USA Today handicapper Danny Sheridan speaks with Covers.com

Danny Sheridan is a man of many contradictions and claims.

The contrasts are easy to pinpoint:  he believes he’s an elite handicapper, but admittedly does not wager on sports. He likes a good game of craps, but thinks the stock market is a bad gamble. He says he does not care what his critics think, but in the same sentence, he asks for a reporter’s ideas to help silence them.

His claims are another story. Sheridan recently made headlines for purporting he knew who was at the center of the Cam Newton pay-for-play scandal. The NCAA met with him and later released a statement saying Sheridan made “vague, unsubstantiated claims.”

Sheridan also believes his testimony killed proposed legislation about a decade ago to ban betting on college sports in Nevada, but it’s tough to verify whether his words had any influence.

As for his handicapping record, Sheridan, the longtime sports analyst for USA Today, says he is coming off his best season ever in which he nailed nearly 70 percent of his NFL picks, including the correct side (New York Giants +3) and total (under 54) in the Super Bowl.

He also released three plays on Twitter during one weekend in the NFL playoffs – prior to kickoff, we checked -- and went 3-0.

He says he has a waiting list of clients who are lining up to pay him handsomely for his picks. He also asserts that last season he tried to start betting picks, but that his proposed six-figure wagers were turned down by Las Vegas and offshore books alike.

Sheridan maintains that many Vegas oddsmakers respect his handicapping skill and at least one, Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hotel, supported the notion.

“I’ve known Danny for a long time and respect his opinions,” Kornegay said. “We’ve had plenty of discussions over the years, and he seems to have very good thoughts and opinions. Therefore, I’m sure he does very well.” 

Even so, Sheridan has been a magnet for skeptics ever since the lifelong Mobile, Ala., native who is now in his 60s, came into the public eye some 35 years ago when he had some success picking NFL games against the spread on late-night television.

A Sports Illustrated piece written in 1977, a follow-up to a brief feature that appeared in 1975, tracked Sheridan and put his record at 108-112-2 in a two-season sampling.

These days, mostly through Twitter (@DannySheridan1), where he has more than 10,000 followers, his skeptics continue to express doubt, particularly when Sheridan tweets about his stellar record. To his credit, Sheridan responds to all of them, though he’s not sure how to satisfy them.

He also promptly responded to an interview request from Covers.com, knowing he would he would face questions about his credibility.

In a wide-ranging, two-hour discussion, he answered every question we had, and others we didn’t. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

Q: What do you say in response to your critics, many of whom seem to doubt your claimed won-loss record?

A: I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I don’t give a rat’s ass about what anybody says. If someone truly believes that I can’t handicap, they could be right, no argument. However, I’m willing to put up substantial money and let them take me on. But that won’t happen because they are chicken sh-- and they know I’ll beat their brains in.

If you’re asking me if I am the best in the world, I’m sure I’m not. If you’re asking me if I am better than the so-called competition, I have no competition. I make an awful lot of money, and I have a good name out there.

Q: Do you wager on the picks you release?
 

A: If I had to make a living betting games, I don’t think I could do it. I’m the only one who admits it. I don’t bet on games. Why? Because I couldn’t make a living – I won’t lie.

Q: Do you think not betting games hurts your credibility with your critics?


A: When you say critics, it implies they have credibility. They don’t. I’m not perfect, but I am honorable. You can’t compare me to those people who promise bullsh-- “locks” and stuff like that. 

Q: You recently tweeted that you’ve been trying to get sportsbooks to take your action, but have been turned down. What’s the story on this? 

A: I’m writing a book about handicapping and in my book I challenge Vegas. I was talking to some of them, and every one of them turned me down. They won’t take my action. It’s pretty substantial – I thought they would. I checked with them and they just don’t want it because they know, not that I am the best ever, they know I’ll probably win. They don’t want the exposure and I respect that. They want the square business.

(Note: During one Twitter exchange, Sheridan mentioned being in talks with Cantor Gaming, but would not name a specific sportsbook during our interview. Mike Colbert of Cantor said he would not comment directly on any potential customer, but, he said, “In three years of business, we have never turned anyone away from opening an account.”) 

Q: But if you’ve never gambled on sports, why start now?


A: I’m writing a how-to book and it comes under integrity. All these people that write books, they write after the fact and don’t use their own money. If you’re going to write a how-to book, you ought to know how to bet. I believe that with my heart.

Q: It seems you respond to everyone on Twitter, supporters and naysayers alike. What’s your motivation for doing so?


A: My only goal is to be successful in what I do. I don’t enjoy the cruel, real world. I like what I do. I feel bad if I don’t answer right away. It’s kind of neat, but you can’t help the 1 percent that are hateful and spiteful, they are just nuts. I answer everyone until they cross the line.

Q: You say you have a waiting list of clients. Do you have any longtime clients whose contact information you would provide to us, someone willing to speak to your long-term record?

A: I’m sure they would, but I’m not going to ask them to do that. I am asking you, why should I do that? If you can tell me why, I’ll do that.

Q: Well, it might silence the people who seem to insist on questioning you.

A: If you tell me I need to prove myself after 30-something years, you may be right, but I don’t think I need to prove anything. People treat me like Notre Dame – they either love me or they hate me. If you were me, what would you advise me to do differently?

Q: Maybe you should consider posting free picks occasionally in a public forum, so your record can speak for itself. Would you consider doing that?


A: What advantage would that have for me? A handful of people might think we can’t blast him anymore. Show me how it would help me and why I need the help, and I would do it. I know what I can do, and as long as I know it, that’s all that matters. If I start betting on my own, I might do it.

