Let’s talk about sports gambling…Part I

This weekend I attended a great wedding on the shore of Coronado Island facing the San Diego Bay. Having not known many of the guests, I acquainted myself throughout the weekend by discussing many different topics. With several the topic of sports gambling came up and as per the usual, I wasn’t afraid to give them my “expert” picks. For example, I was sure Nashville would beat Pittsburgh in Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals by 2 or more goals each time. Cha-ching!

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I’ll admit it – I very much enjoy sports gambling. I’m not a casino gambler…I never play poker…have no idea what’s going on at a craps table…and get too easily frustrated at the blackjack table. If I go to Las Vegas, I don’t care about going to the clubs…it’s all about how I can walk away up financially from the sportsbook.

The funny thing is in life, I’m not much of a gambler. I don’t take a ton of risks and generally “play by the book.” But when it comes to enjoying sports further, gambling helps. It’s undeniable.

If you had the Predators -1.5 goals last night, tell me you wouldn’t have enjoyed watching the game as much as I did!?

Here are my three main reasons for sports gambling:

  • The analysis: At a blackjack table, I can hit or stay as many times as I’d like…but if the dealer flops over 21, I’ll lose 95% of the time. In sports, I can look at trends and handicap what I think will happen. Legend has it that the best-of-the-best sports gamblers win at a 57% clip. It’s far from a lock obviously but at least I control the hand I play.
  • The action: The reason I’m not a more successful sports bettor is because I’m what’s referred to as an “action junkie.” I’m not one of those people who can make just one bet a day, sit back, and focus only on that event. If I did that, I’d bet that my profitability would skyrocket. I think that’s why I enjoy horse racing so much. There’s always a track to play or a new race every few minutes. Not that I play them all…but I enjoy the action. For what it’s worth to you betters out there, Belmont Stakes Day (this Saturday) was my most profitable horse racing calendar the last three years.
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I was pretty damn excited to hit the Pick 4 at Del Mar on 8/10/13 for $1135!
  • The predictions: I love saying “I had that” or “take this and you’ll win” to others. I’ve never been afraid to make predictions in anything…I’m likely wrong more often than I’m right but it has to be fairly close. Giving out the Nashville and Golden State winners in last Friday’s blog is awesome to me. Either way, whether you choose to follow or fade my picks, at least I’ve gotten you to think, right?

If I added a 4th to the list, it would be the money. Those of us who gamble do so to make a profit..I’m no exception. Not sure I’ll ever end up ahead in my lifetime (very unlikely) but hopefully I can mitigate the damage so the losses don’t mount. For now I’m 34 and single…if this is how I want to enjoy the financially-irresponsible-ish (and I say that term loosely) days before I find the ideal woman to marry, so be it.

Tomorrow I’ll touch on my favorite sports to bet, favorite bet types, and angles to play. I’ll also dole out some advice for those of you who are novice sports bettors.

In the meantime, I want to make the point that I truly do not understand why most of the professional sports leagues don’t fully embrace gambling. Why wouldn’t they? If sports betting were legal all over, I would think exposure to games would increase across the country. Television ratings would be higher…and the leagues could charge higher ad prices due to the increased audience.

The NFL gets it. They don’t necessarily accept gambling in its purist form but they do encourage participation in fantasy football. As much as we want to say it’s not the truth, fantasy sports is a form of gambling.

The two leagues that would benefit most from legalized sports betting are the NBA and NHL. The NBA Playoffs have been full of blowouts, series sweeps, and rarely have we seen a close game. As far as hockey goes, it’s Canada and the world’s sport…and a distant 4th in the U.S. When bettors have action on a game, they’re most likely to watch or follow it…something they might not do if they aren’t financially invested.

And…well…things can get interesting in non-competitive games.

The Grizzlies were favored by 10.5 here.


If I had the Knicks with the points in this game, it’s likely I would’ve regurgitated my dinner.

My final point is this: why do stadiums have betting windows in England but they don’t here in this country?

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Here at Wembley Stadium in London you can bet on-site!

Are we worried about more thefts from people stealing money from those who are victorious after games? Are the leagues concerned about the integrity of the games being compromised? Why is the government, who would stand to make hundreds of millions in yearly taxes so against sports gambling?

Something tells me we’ll see a change in these laws sooner than later.

 

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