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Gamblin'

RJ Bell’s PR Firm Had Us Publish This ‘Rebuttal’ That Fails To Dent Our Argument


RJ Bell Sucks

On Wednesday, I published an article titled, “Why Are Grantland And The New York Times Peddling The Bullshit Of Sports Betting Sleazeballs?” Check out the whole post if you haven’t, but if you don’t want to read a lot of angry words, here’s a primer:

New York Times Magazine published a cover story about sports betting. Sports betting is typically ignored by mainstream media, especially by an entity like the New York Times. This was big news. However, the writer clearly knew nothing about sports betting, as his “Behind the Scenes” interview later proved. Read this excellent analysis by VegasWatch for an explanation why. The article said a lot of ridiculous things. But most importantly: It glorified Pregame.com, its founder and CEO RJ Bell, and some of his “touts,” or pick-sellers.

It’s a problem that the New York Times gave free, positive publicity to Pregame.com, because:

A) Pregame.com is a profitable business that makes money by selling sports picks from about 25 different people.

B) As I quoted and explained, “the overall climate of the (pick-selling) industry is 99 percent scammers.”

C) Because of this, the onus is on the pick-sellers to prove their worth. Because if you understand the industry, you will trust nobody, unless they can show clear proof of providing profitable picks.

D) The only way to prove that picks are profitable is to produce a fully transparent long-term record.

E) Pregame doesn’t do that. Thus, you shouldn’t buy their picks.

F) Because they won’t/can’t prove that they’re a profitable service, the only way they can attract customers is through misleading marketing practices.

G) Because of all of the above, the mainstream media should not glorify Pregame or similar companies. Grantland should not let him write a column as if he’s a “writer.” He writes for his brand. The media clearly doesn’t understand the climate or the consequences.

That’s the argument.

Bell was upset by my piece, and sent a rebuttal to me through his PR agency (like I said… businessman, not writer). He wrote a lot of words. Not one of them put a dent in the above argument, but I promised to publish it out of fairness.

The PR Blitz

A man named Matt Rudnitsky attacked me personally on Wednesday. He and I have never communicated. He did not offer me the opportunity to comment (a standard journalistic courtesy) before his article was published on SportsGrid.com. The intent of this reply is to correct his article’s errors, misrepresentations, and lapses of logic. Although I must admit to having a reaction when called a “sleazeball” or having my work characterized as “bullshit” – this reply will focus on the facts, in an effort to minimize the chance of a casual reader being deceived by this unwarranted attack.

I probably should have reached out as a courtesy. Sorry, RJ. However, I’m confident I would have learned nothing from his response. I also read his responses to similar criticism at BeyondTheBets (sadly now defunct), and was not satisfied with his answers. The man can talk in circles for days.

I do not see any “errors, misrepresentations, (or) lapses of logic” in my piece. I will hear him out, though. I make mistakes.

The basic premise of Mr. Rudnitsky’s article is “most of the Internet is peddling bullshit.” Specifically, the “clueless” media should not use me as a sports betting information source.

True, mostly. I guess it’s possible someone could find him a useful source, but that should only happen if they’re 100% aware of who he is and what he’s selling. That hasn’t been the case.

Yet, throughout the entire article, he fails to cite even a single factual error in all of my published work. He does not even attempt to make the case of a sordid past – nor does he provide even a single instance of past wrongdoings. Rather, by his own admission in the comments section of the article, the lone reason for his attack is that Pregame.com, a website that I founded, does not consolidate handicapper pick records in a format he considers ideal.

I’m not saying that RJ Bell’s work contains factual errors. That said, here’s one.

My beef is with the media. They’re being irresponsible. RJ Bell is simply taking advantage of an unfortunate situation.

And as I explained, the record “format” isn’t “not ideal,” it’s wholly unacceptable. RJ Bell does not once mention why he doesn’t provide long-term records. It’s because they’d expose his bullshit in plain sight.

Many readers, no doubt, are not sure what that means.

The average person doesn’t understand the industry, which means they’re ripe for exploitation. Hence the need to expose him.

Here are the simple details: I don’t personally sell picks, but Pregame.com provides expert handicappers who do. 95% of the site’s content is free, and only a small percentage of the site visitors ever buy picks.

I have no ethical problem with the free content. You can investigate its worth yourself, but it’s not an ethical issue. That’s not what makes Pregame money. It builds their brand and attracts customers. The pick-selling is what makes them money. And, I quote Pregame.com here: “Pregame sells sports PREDICTIONS — generating over $1,000 per customer.”

Every pick ever sold in the history of the site is archived, publically available at all times for review or audit. Pregame.com is the only major pick selling site to offer this level of transparency.

This is smart, yet disingenuous marketing-speak. I’m just some writer. RJ Bell is a businessman trying to defend his brand. He’s the one with problematic bias. Which is my whole point.

Technically, the above is true. However, it’s meaningless, because:

1) They do not post bets at the start of games. They wait a while, which opens up the possibility for withholding picks that look bad.

2) The archives are not verified by a third party. A third-party did in fact track arguably their biggest-name tout, Steve Fezzik, for years. Somebody posted this independently-tracked, long term record in the Pregame forums… and was banned. Supposedly, Fezzik asked for them himself, but the poster was STILL banned.

3) As I’ve said a million times, the only thing that matters (long-term records) are not posted. Sure, picks are “available..for review for audit,” but as I quoted, “determining a long term record using their system would literally take someone days.”

4) Also, I’m sorry, but, since you were mean to me… “publically?”

The pick sellers are permitted to promote truthful streaks in a marketing friendly fashion. For example, stating that they are 52-40 ATS this season in the NFL, without mentioning of last season. Identical to a Fidelity Mutual fund advertising in Fortune magazine that they beat the S&P 500 last year, without mentioning the prior year.

It’s your right to mislead people through marketing. It’s my job to explain what you’re doing.

Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing. No fear, because that is it. Mr Rudnitsky is unable to muster even a single accusation of any instance of a customer being deceived.

