In 2005, Matthew McConaughey played a man whose character would go on to become a famous sports tout. Al Pacino and Rene Russo also starred in the flick. The movie titled Two For the Money showed us the brightest and darkest views of the sports handicapping and gambling world. It’s an industry where average recreational and high wagering sports bettors pay an individual for their picks on who will win a game.
Brandon Lang is the real life sports handicapper based off of McConaughey’s character. Whether people like or hate Lang, his presence can’t be denied. He ended up with a movie based off a six year period of his life that he says he regrets not saving any money from. Lang’s biggest critics are in cyberspace, from many of the top sports betting message boards or forums including the veteran stop of http://www.therx.com or newer establishments like http://www.sportsprescription.com, for example. It’s a place where posters discuss information on every sport. Many people call out his losing record and take shots at his handicapping knowledge.
Lang blames his ex-business partners and a bad contract as the reasons for his win/loss picking record over the five years that recently ended with the formation of a new partnership . He says he didn’t have control of his own product. Mr. Lang stated many of the picks that were put out under his name were not endorsed by him or teams he would’ve played as a winner. Furthermore, Lang has a message for all the sports gambling forum posters who trash and bash him, “They can get on their knees and kiss my ass because the problem with them is they never give you credit when you win and they bag you when you lose and if there’s guys like that out there, good riddance.”
Besides being one of the most well known sports handicappers, Lang has a foot in the world of golf and has caddied for many politicians, athletes and Hollywood celebrities including President Clinton, Michael Jordan and Tom Cruise. Lang says Jordan is an action junkie. For example, Jordan would be happy out on the golf course just to bet $1000 if a guy can hit a ball out of the bunker. He said that Jordan lost badly the day he caddied for him. As far as Clinton is concerned, he will always be known as Three-Ball-Billy to Brandon because the former President loves to tee off by hitting three balls on every hole. Lang had to chase down a few balls the former commander and chief hit.
Lang now runs his own operation at www.therealbrandonlang.com. When we spoke in September after the first week of the NFL season, Lang claimed he had a winning record of picks 15 of the last 21 weeks. He is now taking full responsibility for every pick that he puts out, because he has full control of his operation. In an online arena where there are dozens of websites for free sports gambling information, Mr. Lang knows the way to stay competitive is by winning. Many sports gambling enthusiasts will be paying attention to see how he does with his new venture.
Listen to the Brandon Lang interview:
Chris Yandek: I’d like to start off by asking you about Two For The Money. Matthew McConaughey’s tout name is John Anthony. So how much is Brandon Lang like John Anthony?
Brandon Lang: “On the money. 100 percent. Matt will be the first to tell you though that he had to play me down. In pre-production meetings he said, ‘I can’t match your energy.’ I’m a very high energy guy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People who are around me says my personality and karma are infectious and Matt said, ‘ You know, I’m just a good old boy from Texas and I can’t match that. I gotta play you down a little bit.’ I said, ‘Matt, you play me any way you can pull it off.’ I thought he captured the intensity and the stress of this business of picking games every day. But the suits, the cars, the this, the that, yeah, that was me during that run, which inevitably led to me walking away because I didn’t like what I’d become.”
CY: What did you become?
BL: “I changed. I’m just a Midwestern boy with morals and values that got to the big city and kinda got sucked up in the prestige of money and fame and being the nation’s best sports handicapper. I said, ‘You know what?’ I said, ‘I can still do this, but I can’t do this around the people that I’m working for now.’ That’s the Pacino character and the people I was around in the office in New York and I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ My personality had changed. I’d taken on that edginess and then I just said, ‘This isn’t me.’ That’s when I walked away. And when I walked away, I realized that six year period of my life would make a phenomenal movie with the backdrop being this business and then that’s where I forged the plan, forged the goal, forged the dream of heading out to Hollywood and making that dream a reality.”
CY: What was your biggest regret?
BL: “Probably not saving money the way I should and the biggest regret was not investing in Microsoft when a buddy brought me a broker, who brought it to me in 1990. I had the cash flow to really make a hit and I really didn’t want to get into the stock market and really didn’t trust anybody and that without question is my biggest regret. Had a chance to get in, a little stock called Microsoft in 1990 and still about once every couple of weeks I’ll close my eyes and go wow. There’s a little bit of a bogey there, little bogey for B Lang.”
