Can The Huskies Cover Against The Ducks?

I did one of these last week with the Seahawks and I still contend the smart money was to stay away. Going forward, I’m just going to go out on a limb and say the smart money is ALWAYS to stay away. Stay away from gambling entirely!

Okay, now that we’ve properly scared off the squares, let’s get down to it. As before, I’m only interested in football as far as it can hypothetically win me money this year. That means fantasy, and that means keeping an eye on the point spreads and testing my brain power on various lines.

Washington is hosting Oregon this week. Oregon is a 7-point favorite. The Huskies are 4-4 on the season, a collosal disappointment. Nevertheless, we’re 3-2 in conference play, and in theory, a victory over the Ducks would put us in a huge logjam of teams in the Pac-12 North with 2 conference losses.

Indeed, there are only two teams in the entire conference with fewer than 2 losses – the Ducks in the North and the Utes in the South – so it’s fair to say there really aren’t any dominant teams in this conference, and it’s pointless to get confident one way or the other about ANY of these teams, because literally anyone could beat anyone else on any given Saturday. Even if you look at the dregs – Colorado and Arizona – they are 3-5 and 4-4 against the spread, respectively (in spite of the fact that they have two total wins – including non-conference games – between them).

But, let’s face it, the Ducks are the 4th ranked team in the College Football Playoff Rankings for a reason. That reason is: they’re 7-1 and went on the road to defeat Ohio State. The Ducks’ only loss this year was on the road against Stanford – a team the Huskies just managed to handle last week – so I understand the desire by Husky fans to dismiss the Ducks.

What we’ve got going for us is: the game is at home. We’ve got a defense that’s in the upper eschelon in total yards and points given up per game. Of course, that has everything to do with our pass defense giving up the very fewest yards per game; our run defense is among the worst in college football.

The Ducks, clearly, run much more than they pass. They’re among the best rushing offenses in the game, and middle-of-the-road in passing. The Ducks, on defense, are middle-of-the-pack in rush defense, and slightly worse in pass defense (which would make sense, since they play from ahead so much and employ more of a prevent style late in games).

Weirdly enough, the Ducks haven’t shown up in a lot of these Pac-12 games. They easily handled the Wildcats and Buffaloes (again, the two worst teams in the conference), but could only eke out one-score victories against Cal and UCLA, with a one-score defeat coming to the Cardinal.

But, what can you say about Washington’s resume thus far? One-score victories against Cal, Arizona, and Stanford, with defeats coming on the road to Oregon State and at home to UCLA. The fact that we’ve managed to keep all of our conference games to within one score is irrelevant to me when you actually look at the numbers.

Oregon is great at running the ball; Washington struggles to stop the run. That’s all you need to know. Washington also struggles to run the ball, so if Oregon is smart, they’ll take that away from us completely and force Dylan Morris to beat them through the air. I would expect we’ll be down big in the early going, with the outside possibility of a late backdoor cover. At best, I think the Ducks win by 7 points, which would be a push. At worst, I think there’s no limit to how big the Ducks win by. There’s a non-zero chance the Huskies keep it close, but I think there’s no chance whatsoever that we win outright.

In this case, if you absolutely HAD to bet this game, I think it’s smarter just to bet the first half. Take the Ducks, lay the 3.5, and watch them get a comfortable halftime lead. Then, spend the second half either doubling down, or rooting for a Husky comeback. I don’t think you can lose in this scenario!

That is, until the Ducks ultimately prevail anyway, because they’re more talented and have better coaching. Really, the only way to lose as a Husky fan is to watch this game. Because fuck the Ducks. I’ll be looking for literally anything else to do during this time on Saturday.

Can The Seahawks Cover Against The Jags?

I’m not interested in whether or not the Seahawks can beat the Jaguars; I could see it going either way.

The Seahawks’ defense has looked moderately competent the last few weeks – at times – but the offense has been a total joke for most of the season now. Even with Russell Wilson, there were too many too-long stretches of games where the offense couldn’t do jack shit. And now we have Geno Smith at the helm, one of the last guys anyone would ever want to start a game for them if their lives depended on it.

