Since placing small bets on sporting events and blogging about picking sporting events for betting purposes isn't a very lucrative career, I have a pretty normal 9-to-5 job. Every Monday, while listening to sports radio on the way home, an obnoxious ad runs telling me to call a toll free number for a lock against the spread pick for that night's Monday Night Football game.
These ads are bullshit, because there is no such thing as a lock in sports betting. But these ads are made even more ridiculous by the repeated claim that this person is picking winners at a 90 percent rate. This, of course, isn't possible for any human, so it's easy to dismiss those ads and the claims contained therein. That guy on the radio is nothing more than a tout.
A tout is someone who sells or promotes gambling advice for financial gain of some sort. Whether that financial gain comes from the actual selling of picks, or the selling of ads on a web site or phone line isn't of consequence. The bottom line is that that person isn't making money betting on sports at a high enough level to bet on them on a standalone basis.
It should be glaringly obvious, given the previous sentence, that there's no way that any reasonable human should give money to these people in exchange for picks. Yet people do just that for some insane reason. ESPN's Jeff Ma did a great job recently of breaking down the plethora of problems surrounding this cottage industry, this wart on the already wart-filled ass of sports betting.
But none of that stopped Vice Sports, which has grown into one of the few places that produces good-ass sports writing under Tomas Rios, from declaring Kelly In Vegas "The New Face Of Sports Gambling" even though she is no better than that guy who yells about his 90% record who wants me to listen to his Monday Night Football picks.
Kelly In Vegas sells picks. Expensive picks. $400 a month football picks. She also posts her winning picks to her web site. The losers, however, are not as visible. They're also not visible at all.
In a lot of ways, this means that Floyd Mayweather could be the face of sports gambling in a way. Anyone could be the face of sports betting if they took their losing picks and buried them in the backyard instead of owning them. And it's that kind of burying that gives touts an utter lack of credibility.
While we're on the subject of burying, Vice's piece on the new face of sports gambling didn't do much to address these criticisms of In Vegas or the company for which she sells picks, Don Best Sports. In fact, only two sentences in the piece mentioned that this person who charges people money for her picks without legitimately documenting wins and losses is under any form of scrutiny. They are as follows:
Still, many look at her skeptically. It doesn't help her credibility in some circles that she's the face of a "tout" website, which sells betting picks to interested gambling clients.
It's always good when mainstream sports sites take to producing sports betting content, which will only further serve to normalize what will one day be a perfectly legal activity. But glorifying people who sell picks without proving that they are actually proficient at picking games actively hurts the realm of sports betting, which is something that shouldn't sit well with anyone.
In reality, sports betting is faceless in that those who are the best at it don't want to draw ridiculous amounts of attention to themselves so as not to alter lines and make things more difficult on themselves. But things that are faceless don't earn clicks and don't sell picks, so here we are.