Every single person that has ever bought a pick from Pregame was deceived, being told to believe that they are buying the “best picks” from a “winning pro bettors.”

His entire ire stems from his personal belief that the records should be consolidated in a different fashion – one he personally considers appropriate.

Not “appropriate.” Mandatory.

Pregame.com’s main competitors, falling even further short of Mr Rudnitsky’s standard (by his own admission), escape his expletive-filled attack.

All of Pregame’s “main competitors” are sleazy. Pregame may or may not be better than other sleazeballs. Irrelevant.

Also, I curse when I’m angry, and I was angry that people are being misled. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my language.

That is literally it. No additional rational was provided by the author to explain his vitriol.

Correct. My argument has been proven.

Have you offered one shred of evidence to disprove me? (No.)

The question is begged: Why? Here’s a clue: last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover story went behind the scenes of Las Vegas sports betting, and Pregame.com was featured prominently in the story.Yep, Watergate was about following the money; the Internet is about following the page views.

This is not an SEO-friendly article, at all. A picture of boobs would have done 50x the pageviews with 1% of the effort.

Or, perhaps it’s something more personal to Mr. Rudnitsky, since he rants on and on about the journalistic failings of the New York Times, ESPN and Grantland. Nothing short of ironic as a reader continues through the article.

Not ironic.

Mr. Rudnitsky complained that the cover story presented me as “some sort of God” – while also lamenting the story’s “glorification” of me. Strangely, elsewhere, he writes of my “scuzzy brand.” Confusing.

Not confusing. I also didn’t use the word “scuzzy.” Cool, quasi-word, though.

The reality of the Pregame brand is “scuzziness.” The New York Times article misled people into thinking it was something fantastic. And yes, RJ Bell comes across (almost) as “some sort of God.”

“R. J., who is 43, was earnest and clean-cut. He wore black slacks and a dress shirt and spoke with the quick, stat-supported assurance of a quant who graduated at the top of his class in the finance department at Ohio State University.”

The “sources” cited in the article include multiple anonymous forum postings. Most egregiously, he links to one anonymous posting rumor – saying “there is no reason to believe this is true.”

My point has been proven. The forum posts add a little “oomph,” but they shouldn’t be taken as fact. Just as a lot more smoke nearby a massive fire that has been confirmed for years.

I linked to many different posts, most of which come from BettingTalk’s forums. There was also a TON of of good information at the BeyondTheBets forum, but it was shut down a while ago and the archives are gone.

It’s hard to convince people that BettingTalk is legit, and I understand that. If you check out the forum yourself, you’ll see that it’s a transparent, honest, positive community. But I won’t waste time talking them up; it’s not necessary or worth it. However, know that I only referenced respected, longtime members at a forum of independent, knowledgable people.

He notes that Pregame.com offers an affiliate program – as if that’s a bad thing.

I was pointing out that they make most (or all?) of their money via: pick-selling, and this allows them to involve other companies in promoting their sleaze.

He quotes from the site’s attorney written Terms of Service as if it’s a mission statement.

No. I thought it was funny that their Terms of Service said this.

“(PREGAME AND CO.) DO NOT WARRANT THAT THE CONTENT IS ACCURATE, RELIABLE OR CORRECT; THAT THE SERVICE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS”

He compares Pregame.com to McDonald’s – another company he seems to dislike. Good to know.

McDonald’s does unethical stuff too. I thought it was a funny comparison.

He references that one Pregame.com handicapper was suspended for making an error in the record he promoted (a fact which would seem to make the case that accurate records are taken extremely seriously by the site). But then, he claims that handicapper Steve Fezzik “fabricated” a record. But he offers ZERO proof. Not even a link to an anonymous forum post to back the accusation! Leaving the reader to wonder whether Pregame.com harshly disciplines record mistakes, or takes part in record fabrication? Then again, since not a shred of proof was provided about fabrication, the answer is clear.

All I can do is link to forum posts. I am working on acquiring concrete proof, but I’m not sure it’s possible, given the long history and the difficulty in acquiring information that should be easy to find.

Beyond the absence of proof and contradiction, what Mr. Rudnitsky leaves out is even more troubling.

Steve Fezzik, mentioned above, is the only two-time winner of the most prestigious football handicapping contest in the world (LVH SuperContest). Does that mean Fezzik couldn’t be part of wrongdoing? Heck, no. But, a reporter making a minimum effort to be fair would certainly include that fact when bashing Fezzik’s expertise.

This information is widely available. And, trust me, if you come across Steve Fezzik, you will find out this information, because it’s the main marketing tool he’s used since it happened years ago. It’s the first sentence in his Twitter bio.

He indeed won the very prestigious contest back in 2008 and 2009. That’s pretty crazy.

However, realize: It’s a very large contest. Even if someone is a fantastic sports bettor, they probably won’t win it. Winning is partly based on skill, but coming in first place takes a lot of luck. It’s really impressive that he won twice. It suggests he might be a good bettor. Perhaps amazing. However, winning a highly-luck-based contest again doesn’t prove the long-term value provided by a bettor. I was also informed that Fezzik did poorly in other NFL contests those years. He happened to run really hot in those two contests. That’s awesome. Good for him. But: Two contests ≠ long-term record.

If they don’t try to prove it, don’t believe it. The fact that multiple people have contacted me (and written in the comments of my original piece) suggesting that Fezzik’s records have been hidden and/or fabricated shouldn’t be taken as fact, but they should, again, slightly strengthen your already-extreme skepticism.

Pregame.com has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Perhaps Mr. Rudnitsky could make the case that since he never even claimed a single instance of a customer being wronged, that this was not applicable.

Pregame is 100% legal. That does not mean their picks are worth buying.

Pregame.com’s own posting forum generates 1000+ posts a day. 99% are extremely positive. No reason to take my word for it, a few minutes of browsing shows this to be true. The 1% of complaints provides compelling proof that complaints are not censored – rather they are publically addressed till the customer is satisfied.

1) Learn how to spell publicly.