But, the Jaguars, meanwhile, are simply one of the worst all-around teams and franchises in the NFL. Their head coach doesn’t appear to know what he’s doing, and even though they’ve got some interesting young talent on that roster, it might all be for naught if Urban Meyer isn’t the right guy. They’re going to waste untold seasons trying to make it work with him – because they spent so much money luring him out of retirement and away from the college game – and once it’s all done, it will likely be time to blow it all up and start over AGAIN.

I could, of course, be wrong, and Urban Meyer might turn everything around. But, by this week? Will he have them ready to come into Seattle and compete?

They’re coming off of their first win two weeks ago in London against Miami. I don’t think that impresses the hell out of anyone; Miami is just as bad. But, the Jags have had one of the most difficult schedules in the league, losing to Tennessee, Cincy, Arizona, and to a lesser extent, Denver (as well as Houston, but that’s neither here nor there). I don’t know if the Seahawks would look all that different if they’d had to play those teams (as it is, the Seahawks have exactly one more win than the Jags, so who am I to talk?).

The Seahawks, conversely, might have played THE toughest schedule to date. The worst team is probably the 49ers, and they still have A LOT of talent on that roster (a roster many pegged as being worthy of winning the NFC West a few weeks ago). Sure, we’ve lost five games out of seven, but really only one was a blowout (the Vikes). We were in that Rams game until a Late Geno Smith Turnover (trademark pending).

The Seahawks have been DYING for a game like this to come along. There hasn’t been a cupcake in the bunch, and there won’t be another one until late November at the earliest. I’m also not worried about the Seahawks looking ahead for two reasons: next week is a BYE, and because they simply can’t afford to look ahead. Not at 2-5, and ranked 15th in the NFC by tiebreaker (only ahead of the winless Lions).

I’m not going to talk about the Seahawks’ defense against the Jags offense, because I think they’ll probably be okay. I don’t think we’ll limit the Jags to 13 points like we just did the Saints, but I also don’t think we’ll give up 30+ like we did against the Vikings and Titans. They’ll be somewhere in the middle.

The ultimate question is: can Geno Smith and this Seahawks offense do ANYTHING?!

Well, by yards per game, the Jags have the third-worst defense in football (ahead of the Seahawks and Dolphins, so we’re in really great company). The Jags give up the second-most passing yards per game (the WFT give up the most), and the Jags are middle-of-the-road against the run. So, if Geno Smith is ever going to do ANYTHING, it might be this week.

Or, he could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to this Jags defense getting some confidence. Because if he does Geno Smith things in this game, and the Jags are able to throw more men in the box to stop the run, it could be another LONG day.

I think we’ll know in the first half whether or not it was a mistake to bet the Seahawks to cover 3.5 points. If the offense can get going and build a two-score lead by halftime, I think this game will be a comfortable Seahawks victory (maybe a late touchdown makes it 28-23, because they had 17 and went for two and failed).

But, the more I think about it, the more I’m worried. If we give the Jags a lead early and go into halftime down 10-3 or something, what could we possibly do to turn things around? Even if we win in that scenario, how many scoring drives do you see out of Geno Smith in this hypothetical? It’s that half point that is a nightmare for gamblers out there. Could the Seahawks turn a halftime deficit into a win? Absolutely. But, in most universes, that means we’re tied late in the game before generating a field goal drive to win it.

As a Seahawks fan, I want to believe we’re good enough on defense and special teams to make this a walk-over. But, this offense has been a nightmare all year. The Smart Money isn’t to bet the Seahawks OR the Jags to cover.

The Smart Money is to stay the fuck away and find some other game to lose your money on.

The Super Bowl Is Happening This Sunday

It’s actually pretty rare when we run across a Super Bowl matchup that I’m interested in. This one on Sunday will be the 54th such game in NFL history; the 39th such game since I was born, and probably the 32nd since I became a fan of football. Of those 32, three have involved the Seahawks (which means I was VERY interested); the rest of the games have been spotty at best.

Last year, for instance, was a no-win situation for me. I can’t root for the Rams, because they’re in the same division as the Seahawks. But, how could I possibly root for New England after they’ve won literally every Super Bowl that’s ever taken place?!

This year, I think we’re in for a treat. The 49ers are involved, which gives me a reason to root for the AFC squad. The Chiefs haven’t been in the game in 50 years and are otherwise inoffensive to my delicate sensibilities, so here we go! Saddle up! I get to be a Chiefs fan for an afternoon!

