More than anything else, Hank Goldberg will go down as a man that was decades ahead of his time in the sports betting and media industry. Goldberg was a national sports gambling analyst and commentator before it was cool. Before today’s numerous sports gambling selection shows, endless podcasts with “lock” predictions that often blow, and the steady stream of over-the-top screamers on social media, Hank Goldberg was the one true professional sports handicapper in the media. This week, Goldberg passed away on his 82nd birthday due to complications from chronic kidney disease.
Goldberg was a man of substance, which set him apart from the noise. Nicknamed “Hammering Hank,” Goldberg finished .500 or better on his NFL picks in 15 of 17 seasons as an ESPN handicapper. Of course, serious gamblers respect that because of the difficulty of the challenge. With precise spreads from Wise Guy oddsmakers, a win percentage above .500 in consecutive seasons is impressive enough. But Goldberg stood apart for accuracy over the decades. Also, he faced the added pressure of delivering the picks in front of the entire nation.
Goldberg joined ESPN2 in 1994 while the channel was only on the air for one year. Subsequently, he became a regular on NFL Countdown, where he made his weekly picks. In relation to those duties, Goldberg forged close relationships with many of Las Vegas’ most prominent bookmakers.
Following the Supreme Court’s PASAP ruling, Goldberg made several appearances on the ESPN sports betting program, The Daily Wager. Additionally, he also worked for CBS Sports in his later years.
Goldberg is also known for being linked with the Miami Dolphins from the moment they were born as a 1966 American Football League expansion franchise.
After relocating to Miami in 1966, Goldberg broke into pro football with a position in the Dolphins’ public relations office. As he was doing that, Goldberg was drafted by https://sportshandle.com/jimmy-the-greek-snyder-betting-tv/Jimmy The Greek Snyder to ghostwrite the handicapper’s nationally syndicated column. The late Snyder is forever remembered as the handicapping contributor to CBS Sports’ pregame show, The NFL Today. But in those days, Snyder had to be more undercover about his role and talk around the actual pointspreads.
Goldberg was a famed storyteller and loved to tell tales of legendary figures from the NFL. Goldberg revealed the late great Miami Dolphin coach Don Shula’s passion for horse racing. The two would get together for frequent lunches at Gulfstream Park. Adding to the fun and frivolity was that they were often joined by former Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese and several others with ties to Shula and the Dolphins. In his later years, Goldberg also became close friends with the late Dolphin legend Nick Buoniconti.
As his life wound down, Goldberg continued making horse racing picks. As recently as May, he made his final appearance on ESPN ahead of the Kentucky Derby. Last month, he published his final racing picks by making selections for the Belmont Stakes.
Today, sports gambling commentators are easy to find. But most of them are hard to respect. That was never the case with the legendary Hank Goldberg. RIP.