2) Literally yesterday, this happened:

A forum member posted my article in the Pregame.com forums. The member didn’t even say he agreed with me, he said that he thought I threw “some pretty insane claims” out. A reasonable discussion began.

The post was deleted in around an hour.

The member was soon banned.

But, right. They totally don’t censor important things like helpful, honest third parties posting long-term records.

Mr Rudnitsky obviously does not value the content I produce. I respect his right to that personal opinion.
Yet, he fails to show any respect to the thousands who do value my content.

I don’t like his content. I hope people stop buying his picks.

His article claimed picks from Pregame.com lead to “inevitable bankruptcy.” When asked by a commenter to provide proof of a single case of this, he could not. He also showed concern about Pregame.com “fueling addiction.” This accusation ignores the reality that Pregame.com handicappers often and aggressively stress how difficult it is to win, and how sports betting should be no more than recreation for most. You will not find a single instance of even a whiff of “get rich quick” marketing. Mr. Rudnitsky either did not do the basic reporting to know this, or he ignored the truth because it did not fit his narrative.

If Pregame.com is providing losing picks, they “can” lead to “inevitable bankruptcy.” They will lose people money. Simple. Losing money can fuel addiction.

For those not yet convinced of the degree of Mr. Rudnitsky’s bias, consider that one of Pregame.com’s competitor, whose level of transparency falls short of Pregame’s (by the author’s own admission) – is featured daily at the Sporting News website, and also has an employee who is regularly featured on Fox1 national television. If Mr. Rudnitsky intent was to protect the mainstream media from sports betting information sites which fall short of his personal standards, it’s only logical that this competitor would also suffer his wrath. Yet, this competitor is not even named.

I mentioned Right Angle Sports because they are the only company I’m aware of that does the one thing I’ve been preaching: Provide long-term records. Right on the front of their website, they say “View Our Fully Transparent Long Term Record.”

They’re not really “competitors” with Pregame, because informed customers would understand that one company is transparent and one is not. But again, this is irrelevant to my point. I have no affiliation with RAS; I just admire their transparency. They’re an expensive service and I never plan to use them. I suspect that most readers will feel the same way. I wanted to point out the only example of honesty in pick-selling that I am aware of.

Also, I’m not sure what he’s talking about on “Fox1 national television.” I was discussing RAS; he appears to be discussing Don Best and Todd Fuhrman, who appears on Fox Sports Live, a show on Fox Sports 1. I included Fuhrman as an OK source, because he “writes and tweets some good info.” I then immediately mentioned that he was affiliated with a company that sells picks, so you should read his stuff with that in mind. Whatever. Again, no ties to any of them, so I removed his name from the original article.

Another competitor of Pregame.com was much praised in Mr. Rudnitsky’s article . Curiously, this favored site was the source of EVERY ONE of the anonymous posts cited in his article. This competitor was exalted as the ONE site that did not promote less than his entire lifetime record. Except, when Mr. Rudnitsky touted this competitor’s record in college football and college basketball, he used only a 5-year sample rather than the lifetime record. As you might guess, the selected years were better than the lifetime record for both sports – with the arbitrary fifth year the very best college football year in this picker’s history. Perry Mason moment: promoting the truth in a marketing-friendly way – precisely his only tangible compliant with Pregame.com!

It get’s worse for Mr. Rudnitsky: the record he touted was incorrect – with the winning percentage inflated by nearly 1.5% (compared to the data provided on the competitor’s very own website). I can’t know if this was an incompetent error or purposeful deception – but either way, it’s one more transgression than his article was able to uncover about me. Guess Mr. Rudnitsky is now compelled to call himself even nastier names than he called me.

Wait, now he’s talking about Right Angle Sports. I have no idea what he was trying to say before.

It’s not “curious.” I used them as an example of what Pregame would do if it were honest: Provide “Fully Transparent Long Term Records.” It’s so damn simple.

But again, I’m not telling you to use them. I don’t use them. I posted their records to prove a different point, to show how small differences in percentage points makes a huge difference in profitability. It was in reference to a mathematical error made by the Times, that had nothing to do with Pregame. Yet again: Nothing Bell has written has disproven my arguments.

He was actually sort of right about the incorrect records thing, though! I apologize for that. I used the front page of RAS’s site for those numbers (which, AGAIN, were only used for a mathematical point), and they were a bit misleading. (Which is not OK! They messed up. They should fix this and I will notify them.)

The front-page records said they were for five years, but they’re actually for four. The CBB record didn’t include the record from five years ago (which was still excellent, FYI), or this year’s college football record (which was OK but not their best). Again, it does nothing to disprove my point, but RJ is right here, and I hope they fix that.

[empty space]

That’s it. That’s how the “rebuttal” ends. Not even an “Insincerely, RJ Bell,” to close.

In case you didn’t want to read that drivel (and I can’t blame you if you didn’t), here’s a summary:

RJ Bell is mad. RJ Bell wrote in circles. RJ Bell couldn’t disprove my arguments, that: You shouldn’t buy his picks, and the media should get a clue and stop glorifying him, his company and his work.


  • Jake O’Donnell

    Sounds like a rather sophisticated scam that takes advantage of problem gamblers. Good work.

  • Robert_from_ATL

    As I am reading this an ad comes across:

    College Basketball Pickbasketballpicks.infoPro & College Basketball Info Instantly To Your E-mail!

    Funny you are trying to attack pick sellers but have your ad settings accepting ad from tout sites. That is pretty weak.

  • MattM

    Summary:
    1. It is okay for Mattr to use his media platform to tout incorrect records for RAS pick sellers.
    2. It is okay for Mattr to cherry pick those incorrect records to tout for his pick sellers.
    3. RJ is held to a higher standard than Mattr and his touts because Mattr said so and RJ made a spelling error.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Bullshit. Pregame doesn’t provide records, period. They post plays an entire hour after the games start where they have an hour to decide a) whether the pick counts and b) whether it’s a “0 unit free play” or a “2 or 3u premium play.” If Pregame had transparency, they would post all plays immediately after the games start. period.