The Chiefs are favored by 1 point. I would assume there’s plenty of action on both sides, but my guess is that a lot of the fairweather fans are putting their money on Mahomes & Co. If I were in Vegas, that’s certainly where I’d go, and I’m as fairweather as they get! When my dad and brother gather around the television set with me on Sunday, we’re going to make a lot of little bets – on the game and various props – and I’ve already made my intentions known that I want to root for the Chiefs, so that’s where I’m putting my money.

But, is it the smart thing to do?

I mean, isn’t this the exact opposite argument we were all making when the Seahawks were going up against the Denver Broncos and their all-time great offense? When push comes to shove, an elite defense will almost always trump an elite offense (especially when they have 2 weeks to prepare), so you have to figure the smart money is on the 49ers!

I feel like I’m heading into a situation where I might as well just set my money on fire. And, yeah, I know, we’re talking about maybe $5 on the game, and a lot of little $1 bets on other shit; I’m not going to lose the Taylor Family Farm on this thing (especially since I’ll be betting with other Taylors, so really, there’s no way to lose our stranglehold on this thing). But, it’s the thought of watching a coronation of the 49ers for 4+ hours that just sickens me to my very core. Kittle can suck it, Jimmy G can suck it, their bald defensive coordinator can suck it, Richard Sherman can suck it. They can ALLLLLLLL suck it as far as I’m concerned! That fullback whose name I absolutely refuse to learn how to spell … you get the idea.

Deebo Samuel is cool, though. Really, anyone named Deebo (the name of my future first born) is all right in my book.

Wait a minute. Deebo Samuel was born in January of 1996. The movie Friday came out in April of 1995. (*counts on fingers*) THAT’S NINE MONTHS LATER!

Oh, wait a minute, Deebo is just a nickname. Yeah, that makes more sense. Still, Deebo Rockwell Taylor has a pretty good ring to it.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, how can the Chiefs beat the 49ers?

Well, it’s gotta be on Mahomes. He needs to keep up this run of excellence he’s been on since the playoffs started. Which leads me to some of my favorite prop bets.

  • The over/under is 54.5; give me the over.
  • Will Mahomes throw an INT; I say yes.
  • Will either team score in the first 6:30; I say yes.
  • Will either team score in the final 3:30 of regulation; I say yes.
  • What will happen first, a 49ers score or punt; I say score.
  • What will happen first, a Chiefs score or punt; I say punt.
  • Total yardage of all TDs in the game, over/under 102.5; I say over.
  • Points by both teams in the highest-scoring quarter, over/under 21; I say over.
  • Will the opening kickoff be a touchback? Yes.
  • First offensive play; Run.
  • First team to score; 49ers.
  • First team to 10 points; 49ers.
  • First team to 20 points; Chiefs.
  • Will the team who scores first win the game? No.
  • What will happen first: sack or TD? Sack.
  • Total sacks by both teams: Over 5.5.
  • First team to punt: Chiefs.
  • Will there be a scoreless quarter? No.
  • Largest lead, over/under 16.5 points; Under.
  • Will the game ever be tied again after 0-0? Yes.
  • Will either team score 3 unanswered times? Yes.
  • Longest TD, over/under 44.5 yards; Over.
  • Shortest TD, over/under 1.5 yards; Over.
  • Longest FG, over/under 47.5 yards; Under.
  • Shortest FG, over/under 26.5 yards; Over.
  • Which team will score the longest FG? 49ers.
  • Total number of players with a passing attempt, over/under 2.5; Over.
  • Will the game end on a QB kneeldown? Yes.
  • Will the last team to score win the game? Yes.

If the game goes the way I want it to go; the 49ers will get off to a hot start, and the Chiefs will roar back like they’ve done the last two weeks. They can’t make the total points high enough, I think this game goes WAY over 54.5 for the game. Ultimately, I think the Chiefs score last to take the lead, and their defense finds a way to shut the 49ers down with enough time for Mahomes to kneeldown to run out the clock.

