Can you make a living betting basketball?

The easy answer here is a clear no. The logic dictates that at the end of the day betting sites not gamblers make the money, after all that’s why the sites themselves exist. However there is at least one case where this doesn’t ring true in a very major way.

Whatever your stance on betting is, everyone knows at least someone who claims to have won big gambling. Even the most deluded of people however will not go about stating that betting sports is a sustainable way to make long term profits. At the very least they’re not quitting their day jobs.

This is not the case for Bob Voulgaris, a well-travelled 40 year old professional gambler, who makes the vast majority of his money betting the NBA. ESPN conducted an interview with the somewhat publicity shy gambler, and it is an excellent read. We’ve highlighted some talking below, but what we mostly take away from this story is that is is physically possible to make good money betting on sports, and in this case basketball. It does however require a lot of talent, a lot of hard work, apparently a math genius, and a computer model.

These are the major talking points.

At the start of his gambling career in the 1990’s, Voulgaris was regularly betting 1 million dollars on any one day of NBA games, exploiting a serious edge he had on sportsbooks. During this hey day, he was renting an apartment for $12,500 a month.

He almost lost it all, when the sportsbooks figured out his edge.

Looked for 2 years to find a math prodigy to help him switch to quantum mathematical approach to betting.

After 2 years, developed a model called Ewing (after the “Ewing Theory”, which states a team improves whenever its overrated superstar leaves). This model predicts results and allows Voulgaris and his partner to make favourable bets.

The success or ROI (return on investment) that Ewing provides is getting smaller year by year.

He harboured ambitions to at one stage become a General Manager of a basketball team, and thinks that he could “put together a team than almost any general manger in the league. If not maybe all.”

Read the full ESPN article here