    If Pregame’s “Bet Like a Pro” service had transparency, they would give a neutral third party access to the plays to verify their legitimacy. Fezzik had his record tracked by ComptrBob for years AT FEZZIK’S REQUEST. Now ComptrBob can only see the BLAP plays days after the fact when Fezzik past posts them. Why did Fezzik change the way his record was tracked??? Gee, probably because he loses his ass when people can actually see his picks in advance — lost -180 units over 5 years with an average bet size of 2u per play.

  • MattM

    Mattr admitted that the numbers he used to tout RAS were incorrect and didn’t include this year’s numbers because this year wasn’t a good year for them. Mattr is touting pick sellers using records that are incorrect and cherry picked while claiming to be fighting the good fight. I agree it is total bullshit.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    And the only reason those RAS records were incorrect were because of the confusion whether the “5 years” includes the CFB and CBB seasons that just concluded. (RAS only sells CBB until mid January.)

    Unlike Pregame:

    -RAS displays every pick almost immediately after the game starts

    -RAS displays full records on their website
    -when RAS occasionally releases a free play on their forum and Twitter, typically halftime plays, they are graded the same as anything else

    Pregame displays picks an hour after the game starts at the earliest, and in the case of BLAP, they display them days later. They only advertise each handicapper’s last 100 picks, and they use all sorts of games with grading, specifically a) free plays are graded as 0 units, but there are “premium free plays” that get graded at 2 or 3 units and b) only selective free plays even get listed in the record. There is nothing at all remotely “transparent” about Pregame’s record keeping.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    This year “wasn’t a good year for them?” The CBB season that just concluded was Overall:
    93-72

    +14.05
    56.36%

    Their CFB was:

    OVERALL:
    49-40
    +6.00
    55.06%

    By what possible definition is that “not a good year from them???”

  • MattM

    Mattr used numbers that were incorrect and information that wasn’t up to date to tout more favorable numbers for pick sellers. He is the sleazy one.
    I have no problem with RAS unless they are paying mattr to use fake numbers to tout them.

  • Shaun_from_2014

    Interesting. I did not see a pop-up ad. Although I haven’t really seen popup ads in 5 years. Maybe it is time to upgrade from IE 6.

  • VegasRunner

    Nice try RJ go suck Fezzik’s cock.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    LOL. I’m used to seeing Pregame shills on forums, but you set a new standard for shilling. You completely ignore that Pregame doesn’t keep ANY real records, and delete/ban anyone who tries to report on the performance of their handicappers, while focusing on a minor error in the details whether the RAS record includes the CFB season that just concluded and the CBB season where their service just concluded. RAS has all of their records prominently displayed on their website so anyone can verify them for themselves.

    The hilarious part is that the only reason you can verify the RAS records IS BECAUSE RAS PROMINENTLY DISPLAYS THEIR RECORDS ON THE WEBSITE. You are using RAS’s honest accounting to try to prove that the account isn’t honest, which is nothing short of hilarious.

  • MattM

    Cool story, bro. Doesn’t change the fact that mattr is using his media platform to tout incorrect numbers for his pick sellers.

  • WagerHeads

    Excellent work, Matt. I for one, appreciate your piece.

  • Robert_from_ATL

    Google ad at the top. Still there. Who uses IE?

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    They aren’t “his pick sellers.” He cited RAS as an example because they are one of the very few examples of touts who keep honest records.

    Out of curiosity, does RJ pay you extra if you swallow?

  • MattM

    Oh noes, a random person online is accusing me of being gay, which isn’t even a negative thing in the 21st century.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Nice try. How would I even know if you were a man or a woman? RJ has plenty of female-named shills too, like “Mary Murphy,” so calling yourself “MattM” means nothing.

    Free clue–ignoring all of the legitimate objections about Pregame while focusing on an understandable minor error he may have made reporting RAS records (since both sports just concluded) makes it painfully obvious that you’re just another Pregame shill.

  • MattM

    That is some circular logic. I actually am not accusing RAS of anything. I am accusing mattr of touting incorrect records from RAS. Since he already admitted this, it isn’t really a debate.

  • Robert_from_ATL

    Calm down dood. LOL. You need some Prozac or something?

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Your “accusation” is that of a simple mistake that’s easily understood, that was obviously just a mistake, nothing nefarious and promptly corrected. Pregame is an ongoing scam that’s been misrepresenting records for years.

  • MattM

    Yes, your point about swallowing is so much more on point than talking about touting incorrect records. Carry on.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    You fellated RJ Bell left and right in the comments in the past article. Harping on a simple mistake that’s easily understood (because the RAS CBB season just ended) and was promptly corrected, while trying to compare that to an ongoing scam like Pregame, makes it clear you’re a shill, and should be treated with the same contempt that a shill deserves.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    You’re an obvious shill who deserves to be treated with the contempt that shills deserve. No one with two active brain cells and not on somebody’s payroll would harp on a simple mistake while ignoring the fact that Pregame has been keeping dishonest records for years, banning anyone who quotes Fezzik’s LVA service records from 2005-2012 THAT WERE DOCUMENTED AT HIS REQUEST etc.

  • Shaun_from_2014

    Funny story about that ad. That ad was put there by Google and targeted at You. It was not put there by this website. GOOGLE shows YOU ads based on YOUR web history and interests. I am a Pharma Marketer so I see ads for pharmaceuticals at the top of this page. You are a “scuzzy” tout, or a moron that follows “scuzzy” touts, so you see ads for Tout websites. Make sense?

    The More You Know.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    I have to say I find it hilarious that RJ pisses and moans that he wasn’t contacted for the article, yet he instantly bans posters for quoting Fezzik’s past records that were compiled at Fezzik’s request. If you want the right of response, maybe you should give other people the right of response as well?

  • Johnny Detroit

    Wow. So many accusations with zero proof.

    One second we are this giant evil empire, but at the same time we magically are canceling losers and no paying clients notice? Can’t have it both ways.

    Time for the trolls with no evidence and no consequences to put your money where your mouth is:

    Challenge from me to you…….