CY: A lot of veteran handicappers like to compare gambling to the stock market. So what is your take on that? Are they similar in any way?
BL: “Absolutely. The difference is you spend so much time handicapping games that it’s very hard to spend time doing the other. Unlike the stock market, which is Monday through Friday and you can kinda catch your breath on the weekends, sports gambling’s 363 days a year. There’s just two days you can’t wager on a sporting event in the United States. That’s the day before the baseball All Star Game in July and the day after. Other than that, you’re wagering games, handicapping games, picking games for your client pretty much every single day. So there is no break mentally and then to of course try to dabble in both and when you do get a little window of a break, now you’re looking at the stock market. One doesn’t feed the other. In my opinion, to be good, you gotta be focused on one or the other because to do both at the same time, I feel from a stress standpoint, that would break anybody.”
CY: So talking about handicapping, how do you cap your games? How do you come to the conclusion of who will cover the spread or who will win a side?
BL: “Well, the first question you ask is what is Vegas trying to get you to do? People have to understand the dynamics of the point spread and what Vegas is trying to do. Vegas is only trying to solicit action on both sides of the game. Therefore they’ll make their ten percent juice, ten percent taxers or as the street calls it, ten percent vig. That’s what they’ll of course call it. If Vegas gets equal wagering on both sides, they’ll make their ten percent and they’ll be happy. So all that point spread is what they feel can induce action on both sides.
The first question is, is this a good line and what’s Vegas trying to get me to do? The second question is, how are these teams playing coming into this? Then you look at the matchups. Divisional games in the NFL are different from non-divisional games because you see a team twice a year every year for the last 20-25 years. That’s just the basis of where you start from and from there you can work hours on just one game, leaving no rock unturned, no stone unturned. The basic dynamics of handicapping can go as deep as you want them to go. You can never look at one game enough because you never know when you’re going to find that little hidden gem that’s gonna give you the edge.”
CY: And that’s your philosophy for every game you pick?
BL: “Well, what I do, there’s so many games on the card and I’m basically only isolating one or two games a day for me. Then I have a millionaire’s club where they get maybe three or four plays a month. Those are the plays that I sit back and make sure I’m 100 percent on something. So for me, it’s more about the quality and not the quantity. So what I’ll do is, I’ll make out what I feel the line should be on every game, then the lines come out Sunday night. I’ll make my lines, compare them with Vegas. If there’s a disparity of three or four points and I think I’m right, then that game will be looked at closer. I don’t spend 15-20 minutes on every single game. You do this long enough, you’ll know certain games jump out at you, certain games don’t jump at you.
I’ll give you an example, there was a line on James Madison and Virginia Tech. And people said, ‘What would you do with that game?’ I said, ‘Listen, I would take James Madison +22 all day long.’ They said, ‘You don’t even know anything about James Madison.’ I said, ‘Yeah. But you got Virginia Tech laying a 22 number coming off the emotional loss to Boise State and their national championship hopes are gone. Do you think off a Monday national spotlight game they’re going to turn right around in five days and get up to play James Madison? I don’t know if James Madison can even win the game, but I’ll tell you what, they’re not gonna lose by more than 22 points.’ As it was, they ended up winning the whole game. That’s another thing about handicapping, college, a lot more emotions play in it than the pros. You have to take that into account as well.”
CY: The world of gambling has changed a lot over the last 10 years with so many online sports books, forums and news websites with all sources of information. You have an online presence at TheRealBrandonLang.com, but with all these options for gambling information, how do you stay competitive today?
BL: “By winning. By showing people the quality of your opinion. You’re not gonna win every game. You’re not. There’s not a human being alive that if you pick games every single day, you’re gonna win every single day. It’s impossible to do. My product, if I don’t like anything today, I’m not releasing anything today if that’s it. If I go two or three days and I don’t like something, you’re not getting a pick from me. And what I’ve done is I’ve reduced the quantity to the quality and I’ve been on one of the best winning streaks in quite some time just by reducing that attack of how I do things.
Secondly, I’m the most honest man in the business. You have so many liars, piranhas, parasites, people out there that’ll steal a dollar from their mother. I pride myself on being the most genuine man in the business. Thirdly, this is the first time since the movie came out at the http://www.therealbrandonlang.com that I’m 100 percent in charge of my product. I’m off to a 6-1 start in college football. Yesterday, had a push with the Cleveland Browns. Life could not be better for me. The competitive aspect is here’s a guy that they made the movie about. For the first time in five years he’s completely in charge of his product, 100 percent, and the results and the validation and documentation of that product speaks for itself and I’m pretty happy with it.”