The worst-case scenario is the 49ers dominate throughout – because the Chiefs have a mediocre defense – and Mahomes is harassed all day with numerous sacks and turnovers. Even in this situation, the game could still go over 54.5, but it would be a blowout and no one will enjoy themselves, because the commercials are always overrated, the musical performances stink, and everyone’s going to spend their time re-watching the new Christopher Nolan trailer that will surely be released at some point during the game.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Vegas Debacle

Suffice it to say, things did NOT go according to plans, in any respect.

For starters, I should probably never bet on football ever again. Only college basketball and pro hockey from here on out! Two sports I probably have the least knowledge about and the least confidence in my own abilities. Go figure.

My first bet of the weekend was $100 on the Army/Navy game. I teased it with the under; moving Army to +18 and the total line to, I dunno, 48 or so? The under was never in doubt. Army had the cover in the bag – down 17 points – but they called a meaningless time out with Navy driving down to score. If they let Navy sit on it, they likely run out the clock right there without attempting a field goal. Instead, Army called a stupid time out, Navy ran it in for a touchdown on the very next play, and I needed Army’s crap offense to try to get a touchdown in a little over 90 seconds. I could’ve ripped up my ticket then and there.

My second bet of the weekend probably should’ve been my last. I should’ve put all my money on Gonzaga to win in Arizona and called it a trip. When I bought the ticket, the Wildcats were favored by 2 points, and the line MOVED to 2.5 by tipoff! Gonzaga going into a Pac-12 school’s arena is the easiest money of all time; even if the game ended up being close at the end, I was never worried. I won $300 on that one to end my first day right around even (minus some losses on UFC and at the black jack tables).

I couldn’t possibly tell you what happened with my Saturday night after the fights. We watched in a bar, I know that much. I had considerable alcohols and probably little-to-no food. I don’t know if I snapped anything, but if you’re friends of my friends on Snapchat I think you got quite a show!

I had set my alarm for Sunday morning at 8am or so. When 8am came around, I immediately set my alarm for 9am. Approximately 30 seconds later, it was 9am and I had to haul my ass out of bed, drag my ass through a shower, and meander my ass down to the sportsbook. From there, all my careful planning went out the window. I had about $1,500 to play with. I put $100 on that shitty 8-team parlay that had no chance in hell of winning (though if it had, I’d be about $14,000 richer). Then, instead of doing all of my Green Bay teasers like I had intended, I made two $700 teasers that both managed to backfire. I had Green Bay and Miami in the morning (WHAT? THE? FUCK??? I just needed the Dolphins to lose by less than 10!), and the Raiders and 49ers in the afternoon (both needed to win – the 49ers by only 4 points – but instead both lost). I mean, it was just a fucking disaster of a shitshow on every fucking level.

I ended up bringing $3,000 with me on the trip. I left $1,000 in reserve in my room, hoping to leave the trip with at least $1,000. But, when all my football bets went FUBAR, I snatched that $1,000 and put it all on the Las Vegas Golden Knights to just win their game that evening. They were favored by 1-2 goals, and had I just bet the spread I would’ve doubled up and had a pretty okay trip. But, I chickened out and as a result I only left Vegas with $1,500. So, better than the $1,000 I had in mind going in, but obviously far short of my hopes and dreams.

Also, I apparently blacked out and failed to make it to the hockey game at all?! Yet, I wasn’t in my room – my friends checked and snapped the proof – so I don’t know where I was for those three hours. My friends did end up finding me somewhere and forced more water down my gullet before I went to bed again around 11pm or so. That 5am wake-up call on Monday morning did not settle well with me.

From there, it was a harrowing flight home, followed by a large Godfather’s pizza to sober up, and a lot of laying around the rest of the day until going to sleep around 5pm that evening. I should be fully recovered by 2021 or so.

On the plus side, I have a couple of long-distance missiles I launched on my way out of town. Three futures bets that I made prior to losing all my money on Sunday.

The first: I put $300 on the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl at 8 to 1 ($100 apiece for me, my dad, and my brother). Win that, and I get pretty much back to even for the trip (plus I get to enjoy a Seahawks Super Bowl Championship).

The second: I put $100 on the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup at 6 to 1.

The third: I put $100 on the Winnipeg Jets at 50 to 1.