    Anytime between now and the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season, prove A SINGLE INSTANCE of the Pregame.com pick archive being manipulated from its normal operation in an effort to deceive (specifically, winners that were not released being added to the archive, or losers that were released being withheld or removed from the archive) and I will personally pay you $10,000 in cash.

    If there is not a single instance, you donate $1000 to the BOYS & GIRLS CLUB of America.

    10/1 odds and Pregame.com does not stand to make a penny.

    The trolls sure enough to make the accusation should be fighting to take me up on this.

    We will see . . .

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Yeah right. Just like your challenge “We’ll bet all comers $10k that they can’t beat Fezzik’s record.” I agreed to take the challenge, as did someone from your forum, and we were told that “Pregame’s lawyers advised us against it” after your garbage challenge already got promoted all over the media. Your above offer is more bullshit from a bullshit artist.

  • Johnny Detroit

    Is that a no?

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    One of the most blatant examples of Pregame fraud is Fezzik’s “Bet Like A Pro” service, where Pregame only releases the results of the picks days after the games are completed.

    From 2010-early 2013, Fezzik was tracked by a forum poster named ComptrBob, who is probably the most respected record keeper on forums. Bob still offers to track Fezzik, but since joining Pregame and starting this BLAP service, Fezzik has declined Bob’s offer and the only BLAP records are the ones Fezzik posts days after the games are finished.

    It is obvious that there are no BLAP subscribers checking the record for errors because the only people who’ve ever pointed out the math errors in the record keeping are Bob and I. Since no one has access to the plays in advance aside from the alleged BLAP subscribers (none of whom are offering any input on the BLAP record, aside from a poster Chazz33 who mentioned not receiving winning plays a few times and eventually announced he was sick of losing with the service and no longer betting the plays), there’s no way of knowing if the picks and the quoted lines are legitimate.

    There is plenty of evidence that at least part of the BLAP record is fabricated. For a few weeks in 2013, Fezzik sold picks at LVA and BLAP, and mysteriously, his losing Super Bowl props never appeared in the BLAP record. Fezzik’s 2013 LVA Super Bowl plays went 4-3 for -1.6u, but Pregame claimed he went 4-0 for 5.375u on BLAP.

    Fezzik’s excuse for the discrepancy, posted on Feb 26 2013, was:

    http://forums.eog.com/showthread.php?t=332932&page=9&p=3736825&viewfull=1#post3736825

    “As for the difference in the SB bets, I gave out some at LVA, BLAP got
    launched a week later, so the two did not match completely…..SHOCKER
    …..unlucky at LVAsports…………”

    Fezzik’s LVA SB plays and their release dates were:

    Jan 21 1st Half UNDER 24-115 4 weight. 1st play.
    Jan 29: Bernard Pierce OVER 7 carries, 3 weight.
    Jan 29: 49rs 1st half UN 13.5 points, 1 weight.
    Feb 3: No otime -1000 risk 5 units to make .5
    Feb 3: Rice un 17 carries 1 weight
    Feb 3: Yes 3 straight scores -150 to win 2
    Feb 3: Sf gets to 28 points. 1st -170 2 weight

    So he claims BLAP started around Jan 28.

    But Johnny Detroit claimed on Pregame:

    http://pregame.com/pregame-forums/f/6/t/505120.aspx

    “The first actual client was not until 1-14-2013, but I will include the
    selections prior that were sent once the system went “LIVE”. ”

    When Johnny posted the entire first 6 week record for BLAP, he claimed Super Bowl plays of:

    1/29/2013 Sunday Playoffs Ravens NA NFL Prop 2 Super Bowl Pierce OV 7 carries W 2
    1/29/2013 Sunday Playoffs 49ers 13.5 NFL UNDER Team 1h 1 Super Bowl W 1
    2/3/2013 Sunday Playoffs Ravens/49ers NA -800 NFL Prop 3 Super Bowl NO OT W 0.375
    2/3/2013 Sunday Playoffs Ravens/49ers NA -160 NFL Prop 2 Super Bowl Y-3 Straight Scores W 2

    So on Feb 26, Fezzik claimed BLAP started around Jan 28 and that’s why there was a discrepancy between the BLAP and LVA releases. The very next day, Feb 27,Johnny Detroit posted the BLAP record that claimed BLAP started on Jan 11, with the first client on Jan 14.

    If Fezzik had forgotten exactly when BLAP started months after the fact, it could be a simple mistake, but these posts were only a few weeks after BLAP started. Allegedly there were 37 plays that were sent prior to Jan 28. How the heck could he have forgotten sending 37 plays???

    It is blatantly obvious that at least part of the BLAP record is fabricated. If Fezzik had nothing to hide, why did he stop having ComptrBob or some other neutral third party track his record?

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    How about you answer the questions rather than cry about how I’m “spamming the same cut and paste over different forums.” You fabricated the “hot start for BLAP” and got called on it.

    You have a history of making empty challenges. The last time you made such a challenge, I accepted, and you backed down, crying about how the lawyers advised you against it. Free clue — when you thump your chest about 10k challenges and then back down when you get called out, you lose the right to make any further challenges.

    My lawyers advise me that you’re a time wasting scam artist.

  • Anonymous

    This post is like an IQ test:

    If you cannot see that the Sportsgrid bash did exactly what they so aggressively condemned (promote the pick seller they like by using a partial sample of the overall record, because that partial record is more impressive) than you shouldn’t be posting on this subject.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    He since deleted the comment, but Johnny Detroit is obviously aware of the above accusations, as he replied: “You just going to keep copy and pasting the same drivel you spam any
    forum we are brought up on, or you going to make a decision?”

    He has never once addressed these legitimate concerns; he and RJ simply ignore them while trotting out accusations like “troll,” “spam,” “misanthrope,” and my favorite “haters with an agenda.”

    The only “agenda” here is truthful information. If Pregame were interested in honest record keeping, they would post all plays right at the start, and have a neutral third party (ComptrBob has volunteered) document that the BLAP plays, the most expensive service that Pregame offers, are legitimate.

