20 questions during quarantine with sports betting reporter David Purdum

David Purdum
David Purdum
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What’s David Purdum been up to during quarantine?

Per usual, keeping his finger on the pulse of the sports betting business. While that pulse has temporarily slowed to a near halt with the nation in lockdown, Purdum keeps on reporting, writing about the increased wagering interest in the NFL Draft, the unusual events people are betting on these days, the difficult position in which the Coronavirus pandemic has put the gaming industry and plenty more.

“I’m way busier than I thought I would be, which is good,” Purdum told BetIndiana News over the phone this week. “You’ve got to stay busy, you’ve got to come up with content when there’s not any games, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

There’s been some downtime, of course, which Purdum has used to do some fishing and sharpen his soccer coaching skills for when his 12-year old daughter’s team can get back on field.

Dave and I have worked together in the past. When I was editor at The Linemakers on Sporting News, we struck gold when he signed on to write for us. Now the lead sports betting reporter at ESPN, Purdum spoke with me for the third installment of this series, where he recalls his worst beat as a gambler and shares some of his vision for the future of our industry.

BetIndiana News: What sport have you missed the most?
Purdum: NBA playoffs.

BetIndiana News: Your predicted date for the first game back for one of the four major leagues?
Purdum: I would set the over/under on July Fourth.

BetIndiana News: Yeah, that’s what Captain Jack said (in the first installment of this series. …. Do you think the NFL starts on time?
Purdum: Yes.

BetIndiana News: Caesars moved the Bucs 9.5 wins (Tuesday), upon the Gronk news. What’s your play, over or under?
Purdum: I obviously would have rather taken it at 9, because I don’t think Gronk is worth a half-win at this point in his career, a tight end at his age after having a year off. However, I do think Tampa Bay is good. They played to a higher number than their results showed last year – a lot of the bookmakers have told me that, that their power ratings on the Bucs were higher than what they played with. The turnover margin of course is always a factor. They were so heavy with Jameis (Winston) last year. So I would take the OVER.

BetIndiana News: Give me one other bold prediction for the NFL season?
Purdum: Cardinals a playoff team.

BetIndiana News: If you could spend the first weekend of the NFL season at one sportsbook in the country – so Week 1 of the NFL and the second Saturday of the college football season – which one would you choose and why?
Purdum: I would take the SuperBook in Las Vegas. I’ve never had a bad time there. There’s a lot of places that are fun, but the SuperBook I have the fondest memories of.

Also read: Quarantine Q&A with SuperBook’s Jay Kornegay

BetIndiana News: What’s the worst beat of your gambling career?
Purdum: It was the 2000 season, Florida vs. Kentucky. Jared Lorenzen, Rex Grossman. They brought in Grossman for Jesse Palmer. I was getting twenty-one-and-a-half with Kentucky. They were never not covering. Late in the game, Florida is up by 21. Spurrier decides to go play-action pass instead of running out the clock, and they throw a bomb for a touchdown (to Jabar Gaffney, Gators win 59-31). After the game, he says, ‘Well, they were still blitzing us so we weren’t going to sit there and let them take shots at us even though we knew we could kneel down.’ So it went from a kneel down to a play-action bomb, thanks to Spurrier.”

BetIndiana News: What a d***. That is brutal. …. Set an over/under on number of states that will have legal betting on the 2020 election.
Purdum: No line, there will not be any.

BetIndiana News: How about by 2024?
Purdum: 2024? I would say pick ‘em, so an over/under of 0.5.

BetIndiana News: Best thing you’ve watched on TV during quarantine?
Purdum: I’ve been complaining how much TV sucks lately. I’ll say “The Last Dance”. I thought the documentary was good, I enjoyed it.

BetIndiana News: That’s a homer pick, but I’ll let you slide on it. . …. What’s your favorite podcast, sports betting or otherwise?
Purdum: It’s called “Striped”, and it’s the history of The White Stripes, which is my favorite rock-and-roll band. They’re on their second season right now.

BetIndiana News: I’m a Jack White fan myself. …. Have you discovered any new podcasts?
Purdum: I have been listening to a soccer coaching podcast. I coach a 12-year old girls soccer team with my daughter. Since we haven’t been able to play, our season is suspended, I have been listening to that podcast.

BetIndiana News: Have you read any good books?
Purdum: Yes, I’ve started one, “Boom Town” (by Sam Anderson). It’s the history of Oklahoma City. I grew up in Oklahoma City. It has a lot of historic things about the Flaming Lips, a rock-and-roll band from Oklahoma City, and about the bombing of the federal building (in 1995).

BetIndiana News: Have you discovered any new music?
Purdum: I listened to Fiona Apple’s new album (“Fetch the Bolt Cutters”) that’s getting a lot of rave reviews. It didn’t wow me.

BetIndiana News: Who is the cook in your family, you or your wife?
Purdum: My wife

BetIndiana News: What’s the best thing she’s made?
Purdum: The vanilla cheesecake we have right now is pretty tasty. For dinner, we’ve been making a lot of slow cooker meals. We had some carnitas the other day. Those were tasty.

BetIndiana News: Your go-to quarantine cocktail?
Purdum: I’ve been switching between red wine and rum.

BetIndiana News: (Laughs). I saw you had a little accident with your wine the other day.
Purdum: I did (he spilled it on his daughter’s homework).

BetIndiana News: What’s the one item you’ve had trouble finding during all this?
Purdum: We got in early on the toilet paper, but we have not found any since. We’re still stocked up, but we’ve been kind of starting to look again and have not found any.

BetIndiana News: Best habit you’ve picked up during quarantine?
Purdum: Part of my daily routine – I live by a lake – I walk to the lake or drive down there and fish. I’ve definitely been doing that more.

BetIndiana News: What’s the worst habit you’ve picked up.
Purdum: That red wine and rum.

BetIndiana News: (Laughs). Yep, same. I think we have a lot of company there, too. …. What’s one major change the sports betting industry may undergo because of this?
Purdum: I’ve been very agnostic about this, trying to make predictions. I don’t think anybody knows at this point. I think there’s going to have to be massive flexibility with schedules, and if I want to go further into a hotter take, I think some of the power conferences may leave the NCAA.

BetIndiana News: Is there one positive that we can take from all this? You can answer that from a sports betting perspective or from a personal perspective. Maybe it’s something as a country or as humans we can take from this – a lesson or something positive we can take from this and make us better.
Purdum: We’ve seen charitable efforts increase throughout the sports betting industry. A lot of people there have gotten involved in charitable contributions, and overall I think we’ve seen an increase in charitable giving. I’m one that will never criticize that. You see those people ‘oh, it’s only 1%.’ That’s just ridiculous to me. A charitable effort should be praised.

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