I asked my brother to text me the two teams he thought had the best chance of winning it all this season. Literally every time I’ve asked my brother for NHL bets, they’ve come up losers, but I like his rationale for both here. The Bruins are legit; I want to say they started the season at something like 15 to 1, so that might actually have a chance of paying out. The Jets were preseason darlings, but have dropped some close games to bad teams to drastically lower their chances. Nevertheless, if they can regain their preseason charm, that’s a lot of money. I promised my brother I’d split the winnings with him, so I hope his good mojo comes into play here. It would be a VERY successful trip for me if the Jets end up winning it all.

I will say this much: as soon as it was decided we’d be going during Week 15 of the NFL season, this was about two months ago or thereabouts. I looked at the schedule that very day and I could tell this wouldn’t be an easy weekend. That proved to be painfully true. I should’ve trusted my original instincts and stayed away from the NFL. There were plenty of college basketball games on Saturday had I gotten there early enough, but by the time I found the sportsbook, a bunch of early-morning games had already started. If I could’ve just built up a big enough bankroll, I would’ve funded all my losing bets and come out better than I did. There was no way I was leaving in the black, but a little less red would’ve been preferable.

At least I was smart enough to stay away from the roulette tables. A little something to put my mind at ease when I go to Reno in March.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Gambling Corner: Vegas This Weekend

In chronicling my progress at fake sports gambling, I feel like I’m at the very least starting to think a little smarter about the games I pick and my rationale behind all of it. Last week, I actually did better than expected! There’s a lot of quality wins in this group, so let’s dig into it before I start looking at what REAL bets I want to make this weekend.

My primary strategy was a cluster of 2-team teases featuring Baltimore as my rock. All I needed was for the Ravens to beat the Bills, and they came through (though it was a little scary at the end).

I paired the Ravens with seven other teams, going 5-2 in the process. I needed the Packers to win by a touchdown and they allowed the Redskins to backdoor cover it at the end. My other defeat saw the Jags get absolutely ROUTED at home by a struggling Chargers team. There were some nice wins though: Cincy kept it close, the Falcons blew out the Panthers, the Jets won on a last-second field goal, Indy kept it close, and the Vikings did their jobs.

I also hit on the Tampa OVER, but my parlay with the Indy victory fell through. That also blew up my underdog parlay of Indy and Kansas City, though the Chiefs did their job in my solo fake wager on them.

I did pretty well on overs, all things considered. Cincy & Cleveland went over, as did Carolina & Atlanta. But, the Steelers/Cards game was just short, as was the Rams/Seahawks (my lock of the group).

And, finally, it’s back-to-back weeks where I’ve devised a well-crafted 3-team tease only to have one of the three teams stab me in the back! It was, as expected, the Raiders completely falling apart. In fairness, the game was within range through three quarters. But, the Titans tacked on a couple more TDs to put it out of reach in the final frame.

I did nail the 49ers beating the Saints. But, I lost the UNDER 50 points before we even got to halfitme, so my separate tease was a bust.

All in all, a pretty solid week. This makes me DOUBLY nervous as we head to Vegas tomorrow, as I wait for the other shoe to drop.

***

I’ve waited until the last possible minute in the week to figure out what I’m doing on my Vegas trip. Now, obviously, there will be some ad libs, probably some live betting, but I’ve at least got my plan outlined and ready to go.

For starters, I wanted to do a big parlay (with point spreads) just as a stab in the dark. So, I’m going to put $50 to win $9,000 on the following 8-team parlay:

  • Tennessee -3 vs. HOU
  • Green Bay -4.5 vs. CHI
  • Philly -4.5 @ WAS
  • Detroit +3.5 vs. TB
  • Miami +3.5 @ NYG
  • Oakland -6.5 vs. JAX
  • San Francisco -10.5 vs. ATL
  • Cleveland -2.5 @ AZ

I’ve already swapped about four teams in and out of that lineup, and may continue to tinker with it up until tomorrow when I arrive in Vegas. But, for now, that’s what I’m looking at.