  • Johnny Detroit

    If that is a no, the challenge is open to anyone. This includes the author who made baseless claims on this topic.

    Unlike you Mr. Mahoovin, I do not have time to stalk a discussion board with all my free time. Off to hang with the little ones.

    In the event anyone would like to take me up on this, feel free to message me on twitter at Johnny_Detroit.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    You have a history of making playground challenges and backing down, claiming “my lawyers advised us against making this bet.” You obviously have no intention of following through with this “challenge.”

    I provided obvious proof the BLAP record is fabricated, and as usual, you ignore the claims.

    I pay attention to your forum to notice examples of your lack of credibility, for example, grading some of Fezzik’s free plays as “premium free plays,” and including BLAP plays in his $25 per play record.

    That you use weasel words like “stalking” to describe someone who checks the accuracy of your record keeping speaks volumes. An honest handicapping service would display timestamped picks immediately when the games start, so that there would be no question as to the legitimacy of the plays, and would happily accept any error corrections. That you respond in such a negative fashion to anyone who tries to check your records for accuracy demonstrates your complete lack of legitimacy.

  • Guest

    You have a history of making playground challenges and backing down. When I accepted your “10k challenge to anyone who can beat Fezzik’s record,” you promoted that challenge in the media for months, and then shortly before the season started, said that “Our lawyers have advised us against making this challenge.” So no, I’m not wasting my time setting up a challenge from which you’re just going to back down, with excuses about lawyers or whatever else.

    That you use weasel words like “stalking” to describe checking the accuracy of Pregame records speaks volumes about your credibility. A legitimate service would welcome having their records audited.

    “Stalking” your forum is necessary to notice the record keeping discrepancies, for example, including Fezzik free plays in his pay record claiming they are “Premium Free Plays,” and including BLAP plays that were never for sale individually in his pay record. I only noticed that because subscribers purchased packages and mentioned that they didn’t receive some of the plays Pregame was including in the record.

  • Anonymous

    Beyond that laughable hypocrisy (prior comment), the facts are: Pregame seems to be the most transparent enterprise pick seller – with transparency comparable to mutual funds. You failed to prove a single instance of a customer being wronged in any way, nor were you able to prove a single instance of dishonest promotion, nor could you find a single item from RJ’s background that would prevent him from gaining the highest security clearance in the US Government. Quite the takedown. Fail.

  • Johnny Detroit

    Best of both worlds for you. 1) You can add that we backed down to your “copy and paste” jobs or 2) Take $10,000.

    If you are so sure, sounds like a win-win for you?

  • Anonymous

    Lol, as someone below mentioned. It’s a google targeted ad. Has nothing to do with SportsGrid or myself. That’s quite comical that it showed up, but I assure you I am against that absurd company advertising on our website. I’m sorry you had/have to see that.

  • Anonymous

    Hilarious.

  • Anonymous

    Ha. Precisely.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    1. It’s funny that he wrote “publically” twice.

    2. I don’t care if anybody uses RAS. Get that in your head. I’m just a blogger. I’ve never used them and likely never will. They’re transparent; I respect that. That’s all I’m saying.

    3. Their record wasn’t “incorrect,” they simply had “5 year record” listed for 4 year records. It’s a mistake. I’ll tell them to fix it.

    4. We have the same first name! Except that it’s probably not your real name.

  • Anonymous

    haha i wish i owned RAS — i’d be a lot less poor. i assure you they are not “my pick sellers”

  • Anonymous

    Boom.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, do you guys provide fully transparent long-term records? Asking for a friend.

  • Anonymous

    Haha. Yes. Agenda = truth. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    longterm records or gtfo. really.

  • Anonymous

    hahaha “the highest security clearance in the US Government.” now i’m at least a little entertained. have a nice weekend.

  • JamesInVegas

    As a member, I can assure you the Pregame forums encourage valid disagreement (for example, there’s a ongoing discussion with 100+ replies about the banning of the poster you mentioned in your article).

    But to expect a company to promote unproven accusations (your blog post) about that company is absurd.

    Speaking of unproven, Johnny Detroit challenged you in a comment above – - he’s putting up $10,000 in cash if you can prove one of your false claims, and if you can’t you donate $1000 to charity. You must believe in your claim enough to jump at those odds, right?

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    In my experience, accepting bets with known scammers like yourself never has a good outcome, nevermind that you backed out of the last $10,000 challenge I accepted.

    But I’ll bite. I accept your challenge.

    You asked for ” A SINGLE INSTANCE of the Pregame.com pick archive being manipulated from its normal operation in an effort to deceive” and I’ll give you two.

    On Sun Sep 22, Fezzik gave out Saints -7:

    http://pregame.com/pregame-forums/f/14/t/430920.aspx?pi10417=15

    “SAINTS -7. Customer Appreciation very strong Free play!”

    Fezzik advertised on his Pregame page here:

    http://pregame.com/pregamepros/pro-bettor/bettor.aspx?id=80748#daily_msgSubscriber

    “We hit our Premium Free Play on the Saints who roll AZ”

    and tweeted:

    “Fezzik’s Focus: Hit our Free Premium Play on Saints, then lose big SNF Steelers big bet.bounceback MNF free play……”

    https://twitter.com/FezzikSports/status/382157064207745024

    As you can see from the below screencap, Pregame graded that play as a 2 unit winner in addition to a free play, even though it was never for sale:

    http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t535/gmptdeux/fezzik9222013_zpsaade9da5.jpg

    There have been plenty of other examples of “Premium Free Plays” graded as if they were pay plays, but that was the first one I noticed, and per the terms of the challenge, I only need to find one.

    A contrary example on Oct 13, Fezzik posted:

    “Customer appreciation 2* best bet free Play.

    Skins 6. I think they win!”

    http://pregame.com/pregame-forums/f/14/t/430920.aspx?pi10417=35

    It was specifically listed as a 2 unit play, and it lost. You’ll see that it’s only graded as a free play with no unit size attached:

    http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t535/gmptdeux/fezzik10132013_zpsa289a9eb.jpg

    This is standard Pregame MO — turning winning 0 unit free plays into winning 2 or unit pay plays, while leaving ones that were listed as “2* best bets” as 0 units when they lose.

