Money

How gambling software helped one amateur make $1300 in 12 days

Dustin Triano #55 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs practices ahead of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium on March 31, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.
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Dustin Triano #55 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs practices ahead of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium on March 31, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.

With the championship win by North Carolina in the books, March Madness comes to a close, and with it ends a gambling spree joined by nearly 40 million Americans, according to the American Gaming Commission.

But for one amateur who turned his $120 into $1,500 with the help of sports betting data aggregator Sports Insights, it might just be the beginning.

Here's how he did it.

The gambler CNBC has agreed to call "Justin" first came across Sports Insights when the company ran a promotional offer to test their services. For $250 a month, members gain access to data from multiple offshore sportsbooks showing exactly how the public is betting, and where so-called "sharp" or professional gamblers are putting their money.

Additionally, the company highlights its daily "best bets" — propositions that have historically proved profitable, hitting at a 55 percent win rate since 2005.

"Our two foundational philosophies when it comes to sports betting are: Bet against the public and follow the sharp action," Sports Insights manager Josh Appelbaum explains. "The reason we bet against the public is because more often than not, the public loses."

A bias towards betting home teams, favorites, and what's known as "the over" tends to open up opportunities for professional gamblers. When they act, the company alerts its users, so that they can act too.

Sports Insights tracks bets placed at offshore sportsbooks and reveals where professional gamblers are putting their money.
Sports Insights |
Sports Insights tracks bets placed at offshore sportsbooks and reveals where professional gamblers are putting their money.

Topping off an online gambling account at Bovada with $120, Justin was ready to start placing wagers. After placing about ten bets a day with an average wager of $40, early wins started piling up, along with the cash in his account.

"I'd wake up and actually open my laptop first thing and see what the data was looking like," he says. "On a regular day, [I'd spend] an hour and a half to two hours looking at data throughout the day."

By the time 64 teams were whittled down to 16, Justin was up over $1,000 and starting to look at betting on other sports. First came the NBA. Then came golf, and then Korean, Turkish and Japanese B.League basketball games.

At times, when he was out to dinner with his girlfriend, his mind wandered from conversation to game scores, he says.

Confetti falls as the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.
Getty Images | Christian Petersen
Confetti falls as the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.

"I wouldn't categorize it as a problem, but it became an intense hobby," he says. "With such a plethora of data, I really found myself trying to take advantage of it."

Twelve days after he began placing bets using data from the Sports Insights' platform, he cashed out his Bovada account with more than $1,300 in profit.

"I've only cashed out twice before and it was for far, far less," he says.

"More often than not, the public loses." -Josh Appelbaum, Sports Insights manager

The success he achieved over the month of March isn't typical. In fact, someone else with the same win percentage could still find themselves walking away with a loss, provided he didn't follow the Sports Insights advice of wagering a consistent five percent of one's bankroll on a every bet — a warning Justin reflects on as he considers paying more for the service as his promotional rate ends.

"You're really on your own, even though you have all this data. What you want to do with that data is up to you."

As for what he has planned to do with his winnings, old habits die hard.

"I'm going to put a decent amount of that into a Vegas Memorial Day weekend trip with some college friends," he says.