I’m also looking at an 8-team moneyline parlay, where the teams just need to win. I’m thinking somewhere around $150 (I don’t know what it’ll pay out, but probably around that amount). You’ll see some overlap in the first parlay, but obviously more heavy favorites are included here:

  • Philly @ WAS
  • Green Bay vs. CHI
  • LA Rams @ DAL
  • Seattle @ CAR
  • Kansas City vs. DEN
  • Oakland vs. JAX
  • San Francisco vs. ATL
  • Cleveland @ AZ

Now, in conjunction with my attempt last week at picking one sure thing to pair with multiple different teasers, I’ve got my sights set on Green Bay. I loved the Packers back on Monday when I first saw the line was -5, and I love them even more now that a certain amount of the public has money on the Bears to cover, forcing the line down to -4.5. Moving that 6 points gives me the Packers +1.5; I’ll take that all day and twice on Sunday. So, here are my teaser partners, all with Packers +1.5 (each of these will be $100):

  • Philly to +1.5 @ WAS
  • Tennessee to +3 vs. HOU
  • Seattle to -0.5 @ CAR
  • Miami to +9.5 @ NYG
  • Oakland to -0.5 vs. JAX
  • Arizona to +8.5 vs. CLE
  • LA Rams to +4.5 @ DAL
  • Buffalo to +8 @ PIT

As for my beloved over/unders, there’s only one that I REALLY like: Oakland vs. Jacksonville over 45.5. Those are a couple of mediocre defenses that should give up considerable points (the risk is the Jags on the road, across 3 time zones, just doing absolutely nothing with the fraud that is Gardner Minshew). We’ll keep that to a simple $110. Also, if I’m feeling frisky, I might put the same amount on Detroit vs. Tampa over 46 (though, I’m hoping that line goes down).

I want to do one really BIG teaser bet, and in an effort to not put all my eggs COMPLETELY in the Packers’ basket, I’m thinking of making Buffalo +8 my lock in this one. The three teams I’m considering are … the Packers +1.5 (but, again, I’m trying to avoid this), the Raiders -0.5 (which just FEELS like a can’t-lose situation that might be too good to be true) or one that just intrigued me as I wrote it out above: Miami +9.5. I mean, all they have to do is NOT lose to the Giants by 10 or more? That Giants defense is terrible, and Eli is still Eli the last time I checked! How do I lose that one?

Also, should I switch it, and go Dolphins +9.5 at NYG and Oakland -0.5 vs. JAX?

I’m putting about $1,100 on this one, so I better figure it out, because this could be my weekend.

Also, if I’m desperate, I have a Sunday Night Game Teaser that I’ve been working on. Take Buffalo, move them to +8, then take the over/under of 36 and move it to 42 and pound the UNDER, and just hope for a game filled with punts and field goals. My initial instinct was to move the line to 30 and take the OVER, but my initial instinct is usually wrong in these same-game teasers. This is really only if I’m chasing a day full of losers, trying to win some money back (in other words, PRAY it doesn’t come to this).

In my Irrational Homer Pick, the Rams game is an interesting one. Dallas, at home, was originally favored by 2 points. That line has since moved to the Rams being favored by 1.5 points. I still like the Rams (and apparently literally everyone else does too), and I like them even more in a tease that moves the line to +4.5. I’m hoping some money comes in on Dallas in the next couple days, because I could actually see myself pairing the Rams with the Bills, Dolphins, or Giants in that giant teaser bet I’m cooking up.

As for Steven’s Stay Aways, I want no part of Patriots -10 @ Cincy. Tom Brady is washed up, but the Pats’ defense is still elite, and Cincy is a total wild card, even at home. I could see Cincy keeping it close, I could even see them winning! Or, I could see the Pats pounding it down their throats, giving up nothing on defense, and winning an ugly game 27-3. I also want no part of KC -9.5 vs. Denver. I like Denver, they keep most of their games close and fight hard. But, this game’s in Kansas City, and I feel like most of the public is onto Denver as well. It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see KC win by 10 points, so no thank you. I’m also not super fond of Minnesota -2.5 at LA Chargers. Gun to my head, I think the Vikings win and probably easily. But, the last time I said that with a game in LA against the Chargers, it was when Green Bay went there and got their doors blown off. Kirk Cousins is still Kirk Cousins, and that Chargers defense is getting healthy at the right time (maybe not in time to make the playoffs, but to still wreak some havoc in the last few weeks).

