, that’s great. But for me, it’s a volume game, and I don’t think people realize it’s 100 bets at 53.5 percent rather than six bets at 80 percent or whatever it might be.
College football Week 1 recap (15:30)
Eddie: Did any games on Saturday really shock you? Like, you looked back at the game and thought, ‘Wow, that was a way different result than what I thought would take place?’
Michael: I can start with the most recent game, the Clemson game. I was shocked by how poorly their quarterback played. I only watched the first half, but I was very surprised there. The one game I look at just from a score perspective, Syracuse-Louisville, I certainly didn’t expect Syracuse to blow them out. East Carolina played really well against NC State, I didn’t expect them to hang that close. Arizona was a team that looked pretty good, and San Diego State had no prayer to throw the ball. Texas State +3, that was a RAS release. We’re 7-1 on FBS plays, but that Texas State one was a big-time loser, lost by 21. I guess in general, speaking of the RAS service record so far, we’re 10-6 in college football, but I guess I’m surprised we haven’t done as well in extra games. Those would probably be my Week 1 surprises.
Eddie: I had a few. James Madison just absolutely destroyed MTSU. That was absolutely shocking. I don’t know if that was their Super Bowl because they’re playing in the FBS for the first time, first time the stadium was sold out. It was unbelievable. I watched the SJSU-Portland State game. SJSU struggling was shocking. I mean, I’m really high on San Jose State, so that was interesting. Air Force beating Northern Iowa the way they did. I know AFA is going to be strong this year, but Northern Iowa is typically a gritty team who plays the Iowa schools tough, and Air Force just bulldozed them. So that was interesting.
Michael: Did you watch Jackson State? Deion Sanders’ team?
Eddie: I didn’t, but I know I bet the other team (laughs). I couldn’t find it, and I was looking to watch it, I was doing work, I was in my office, and I was trying to find it. I just happened to look at DonBest and it was 21-0. Me and a partner of mine had grabbed +8.5 or +9, and I thought, maybe you know, at halftime, FAMU will switch some things up. I still couldn’t find it on TV. I went back 10 minutes later and it was even worse, so whatever. (Jackson State) must be legit. I think Deion is going to end up at Florida State pretty soon. Mike Norvell is not impressive and that’s a very big job, so unless Norvell has a great season and they keep on blocking extra points, I think Deion is headed there.
Week 2 college football games (19:20-29:20)
Mississippi State at Arizona
Michael: Mississippi State, I think it was you who said it in preseason, I think you said they could be the third best team in the SEC this season. I don’t think that’s a popular opinion, but generally I think we’re pretty high on Mississippi State. They dominated Memphis last week, they were up 28-3 I believe at half and had only given up 30 yards at halftime, so they kind of took their foot off the gas. Well, maybe not offensively, because all they do is throw. But defensively, they let up a bit there, so that score … they dominated the game when they chose to in the first half. Arizona faced San Diego State, upset them outright as a 5.5-point dog. SDSU couldn’t throw it at all, Arizona definitely looks like they improved. But we went over this game on Sunday and I just don’t know how this number can be less than 10. I think it’s a bit of an overreaction to the Arizona result last week, and of course we thought Mississippi State had a lot of upside this year. So yeah, we thought -10 or less would be a good bet, and we released it.
Eddie: I actually played the under in this game for a very small amount. I think people are overlooking Mississippi State’s overall physical defense. I think this is a legitimate SEC defense with 10 returning starters. I know that Arizona has a big upgrade at QB this year, but honestly, an incredible defense, probably top 20 defense easily for Mississippi State, and I don’t think Arizona has the skill set. They were hitting long plays vs SDSU, but SDSU takes off Week 1 every single year. Last year they almost lost to New Mexico State. I think Arizona is getting a lot of love for a win over a team that wasn’t all that interested in playing. I watched a lot of that Arizona game, and San Diego State had zero ability to throw the ball and gave up at half it seemed like.
Oregon State at Fresno State
Eddie: I played the over. I think this is the same kind of game as one we saw last year for Fresno State against UCLA. I think the Fresno QB Jake Haener has a ton of skill set, and I think Oregon State, I don’t have their defense being all that great. I didn’t think Boise would allow them to score much. But I think this Haener kid is really, really special, and I think this turns into a roller coaster kind of game. I thought 60.5 was too low. Considering the fact that Fresno St will throw 40 times this game, they won’t try to run on that front. So I felt pretty confident in the over, and the number is still there and hasn’t moved much.
Colorado at Air Force
Michael: Air Force really dominated against Northern Iowa last week, averaged about 10 yards per play, against a UNI team that’s traditionally pretty decent, especially against the run. I do think UNI is down a bit this year, so I hate to overreact to that. I did watch the first half of Colorado-TCU—that was one of our RAS plays last week, TCU -11—I went to bed at half thinking TCU didn’t know what they were doing. And then I woke up to find they won 38-13. Colorado switched QBs halfway through. Colorado looks really, really down. But I didn’t have much opinion on this game due to uncertainty with Colorado in general. The number looks high, but I think it’s justified.
Eddie: I can’t get involved in this game, but I think Air Force is really stellar this year. I don’t remember a service academy team bringing back this many starters. Their secondary is kind of weak, but they don’t play too many teams in the MWC in their division who can really exploit that. This is pretty high at -17 for sure, the only way I could bet this would be Colorado, but I’d hope I can find a safer place to put money on. You’d really be hoping for Colorado to turn it around for the first time if that were to take place.
San Jose State at Auburn
Michael: I don’t have much here, I know you were pretty high on SJSU. But they probably underperformed a bit last week. I think generally you’re not quite as high on Auburn—I haven’t been high on Auburn for several years now. I think Auburn plays Penn State next week, so potential look-ahead spot there. If I had to bet this game, I’m probably taking the points and taking the under, but I didn’t do anything with this game.
Eddie: That’s exactly what I did. I took the points and took the under. I don’t like Auburn at all. I don’t think you can try to fire a coach three times in an offseason and continue having a good program. I think that’s completely impossible. They have a very mediocre quarterback, they ran Bo Nix out of town, which makes sense but they had nobody to replace him with. So it’s strictly a run based offense. San Jose State is very good against the run. My only concern here is Auburn hitting big plays in the pass game, but Finley hasn’t shown that he’s capable of doing that quite a lot. I don’t know if SJSU has an offense. Cordeiro, the new QB from Hawaii did not look good, very troubling. Especially considering he got all the transfers at WR that he did. They also don’t run the ball hardly at all. I’m a little concerned, these were smaller bets for me, but I’m trying to find spots to play against Auburn, flat out. I just don’t think they’re a team that’s very impressive. And then they have Penn State on deck, I don’t know how interested they’ll be to play all four quarters.
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