Adam Thompson was the full-time Senior Handicapper at CBS Sportsline before making the move to Bookies.com, last year. He is best known for his NFL – which hit at 64% ATS last season – and his MLB. On the diamond, he hit 61% last fall, returning $100 bettors $4, 062. In our continued effort to speak with the top handicapping minds in the country, to acquire professional tools for our readers, we spoke with Mr. Thompson about a variety of topics.
What are your best sports? Are there reasons why you feel you excel in those sports
The NFL and MLB are where my bread has been buttered for years, but my numbers have
been solid for NBA, college football and college basketball as well. It’s all about developing
a successful model, sticking to it, and tweaking when necessary.
What do you feel is the toughest sport to handicap, and why?
I’ve done very well at the NBA this season (66.1% before the stoppage), but it’s not in my
comfort zone yet. Motivation is big in an 82-game season. Some teams just want it more
than others on some nights. It’s hard to account for that. I don’t feel that same motivational
component for other major sports.
What do you do to get yourself out of a cold streak? Do you stay the course, switch-
up your methods, take time off, etc.?
It’s key to stick to the system that’s proven to work. Everyone is going to have a bad week
or even a few bad weeks. You can’t blow things up and start over. That can be an enticing thing to do when things aren’t working, though. If you’re new to the game or figuring out how to best realize your picks, then tweaking should always be considered. Sports evolve, and so too should your sports betting strategies. Regardless of streaks, I take at least one day a week with zero betting. Just a good way to recharge the batteries.
When you are on hot streaks, do you up your wagers and maybe take on more action,
or do you take a more conservative approach?
I will up the wager size a small bit if I’m really feeling it, but I’m not a “let it ride” type. My preference is to consistently finish each day/week with a profit. Even “sure things” can miss. I don’t take more action when I’m hot. Every day is different, sometimes there are five games I really like that night, some there are one or even none.
What are your thoughts on how handicapping will change for upcoming, known
domestic sports (NBA, NCAAF, NFL)? Things other than less home-field advantage
due to minimal or no crowds.
Overall, I think with less emotional help from fans, the better teams are going to win more. We’re less likely to see those memorable upsets spurred on by a rabid home advantage.
Tell me a little about your general process when capping a game. Do you work more
from a numbers-standpoint (team statistics, what Vegas sets the line at, et al), do you
trust the ‘eye’ test and ride teams that have some momentum, all of the above, or
I typically try and avoid odds before figuring out which teams I like, then I check out the lines and determine which show the best value. Sometimes that means picking a big underdog. Each sport that I handicap is different in approach. For NFL, I take key stats that I like, then add outside components such as key injuries, homefield, momentum, strength of schedule, recency bias, things like that. Once it’s all done I have my own final score prediction, and I compare it to what’s posted at sportsbooks to find my best bets. MLB centers around pitching and the pitcher/batter matchups. NBA is numbers-driven and star-driven, but night-in, night-out motivation is an x-factor. College sports are a unique challenge because of the gap of talent between teams.
Do you have any general, basic rules you follow as a capper? (For example, I
personally almost never wager side and total on the same game and I don’t wager a
small dog unless I think they are winning straight-up)
I rarely will take a game favorite at more than -300 or an underdog at more than +300. Other than that I try and remain pretty open to just about anything.
Are there any analysts/cappers out there that you respect and like to see what they’re
thinking when approaching one of your games?
My bookies.com colleague Dan Kilbridge is a golf betting guru and killed it at college football and college basketball this past season. I like to see what he’s thinking with NBA as well. Prior to coming to bookies.com I was at SportsLine and CBS Sports, and have a great deal of respect for my former peers, their top handicappers and sports experts. I used to talk on the phone with legendary capper Hank Goldberg on a weekly basis, and hearing how he goes about things was always very insightful. I typically, however, will try and make my own picks using my own systems before I look at what anyone else is thinking. I don’t want to be talked into something I don’t really like.
Who are some futures you’re thinking about? Are there any lower-seeded NBA teams
you think can thrive in the unique format in which it’s returning? Are there any
NCAAF or NFL teams you believe can surprise this year?
I don’t bet the farm on futures but they’re fun. I crushed the NFL Draft, actually. Because there have been no games to handicap lately, I have a massive number of active NBA futures right now, posted at bookies.com (https://bookies.com/nba/picks). And I did an extensive NBA Playoffs Betting Guide (https://bookies.com/guides/ultimate-guide-nba-playoffs-betting) which can tell you a ton about what to expect and which teams to look for. When the dust settles, I think the Bucks will cruise through the East, and the Lakers make it out of the West but that one is less certain. I think the Blazers have the makeup to shock the universe, and the long break should benefit the Rockets. It’s early in the NFL, but I like the trajectories of the Bills and Broncos (though the AFC is going to tough to break through), and think a coaching change is what will get the Cowboys back to prominence. I have a ton of team-focused NFL props available as well (https://bookies.com/nfl/picks).
I know MLB is also one of your bread-and-butter sports. What is your opinion on what’s
currently going on between players and owners?
It’s a shame, because I love baseball and they blew it. They could have had the entire world focused on their sport that, frankly, is losing interest as the NBA ascends to new heights. Hopefully they still make a season of it.
What’s the hottest streak you’ve ever been on and your individual best season in a
In Week 8 of the NFL season last year I picked every Sunday game against the spread and went 13-0. I had a five-week run of 24-5 ATS picks in NFL last year as well. (Hit on 64.4% of NFL best bets picks at bookies.com). My 2018 MLB season at SportsLine was full of ridiculous runs. At one point I was 62-25 (71%), then ended the regular season on a 22-4 run and picked every World Series game correctly. Ended up hitting just over 61% for +$4,062 to $100 players.
We would like to publicly thank Adam Thompson for his time and insight. To follow Adam Thompson on social media, you can find him on Twitter @_Adam_Thompson_. You can also find him at Bookies.com, where he is the Senior Handicapper. Here is his Bio page. (https://bookies.com/authors/adam-thompson)