From the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s, Haralabos Voulgaris (a.k.a. Bob), made betting look easy, exploiting inaccurate odds on NBA points totals.
For five years, Bob made an absurd amount of money with a winning rate of almost 70% at one point!
He found a flaw in the bookies prices where the total points for the first and second half of NBA games were exactly half of the predicted game total.
Traditionally in any game of Basketball, more points are scored in the second half as teams use more fouls and time-outs, which results in further possessions and higher scores.
Bob would take advantage of this edge, taking overs in the second half, especially when coaches Eddie Jordan, Byron Scott and Jerry Sloan were in action.
He read those coaches every move, for him it was so easy it was a joke and it resulted in him staking over $1m USD on any given day of NBA fixtures.
Bob’s father was an avid gambler, which was the reason for this interest in the betting world.
After finishing high school, he and his father went on a trip to Las Vegas for two months.
While his father played Blackjack, Haralabos spent his time in the sportsbook watching NBA games and learning his craft!
Years later and fresh out of college, Bob put all of his life's learnings AND savings on one bet: the Shaq/Kobe Lakers to win the 2000 NBA Championship.
He simply couldn’t go past the odds of 6.5, placing $70,000 on the bet. Six months later, the Lakers lifted the NBA Championship and Bob’s sports betting journey took off!
After five years of success, Bob hit the wall in 2004 when he went on a long run of losses, losing a third of his bankroll in one month.
As his losses continued into the next season, he knew he had to change his strategy if he was to become successful again, and he did just that.
He employed a more grinding style of betting, using quantitative data to make smaller bets on edges over a longer amount of time.
Bob also took some time off betting and after trialling six different people he found a math prodigy who remains anonymous, but is more commonly known as ‘The Whiz’.
Together they built a model called Ewing, an algorithm that simulates a game of basketball between any two teams and creates a projected score.
After years of testing and adjusting Ewing, Bob returned to the betting arena in 2009 and crushed the second half of the NBA season.
Voulgaris’ confidence in his model has only increased since then, and has described Ewing as the “greatest thing ever when it comes to sports betting.”
At this point in his life, Bob was living the dream of any aspiring sports bettor, watching 80 hours of NBA a week, with bets on 90% of games in the season. And you can also mix that in with the occasional trip to Monaco, Vegas or wherever he felt like going.
Soon after announcing Ewing’s profound success, Bob then took a break from betting to work as an advisor on player trades for an anonymous NBA franchise.
Arrogantly, after spending so much time watching and analysing Basketball, Bob believed he could put together a better squad than any general manager in the league.
Five months later and his time in the NBA was over, resulting in Voulgaris returning to the betting arena after he felt a sense of exclusion by the co-owner of the franchise.
Bob’s betting success continued through the use of Ewing, but he faced the same problem as some sharps face, the sustainability of his edge.
His ROI was slowly decreasing year on year, meaning he would have to take an even higher volume approach to his betting, but he felt he was delaying the inevitable.
As time went on Bobs’ goals changed, especially after seeing Tony Bloom take over EPL side Brighton FC.
Even though Bob had the aspiration to own a basketball team, he took on the role of Director of Quantitative Research and Development for the Dallas Mavericks in 2018.
Another chapter in the life of Bob, who is now working for Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban, in the hope of finding a statistical edge for the NBA franchise.
Like a lot of pro sports bettors, Voulgaris has also dabbled in the world of poker, finishing fourth in the 2017 World Series of Poker’s Big One, bring his live winnings to $3 million.
Check out our other articles in the 10 People Who Got Rich On Sports Betting series:
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