Tom Barton Jr. has turned sports gambling into a family business

LAS VEGAS — It had been a very good weekend for Tom Barton Jr. The Dodgers were costly, but Kansas City won Saturday and Cleveland beat the Angels on Sunday, securing $4,800 in profit for the professional bettor.

We chatted late Sunday night. Every penny is earmarked.

“Enfamil,” Barton said. “Four to five months should be paid for. These social-media ‘influencers’ who are all buying bottles of champagne? I’m buying Enfamil.”

He laughs about the baby formula.

“That’s what I’m splurging on, thank you Cleveland and Kansas City. Enfamil. Which, by the way, probably cost as much as Cristal. But because I have the money, I’ll get out in front of things; how I’ve always lived my life.”

In his upstairs office of the family’s home at the tip of Long Island, Barton, 46, has stashed 25 boxes of Pampers diapers.

“I’ve clipped coupons for $10 off diapers, and I have no shame in admitting that,” Barton said. “Ten bucks off Pampers. It’s gold, a Dad Flex to other Dads.”

Alas, his exuberance to stockpile for the future met a roadblock Monday when he went to buy 24-pack cases of Enfamil at $206.14 a pop.

“Got the value pack, but it has a small shelf life,” he said. “So I couldn’t rack up too much.”


In fact, for Tom and Abby Barton it had been an unforgettable Memorial Day holiday.

The former Abby Sanvi — whose roots are in Effingham and Springfield, where she was weaned on the Cubs — delivered their third child, 6-pound, 15-ounce Finnegan James, 19¾ inches tall, early that Friday morning.

Her doctor released Abby to go home Sunday afternoon, a day earlier than planned.

They packed up 10-year-old Tommy III, 6-year-old Grace and Finnegan, and Barton played “Finnegan’s Wake,” by the Dubliners, in his silver Ford Expedition the entire 15-minute drive home.

It’s a rollicking, festive tune, full of guitars, a banjo and violin, and life. Sunday was 81 degrees, full of sunshine.

“A fun, Irish song,” Barton said. “Everyone’s at a guy’s wake, except at the end he wakes up, ‘What are we partying about?’ They party on. Really fun. We had a beautiful day, perfect to welcome him to his new home.”

Long ago, he and Abby had agreed on Finnegan’s moniker — “We like Irish names,” Tom says — and his middle name is Abby’s father’s name.

Tom Jr. is an Empire State native who, like many, fell for the Bears during their Super Bowl season of 1985. He was 7.

Abby knew exactly whom she married in the spring of 2011. Before her carriage arrived, Tom waited on the church steps. His phone buzzed.

For a punter who typically relies on hours upon hours of video review, his own “feel,” this was different. Barton fielded a college hoops tip, and he had to inform clients.

He told them, “Here’s what I got . . .”

“Aren’t you getting married?”

“Yes, in minutes.”


Had Finnegan arrived on a Saturday, say, in November, Barton would have been challenged to produce college basketball and football action, plus value plays on NBA and NHL games.

However, the late-May timing was perfect, since clients, the majority of who have been with Tom Barton Sports for more than five years, know to expect one or two MLB daily selections.

He went 8-3 in the NBA and 32-20 in the NHL this season, but Barton passed on arduous and time-consuming prognostications for both playoffs.

Barton can plan ahead for starting pitchers, a luxury that allowed him to relax at the hospital. He liked the Royals because of pitcher Brady Singer and the Guardians due to hurler Ben Lively.

On Saturday night, he chatted with Tim Unglesbee, his Heatwave radio partner late weekend evenings on the Fox Sports Vegas affiliate, and beamed about Texas’ inability to hit southpaws. He had circled a few pitchers for Wednesday, too.

Tommy III comprehends some of his pop’s business, unsurprising since he’s in an advanced elementary-school program that has made prosthetics for veterans.

“Point spreads, he understands,” Barton said. “Moneylines are tough. But he loves totals. He says, ‘Dad, the total is 42. The game is at 40. Eight minutes left. We have a chance!’ But his ridiculous IQ has him destined for greater things.”

Barton cringes at a sports-betting culture so quick to criticize the size, instead of the quality, of wagers.

“This is not Instagram or a fake reality show,” he said. “Whether I have $100 on a game, or $2,000 or $3,000, when I collect it goes directly toward life.”

The key, Barton says, is ultra-ultra discipline.

“It must be. A great phrase. If I make $300, it pays for my son to play Little League. I play big, at times, but I don’t need to. You pay for the lifestyle you want. I can work diligently and pick winners.”

Sports betting paid for that wedding, the Bartons’ home, cars and exceptional education for their kids. Sometimes, she presses him about taking more of a chance.

“However, now I have four lives counting on me to do the right thing,” Tom said, “which isn’t chasing the retirement fund, going all-in on something. I’ll grind it out, but grinding it out is a great way to make a living.” V

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