Shaun King has found his niche talking sports betting

Bet on it: Former Tulane, Bucs QB says ‘discipline’ is the hardest thing to master.

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Shaun King

Former QB Shaun King is now the co-host of VSiN PrimeTime.

Courtesy VSiN

LAS VEGAS — Since landing here in 2021 to work at the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN), Shaun King has made tremendous advances in his sports-betting knowledge and skills.

“You learn,” the former quarterback said, breaking into heartfelt laughter, “by lighting a bunch of money on fire.”

King led Tulane to a 12-0 season in 1998 by setting a pass-efficiency record that lasted eight years, and he nearly steered the Buccaneers into a Super Bowl.

This betting deal, though, is something else, something different than X’s and O’s, different than knowing personnel and tendencies.

“I try not to bet on a team I’m emotionally attached to. I just hate to be in a situation where they win but don’t cover, and I’m pissed.”

King, 46, partners with Tim Murray nightly from 7-10 p.m. on VSiN PrimeTime.

“The first thing, when you get into this space is, you lose. It’s very much about mathematics, knowing the numbers and understanding the trends, where the money is going and is the line moving?

“I’m much better than I used to be. I analyze it from a gambling standpoint, not from an evaluation standpoint, and I think there’s a big difference.”

King addresses a situation in which he believes Team A is better than Team B. The opening spread has Team B favored by 4 points. The splits show 70 percent of the money on Team A, the underdog.

“And the line isn’t moving. That tells me the right team is favored and more than likely will win the game and cover. In those situations, I’ll abstain. Discipline would probably be the word that’s the hardest thing to master in sports gambling.”


Some are calling this the most-ballyhooed college game of the season, not just Week 1. So I aimed to tap someone who has called

Division-I plays, has played in big games. King answered his phone.

In prime-time Sunday evening on ABC, No. 5 LSU, a 2.5-point favorite, plays No. 8 Florida State in Orlando.

“A true 50-50 game,” King said. A computer projects 33.02 points for the ’Noles, 33.01 for the Tigers.

“I won’t have a betting interest in it. When I bet, I’m looking for an edge, an advantage. In a game like that, if I don’t feel strongly one way or another I’ll just enjoy it as a fan.”

That doesn’t preclude him from diagnosing it. In last season’s opener, the Seminoles defeated the Tigers 24-23 in New Orleans.

King is disappointed that LSU’s Maason Smith, one of the game’s premier defensive tackles, won’t play as he serves a one-game suspension for a pre-NIL-era autograph-related violation.

LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Florida State’s Jordan Travis, according to King, are equally elite quarterbacks.

“LSU [still] has great defensive players,” King said, “and the Seminoles’ Jared Verse is a top-10 player.”

Phil Steele, in his comprehensive preview annual, taps Verse as the No. 2 defensive end in the country. Texas handicapper Paul Stone believes LSU sophomore linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. is the nation’s best defensive player.

In June, Stone got LSU -1.5 points at Circa Sports. Wednesday, he earmarked 10-win Florida State’s 0-3 record against ranked foes last season.

“LSU has that SEC pedigree, a slightly better roster and will be out to atone for last season’s loss,” Stone said. “I look for the Tigers to prevail by more than a field goal.”

King calls Seminoles boss Mike Norvell underrated, citing his 38-16 record in four seasons at Memphis.

“A tremendous coach, but you don’t ever hear him mentioned as such. They will sustain their success. It’s just that, when you play a top-level SEC school — that has a quarterback, too — the game comes down to special teams and turnovers.

“Who converts the makeable field goals and extra points? Who can tackle in space, and in punts and kickoffs not let someone get a big return because someone didn’t run down and have their gap?”

Pressed for a final score, King said . . . Florida State 31, LSU 28.

“I probably trust Jordan Travis just a little bit more [than Daniels]. It’ll be a fantastic game.”


A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, King entered a different world when he went to New Orleans to attend Tulane.

“I didn’t know I was country until I got to Tulane. They’d pick on me. I’d say, ‘Be right bike,’ instead of b-a-c-k, and, oh my goodness! I never noticed it before.

“But they’d go, ‘I’m gonna make groceries.’ I’d be, What the heck? Y’all takin’ dirt and water, and you’re gonna go plant something?”

He’d come to savor crawfish, étouffée and Cajun boudin sausage, and the wonders of Louisiana encouraged King to explore the world. He was inducted into the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

King took Washington, a 7-point favorite against Arizona in Week 1 of the Circa Survival NFL contest.

On VSiN, he’s known for digging deep for information and telling it like it is, not for delivering high-volume hyperbole.

“I get a lot of feedback from coaches and players, even when I’m critical. They tell me, ‘You’re telling the truth. I didn’t really want to hear you say it, but you were telling the truth.’

“I’m not a shock jock. If I have an opinion, I’ve actually done the research and watched the game, and it’s based on my expert eyes.”

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