Bleacher Report is going all-in on gambling. Per the Wall Street Journal, the sports network is launching an NFL show focused on being a sports betting resource.
Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sportscaster Adam Lefkoe (a.k.a. The RapCast Guy) will host the program, aptly titled “Simms and Lefkoe: The Show.” The duo has co-hosted an NFL podcast for the network since 2014. This new program will be available in a weekly format via Bleacher Report’s app, social media outlets, and YouTube channel. The show premiered Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m.
GO TIME! Enjoy, Homies! 👇👇👇 https://t.co/0KwWfNSKJY
— Simms & Lefkoe (@SimmsAndLefkoe) September 6, 2018
The show, which ran roughly twenty minutes in its initial episode, provides the kind of general football insight that is the norm for an NFL-centric program, albeit in a more laidback and breezy atmosphere. However, the show eventually delves into gambling-specific topics, such as who will cover the spread, that likeminded shows on ESPN and major networks tend to avoid like the plague. Not only that, the show also includes a gambling hook. Lefkoe enters the 2018-2019 NFL season with $5,000 to bet on games, doing so against a fan. If the fan loses, they won’t have to give any money. However, if they win, they’ll split the profit with Bleacher Report out of a pool that grows week to week.
The initial episode featured appearances by NFL players, coaches, and personalities on as guests, including New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, CBS commentator Tony Romo, former NFL receiver Terrell Owens, and Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay in the announcement. No word yet on how the league will feel about seeing these people associated with gambling, but such is the world we live in now that the Supreme Court essentially legalized sports betting in a ruling last year.
Dave Finocchio, Bleacher Report’s co-founder and chief executive, told the WSJ that he sees that court ruling as one that is about to trigger “a paradigm shift” in sports media. He expects shows that include or even focus on gambling will become more commonplace in the mainstream sports media landscape.
“Based on what happened in the UK sports betting market — and how the black market operates in the United States — the ability to bet on sports is going to make fans of the NFL more engaged than they have been,” Mr. Finocchio told the WSJ. “We think it’s that big of a deal, and we want to be a part of the conversation around sports betting.”
Much of the show’s success will likely hinge on the duo’s ability to provide viewers with credible gambling insights. While both have been following, playing, and working in the sport for most of their lives, there’s a big difference between X’s and O’s and consistently winning bets from the sidelines. Like the topic they’ve covering, the show could be a gamble, but Bleacher Report seems ready to take their chances.