CY: Do you consider yourself, I mean a lot of people like to paint you as a target. There’s a lot of different forums with different threads about you that you’re a fade, that you pick losers, one guy said last year your NFL record in the regular season was 36-41-2 with a loss of over $33, 000. What happened last season? What do you make of how people like to identify you as a fade?
BL: “Well, I’ll tell you this, when you’re not in charge of your product and your partners force you to do things that you didn’t want to do and you’re roped into a bad contract and then you turn around, but it’s your name on the product and you have to accept responsibility for it, the first chance I had to get away, I got away. I’ve gone out on my own. Since going out on my own, I’ve won 15 of 21 weeks. I assure you this Brandon Lang fade, this Brandon Lang that, this Brandon Lang this, it’s dead. It’s gone. I don’t release plays every day. I release plays only when I love stuff. 15 in 21 weeks speaks for itself. If people want to live in the past and people want to hang their head on that, that don’t bother me at all. I’m not about the past. I’m about the present and the future. And the future looks pretty damn good for me.
I’ll tell you one other thing, three things ruin this world, envy, jealous and hate. And if people are talking about you, and if people are saying something about you, and it’s not positive, most of that is directed with jealousy, envy and hate in their heart. I’ll tell you another thing, all those records and validations, half those aren’t true. People make up whatever they want to make up. I read online the other day and this is a true story, cause my partner Eddie Roman told me about it is that I’m on a winning streak right now. Somebody went online after I won the Arizona Diamondbacks last Tuesday night, somebody goes online and said, ‘Listen, that wasn’t even Lang’s pick. He bought it from somebody else and I have the sales receipt to prove it.’
Now you tell me my friend, can I possibly win when people do that? When they blatantly go into those forums and threads and blatantly lie? I can win 21 days in a row. Do you think they say I’m winning in those threads and forums? They don’t say a word. They shut their mouths and they go hide like cockroaches until the lights come on. Then when I finally lose one game, they come on and post that loser and say, ‘The fade is still alive’ when I won 21 days in a row. You know what I say about those forums and threads? They can get on their knees and kiss my ass because the problem with them is they never give you credit when you win and they bag you when you lose and if there’s guys like that out there, good riddance. I got too many clients right now that are jumping on Lang and they’re loving it, 15 of 21 winning weeks.”
CY: For the last five years, you are telling me that some of the picks that were put out with your name were not picks you would’ve put out with your authorization?
BL: “You better believe it. 100 percent. I was not 100 percent in charge of my product and because of that, it was not the product I could get on. The old website had handicappers on there that I didn’t even approve of, handicappers I didn’t even like, but I had no say whatsoever of what was going on. Then I finally just said, ‘You know what? I’ve had enough.’ I walked away. I started my own gig. The handicappers you see at www.therealbrandonlang.com are handicappers I’ve spent time with, handicappers I’ve spoke to, handicappers I watched and handicappers whose opinions I truly respect.
There’s no other website out there that’s got a two time World Series Champion with the New York Yankees Allen Watson on their website who has an unbelievable opinion. If I tell you this, there is a new Brandon Lang in town. He’s winning, and he’s gonna continue to win, and anybody that wants to live in the past, I wish you the best man. But I got too many positives going on.”
CY: I wouldn’t want to be in your position. What I mean by that is I wouldn’t want to be the guy who put the picks out and maybe I did end up going on a losing streak and maybe it was beyond my control the last five years if I’m not in control of my product. How does it make you feel when a guy goes on a losing streak like you or had in the past? People follow you, they lose money. Do you feel bad for those people who lost money that followed you? How much does that cross your mind? I wouldn’t want to be in your position.
BL: “Rule number one, only bet what you can afford to lose. And if you’re in this business and you don’t have money to lose, then you shouldn’t be gambling and that’s the honest to God’s truth. I only bet what I can afford to lose. If I don’t have money to gamble, I don’t gamble. Fortunately, I do very well with betting my games, practicing proper money management and doing the right thing. The problem is people are going to gamble irresponsibly and when they do that, they are looking for somebody to blame and sometimes that blame happens to fall on me. I can’t crawl into someone’s house, sit down with them and say, ‘Listen, don’t bet your rent money. Don’t bet your house money. Don’t bet anything that you can’t afford to lose.’ Therefore, they only lay blame with themselves. Nobody wants to win more for his clients than me. Nobody.”
