Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twitter Beating Las Vegas Sports Books To The Punch With Information

By Micah Roberts

Editor’s note: Since Micah filed this story, Ohio St. announced that five of its players are suspended for the first five games of 2011.

For the second consecutive night, users of Twitter were rewarded with key information regarding players and possible suspensions that would have a major effect of the Las Vegas betting line of those games involved. On Wednesday night, about 90 minutes before the two Las Vegas paid services sent information alerts to their subscribers on the matter, information was coming strong across the Twitter universe that nine Ohio State football players could face possible suspensions due to their involvement in an autograph trade for ink deal they had at a Columbus tattoo parlor that was being investigated by the IRS.

Nothing may come of this, and the matter could be internally investigated and self reported well after the Sugar Bowl, but what if something happens quick and the players actually get suspended. We’re talking about several key Buckeye starters, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who are being linked. Ohio State was a 3 ½-point favorite over Arkansas before the official alert came out. Once the alert was out, within 5 minutes, every Las Vegas sports book had taken the game down.

What’s even more amazing is that these paid services in Las Vegas weren’t even watching, or listening, to the live feed of the Las Vegas Bowl where Kirk Herbstreit broke the news story nationally which was still an hour behind the Tweets coming in. It took nearly a half-hour after Herbstreit had made the announcement for the alert to be sent to the Sports Books. Herbstreit was visibly shaken by having to announce that his alma mater and hometown team could be in trouble. Upon actually watching the Las Vegas Bowl and hearing first hand, about four Las Vegas books had taken the game off the board, while others were left exposed with a lack of information.

But in reality, every book was left exposed for over an hour. The difference in the line -- should the players be suspended -- could be almost a 10-point swing which makes the information gap the paid sources are using very outdated in this new age. Sports Books won’t last long with information gaps like that where the bettors know key reports and rumors before they do.

It’s an information driven world and Twitter is an immediate source that starts spinning before the major media gets involved with their finished copy and reports.

On Tuesday night, Twitter followers were rewarded with information on Kansas State’s best player and leading scorer, Jacob Pullen, along with the team’s second leading scorer being suspended for their game against UNLV. K-State was a 4-point favorite and the game didn’t move all day. A few of the sports books got popped with UNLV bets before the information was out giving the bettors extreme value on the game because of getting the information first through Twitter.

At about 5:20, an hour before the game had started, one of the paid consultants sent an alert stating that the two player were out. I contacted the other service about a half-hour before game time and they hadn't even sent one out yet. Even after the information, most books only adjusted the game 2-points. Two points? With the top two players out in a game that only five players are on the court at a time? UNLV won the game, but the point is more about the value gained early on before the sports books even knew what was going on.

For the last 20 years, sports books have been on an even playing field with bettors thanks to the internet and the way information has been passed along through news services. With the way Twitter works, it’s faster than the standard internet passage of information and there is a huge edge to be gained if continually searching for the right information through Twitter.

All it takes is to get a free account and set up several key words that alert you such as “Suspension”, “Injury”, or putting in an actual players name if waiting for injury information before it’s released. The window of opportunity is there to get the information before the sports books do and gain a huge edge over the house. Information is everything!

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