Pacquiao vs. Bradley judges to review fight with Nevada Athletic Commission

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

The three judges from the controversial Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight have been contacted by the Nevada Athletic Commission and will be reviewing the DVD of the fight with NAC Executive Director Keith Kizer soon.

In a Monday afternoon phone interview, Kizer said the NAC has communicated with judges C.J. Ross, Duane Ford and Jerry Roth and each agreed to come in and go over the DVD of the fight, which Bradley won by a split-decision.

Kizer is waiting for the DVD then will schedule what he characterized “as a general training session” at the judges’ convenience. He added that this type of review is not ordinary and usually takes place only after controversy.

“We don’t have them very often,” Kizer said.

Meanwhile, promoter Bob Arum has demanded the Nevada Attorney General’s office investigate the decision. A spokesperson for Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said in an email statement to David Purdum Sports: “We can’t confirm nor deny whether we have an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Kizer did not know when the meeting with the judges would be held, but said it would definitely happen this month and possibly as early as this week, depending on when he receives a copy of the DVD.

The review session will be focused on the most controversial rounds, where the judges’ scoring differed the most. The tape will be stopped frequently, explained Kizer, and judges will be asked to verbalize their thought process of how they scored the fight.

Ross and Ford scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley, seven rounds to five. Roth had it 115-113, Pacquiao.

Kizer, who attended the fight, had Pacquaio winning on his card, but believes the decision was not nearly as askew as most believe.

“I thought Pacquiao had built up a pretty comfortable lead,” Kizer said, “but then I gave the last three rounds to Bradley. When I looked at my internal score, I thought Pacquiao was winning the fight and in the end I had 7-5 for Pacquiao. I thought I had Pacquiao way ahead, and it ended up being a two-point fight on my card.”

Kizer points to respected boxing analysts Brian Kenny and Thomas Hauser who each had Bradley winning. Kizer all said among the hundreds of emails and phone calls he’s received that there are people who believe Bradley won the fight.

But Ryan Maquinana of Comcast Sports compiled a list of media ballots that showed just how few people thought Bradley won the fight: 50 of 53 ballots had Pacquiao winning.

“The last thing that was like this was [Oscar] De La Hoya-Mosley II,” Kizer said. “All three judges had 7-5 in favore of Mosely. De La Hoya came out saying he wanted an investigation; they were going to go to the FBI … of course, they never did. Years later, when you look back, most people believe Mosley won that fight. Whether that will be the case with this fight three or four years from now, I don’t know.”

2013 NBA odds: Heat, Thunder co-favorites to win title

The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook wasted no time in getting odds up for next year’s NBA champion.

The SuperBook  put up numbers on Monday morning, with the Heat and Thunder opening as 5/2 co-favorites. The two teams, of course, will begin the Finals series Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

ODDS TO WIN 2012-2013 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP
(Odds courtesy of the SuperBook. H/T to manager Jeff Sherman, @golfodds)

HEAT 5-2
THUNDER 5-2

BULLS 5
SPURS 7
LAKERS 12
MAVERICKS 15
CELTICS 20
PACERS 20
NUGGETS 30
CLIPPERS 30
MAGIC 30
GRIZZLIES 30
76ERS 60
KNICKS 60
HAWKS 60
BUCKS 100
JAZZ 100
BLAZERS 100
WOLVES 100
ROCKETS 100
WARRIORS 100
HORNETS 100
KINGS 200
SUNS 200
NETS 200
CAVALIERS 200
PISTONS 300
WIZARDS 200
RAPTORS 1000
BOBCATS 1000

Bettor wins $1.1M off $1 bet from Arlington Park High-5

A lucky bettor hit the Jackpot High-5 Sunday at Arlington Park, winning $1,115,184.20 off a $1 bet. It’s the largest payout on a single wager at Arlington Park ever.

According to Arlington Park representative David Zenner, the bet was not placed on site and the winner had not come forward as of 7 p.m., Sunday.

Whoever it is correctly tabbed 42-to-1 longshot Better Make Money to win the final race of the day, followed by Dixie Banter (14-1), Milwaukee Wolf (5-2), Dictum (6-1) and Shorty Small (3-1) to complete the 11-12-4-5-8 winning combination of horses.