CY: Who is your Super Bowl matchup and who’s going to win? Have you thought about it yet?
BL: “Yeah. I have. In the AFC, I really believe the cream rising to the top will be the Ravens and the Chargers. I really believe both those teams come the end of the year. Do I think the Jets can possibly get there if Sanchez plays great? Absolutely cause of their defense. And if New England stays healthy, they really looked good offensively last week, but again, I feel the class, Jets, Ravens, Chargers.
NFC, I still believe it’s a three-headed race. I believe the Vikings with the way their defense looked against New Orleans. I believe Green Bay with their offense and I believe the Saints. If the Saints get home field advantage, it’s a tough place to win. Minnesota’s played them there tough twice. I believe those are your six teams if they stay healthy, barring injuries, those are the teams we’re gonna see left. If I had to pinpoint it right now, which I’m never right with this prediction, but I’ll make one for you anyway. I believe we could see a Ravens/Saints or Vikings and there’s your Super Bowl.”
CY: Caddying, caddied for a lot of famous people, President Clinton, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise. There’s gonna be a booking out. First off, do you have any Jordan gambling stories and what kind of gambler do you think Michael Jordan is? I know that he’s always been reported to have quite a gambling appetite.
BL: “He lost pretty bad that day. Didn’t have one of his greatest days. The story I tell about Jordan is on the first tee, someone said, ‘What are we gambling for?’ And Jordan looked at everybody in the group and said, ‘Whatever makes you uncomfortable.’ And what that tells you is there’s no number that you are gonna gamble with Jordan for that’s gonna make him uncomfortable, but it will make you uncomfortable and that’s kind of the private freeway that Michael gets to drive on to when you have that deep a bankroll.
On this certain day, Michael didn’t do very well. But I’ll tell you what, he bets on anything, any time, anywhere. Whether you can get up and out of the bunker he’ll throw $1000 on it. Whether you can hit the fairway from 150, he’ll throw $1000 on it. There’s nothing Michael won’t bet on. Michael is a maniac when it comes to gambling. Not a bad guy, a nice guy. If he wins big on the golf course, he’ll tip. If he loses, he won’t throw you a penny.”
CY: So when did you caddy for President Clinton? How is his game? And, any good stories there?
BL: “Well, he’ll never be President Clinton to me. I caddied for him when he was in office and I caddied once for him when he wasn’t in office. Let me tell you this, when I caddied for him in office, he’ll never be President Clinton to me. He’ll be three ball Billy because he hits three balls every single hole and you’re basically like a Labrador Retriever chasing his balls down. But between me and you, I’m not taking a bullet in the back in the head from the Secret Service to the President he can’t hit a third or fourth ball on a hole when he wants to.
The bottom line is he was great. He’s a fantastic guy, nice guy, I believe he’s a little dishonest on the golf course in a comical way. He’ll say he got a four when he really got a seven, but again I’m not taking a bullet in the back in the head to argue a score with the President. I do know this, on the last hole of the day, he had a putt from ten feet out for par on the 18th hole. It went all the way around the hole and out and I said, ‘Mr. President, that’s a Monica, all lip and no hole.’ And I think he just could not believe I had the balls as a caddy to tell him that in his ear as we finished the day.”
CY: So in closing, I guess this is the point that you’re basically saying from this whole interview, you’re now in control of your business, your picks are your picks. If you lose, you admit that you lose and it’s on you 100 percent correct?
BL: “Well, I admitted that last time. I had to. I could not with partners behind the scenes from a charge back standpoint on the website come out and say I wasn’t making the picks. I was roped into a very bad deal with partners that all they were doing behind my back was stabbing me behind the back. It’s over with. It’s a good experience. I learned a lot about it, but I moved on to bigger and better things. And trust me when I tell you, John Edmonds Kozma, who’s my new partner and Bang Productions on the new website, we have bigger fish to try. I’ve been signed by the largest global PR firm in the country. They’ve done work with A Rod, Jeremy Shockey. They have Keith Bullock. They jumped onboard the bandwagon. And I gotta tell you, my future has never looked brighter and trust me, I got a lot of Brandon Lang clients that are jumping on board as well.”
You can find out more about Brandon Lang at http://www.therealbrandonlang.com