Service Note: Ben Burns can also be found at www.locksmithsports.com and Covers.com
Ben Burns' Background In "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell asks the question: "What makes high achievers different?" Gladwell suggests that those at the top of their field have a number of similarities - that their upbringing (culture, family, what generation they came from, experiences) had much to do with their success. As a professional sports handicapper, Ben Burns is widely recognized as being "at the top of his field." A look at Ben's upbringing shows that he fits Gladwell's model to a tee. Exposed to the world of point spreads early and often as a child, Burns reached adulthood as the Internet was first beginning to explode, just as the first offshore sportsbooks were springing up. By that time he'd already spent thousands of hours learning and studying stats. From an early age it became apparent to family and friends that Ben wasn't a "typical" fan. At age 11, he was mentioned in a major newspaper (Toronto Star) for correctly predicting a high profile trade before the Major League Baseball trading deadline. (Winner of the contest got tickets to the All Star game.) Ben's father and uncles were always involved in a weekly NFL (ATS) pool. Some of Ben's earliest memories included that pool and his fascination with it. As soon as he was allowed to play, Ben demonstrated an uncanny ability to surprise the adults. Around this time, one of his uncles moved his casino business to the Caribbean. This was the environment which he came from. The caption underneath Ben's high-school graduation photo references Ben's love for betting on football. That's because he was famous throughout his school for annually winning the local football contest, along with the $1700 per year which was awarded to the champ. Coming of age right as the first sports books were coming online, Ben was fortunate to enjoy some success with his some of his early online sports betting endeavors. He did so well that the first shop he ever played at ended up refusing to take his hockey bets. Also, in the very early days of the Internet, Ben won an NBA playoff contest, put on by a company which was called NSS.net. The contest victory awarded him a trip for two to Las Vegas, $1000 cash, a limo at his disposal, free shows, hotel and live sports odds for a year. Not a bad prize for a kid in his early 20s. However, the bigger prize was that Ben was exposed to the world of "professional sports handicapping." Inspired by his personal success and encouraged by his peers, Ben first made his picks available to the public in 1998.