Sports Gambling Podcast Review: The Favorites

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Which is expanding more rapidly: sports betting access or podcast listening options? They are both areas of exponential growth — and, as you might expect, the intersections are on the rise too. This is the latest article in a recurring series reviewing some of the most noteworthy entries in the increasingly crowded sports gambling podcast space.

Sometimes you want a sports betting podcast that provides you with expert insights to potentially point you toward winning wagers. Sometime you want one that keeps you abreast of industry trends and news. Sometimes you want one filled with witty banter.

And sometimes, you just want a podcast that tells you it loves you.

At the end of every episode of The Favorites, host Chad Millman signs off by saying, the way your mother might as she hangs up the phone, “Love you.” It’s weird as hell the first few times you hear it. But eventually, it makes that leap from creepy to comforting.

The question is, should you love The Favorites back? If you’re looking for some combination of the hardcore bettor’s thought process and the gambling media pro’s perspective, with hosts who take the subject matter seriously but don’t take themselves seriously at all, the answer is yes.

(Full disclosure: The Favorites is produced by The Action Network, which since 2021 has been owned by Better Collective, which is also the parent company of US Bets.)

Simon says … I’m the co-host now

Millman is joined on the twice-weekly pod by his co-host, professional bettor Simon Hunter — but it wasn’t always that way. The Favorites took a little while to fully find its footing as it worked through assorted iterations.

After The Buffet with Chad & Scooch gave way to The Favorites in August 2018, Millman — the chief content author for Action Network, previously best known for authoring books, serving as editor-in-chief of and ESPN The Magazine, and appearing regularly as one of the first gambling experts on Bill Simmons’ initial ESPN podcast — experimented with a variety of co-hosts and formats. There was bookmaker Bob “Scooch” Scucci, there was Blackjack Fletcher, there were sports trivia competitions, there were recurring appearances by Action Network reporter Darren Rovell.

Then Hunter showed up, and an easy chemistry was there from the jump. Millman has spent as much time as any journalist the past couple of decades talking to sharps, and he fell right into a groove with the younger gambling pro and media newbie.

During NFL season, episodes of the podcast — which drop on Wednesday and Friday mornings — focus primarily on Hunter and Millman’s thought processes as they work toward deciding on five picks for the weekly contest they’re in together. (Small sample size alert, but they’re clicking at 11-4 through three weeks this season.)

The subject matter is less predictable during the NFL offseason, with a variety of guests and topics, and occasionally no Hunter.

Companions, compadres, BFFs

Whatever they’re talking about, however they’re running with their wagers, Millman and Hunter tend to keep it light and loose.

Hunter doesn’t pretend to have all the winning picks — he talks about his up weeks and his down weeks and how he and the fellow pros he works or consults with just strive to find the right games with the right edges and grab those critical half-points where they can.

Millman is frequently self-deprecating — and whenever he isn’t taking jabs at himself, producer Matt Mitchell will gladly drop in a sound bite at his expense.

The two hosts are very much not of the same generation. Millman recently made a reference to Sam Malone rapping about a “g-g-groin injury,” and it appeared to fly right over Hunter’s head. But there’s always the next football game or Gen X reference to move on to.

One word of warning from a longtime listener to The Favorites: Millman has a deliberate delivery that seems built for speeds faster than 1x. Depending on how well-trained your ear is, this is one pod that can be consumed at 2x without sacrificing any comprehension.

But you may want to slow it back down to 1x — or even 0.5x — when you hear that show-closing music beginning to kick in. We all need to fully absorb a simple “love you” from time to time.

Previous reviews in this series:

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Author: Ryan Gonzales