How the Actor reportedly cleared close to a million dollars betting on college games for Las Vegas gambling legend Billy Walters.

Ashton Kutcher is a big Sports FanActor Ashton Kutcher at Hawkeye Game next to team mascot
Actor Ashton Kutcher claimed to have been the "front of the largest national sports-betting syndicate in America" in an Esquire Magazine article earlier this year.
Billy Walters, considered to be the most successful professional sport bettor ever and head of the largest syndicate in the nation, had no comment, when reached by phone.

But here is the big surprise. Kutcher's story actually checks out in Vegas.

The 35-year-old actor told Esquire he spent half of a college football season
placing bets for a syndicate. Kutcher came off as knowledgeable about sports
betting in the interview, describing how the syndicate pinpointed statistical
anomalies and took advantage of point-spread movement.

"We were clearing, like, $750,000 in four weeks of college football. It was
pretty fun. Then they caught on," Kutcher said in the Esquire article. "The
hypothesis had been that the house would just assume that I was a dumb actor
with a lot of money who liked football."

A former Las Vegas sports book manager told The Linemakers on Sporting News
that he was very familiar with Kutcher's sports betting in the early 2000s, the
same time frame chronicled by author Michael Konik in "The Smart Money: How the
World's Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies out of Millions."

"They thought they had a sucker on the hook, then he won $800,000 in four
weeks," said the ex-bookie, who asked to remain anonymous. "They had to shut him

Many believe Kutcher is one of the characters in Konik's highly-acclaimed
book that details the author's time working for Rick "Big Daddy" Matthews, a
gambler described as, "the world's smartest sports bettor and the mastermind
behind the Brain Trust, a shadowy group of gamblers known for their expertise in
beating the Vegas line."

It's widely believed, but never publicly acknowledged, that "Big Daddy"
Matthews is Walters, a reclusive Las Vegas businessman with a reported net worth
in the hundreds of millions.

"My book 'The Smart Money' is a non-fiction memoir that includes an
explanatory note about honoring privacy," Konik wrote in an email to The
Linemakers. "I have no further comment."

Celebrities like Bruce Willis, Floyd Mayweather, Phil Mickelson and poker pro
Phil Ivey have all been rumored to have been a part of Walters' syndicate at one
time or another. Willis is also rumored to be one of the characters in "Smart
Money," as is current Linemakers' analyst Richie Baccellieri.

Baccellieri was a sports book manager at Caesars Palace in the mid-to late
1990s and is rumored to be the character "Stevie The Pencil" in "Smart

Baccellieri would not comment on his or Kutcher's inclusion in the book.

The idea behind having a celebrity make the wagers is that their high-profile
status and large bankroll tend to give them special treatment in a casino
compared to a regular Joe or someone labeled as a professional bettor.

Kutcher's days in Vegas seem to be curtailed. Norm Clarke, celebrity
columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, told The Linemakers on Sporting News
that he had not heard of any regular sightings of Kutcher in at least the last
"four-to-five years."

"That's somebody that I would hear about," Clarke said. "I would be surprised
if he was coming over that often and we weren't hearing something. I just don't
think of him as much of a regular."

By:  David Purdum                                                                                   

Tags: Ashton Kutcher, Billy Walters, Bruce Willis, Phil Mickelson Floyd Mayweather  

ULL vs ARK Betting Preview

Preview: UL Lafayette at Arkansas

When: 4:00 PM ET, Saturday, August 31, 2013
Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Arkansas kicks off a new era under head coach Bret Bielema, and seeks a seventh consecutive season-opening win as it hosts Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. Bielema comes to the Razorbacks after seven seasons at Wisconsin and a career record of 68-24 that ranks eighth among active FBS head coaches. Looking to erase the memories of a disappointing 2012 campaign that ended with three consecutive losses, Arkansas starts the season with 10 new starters, including sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen.

Louisiana-Lafayette is fresh off a second consecutive New Orleans Bowl victory and back-to-back nine win seasons, which tied a school record. The Ragin' Cajuns return 14 starters, led by quarterback Terrance Broadway, who set school records for total offense (3,611 yards) and completion percentage (65.4) a year ago. Broadway gives Louisiana-Lafayette a dual threat under center, with his 769 rushing yards in 2012 helping to elevate Louisiana-Lafayette's running game to 34th in the nation, averaging 193.5 yards per game.

TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3  LINE: Arkansas -10.5

ABOUT LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (2012: 9-4, 6-2 Sun Belt): The Ragin' Cajuns are looking for a third consecutive winning season under head coach Mark Hudspeth and have been pegged as co-favorites - along with Louisiana-Monroe - to win the Sun Belt Conference in a preseason poll of league head coaches. Broadway was named to the Davey O'Brien and Manning Award preseason Watch Lists, while center Andre Huval is another Cajun receiving preseason recognition as a candidate for the Rimington Trophy. Louisiana-Lafayette's offensive line protected Broadway well last season, allowing only 13 sacks.

ABOUT ARKANSAS (2012: 4-8, 2-6 SEC): Bielema's debut coincides with an extensive revamping for Arkansas on both sides of the ball, as the Razorbacks are one of just three teams in the country replacing its 2012 leader in passing, rushing, receiving and tackles. Allen takes the helm under center with just one career start to his credit, a 52-0 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Alabama. Defensive end Chris Smith, named to the preseason All-SEC first team, recorded 9.5 sacks in 2012.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin` Cajuns Trends:
When playing in August are 0-5
When playing on turf are 7-3
After outgaining opponent are 7-3
When playing outside the conference are 6-4

Arkansas Razorbacks Trends:
When playing in August are 2-0
When playing on turf are 5-5
After outgaining opponent are 6-4
When playing outside the conference are 7-3

A few Ragin` Cajuns at Razorbacks trends to consider:
Louisiana-Lafayette is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Louisiana-Lafayette's last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Louisiana-Lafayette's last 6 games on the road
Arkansas is 17-5 SU in its last 22 games at home
Arkansas is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games at home
Arkansas is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games at home
Arkansas is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games

Next up:
Louisiana-Lafayette at Kansas State, Saturday, September 7
Arkansas home to Samford, Saturday, September 7


1. Arkansas is 4-0 all-time against Louisiana-Lafayette, having last hosted the Cajuns in 2002.

2. Louisiana-Lafayette is winless in 36 previous meetings with SEC opponents.

3. Bielema is 7-0 as a head coach in season openers, while the Razorbacks have won 14 of their last 15.

4. Thin receiving corps ready despite rough camp

5. Linebackers Out To Prove 'We Can Play'

PREDICTION: Arkansas 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 17


NCAAF officially kicks off today and we have the best betting deals found online.

2013 NCAAF Betting

College football kicks off with a busy Thursday schedule, giving sports bettors their first taste of NCAAF action.

We preview the biggest matchups on the board opening night. We have the best lines and give you more ways to win. GET IN THE GAME!

North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks (-12.5, 57.5)

South Carolina has never received the amount of preseason publicity that's flooded its way this summer, putting the No.7 Gamecocks in the national conversation heading into their season opener Thursday against visiting North Carolina. South Carolina is at an all-time high in the preseason polls thanks to one of the country's premier players in junior Jadeveon Clowney, who was voted the nation’s top defensive end last season and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. South Carolina also returns starting quarterback Connor Shaw, who has never lost at home as a starter for the Gamecocks.

North Carolina also returns a talented quarterback in senior Bryn Renner, who has thrown for more than 3,000 yards each of the last two seasons. Renner also welcomes back his No. 1 target in wide receiver Quinshad Davis, a South Carolina native who set freshman school records last season for receptions (61) and receiving yardage (776). Protecting Renner’s blind side will be 6-7, 305-pound left tackle James Hurst, while redshirt freshman Jon Heck won the starting job at right tackle. Both figure to be tested all night against Clowney, who recorded 13 sacks last season.

Key betting stat: Tar Heels are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.

UNLV Runnin' Rebels at Minnesota Golden Gophers (-14, 51)

Minnesota, coming off its first bowl appearance since 2009, hosts UNLV on Thursday in the season opener for both teams. The Gophers doubled their win total from three to six last season, including a 30-27, triple-overtime win at UNLV in their 2012 opener. This matchup should have a similar feel as the teams combine to return 34 of their 44 starters from last season.

