A few months ago, the man many people consider to be the sharpest sports bettor in the world, Billy Walters, was profiled on 60 Minutes. I’ve been in this game for almost 20 years and from the first day I started I heard his name spoken with reverence. He has an almost ‘Keyser Soze’ reputation, people mention his name in hushed tones and he has the ability to put a sports book out of business.
So it was awesome to see a glimpse inside his world. Here is my take…
What Did We Learn From The Billy Walters Interview on 60 Minutes?
When the most feared and well known gambler in the world, Billy Walters, decided to grant the beautiful Lara Logan of 60 Minutes an interview in January 2011, he revealed details about his practices that any serious gambler should pay attention to. This post seeks to examine some of the findings and explore what we can learn from Walters’ firsthand account. Just like in any profession, it pays to learn from the best: in stocks you have Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch, in sports betting, we have Billy Walters.
Why Did Walters Agree To Be Interviewed?
We learned that Walters was 64 at the time of the interview and he seemed to be concerned about his legacy. He was insistent that 60 Minutes saw glimpses of his jet plane, lavish homes and golf courses, but he also insisted that the producers film him doing charity work at a home for mentally disabled adults. Like most rich guys, Billy seems to have wanted to make a show about how smart he is and what a generous guy he can be; can’t fault him there.
Walters Has His Own Systems & Makes His Own Lines
During the broadcast, we could infer that Walters had a complex system for making his own lines. He would regularly talk with insiders with advanced knowledge of the teams, weather people, and mathematicians. Any smart bettor has a system and Walters is, not-surprisingly, no different. He looks at different games and relies on what the numbers tell him rather than listen to the talking heads and white noise on TV.
Billy Practices Bankroll Management
Walters uses the data from his systems to come up with his own lines and then bets on the differences. He varies his bet amount by how much different his own line is from the sportsbook’s line. He mentions that he had won a record amount on the Saints/Colts Superbowl: $3.5M. Clearly he took advantage of substantial differences in his own projections vs. the oddsmakers and the higher betting limits that a Superb Bowl allows.
Walters Is Very Astute About Line Moves
For anyone paying attention, this was the real revelation about the program. Walters was speaking to one of his beards on the phone (guys who place bets for him) and he was very strict saying that if a casino would allow him a half point, he would play, and if not he would hold off. Line moves are the #1 way for a bettor to beat the house, without question.
To do some math, remember that as the bettor, you are risking money in the proportion of $110 to win $100 when you bet. Therefore you need to win approximately 52.4% of the time to win money. Line moves give you an opportunity to blow these odds out of the water. Even if your system was flipping a coin, picking up an extra point in the NFL would give you an extra 4.6-6.0 percent chance of winning – meaning just by being astute about shopping for lines, you have increased your chances from 50% to around 55% on each game which over the course of a season will lead to huge returns. In the NBA, a point is even more pronounced, giving the gambler an extra 5.8-6.6% advantage. Realizing how the numbers are stacked in a line shopper’s favor, it is no wonder that Billy Walters was so emphatic and disciplined about a half point…
While Billy Walters didn’t give away the farm regarding his betting philosophy, it was nice to see such a big fish in our little corner of the world, sports betting, get some mainstream airtime. While Walters let on that he was serious about system betting, and we believe him, he offered little into what criteria he considers when looking for an advantage. The most telling part was what he said to his beard about line shopping: he was very serious about gaining an advantage from line moves. The numbers bear him out: line moves are the number one way to profit in gambling. No matter what level of a bettor you are, be sure to watch Billy Walters Interview, at the least you will be entertained: