Gambling is an ongoing experiment

Anyone who ever attempted to win money gambling knows it is tough. To win money gambling on sports requires one of two things. You either have to hit big on one big score or hit a very high percentage of bets.
My annual trip to Las Vegas started Saturday and I came in with a new focus, a focus primarily on the San Diego Padres. I have found in the past, if I watch one team play a lot, it becomes much easier to predict that team’s wins and losses.
I bet the Padres to beat the Cubs on Saturday and I lost. I recovered my money and then some with a Sunday parlay on the Padres and the Braves, but then lost another bet on the Padres tonight.
So, in this case, watching a lot of Padres games hasn’t really panned out. I honestly thought they would win all three games. They were in all three games until the end, but that doesn’t make me any money.
After watching tonight’s ugly game with the Diamondbacks, I find it hard have any confidence in San Diego on Tuesday. The right thing to do is avoid betting that game.
That pushes me back to last year’s experiment of betting on teams and players I like, without making a prediction.
I like Mark Buehrle and he is pitching for Toronto on Tuesday. The Blue Jays have won seven straight, so I hope they can make it eight.

Sunday showdowns lack appeal

Is there anyone out there that actually enjoys watching Carmelo Anthony play basketball?
A lot of media hype has flocked his way since he won an NCAA title with Syracuse, but I can’t understand why. All Anthony can do is shoot. He can’t handle the ball, play defense or rebound when it counts. I never enjoy watching him play, so I won’t watch him and the rest of the New York Knicks take on Oklahoma City on Sunday.
The Thunder are favored at home over the Knicks by 9.5. If I had to bet the game, I would take the Thunder in a heart beat, even if every expert in the world told me the Knicks would cover. New York opened as 10.5-point underdogs, so the betting public is in its corner.
The other big game on TV today is Chicago at the L.A. Lakers. These are two more of my least favorite teams to watch, so it will be tough to get myself to tune in. The lesser of two evils is the Lakers, when it comes to betting. Not sure of the spread while writing this, but it really doesn’t matter.
Thankfully, scenic Pebble Beach and the PGA tour will be on TV today as well. With his six-stroke lead, Jimmy Walker is a -500 favorite to win the golf tournament. Wouldn’t win anything if I took that bet and it’s hard to bet against him.
If I had to select a long shot, I’d go with Hunter Mahan at +800. Mahan is one of two golfers that is six shots back. I’ve been hard on Mahan in the past, but I think he is on the verge of a big year.

Time for another NBA parlay

My last NBA pick being a winner, that earned me the right to attempt picking multiple winners on Friday’s busy night in the NBA.
Without looking at point spreads, I scanned the schedule and picked the following five teams:
The Pacers, Thunder, Wizards, Celtics and Jazz
My reasoning for these picks is purely instinctive, with the knowledge that hitting a five-pick is nearly impossible. If I were betting real money, it would be house money, however, so the pressure would be off, leaving me with nothing but massive upside.
Just in case anyone wants to follow along, here are the spreads for those five teams:
Pacers -5.5, Thunder -9, Wizards -9, Celtics +1, Jazz +9.5

Rough start to NBA education

I used to joke that losing bets are just a way of paying tuition.
In turning my focus to the NBA on Tuesday, only one team in my four-pick parlay covered a spread, so I am sure I learned something, even if I don’t know what is yet.
In retaliation, I will pick just one game in Wednesday’s NBA lineup. The New Orleans Pelicans jump out at me for some reason. I like the 2-point home favorites to cover against Atlanta.
I watched a little bit of Atlanta’s game against the Pacers on Tuesday and was not impressed. I am also intrigued by Anthony Davis of New Orleans, wondering if he is a star in the making.
Picking the Pelicans will force me to pay attention and likely learn something new.

Moving on today with an NBA parlay

The NFL season is in the books, so it’s time to focus on the NBA.
Four games on the schedule today, so it’s time to pick a winner for each in a four-pick parlay.
The four teams I like tonight are Indiana, Minnesota, Phoenix and Golden State.
I know Indiana just played last night, which might explain why the Pacers opened as 4.5-point favorites and fell to 3-point favorites against host Atlanta. The fatigue factor when teams play on back-to-back nights is a real problem, but the Pacers are too good to bet against.
Minnesota looks good as an 11-point favorite against the visiting Lakers, just because I don’t like the Lakers.
Phoenix has been on a roll and is gathering attention from the media lately. That is probably why the Suns opened as 6-point home favorites over Chicago, but are now favored by 8.
What’s not to like about Golden State? The Warriors are one of the handful of teams with a legit shot at winning a title and they are just fun to watch. They opened as 9.5-point favorites and are up to 10 at home against Charlotte.

The NFL should be embarrassed

By now, everyone who watched the Super Bowl wishes they had bet the house on the Seattle Seahawks, the 2.5-point underdogs who blew away the Denver Broncos 43-8.
Nobody could have seen this coming, Troy Aikman said during the broadcast of the game, but if he had read my blog, he would have known that at least one person did.
I was stunned when all the money was being bet on the Broncos, moving the spread 3.5 points. Seattle opened as 1-point favorites in some places.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning took offense when asked if he was embarrassed by the loss, but he should be embarrassed, as should the NFL.
Denver set offensive records this season and was billed as one of the greatest offenses in the history of the game, then the Broncos were nearly the first team to get shut out in a Super Bowl.
Sunday’s result says a lot about the poor quality of the AFC and the NFL as a whole. The NFL is full of mediocre football teams, paving an easy road to a title for real football teams like the Seahawks.

There should be a poem for Super Bowl Eve

Grocery stores were mobbed by a wide range of football fans today, casual fans and fevered fans buying up every last drop of salsa and chunk of avocado.
Stop any stranger and ask them who they like in the game, and they will know you are talking about the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, who are favored by 2.5 points.
Everyone has an opinion for this one, and why not? The game would not be fun to watch if you didn’t at least put your opinion on the line.
Kids are having trouble falling asleep tonight, hoping their team beats the pants off their friend’s team. Maybe they even bet a few bucks on it.
There are myriad bets available Sunday, bets on everything from how many yards Peyton Manning will throw for to which player will score the first touchdown.
For me, there is only one bet worth thinking about. I don’t waste time considering anything beyond who will win the game. The rest seem too random. That doesn’t mean the game’s outcome is more predictable than a statistic, but it sure seems that way sometimes.
I am extremely confident that Seattle is the better team and, therefore, should win. I know this the same way you just know the big brother is going to beat the little brother at a game of one-on-one in the yard. Statistical analysis isn’t necessary.
I envision Peyton Manning getting crushed on critical plays, literally crushed by fearsome defensive linemen. Then when he is tired of getting crushed, he will throw an interception or two to seal a Seahawks championship.
I know, I know, I’ve already said all this in previous posts, but it’s Super Bowl Eve and I still get excited after 30 years of watching the NFL.
Good luck to anyone with a wager of any kind.
May the best team win.

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