Find me someone who will take my action, and I’ll take care of you. I’ll give you a nice bonus and if I lose, I’ll still pay you. If I win, I’ll pay you really handsomely. If someone will book me, if they let me bet $100,000 minimum a game, I just don’t see how they can beat me. I think the worst I can do would be 57 percent.

Josh Nagel is a Reno, Nev.-based writer who makes a living covering sports betting and poker, while also trying to squeeze a profit from both pursuits. Find more of his work at www.joshnagel.com and follow him on Twitter @JoshNagel1.

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Posted by Kurupt_75
2 years ago

Without having an ounce of previous knowledge about Danny Sheridan or his history, just by reading this article/interview, you can tell this guy is an absolute clown. he talks about credibility, but contradicts himself so many times in the interview, he has no credibility by the end. I've never met a prognosticator that sells picks that i like, their all slimeballs including this Yahoo.
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Posted by Hirschfelder
2 years ago

he can bet with us, we'll gladly take him on. He can get on for 100k up until kickoff. Like most of these clowns the only thing bigger then their mouths are their ego's.
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Posted by Chamblin
2 years ago

Just another slimy sports prognosticator. That no one will take his bets is just a flat out lie. Just a wind bag. Anytime his selections are put to a long term test, he grades out very low. Ever looked at some of the odds he provides in USA today. Those numbers come from a guy that doesn't have to put his money where his mouth is !!!!!
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Posted by wizardofroz
2 years ago

The verdict on this man is reallly very simple. There are several places that would take large bets from Sheridan. And since he does not bet on the games he is "nice enough" to give to his clients, it means that he has ZERO confidence in his selections. He is nothing more than a bullshit artist. If he wanted to prove otherwise, he would give away his free winning selections here like the interviewer wisely recommended.
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Posted by Lippsman
2 years ago

Yes, full of it decades ago and still full of it now.
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Posted by Dogjimbo
2 years ago

Well said.
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Posted by picks77
2 years ago

I have a difficult time believing that no one would take six digit action on games, even from Danny Sheridan. His ego may have got the better of him on that statement. On the other hand, if enough money was sent to him to keep his picks private that may be the truth. Though in the world we live in, I would imagine that would leak. Nice article, I hope there is more coming. 2 hours and this is all you got ?
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Posted by Josh_Nagel
2 years ago

Thanks, picks77. Yes, there is more coming. We're going to run at least one more column from the interview and maybe a blog if there is still interest. I was hoping to just get the info that appeared in this piece but was surprised that Sheridan was willing to talk for so long.
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Posted by two-four
2 years ago

Early in the interview, he comes right out and says he couldn't make a living betting games. His quote is "If I had to make a living betting games, I don’t think I could do it. I’m the only one who admits it. I don’t bet on games. Why? Because I couldn’t make a living – I won’t lie." But he then says that no one will take his action because they know he will win, and he states he will crush them and hit 57%. So which one is it? Talk out of both sides of your mouth much Danny?
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Posted by heylou54
2 years ago

Anyone who thinks the SPORTS MOINTER OKlahoma is not paid off to keep those figures is dreaming! How do your monitor a business that lies and get paid $$ for it.Look at people record on the covers picks section! Money management is the key not $$ moves!
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Posted by heylou54
2 years ago

Well the old saying "PUT YOUR $ WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS ! Doesn t apply to him because he gets paid to give his take on sports. it s not like any Sportsbook use his lines or odds so that his point why should I bet when I get paid whether I'm right or wrong! How many people always say the line in thepaper had Denver +7. + you go 2 bet + it's + 6 ,,I tell my friends try + bet with the newspaper not goin 2 happen!! Danny Sherridan gets paid by the newspape so he can think say do what he thinks but he Won t start betting! So how come HOW TO BOOK CAN T BET $100 units + Teach $$ management ! That's more mportant than picking the SUPER BOWL! I will read his book if he got chapter on $$ mangement
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Posted by cuben2006
2 years ago

hey danny i would love to take your bet pm me
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Posted by stats1
2 years ago

he is a BUSTER!!!!
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Posted by capper70
2 years ago

This guy has been given huge media forums such as CNN and USA Today to spread his so called "expertise" .If he or anyone is that great there is The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma to document what he says, but he wont get documented because like so many of the windbag cappers out their people would realize their are few and very few who will hit 57% in any sport over a large sampling of plays.If you go to The Sports Monitor of Ok you will find a few services like Gilberg The Dataman in NBA and LPW Sports Forecast in NHL who might be close to 57% or better in those respective sports as documented over 5 or 6 years, but very few over long run in any sport.If this guy gets documented at The Sports Monitor and shows he can do this I will line up as well.But largely he looks like another full of himself windbag.
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Posted by shani77
2 years ago

this guy is full of shit.... His name rings bells thats all. Him ,Root, Jim Feist are full of it. You can have an opinion on a game and it doesnt have to be a 100K opinion. He is no better at capping than me. Danny kick rocks u blowhard
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Posted by MRSARATOGA
2 years ago

I am sure any large book would take his 6 figure action as long as they get it early enough to balance things out. My guess is that he is full of it as if he wanted to truely bet 100K a game he could easily do it sprinkling it at various outlets at lets say 10g a piece a la Billy Walters.
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Posted by eliminat0r85
2 years ago

Seems as though he doesn't wanna be billy walters and split it up, he only wants to bet with one book and he wants that book to accept 100k wagers. Not sure if he could actually pull it off, certain people get away with it at places they are highly invested in.
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Posted by capper70
2 years ago

The only time he is documented over a large sampling,ge falls under 50%! My guess is that would happen again if he is talking about large samplings of his releases.
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Top Response

Posted by capper70
2 years ago

" The only time he is documented over a large sampling,ge falls under 50%! My guess is that would happen again if he is talking about large samplings of his releases."