LAS VEGAS — He profited from Kansas hoops last season, has college football futures that have already cashed and, at 19-to-1 odds, Aussie swinger Cameron Smith won The Open for him at St. Andrews.
For MLB’s Home Run Derby, Vegas Stats & Information Network host Tim Murray backed his hometown dude, Juan Soto, who delivered.
For the moribund Nationals, however, Murray bet they’d win fewer than 71 games in 2022; they won 55. In ’21, his 16-1 Atlanta Braves ticket returned dividends.
Murray, 35, has been on a roll. He keeps tickets in a cigar box, regularly plucking losers so they don’t infect the live ducats.
Most important, he has endured a roller-coaster career, blindsided layoffs and curveballs, and persevered. At his lowest, Murray did not give in.
“So many people I know have had to be a waiter or bartender. I’ve always grinded, pieced it together and believed in myself. Dumb confidence or not, I’ve been fortunate to not have another job outside of sports.
“I just always wanted to do this. And I knew, if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be happy. You only get one life, right?”
Murray doesn’t exactly relish his claim to infamy at Division III Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where fortune wasn’t with him his junior hoops season.
He went 8-for-31 at the line, a 25.8% touch that’s the worst single-season free-throw percentage in Mules’ history, which the school confirmed to him. It’s in his Twitter profile.
“I was that bad, yeah,” Murray said. “You gotta embrace self-deprecation.”
(The 6-6 Maryland native might not be lethal from the line, but he’s a pickup-ball ringer; a friend recently shot video of him dunking.)
Laughing at yourself is a golden virtue. Just as invaluable, in those lulls, has been Emily Murray. They married in the summer of 2013.
During one downturn, Westwood One invited Tim to be part of its broadcast team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Emily said, “You gotta do that!”
A Daily Line radio show polished his sports-gambling acumen and lingo, introducing him to industry veterans Chris Andrews and Vinny Magliulo at the South Point, oddsman Dave Sharapan and, at VSiN, Matt Youmans.
When VSiN rang, he and Emily had never been on an adventure. He accepted, landing here in September 2020. Emily’s cousin, a local, inspired them to settle in the Henderson foothills.
“Ebbs and flows are always tough, and I feel like they were tough on her, like I was always complaining,” Murray said. “But she wore it and has been great. This happened, and it was, ‘Let’s do it, give it a go!’ We didn’t bat an eye.”
Murray owned VSiN’s late-night “The Night Cap.” When former NFL quarterback Shaun King visited Vegas, producers slipped him into a 15-minute guest segment with Murray.
Their instant chemistry evolved, and they became co-hosts. In the fall, their “Primetime” show debuted in the 6-9 p.m. Eastern slot.
“That first time, I said something and he kind of pushed back, in a good way,” Murray said. “Guests don’t normally do that. He just didn’t agree. We kept him for an hour. I was like, This is the guy!
“I sensed something good. A sense of humor. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is important; I make fun of myself, but I have to be able to take jabs at you, too.”
King tells Murray that Muhlenberg had bad rims due to a flimsy budget, “So don’t sweat that free-throw deal.” King owes their authentic rapport to neither one being sensitive. They tolerate different opinions.
“You don’t always have that in this business. Sometimes, the egos are huge,” King says. “The truth doesn’t have a motive; we live by that. I think it’s entertaining to listen to and watch. Hopefully, we’ll be together a long time.”
Murray knows what he doesn’t know, always eager to tap experts. For that Open, he chatted with VSiN colleagues Youmans and Wes Reynolds on the air. Both offered four picks, with one common name — Cameron Smith — on both lists.
Sometimes, it’s that easy.
Murray invested in Ohio State Over 10.5 pigskin victories at -175, Oklahoma Over 9 at -130 and Maryland Over 5.5, which cashed three weeks ago.
For college hoops, in July, he bought Houston (22-1), Baylor (25-1) and Creighton (40-1) tickets; all of their odds have been about halved in Vegas.
Another Murray virtue is transparency. For the first time, this calendar year, he has recorded every sports wager. We’ve noted many triumphs, but many tickets have become bookmarks and coasters.
That 14-1 Jayhawks ticket mitigated a brutal regular season of betting for him. Georgia Tech’s comeback victory over Virginia Tech last weekend represented its fourth triumph, but Murray had Under 3.5 for the Yellow Jackets’ season.
The cold reality of the business, to which Murray refers often, is that a pro will be fortunate to hit 55% over the long haul. He listens to many podcasts, reviews his shows regularly to nix redundancies and polish his delivery.
Five-year-old Sawyer is sad to see his pop leave for work. Tim, though, mollifies the lad, saying he’ll return soon, that all is good.
“I’m very lucky to do what I do. I’m the luckiest person ever. It took a while but in this line of work, when it’s right it’s the best job ever.”