Deconstructing The Big Lead’s Shameless Sports Gambling Media List

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Long time readers of The Open Man may be aware of our disdain for charlatan “gambling guys” among the sports media ranks, particularly those at FS1.

So, it is safe to say myself and The Open Man head honcho Kyle Kensing were not surprised when we saw flagrant sports media gambling violator Jason McIntyre’s website, The Big Lead, publish a preposterous feature on Friday spotlighting the 50 Best Gambling Follows on Twitter.

The figurehead of The Big Lead is a media personality synonymous with sleaze, and now with suspect gambling advice and claims about his betting record throughout the NFL Playoffs. Thus, it should come as no surprise that this list of the 50 “Best” Sports Gambling Media Follows is littered with names that have a poor reputation among the Gambling Twitter community.

This led to widespread criticism of the list from prominent and more respected names in the industry — ironically, on the same social media platform.

McIntyre’s partners in crime on FS1’s lowly rated “Lock It In” are predictably included. Which puts serial record-alterer Clay Travis in this list for his gambling side hustle over at FS1 (when he isn’t race-baiting for dollars on Periscope).

(Below: Evidence of Jason McIntyre’s dubious claims about his NFL Playoffs bets from noted Gambling Twitter watchdog @CizzlingSports)

Shameless promotion for some of the worst people in burgeoning sports-gambling media, who prey on either marks new to betting as a hot new media trend, is bad enough. But it’s also noteworthy that the article was written by The Big Lead columnist Vik Choski. Choski freelances for The Chernin Group-owned sports betting media startup The Action Network, and The Big Lead’s list included plenty of TAN personalities.

The inclusion of World Wide Wob – a professional tweeter and NBA Twitter influencer with virtually no sports betting association prior to being hired to funnel traffic to The Action Network – highlights the absurdity of this list. Following Wob offers negligible, if any value for even a novice sports bettor. He essentially functions for the purpose of bringing The Action Network attention.

As this list has a plethora of comically dangerous choices of names to promote, here at the “highlights” of names The Big Lead prop up as the voices of the sports betting industry.

RJ Bell: Infamous owner of tout service Pregame.com. Deadspin revealed in a lengthy, 2016 investigation that Bell misled subscribers to inflate the records of Pregame touts. This article prompted Bell to file an eight-figure lawsuit against Deadspin, using Hulk Hogan’s attorney from the Gawker invasion of privacy case.

A settlement reached last month wasn’t worth $10 million, but did grant Bell space to write a rebuttal. Deadspin stands by the story’s reporting.

Stuckey: The Action Network personality. Introduction to Twitter was an affiliation with the deranged Incarcerated Bob, who was famous for having multiple Twitter accounts and (repeating theme here) falsifying his betting record.

Lauren Joffe: TAN columnist, who wrote a daily World Cup column for TAN this past summer and didn’t understand Asian Handicap point spreads weeks into the tournament.

Teddy Covers: This list wouldn’t be complete without an old-school shady Vegas tout type, and Teddy Covers fits the description. Covers has a 20-plus-year track record of taking subscriber’s money for sports betting “advice” of varying success.

Darren Rovell: Shameless Twitterer and former ESPN business insider who took a job at The Action Network to get in on the ground floor of the sports gambling media industry. Sports betting background dates back to a month ago when he was giving a shitload of cash from The Action Network to legitimize their operation.

Sports gambling was already a multi-billion-dollar industry, but its federal legalization has given it legitimacy for media outlets to pursue. With the influx of eyeballs towards sports betting and the influx of sports media figures looking to migrate into the industry for a big payday, there needs to be accountability to ensure readers and viewers aren’t exploited by non-experts.

Owned by Gannett — one of the largest media conglomerates in the world — and published by the reputable USA Today, one should expect much more of The Big Lead’s ethics.

The Big Lead should be ashamed to publish such a blatant piece of promotional propaganda for Jason McIntrye, KKKlay TraviSS and the questionable crew at The Action Network. If this is the introductory point to how this burgeoning sports media industry will be covered, don’t expect much in the way of credibility and transparency in the scramble to get in on the early boom.