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Sports Betting Whales, Crypto Whales, And Other Speculation

crypto whale

Now that the 2022 NFL campaign is finally underway, there’s a good chance you’re betting on it. There’s also a good chance that it’s your first time betting on sports.

More new gamblers seem to lace ‘em up during NFL season than during any other time of the year. At least, that’s true in the United States, where NFL betting turns a bigger handle than any other sport.

By far.

As a beginner, of course, you’re going to start with the basics.

You probably already did plenty of research about whether or not it’s actually legal to bet sports in your state (it is), what your area’s sports betting laws say about gambling online (nothing), and so on.

You’ve probably placed a few bets straight up and a few more against the spread. You might have even plunked down some cash on the Rams’ chances to repeat (nil) or Tampa Bay’s chances to send Tom Terrific out with an eighth Super Bowl title to show for his impending divorce (50-50).

But after all the straights and spreads and totals and NFL props and etc., you might start to notice something as you dig deeper:

Many of the concepts involved in sports betting are mirrored by the concepts that underpin stock market trading.

And that makes sense: Stock trading is gambling! All stock investments are basically betting futures, and more specialized maneuvers have their direct(ish) sports betting analogs, too.

For example, puts and calls are akin to guaranteed bets and early cashout wagers, while shorting a stock is like taking a massive underdog early in the season to secure a huge payout by the end. (Or maybe that’s the other way around. You get the idea.)

These are, naturally, extremely simplified ways of looking at things, but the point is that there’s a certain undeniable similarity between betting on sports and playing the stock market.

So much so, in fact, that stock trading is specifically exempted – by name – from all federal US betting laws and individual state betting laws.

And the similarities aren’t just with sports betting, either.

Stock trading is an exercise in financial speculation, which again makes it gambling by definition. There are as many similarities in concept between stock trading and sports betting as there are between stock trading and casino gambling (or, if you’re less “informed,” between playing the stock market and playing the lottery).

And of course, there are also similarities – in nomenclature and practice – between all these things and crypto trading.

Speculation is speculation is speculation.

A rose by any other name.


But even as we know this to be true, it’s always amusing when sports betting terms crop up in the crypto space – especially as both markets are getting more and more mainstream (and, naturally, helping each other to do so – you can bet on sports with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, remember).

One good example of this phenomenon is Tuesday’s story from Watcher.Guru, whatever that is. The story, titled thus with familiar betting terminology, immediately got our attention:

“This Whale is betting against Do Kwon’s LUNA again”

Whales, of course, are high rollers that come in and eat up (or otherwise supplant) all the little fish.

The most famous sports betting whale of all time – a guy named Billy Walters – used his financial influence to move entire betting lines. A million bucks here to move the line one way, and two million bucks on the resulting spread going the other way. That’s how you do it.

If you’re a whale.

Which you aren’t.

But as a sports bettor, it’s always important to keep tabs on the whales, because you can actually attach yourself to these gamblers like a remora fish  (or if you’re particularly annoying, like a barnacle) and reap some of their rewards for your own.

When Walters moved a line, he wasn’t the only one to benefit from the new spread. So that’s a lesson for you.

The other lesson – at least from the aforelinked crypto blog – is that if you’re still high on LUNA in any capacity, you haven’t been paying attention.

There was a time we thought Terra LUNA was going to be the next crypto sports betting banking option at BetOnline, and we’re still eating our hat on that.

Luckily, we weren’t actually invested in the stuff.

But despite Terra Labs seeing its stablecoin get permanently detethered from the US dollar – and despite seeing LUNA 1.0 drop from over $90 per coin to less than a penny per coin in three short days – some people are still getting conned by this Do Kwon character and his LUNA 2.0 nonsense.

And others, like this whale, can move the market enough to make money off their backs.

Which is yet another lesson for you.

As a new sports bettor, don’t let the big fish (or mammals, whatever) make money off your losing wagers.

Sure, there are times when that can’t really be helped. But if some longshot seems too good to be true, it probably is. Betting that way is just going to give someone else a bigger payout.

Similarly, don’t wait around too long to gamble on a favorite. Given enough time, the “smart money” trends to zero. This is why house-banked betting is so much better than pari-mutuel betting. The pool can get awfully crowded.

Of course, it’s called gambling for a reason.

And it’s a much bigger market than you probably thought.

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