This is the first year Arlington Park offered the High-5. It had gone 23 days without a winner until Sunday. The pot builds until there is only one ticket with the correct first five finishers in the day’s final race.

The High-5 pool will start over beginning with Wednesday’s card.

Pacquiao controversial upset hands offshore sportsbook worst loss ever

BetOnline.com’s management has been in the sports betting industry for two decades. They’ve never suffered anything like they did Saturday.

Timothy Bradley’s controversial split-decision win over Manny Pacquiao was the company’s biggest loss on a single fight ever, according to BetOnline brand manager Dave Mason.

Mason characterized the loss as “not quite” six  figures. Pregame.com’s Johnny Detroit was first to report BetOnline’s record loss and added that 80 percent of the money bet on the fight was on Bradley.

Offshore books that offered live betting throughout the fight reportedly had Pacquiao listed as an overwhelming -10000 (1/100) favorite after 10 rounds.

Some late money, large enough to cut into Pacquiao’s odds, did appear Saturday at the online sportsbook PinnacleSports.com. According professional gambler Haralabos Voulgaris, Pacquiao was a -432 at 2 p.m. and dropped to -397 before the fight at PinnacleSports, which is known to handle some of the biggest bets online.

David Purdum Sports communicated with multiple sportsbooks in Vegas and online Sunday morning. No book reported any unusual betting patterns. Chris Andrews, assistant manager at the Cal-Neva sportsbooks and veteran bookmaker, said his shops always need the favorite in big fights, as the public latches on to the underdog with day-of-the-fight action.

If the fix was in, a giant gambling score likely wasn’t the primary objective. Instead, many in the boxing media believe promoter Bob Arum dictated the upset to increase hype and pay-per-view sales for a November rematch that had been scheduled before the fight.

While fingers point to Arum, who, at times, has come off as little over the top about his disgust for the decision, there’s no debate the two judges that ruled in favor of Bradley–C.J. Ross and Duane Ford– saw a different fight than most.

But if they were in on an alleged fix, wouldn’t they have to know the amount of scrutiny that was going to be coming their way?

Arum has said the rematch won’t happen unless the state performs an investigation.

Regardless, Jay Kornegay, executive director at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook, was disgusted with the outcome and tweeted that he wishes this would be the last boxing match his book offers.

“It’s terrible for the sport and for betting,” Kornegay added in an email.

Bradley-Pacquiao fixed? Vegas didn’t see it

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Timothy Bradley’s split-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao has everyone scratching their heads, including Vegas sportsbooks.

David Purdum Sports communicated with multiple books in Vegas and offshore Sunday morning. No one reported any unusual betting patterns. Each book did report taking an overall loss on the fight.

Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, watched the fight and believed it was closer than most people think.

“But no way did Bradley win the fight,” Kornegay said in an email. “It’s just terrible for the sport and betting.”

Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross disagreed and gave Bradley the nod at 115-113. Jerry Roth had Pacquiao winning, 115-113.

If the fix was in, a giant gambling score on the 3-to-1 underdog Bradley likely wasn’t the main objective. Sportsbooks generally need the favorite in big fights, as the public latches on to the underdog, said Chris Andrews, manager for the Cal-Neva books.

Most of the finger-pointing has been directed toward promoter Bob Arum, who represents both Pacquiao and Bradley and already had a November rematch scheduled. Update: Arum told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday that there would not be a rematch unless there was a state investigation into the the controversial result.

“I’ve never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight,” said Arum told reporters after the fight. Some doubted Arum’s sincerity, especially since he admitted to Yahoo! Sports that he was “going to make a ton of money on the rematch.”

Vegas professional handicapper and media personality Vegas Runner noted on Twitter how much the decision had folks talking about the fight and rematch.

Vegas radio talk show host Dave Cokin doesn’t believe in any conspiracy theories.

Kornegay said the fight generated approximately the same amount of betting action as an above average NFL game. But, overall, he was disgusted with the result and even tweeted that this should be the” last boxing match we book.” Strong words from a prominent name in the sports betting industry.