    Subscriber Vinny Rombi pointed out the error in the record keeping:

    http://pregame.com/pregame-forums/f/14/t/430920.aspx?pi10417=39

    “hey fezzick u have an error in ur record. this was a 2* but it is listed as a 0* free play. these idiots think im a shill for fezzik so there u go, i point out an error in his record that went against him.”

    He got no response, and 4 months later, that “error” still stands.

    If these were simple errors, misgrading winning free plays as pay plays while grading losing 2* “premium free plays” as 0 units, Pregame would have corrected the errors and taken steps to fix it. But four months later, the errors stand.

    There are plenty of other similar examples but per the terms of the challenge, I only needed to provide one and I provided two.

    So Johnny, let me know how I can collect my $10,000. Thanks.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Note that my screen caps can be verified by logging into Pregame and looking at Fezzik’s record for those two dates in question — as I am banned from Pregame for posting Fezzik’s LVA record (I was instantly banned after my first post), I had to have someone else send me the screencaps. Obviously Johnny can alter the record tomorrow to correct these, so I’d appreciate a third party verifying that the screen caps are accurate.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Two other examples of Pregame lies–when Fezzik joined Pregame and subscribers asked if Fezzik had past records, they were told “No, he’s a pro bettor who, for once, thinks a site is selling picks the right way.” Fezzik sold picks on SSB from 2001-2003, and on LVA from 2003-2005 and 2009-2013. He has tons of past records. On LVA from 2009-2013, his latest picks selling effort, he lost roughly 140 units on football in those 4 seasons despite having grading advantage under the sun. (He got to pick his own lines for grading and could include low limit props, quarters, and team totals only available at one book.) And that isn’t a selectively chosen sample since he did just as badly in 2005.

    When I posted Fezzik’s LVA record AS DOCUMENTED AT HIS REQUEST BY COMPTRBOB I was immediately banned from Pregame.

    Example two, on the “BLAP conference call” this past spring, when Fezzik claimed to be an WNBA expert so he’d be releasing WNBA picks in the summer, a subscriber asked “What sort of win rate can we expect, do you have past records?” Fezzik answered “No, last year (2012) was my first year focusing on the WNBA and I mostly bet halftimes which I couldn’t release.” But he did release WNBA service plays on LVA, almost all derivatives and small market stuff, including lots of halftimes (and sometimes plays when only Pinnacle had lines for a $250 limit, so he had every grading advantage under the sun), and he managed to lose 5 units over 70 plays.

    I have tons and tons of similar examples but there’s no point in giving more examples until I collect the 10k. I’ve given an obvious example of the Pregame scam where winning 0 unit free plays are turned into 2* plays like the pay plays and where a losing 2* play is turned into a 0 unit play.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Sure, they “encourage valid disagreement” but ban anyone who posts Fezzik’s past records. They allow disagreement that doesn’t affect their business at all (since no one will decide whether to buy a picks package based on whether DelcoDonny can post there), but try pointing out that Fezzik lost his ass on 5 years of football service plays in a row and you’re immediately banned.

    I just accepted Johnny’s challenge and won, so we’ll see if he actually pays me the $10k.

    I notice that you’re completely silent about all of the evidence I’ve posted in these comments and the comments in the other post, for example, when I exposed the scam with the BLAP record keeping when the past-posted BLAP 2013 Super Bowl plays didn’t match up at all with the LVA Super Bowl plays. If you were really an unbiased subscriber, why would you ignore heaps and heaps of evidence claiming that everything is “unproven?”

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Pregame needs to hire a better PR team. Posting plays an hour after they start, and only displaying the last 100 plays unless you have an account with Pregame, is anything but transparent. And Fezzik’s BLAP plays are even a bigger joke as they aren’t posted until days after the fact.

  • Johnny Detroit

    http://pregame.com/pregamepros/pro-bettor/picks.aspx?id=80748

    On
    12/08, when a package was sold and not just BLP, one of the plays was
    use BOTH in the package (rated) and as FREE. Guess what? Both lost.
    Also, click the link for the game. Different time stamps, different
    rating. I assume you never clicked those to do that?

  • Johnny Detroit

    http://pregame.com/pregamepros/pro-bettor/picks.aspx?id=80748

    On
    12/08, when a package was sold and not just BLP, one of the plays was
    use BOTH in the package (rated) and as FREE. Guess what? Both lost.
    Also, click the link for the game. Different time stamps, different
    rating. I assume you never clicked those to do that?

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Irrelevant. The terms of the challenge were that I only needed to find one example. I found two. Pay up. The Washington +6 play was blatant fraud because a) the play is still listed in Fezzik’s thread and b) a subscriber pointed out that it was missing and c) it’s still not listed 4 months later.

    Of course some of the duplicate plays will lose. Not every play that has positive equity an hour into the game will win.

    You keep ignoring the BLAP discrepancies. Most importantly, you refuse to answer why you won’t display your plays immediately after the game starts. You refuse to answer why, after ComptrBob did a great job documenting Fezzik’s records for 3 years, you refuse to give him access to the BLAP plays in advance to verify that you’re real. If Pregame is legitimate, why don’t you want your records verified?

  • My_nameaintearl

    They banned me for no reason. I questioned a “contest” they ran which a winner was never posted. I have never heard of a legitimate contest being ran without a winner. Then i post the article and get a 52 year ban.

    Look at Scott Spreitzers Record He lost his clients who bet $100 per pick over $15,000. They have never once acknowledged this nor do they allow facts to be posted on their forums (i’ve had a post deleted where i asked if it was true so i went back and compiled all of his picks are proved he was a long term losing capper)

    Here is one of my email’s exchanged with RJ

    “walt whitman” wrote:

    Are we not allowed to post # of units a handicapper
    is down? All these years you have posted about transparency and I remember you getting into a discussion on BTB with Ed Golden about
    transparency. But why the restriction and discipline on users who post
    valid data?

