BodogLIVE Review: Betting for Adrenaline Junkies
by Robert Ferringo - 10/22/2008
The concept of in-game betting is certainly not a new one in the World of Gambling. However, the recently activated BodogLIVE program has taken the concept to a new level and has stimulated a volcano of gambling options for amateurs, action junkies, and expert bettors alike.
If you are not familiar with BodogLIVE the easiest way to describe it is as an in-game gambling buffet. BodogLIVE offers odds on a variety of sports-specific situations that are bet in real time. Wins and losses are calculated immediately and the action is reflected in your bankroll as you go along.
For instance, in a Major League Baseball game you will have odds for a variety of outcomes prior to each at-bat. Will the batter reach base (+120) or get out (-140)? If he makes an out will it be a groundout (-110), a fly out or line out (-125) or a strike out (-130)? If he reaches base will it be a single (+105), double (+180), triple (+480), or a home run (+375)? The odds vary based on matchups and situations, and prices change in real time to adjust to heavy action on a particular option. But this example just scratches the surface of the bevy of betting options that are at your fingertips.
In football, the screen is set up similarly to the MLB Live betting page, but the odds and options are completely unique to the sport. You have options ranging from the length of each drive (0-20 yards, 20-39 yards, 40 or more yards) to the potential outcome of the drive (punt, touchdown, field goal, turnover). Also, you can bet on both the method (pass or run) and success (complete or incomplete) of each individual play. Virtually every 30 seconds you are presented with a platter of potential plays, from which any number of bets, hedges, and value situations present themselves.
Basically, if it happens in a game, Bodog has odds for you to bet on it.
My Monday night was the perfect example of BodogLIVE in action. On one television I had the Giants-Browns Monday Night Football game. On another was the Phillies-Dodgers NLCS Game. On my laptop I had separate screens set up on Bodog Live for each game. Let me tell you, the action was flying fast and furious, and I had a blast bouncing from one wager and play to the next and from one screen to the next. Will Jamie Moyer get an out? Hell no! Will the Browns continue to carve up the Giants secondary? Hell yeah! First downs and first basemen, pitch counts and pass completions, sacks and sacrifices, the night was filled with a flurry of gambling moments both virtuoso and virtually incomprehensible.
Was the whole experiment dizzying? Definitely. Was it exhilarating and a bit exhausting? Without a doubt. But was it an enjoyable, addictive (in the good way) and unique gambling experience? Absolutely.
The first thing that I noticed is the simplicity of the system. The screen is clean and uncluttered, which is exactly what it needs to be in order to be even remotely efficient and effective. The lines were all posted in a straightforward manner and after a few minutes of adjusting to the speed and the overall activity of playing odds on each play it was very easy to make your moves. Kudos to the designers for not getting overly complicated.
The next thing that impressed me about the program was that, technically, it was pretty flawless. Considering the amount of information that was flowing through the Bodog servers and the amount of data that needed to be processed before, during and after each play I was amazed that there were no issues either placing or processing a bet or the odds. Where and how they got the odds I will never know (I'm sure after a few months you could knock down patterns and find statistical weaknesses in their numbers), but I was floored by the fact that in the 25-30 seconds in between plays, some lines shifted multiple times in reaction to heavy action on one side or another.
I'm sure that a common complaint about the system will be the load times and the incredibly small window that gamblers have to determine their bets. But that isn't really the fault of Bodog's. College and professional sports are rapid-fire exercises. And the speed with which you need to read-and-react to shifting gambling situations, in a way, mimics what players must go through on the field. It's coordinated chaos, and anyone using Bodog's program needs sharp wits, quick fingers, and fantastic instincts. Not unlike the players that we are wagering on.
The last point bears mentioning again, and it's really, I think the genius of the whole setup. If you are betting on a side or total in an actual game the most important thing is the research that you do before you make your wager. Saturday night I am already starting to handicap and breakdown stats and matchups for next Saturday's college football games. I have days to pour over information and make the most educated predictions possible. Yes, instinct plays a big role in how I ultimately select and grade my picks. But the bottom line is that I have days to prepare for each weekend's wagers.
With BodogLIVE you don't necessarily have that luxury. As I get more experience with the program I am positive that I can research and find exceptional situations. Like how certain teams perform in the two-minute drill or how certain pitchers approach batters that have hit them well in the past. There's always homework and preparation that can be done before a game that can help your in-game betting. But a majority of decisions you are going to make while using BodogLIVE are going to be based solely on your instinct and your understanding of the flow and rhythm of a particular game or sport. Because you have less time to analyze you have to rely more on feel. And in that way I think that there are instances where a seasoned gambler will have an advantage over the cold calculations that the computer offers up. It's increasing difficult to "beat the books"; that is to overcome the mathematical and statistical disadvantages that gamblers are at the whim of in straight wagering. But in some situations momentum and rhythm can't be calculated by the computers and aren't reflected in the odds. So for a patient and discerning eye there will be some profit opportunities that would surpass the shakiest line you could find during the week.
Further, the sheer volume of potential plays in any one game means that you are going to be able to find some absolutely ripe situations that work in your advantage. The key is the patience to wait for those three or four opportunities in hundreds of options.
Which brings me to the drawbacks of the system. For all of the really positive things that BodogLIVE has working for it there are still some very clearly negatives associated with it, even if they are more issues with the concept in general and less with the execution by Bodog.
First, as a handicapper this idea of live betting really violates a lot of the fundamentals of sound gambling strategy. Two keys to consistent, long-term gambling success are discipline and money management. BodogLIVE is pretty much the enemy of both. The system thrives on impulsive and/or uniformed plays by amateur bettors that probably don't understand what they are up against. While no one is forcing a bettor to wager on every play - which would be absurd - the temptation is far too great for them to be as selective as they should be. In a lot of ways it works on the "slot machine" or "carnival game" mentality where you get so used to pumping in quarters that you don't realize until later how much money you've actually ripped through.
To me, that's the biggest problem: it's nearly impossible to practice solid money management techniques and it's too easy to get swept up in the emotion of betting. If you are not completely focused, careful and disciplined you could burn through a serious amount of your bankroll. Generally you want to wager between three and five percent of your stack on any one game. But I could see an amateur bettor tearing through 10, 20, or even 30 percent of their stack in one football half with BodogLIVE. And for that reason I would definitely hesitate to recommend this program to casual bettors.
Second, the load times seem inconsistent and they can be overwhelmingly fast. As I mentioned, things happen quickly on the field. But I still felt like there were times when I felt like the odds should have been up quicker. In baseball, for instance, there isn't a ton of time in between at-bats. However, the pitcher vs. batter odds could really be calculated in full before the game even starts, and then modified slightly based on situational factors (men on base, inning, score). If that were the case the odds could be posted before the previous batter has even made his way back to the dugout. Also, I don't see a reason not to continue the MLB betting options through the first pitch. Maybe that will be a future option. I know it's nit-picky, but at times I did feel like some of the load times were a bit inconsistent.
I also am very interested to see how Bodog resolves this issue with the NBA and college basketball. Those sports are continuous and lightning fast and I'm curious what options will be available.
Overall, I give the Bodog Live program a thumb's up in terms of overall usability and uniqueness of experience. For anyone who ever gets bored of a good-ol' straight play, or for those bettors who are simply action junkies looking for a hyperactive adrenaline rush, this is a perfect alternative. However, as far as an investment technique I would definitely not recommend this method of betting for anyone that wants to stay in the gambling game very long.