You can read more on Kornegay’s funny Twitter rant at BeyondtheBets.com.

The story was the same offshore at Sportsbook.ag.  “We didn’t see anything out of ordinary having to do with a bunch of large bets on Bradley,” said manager Mike Perry, adding that his shop also was a small loser on the fight.

BetOnline.ag did tell Pregame.com’s Johnny Detroit that 80 percent of the bets were on Bradley and that it was the single largest defeat in the company’s history. BetOnline also was among the first books to post odds on the rematch. Pacquiao opened as -500 favorite.  The odds remained up Sunday night, even after news that the rematch might not help.

PaddyPower, Ireland’s biggest sportsbooks, however, thought the decision was so screwy that it refunded all bets on Paquiao.

Belmont Stakes odds: Vegas devastated by I’ll Have Another scratch

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

I’ll Have Another is out of the Belmont Stakes, devastating news for horse racing and the betting industry, which was planning on a record day.

The Wynn sportsbook had ordered Triple Crown hats. Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Miami and Boston was going to follow the race. And the hyped Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight that was the perfect nightcap.

It was going to be a huge Saturday for Las Vegas.

“It’s awful,” John Avello, sportsbook director at the Wynn, said. “I got such a sick feeling. We’re preparing for this huge weekend with the fight and to have a Triple Crown race just means so much to this race, because without it, it’s just a normal big race. You talk about an economic falloff, this is it. It hurts in all areas.”

Avello says the betting handle on a race where the horse is going for the Triple Crown in the Belmont increases 30 percent.

Offshore, BetOnline.ag estimates it will take at most 20 percent of the amount of bets on the Belmont that it expected.

“Horrible. We were prepping for a record day tomorrow,” Dave Mason, brand manager for BetOnline.ag, said in an email.

I’ll Have Another was aiming to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, but was scratched due to a swollen left foot tendon.

At the Wynn, anyone who bet “Yes” on the prop bet “Will there be a Triple Crown winner?” is out of luck. Anyone who bet on I’ll Have Another in the Belmont will have their wager refunded.

Stipulations vary at different sportsbooks.

I’ll Have Another was a +145 favorite to win the Belmont at the Wynn before being scratched.

Sportsbook.ag was one of the first books back up with Belmont odds. Dullahan re-opened as the favorite at 9/5 (+180). Union Rags is 3/1, and Paynter is 5/1. Complete Belmont odds.

Wayne Root defends fellow pick-selling politician, Ga. Sen. Chip Rogers

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Five minutes. That’s all politician Wayne Root estimates he spends talking to voters about his 26-year career in the sports handicapping business.

When voters inquire, Root explains how as a kid he dreamed of being the next Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder and how he ended up as the late TV prognosticator’s co-host and eventual replacement. He tells them how, at 27, he became a network oddsmaker and anchorman for Financial News Network, now CNBC.

“I have to explain that my story is the American Dream,” said Root in an interview conducted by email. “It is a one-in-a-million story. Only in America.”

The conservative majority doesn’t see it that way, though, as Georgia Senate majority leader Chip Rogers is finding out. Rogers has spent the last couple weeks downplaying his role in sports handicapping industry. He acknowledged playing the role of Will “The Winner” Rogers on TV handicapping shows, but says he was just reading a script, not encouraging gambling. Still, the Georgia Christian Coalition is calling for Rogers to step down from his spot as majority leader.

Meanwhile, Root, the founder and CEO of the sports handicapping service Winning Edge, doesn’t shy away from his betting background and believes in many ways it has helped his political career.

Root, the Libertarian vice-presidential candidate in 2008, is a regular on the political talk-show circuit. He opened his response to my interview questions by noting that he had done 20-plus interviews in the last 48 hours and had more in the coming days.

“Some local, some national. All of these as a political pundit and analyst discussing politics, economics and the Presidential race. So it’s hard to get to your questions,” he wrote.

It makes you wonder how he finds time to handicap. But apparently he does. According to his site on Saturday, he had won 11 of his last 13 picks.

