How Would You Like To Invest In Luis Robert's Future?


Sports betting became legal in the state of Illinois in 2020, and in the last week it became a lot easier to place a bet. Originally, if you wanted to start an account at a local book, you had to open the account in person at the book. Only after doing that would you be able to place bets online or on your phone.

Well, you can now open an account online. The pandemic that has robbed us of sports ironically led to making it easier for us to bet on the sports we no longer have.

I opened a BetRivers account online earlier this week, and then began doing what I always do: I looked for odds I could exploit. I found them rather easily too. Once sports betting became legal in Illinois I was interested in seeing what kind of lines and value I could find on Chicago-related odds. It's important to remember that while there are professional gamblers out there who treat it no differently than others treat the stock market, the overwhelming majority of sports bettors are doing it for fun.

And it's a lot more fun to bet on your favorite teams than against them.

This is something local books must account for, which can lead to odds that are skewed a bit due to a likely higher handle placed on them here than they would be in Vegas or at an offshore book online. So, with this in mind, I immediately looked at the tab labeled "BetRivers Illinois Specials" in the book. There were two White Sox related bets, but only one truly stood out to me.

The book is offering you the chance to bet on Luis Robert winning the Rookie of the Year in 2020. He's +200 to win, and -278 to lose.

You see, BetRivers has the White Sox to win the AL Central at +300, which is generally the same odds you'll find everywhere else at the moment. The same cannot be said about Robert's odds of winning the ROY. BetRivers has Luis at +200, but while odds vary from book to book on this prop, the Vegas Insider consensus currently has Robert at +400 to win. So by betting on Robert to win at the local book, you aren't getting good value.

But what if you're willing to bet against him?

OK, so it isn't as much fun, but if you're looking for value, there's a lot there. With Robert at -278 to lose the award the implied probability is 73.54%. That means he would have to lose the award 73.54% of the time for you to break even on your bet. The implied odds on him winning at +200 are 33.33%. Now, if you add up those probabilities you get 106.87%. How can something happen 106.87% of the time? It can't. That extra 6.87% is the vig (or juice) the book is charging. There's a reason they make money!

Anyway, let's compare BetRivers' odds to the "consensus" line at Vegas Insider. VI has Robert at +400 to win the Rookie of the Year. The implied odds of Robert winning with +400 odds are 20%. While there are no consensus odds on Robert not winning the award directly, if we assume 100% implied probability, the remaining 80% would give us odds of -400.

So, in the end, we can look at it this way: the actual odds (based on the consensus) of Luis Robert winning the Rookie of the Year have a probability of 20%. The odds BetRivers is offering expect him to win it 33.33% of the time. Quick math suggests that you're getting 13.33% less value betting on him to win it at BetRivers than you could be getting elsewhere.

On the other side of that coin, the actual odds of Robert not winning the award are 80% (again, based on the consensus odds). At BetRivers, they expect him to lose it 73.54% of the time. Some more quick math shows a difference of 6.46% value in your favor if you bet against Robert.

Of course, it's important to point out that at -278, for every $1 you bet you'll only get 36 cents back. So maybe that's not worth it to you from a spiritual standpoint. But if you're looking at it from a pure investment perspective, it's a smart bet to make.

And, besides, if you lose it, it means Luis Robert won the AL Rookie of the Year. Some things you can't put a price on.

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While I wrote this post with the intention of explaining how White Sox fans who only have access to local books can take advantage of Robert's odds, if you have access to offshore books or Vegas books, there's another way to make money. It's called arbitrage, and while I won't go into full detail of what it means (Wikipedia will do!), Curch of Dressel did a nice job of explaining how you can take advantage of it.

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