Highlighting the Gophers’ 16 returning starters is defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who had a breakout season as a junior in 2012. However, Hageman and the Minnesota defense will have their hands full with UNLV’s rushing attack, especially senior running back Tim Cornett. The Rebels enter this season with new coordinators on offense and defense, including Tim Hauck – the younger brother of  coach Bobby Hauck – running the defense.

Key betting stat: Under is 8-2 in Golden Gophers' last 10 home games.

Utah State Aggies at Utah Utes (-2.5, 51)

Utah will look for its 13th win in its last 14 games against visiting Utah State as the longtime in-state rivalry continues on Thursday. The Battle of the Brothers is the 12th-longest standing rivalry in college football and heads toward its 111th installment. The Utes are 77-29-4 all-time against the Aggies and had won 12 straight before Utah State won 27-20 in overtime last season.

Utah sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson will look to turn the program around this season after starting seven games last season and throwing for seven touchdowns and 1,311 yards. The Aggies, led by junior signal caller Chuckie Keeton, are trying to build off one of the best seasons in school history.

Key betting stat: Road team is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.

Mississippi Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores (+3.5, 53)

Vanderbilt looks to build on the most successful two-year stretch in school history when it hosts Ole Miss on Thursday in the season opener for both teams. Senior Austyn Carta-Samuels takes over at quarterback for the Commodores, who were picked to finish fourth in the SEC East preseason media poll after a tumultuous offseason. Expectations are also high at Ole Miss, which aims to end a nine-game losing streak in SEC openers.

The Rebels signed one of the top recruiting classes in the country last spring, and several freshmen figure to play in the opener, including highly touted defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. The game features two of the top wide receivers in the conference in Vanderbilt senior Jordan Matthews and Ole Miss junior Donte Moncrief, who caught 10 touchdown passes last season. Matthews had a season-high 153 receiving yards against the Rebels last year, when Vanderbilt won its third straight game in the series.

Key betting stat: Rebels are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 meetings.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Fresno State Bulldogs (-10.5, 54.5)

Thursday’s season opener against Rutgers can’t come soon enough for Fresno State, which has been eager to get back on the field since its embarrassing loss to SMU in the Hawaii Bowl. Rutgers is looking to build on coach Kyle Flood’s successful first year, when the Scarlet Knights claimed a share of the Big East title. The teams are meeting for the second time ever, with Fresno State winning 24-7 in Rutgers nearly five years ago to the day.

The Bulldogs feature the Mountain West preseason offensive and defensive players of the year in quarterback Derek Carr and safety Derron Smith, and they were a near-unanimous pick to win the West Division of the Mountain West in the preseason media poll. Expectations are also high at Rutgers, which is playing one year in the new American Athletic Conference before joining the Big Ten next season. The Scarlett Knights will be tested at Bulldog Stadium, where Fresno State went 6-0 last season and outscored opponents by a total of 190 points.

Key betting stat: Bulldogs are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall.

USC Trojans at Hawaii Warriors (+23, 53.5)

The Matt Barkley era is over at Southern California and his replacement as quarterback is still in flux as the No. 24 Trojans visit Hawaii in Thursday’s season-opening contest. Coach Lane Kiffin said that sophomores Max Wittek and Cody Kessler will share the duties against the Warriors and that he won’t name a starter until after the squad arrives in Honolulu. Former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow is head coach of Hawaii and is also running the offense.

The Warriors also feature a new quarterback as Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham – son of former NFL signal caller Kent Graham – beat out incumbent Sean Schroeder (11 touchdowns, 12 interceptions in 2012) for the starting job and is being counted on to rev up an attack that ranked 118th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense (297.4 yards) and scored only 21.2 points per game last season. While the Trojans are sorting out the quarterbacking situation, there are no issues with junior Marqise Lee, who finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver after setting a school record with 118 receptions. USC senior running back Silas Redd (905 rushing yards, nine TDs in 2012) will miss the contest after undergoing knee surgery five months ago to repair a meniscus tear.

Key betting stat: Trojans are 0-7 ATS in their last seven road games.