That’s a better winning percentage than Rogers, his fellow pick-selling politician who guaranteed 80 percent winners during his time as tout Will “The Winner” in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Root doesn’t recall meeting Rogers in the political or handicapping arenas, but thinks the current controversy surrounding the senator is being sensationalized.

“If I met him, I’d congratulate him for taking his skills as a sports handicapper and businessman and using them for a wonderful and heroic cause — to help turn this economy around, and save the American Dream,” Root said. “We need more businessmen and women in public office.”

The problem is Rogers doesn’t claim to have any handicapping skills. He says he was just reading a script; the picks and analysis weren’t his. Yet, the host of the showed billed Will “The Winner” as an experienced handicapper.

Rogers did not respond to multiple interview requests sent by email. In the last, I relayed Root’s support and asked the senator only one question:

“During your time as a TV personality, you were marketed as an experienced professional handicapper and encouraged customers to purchase your picks based on your handicapping acumen. Yet, you now say you were just reading a script that was provided to you by the TV show.

At worst, some have called that fraud. Others say you were just like any infomercial salesman, embellishing your product’s results.

When you look back on it, do you see how your sports handicapping career could be perceived as unscrupulous?”

Sports betting stigma & ethics of pick selling

The Georgia Christian Coalition has asked for Rogers to step down due to his association with the gambling industry.

But that’s stereotypical and archaic reasoning, in my opinion. It’s also a blanket statement in regards to the gambling industry. This is about the negative stigma that surrounds sports betting, not the gaming industry overall. If Rogers would have made an infomercial on how to beat blackjack, would his job be in question?

Root adamantly defends the integrity of his sports handicapping business, but stops short of defending the industry as a whole.

“I’ve said for years that we are more honest and credible than anyone on Wall Street. Now I’ve been proven right!” Root said. “Look at the mess on Wall Street. A small investor cannot get a fair shake. See Facebook debacle.

“I don’t worry about the ‘sports handicapping industry,’” he added. “I can’t control what others do. I can only control my reputation. I am an Ivy Leaguer, who graduated alongside President Obama (at Columbia University). I’ve built my business with a level of ethics unmatched in any industry. I set out to change the image of sports handicapping. I think I’ve done that successfully.”

In a 2004 interview with Columbia Today, Root admitted, “As with every other business, 10 percent of what I do involves credibility, another 10 percent is winning and the remaining 80 percent is marketing. It is more important to be known than to win the most.”

The pick-selling industry is so poorly monitored and regulated that it’s hard to define what counts as unethical practices.

One thing is sure – it’s big business, and Root is good at it.

Winning Edge owns the patent to transmit and sell sports predictions online. In 2006, Root successfully sued competing pick-selling sites for infringement. Sites now legally have to get licensed from Root to sell picks online. Winning Edge also was the only publicly-traded sports handicapping firm in the country in 2004.

It’s this type of business savvy that Root believes helped his political career.

“My background has helped me immensely,” he explained. “But not just as a sports handicapper. As a business owner and entrepreneur. Those same qualities that helped me build a successful business are helpful in running a political campaign or running a country. It’s all about explaining and selling a message and a game plan.”

In the end, Root believes voters should be happy to see more successful businessmen in politics, including handicappers.

“Instead of worrying about sports handicappers…I’d worry about lawyers and career politicians,” Root emphasized. “Your very question represents the problem with the media in this country. You should not denigrate someone for being a businessman or entrepreneur…or a sports handicapper. It’s the lawyers and career politicians who have ruined America. They are the ones we need to question. They are the bums we need to throw out of office. They are the ones who brought us to this economic cliff…this Armageddon. Lawyers know nothing about business or economics. They pass laws that ruin our economy every day. Start criticizing them. Start questioning their value as politicians. We need business people who have experience creating jobs. Not lawyers who do nothing but kill jobs.”

He believes America’s stance on gambling has softened and that we’ll have a new face in the White House next year.

“Just today (May 30) Mitt Romney, who I believe will be the next President of the USA, stood on a stage in Vegas with three men standing proudly and loudly behind him- Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn and Donald Trump. Three casino moguls publicly backing a future President. Ask Mitt if gambling bothers him? I think not. I call these men- like myself- entrepreneurs and capitalists. They are symbols of what makes America great.”