    RJ Bell | Pregame.com rjbell@pregame.com 12/4/13

    to me

    I
    think it’s obvious what we are ok with in the community and what we are
    not . . . I am confident that we are more transparent and more open to
    feedback that any other major competitor.

    I hope you appreciate
    that. If it’s not good enough, I would lament losing you as a
    contributor. But what I do not have time for is a debate that even
    though we are the best, it’s still not good enough.

    RJ Bell, founder of Pregame.com
    ESPN Las Vegas Radio Host
    Grantland.com Columnist

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    They allow just enough disagreement that they and their shills can say, “look, we allow disagreement!” They let you complain that a tout lost his 3* GOY because they know there’s no way to hide that, and they can also use the old “pros look at the long run” excuse. (Which would be true, except that none of these touts are “pros” and none of them have verified long term winning records.)

    As I pointed out, when Fezzik joined Pregame, RJ and Johnny lied and said “He has no past records, he’s a pro who finally thinks a site is selling picks he right way.” I replied and pasted 5 years of Fezzik’s records that were documented at his request, in which he lost 180 units over 5 years with an average bet size of 2u. My post was never approved and I was immediately banned from the site.

    The argument that they are “more transparent than any other site” is just laughable. RAS displays every play right after the game starts, and prominently displays full lifetime records. How is that not transparent?

    By comparison, Pregame doesn’t display picks until an hour after the game starts, displays no long term records, and you can only see the last 100 picks without logging in, so if they ban you, you can’t see the past picks. And when you’re logged in, you have to click on each individual date manually to look at the plays for that date and wait for the page to slowly load, making it extremely difficult to add up those records even if they were legit, which they aren’t.

  • Bob

    The challenge says from now until the start of the 2014 NFL football season. Pretty sure that now doesn’t include the dates you posted. Just saying….

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    No, the challenge never specified when the fabricated plays had to occur, merely that I had that amount of time to find an example of fabrication. He posted the same challenge on EOG.com and two of their moderators ruled that he has to pay.

    Also note that he spoke in the past tense: “specifically, winners that were not released being added to the archive, or losers that were released being withheld or removed from the archive”

  • Randall Isucca

    He can’t spell and he was the valedictorian at Ohio State? get fcuk outta here

  • Randall Isucca
  • Groovin Mahoovin

    He also can’t make simple probability calculations that any novice gambler could make. The most blatant recent example was that he really thought HFA over an MLB series was worth 12%. That implies HFA of 35% in any individual game. The actual HFA value is closer to 8%.

    https://twitter.com/RJinVegas/statuses/393069928615796736

    That calculation is so blatantly wrong that anyone who doesn’t immediately notice the error is nothing close to a gambling expert, period.

    RJ also didn’t know how to calculate a no-vig line until I made fun of him for screwing it up last year. (He thought +800/-1200 was no vig +1000/-1000, but you have to convert to percentages first.)

    Additionally he routinely screws up calculations when someone says “36 just came up 4 times in a row in roulette, what are the odds of that?” and he’ll answer with “1 in 2,085,136,” but the actual answer is 1 in 54,872. You don’t take the calculation to the 4th power, you take it to the 3rd. RJ’s answer is “what are the odds of a specific number coming up 4 times in a row,” but that’s not what we care about, we only care if ANY number comes up 4 times in a row. The person would have asked the question if 12 had come up 4 times in a row instead.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Here’s a long thread about Pregame’s scams, and how I won a 10k challenge from Johnny Detroit. The moderators of the forum where he made the challenge have ruled in my favor and say he has to pay. As an unbiased Pregame reader, I’m sure all this information is very interesting to you. Let’s see if Johnny pays:

    http://forums.eog.com/showthread.php?t=359827

  • Pregame sucks

    JD a troll

  • SMH at Pregame

    Check this thread for past 2 year records!
    http://forum.sbrforum.com/service-plays/2774062-record-pregame-pros.html

    Check Attached files!

  • Mad

    JohnyDetroit and MattM. Answer the f-king question, why NO HANDICAPPER on PREGAME show a complete record?? Why can`t you see there ytd?? Why can you only
    see there last 100 bets??Why do you have to calculate by your self to
    realize that they are loosers?? And if you have just a small tinny
    brain, you will realize that the only reason is because they are NOT
    WINNING LONG TERM! And how the fck can you run a businesses where you
    have different “handicappers” selling you the opposite side??The only reason you could find out that mattrud made a mistake on RAS record is because he actiouly SHOWS A RECORD! I hope
    seriously that does defending pregame are shills, because i doubt anyone
    can be so blind to the obvious.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Usually RJ and Johnny ignore that question, but sometimes RJ answers it with “These guys all hit 55% which is as good as the best pros, but no one wants to buy 55% since they have unrealistic expectations, so we won’t make our pros advertise any record they don’t want.”

    Of course, none of these guys even win, let alone hit 55%. The guy who posts those records quoted above got banned from Pregame. I got banned from Pregame for making one post quoting Fezzik’s record. They deleted my post and claimed he “had no past records, he’s a pro who’s never sold picks before” when he actually lost -180u in football over the last 5 years on LVA.

  • The Silent Majority

    RJ, VR and Johnny Detroit are all bullshit, fraud hucksters.

  • The Silent Majority

    Find a Pro’s season record at Pregame without hours of research and I’ll have Harry Begg give you a BJ.

  • Groovin Mahoovin

    Johnny Detroit posted his challenge to EOG.com, and the moderators ruled that I won the challenge. Johnny Detroit has yet to pay the challenge. He’s since been banned from EOG for not paying the challenge, and also posting some personal info of mine, falsely claiming that he received it from the EOG owners.

  • Innovator

    Looks like Steve Stevens of CNBCs Money Talks has awaken a giant. He is now the best known handicapper period. Now the whole industry is under a spotlight because of him. Kinda like that thrift store song increasing business for thrift shops.


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