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Football Pool Betting Tips

Dear Mark,

In our office football pool, I place near the bottom almost every week. Any advice on what I can blame my continuous losses on?

Randy V.

Sports betting is a combination of both skill and luck. Your wins, Randy, come from your superb handicapping skills. Just blame your losses on a late game interception or fumble.

Dear Mark,

I live in California and don't want to drive to Las Vegas just to place football bets. I've heard that you can make wagers to sportsbooks in Nevada over the phone. Any truth to this?

Russell M.

Nevada casinos do offer account wagering via the phone, Russell, but ONLY if you live in the state of Nevada. Making a bet from outside of Nevada violates the Interstate Wire Act (18 U.S.C. 1084). This code provides criminal penalties to anyone engaging in the business of betting when using a wire communication facility for the transmission of interstate (that's you, Russell) or foreign commerce of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest. Russell, you technically can't even call up a high school buddy who is dealing dice at the Mirage and ask him to place bets for you.

Dear Mark,

When the casino sports book has a game circled, what does it usually mean?

Marty C.

A circled sporting event indicates that you will not be able to bet the normal maximum. If the normal maximum betting limit is $5,000, the casino may accept only a $2, 000 wager on a circled game. Circled games generally mean that the sports book is unsure of the correct line or the status of an injured key player is unknown.

Dear Mark,

I realize that I am betting a long shot when I bet a 10-team parlay, but what are my true chances of hitting it?

Lorenzo D.

The casino will pay you 500 for 1 when you hit a 10-team parlay, but your chances of hitting one are 1,023 to 1. Ouch! Too sweet a profit for the casino for my hard-earned money.

Dear Mark,

Does the house have the same edge when betting the point spread as if you were to bet totals?

Keith B.

As in a point spread wager, totals, where you bet the combined scores of both teams in a game, have a 50/50 chance of winning if picked randomly. With both wagers, the bettor as a rule bets $11 to win $10. Both bets have the same casino advantage of 4.55%.

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