Baseball Bookmakers

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From the Frontlines

Issue #77 –All Star Games Certainly Have Been Interestingfor Baseball Bookmakers

A baseball game ending in a tie is one of the nightmares facingevery bookmaker. It can’t happen you say? Bud Selig saysit can, and since he is the commissioner of Major League Baseball,his opinion is apparently the only one that counts in this matter!

You may recall the All Star Game in 2002 – that was the reasonfor me bringing this up. The score was tied at 7-7 after 8-inningsof play and was still there 3-innings later. Unfortunately themanagers had already used up all their pitchers in an effortto get everyone into the game. Vicente Padilla and Freddy Garciahad already pitched two innings each and their respective clubswould probably not have been very happy if they had to pitchtoo much longer so Selig stepped in and called the game a tieafter 11-innings of play.

Why is this a nightmare for bookmakers? Simple – anythingthat causes confusion for bettors is bad for business. Moneylinebets were a push, but since the game had gone past 9 innings,runline and total bets had action. Bettors that had the NationalLeague –1.5 on the runline were upset and we even had bettorswho had taken under 9 runs calling in, asking to have theirwagers refunded since the game didn’t end in their minds.I didn’t get any calls from bettors with the American League+1.5 runs or the over! Basically, bettors that lost on the gamewere simply left with a bad feeling, and as I have said in othercolumns, bad beats are bad for business. I can think back tothe power outage shortened Wisconsin/UNLV college football gameor Robin Ventura’s walk-off 2-run Grand Slam (he was mobbedbefore touching 3rd base or home plate so the other two runsdidn’t count) as other examples in recent years.

As much as it was confusing for bettors, it was embarrassingfor baseball, so last year they added a rule that gave homefield advantage in the World Series to the league that won theAll Star Game, starting with the 2003 game. The idea has criticsand supporters but it definitely produced one of the most excitingAll Star Games in recent years as the two sides recognize theimportance of the game (now baseball just has to get rid ofthe rule requiring at least one player from every team so theLeagues can field their absolute best possible teams).

Bettors definitely loved the new format and volume went throughthe roof. The All-Star Break was traditionally the only 3-dayperiod of the year where a book could close to move, upgradeservers, etc. – not any more! The All-Star game last yearhad the aura and volume of a playoff game. Hank Blalock of theTexas Rangers hit a late home run and the American League won7-6 to ‘steal’ Home Field advantage from the NL asit was their turn under the alternate year system that had beenin place.

I doubt that Major League Baseball takes wagering volume intoconsideration, but if they did, I think they would realize theyare on the right track. How different would NBA or NHL All-Stargames be if those leagues followed suit? The NBA All-Star gameswouldn’t just be the alley-oop/slam dunk contest it hasbecome, as teams would be motivated to play defense! The NHLAll-Star game would actually have checks and would be closerto the level of Olympic Hockey games, but with even more talenton both sides. I think fans would love it, I know bettors wouldlove it, but I don’t really care as long as the games neverend in a tie!

The enjoyment of your wagering experience with us is my numberone priority. Should you have any questions, concerns, or comments,I will personally ensure you are satisfied with your BoDog experience.

Good luck with your wagers!

rob@Bodog.eu

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