The Action Network’s (AN) Darren Rovell has found himself at the center of a Twitter storm after users accused him of placing disproportionately large bets in order to inflate his sports betting record. He then had them changed on AN’s tracking app to make it appear they had never happened, The Daily Beast reports.
The former ESPN sports-business journalist was called out after bragging on Sunday about his winnings for the year so far and urging his two million followers to join up to AN for mobile sports betting picks.
But eagle-eyed followers spotted that had it not been for two oversized bets placed in January, Rovell would have been in the red for college basketball. Some accused him of inflating his results in a bid to pimp AN, which offers a subscription-based service providing “exclusive betting data” and other tools for the budding sports bettor.
Rovell bet 50 units on the under for Virginia at Duke and 150 units on the under for Michigan at Indiana, both at -110. The first bet was a loser, but the second one netted him 136.36 units. So, what exactly did he do wrong?
What’s a Unit in Sports Betting?
A unit is the measure of the size of a gambler’s average bet and is usually based on a percentage of a gambler’s bankroll, often around one percent. As well as a function of bankroll management, it allows players to efficiently measure profit and loss – and therefore, over time, skill — against others with differently sized bankrolls, betting differently sized stakes.
For example, a bettor who is up by $20,000 but is betting $10,000 on every game is less successful than a bettor who is up $300 and betting in units of $50.
Apart from those two slightly wild bets in January, Rovell pretty much bet one unit on each of his other bets for the year.
Of course, Rovell should be allowed to bet whatever he wants — it’s his money, after all — except when he’s claiming his results are impressive, and he’s selling a product that offers betting expertise. The sudden deviation from good bankroll management is not a clever system. Essentially, Rovell was in the black because of one single bet that happened to come good.
Among untrustworthy handicappers, the practise of boosting failing results through single high-variance plays is known as “yoshing up.”
For his part, Rovell is no expert handicapper and neither he nor AN claim he is. He is not one of AN’s featured expert bettors, just a guy joining in the fun, he says.
But what he apparently did next was, to some, more concerning. Rovell had someone go back and alter those two January bets on his AN betting tracking app, changing the outlay in each case to just one unit. Cue more eagle-eyed Twitter followers picking up on it, cue more outrage.
Now Rovell claimed that the January bets were a mistake — that he had confused units and dollar amounts when entering in the data and was simply going back and correcting this. It’s an explanation that might have held water had he not appeared to acknowledge the 136-unit winning bet on Twitter back in January when he was initially called out on it.
“I use units as how confident I am,” he shot back at criticism on January 26.
But does the revelation that the data on the AN app can be changed retroactively now make it impossible to trust when evaluating a handicapper’s results?
Not so, says Chad Millman, the Action Network’s chief of content. He told The Daily Beast that the edit had been a one off and that it wouldn’t have been authorized for one of the site’s “featured bettors.”
“That’s why we don’t make him a featured expert,” Millman said. “He’s a guy we hired to cover news and information, to break stories, to tell stories. We do not ask him to say, ‘Who do you like in this game?’ and then put that on our website.”
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