Okay, so that’s it. My dilemma that I’m leaving up in the air is as follows: I need two of these five teams in a 6-point teaser:

  • Buffalo +8
  • Oakland -0.5
  • Miami +9.5
  • LA Rams +4.5
  • Green Bay +1.5

Who will I go with? Tune in next week for my Vegas recap. And, if you’ve got any recommendations, let me know.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Gambling Corner: One More Practice Week

Next Saturday, December 14th, I fly out to Las Vegas for a quick weekend trip. We’ll be going to a professional hockey game, we’ll try to hunker down somewhere to watch the UFC fights, and we’ll do a year’s worth of drinking in about two days. Somewhere in there (probably on Sunday) we’ll sit down to watch some wall-to-wall NFL football, in a state where gambling is legalized. So, my buddy and I have been watching the lines every week and making fake practice bets to see how we do.

Last week, I did pretty good! Not perfect, obviously. Maybe just slightly over .500, which is around what I expect to do in actual Vegas, because I seem to be an Even Steven kind of guy (not the TV show though; I’m immature but I’m not THAT young).

I nailed Green Bay -6.5, as the Giants simply stink. I nailed Tampa -1.5, but I whiffed on the over. In fact, I whiffed on literally every single OVER that I mentioned! My 2-team home dog teaser of Denver and Pittsburgh paid off, as did the moneyline parlay! I had the 49ers +5.5, and I totally crushed my Green Bay & Cincinnati tease.

On the flipside, I lost my 3-team teaser, because of course I did. I was right about 2/3! But, that gets you absolutely nothing. I mentioned the KC/Oakland game and how the Raiders might pull one over on ’em; I talked about the struggle that is putting your money on the Dolphins, and not only did they cover +20 but they won outright! The game I didn’t mention whatsoever – Carolina/Washington – was what I thought was the safest bet. Panthers just had to win, at home, against one of the worst teams in football with one of the worst quarterbacks in football. What a damn shame! The logic was sound! I was ALMOST there!

I also would’ve lost all my Stay Aways, making them Stay Aways for a very good reason.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s what I’m looking at for this upcoming weekend:

So, here’s the deal, I’m gonna make it REALLY easy on myself. The Ravens are favored by 5.5 at Buffalo. The Ravens are great, plus they still need to keep winning to ensure they secure their #1 overall seed. I think their defense is so good that the Bills will REALLY struggle to move the ball and score points. Obviously, the Bills have a pretty great defense of their own, so I like this one to stay close (possibly), but I 100% like the Ravens to simply win the game. Ergo, I’m throwing the Ravens into a gaggle of 6-point, 2-team teases:

  • Ravens & Green Bay -6.5 over Washington
  • Ravens & Cincinnati +13.5 at Cleveland
  • Ravens & Atlanta +3 over Carolina
  • Ravens & Jets +0.5 over Miami
  • Ravens & Indy +9 at Tampa
  • Ravens & Jacksonville +9 over Chargers
  • Ravens & Vikings -7 over Detroit

After last week’s debacle, I think I’m going to scale way back on the over/under game. The Jags last week were so horrendous that the Bucs game failed to hit the over for the first time in like five weeks. With Tampa hosting Indy, I like both teams to score in this one, and the line is only 46.5 points, so give me the over in that one. The Colts need a victory like nobody’s business, so they should be leaps and bounds better than Tampa.

I like Indy to win outright, so give me some of that. I also like Kansas City to win outright in New England, so give me some of that as well (nothing like the Andy Reid in the regular season against Bill Belichick). Also, for shits n’ giggs, let’s parlay Indy and Kansas City on the moneyline.

Finally, I’m running back another 10-point, 3-team tease. Until today, we were looking at a 3-team +12.5 point home dog tease (as all three home teams were underdogs by 2.5 points), but that Rams/Seahawks line moved all the way to a Pick ‘Em. I’ve said all along I like the Rams in this one. At the VERY least, I like this one to be close. I was going to put money on the Rams on the moneyline, but without the extra juice there’s really no point. So, give me a 3-team tease as follows:

  • Arizona +12.5 vs. Pittsburgh
  • Oakland +12.5 vs. Tennessee
  • Rams +10 vs. Seattle

There’s no way in hell the Rams screw me there. I think Arizona can make a mad dash and maybe backdoor cover it in the 4th quarter. The only one that really worries me is the Raiders, as I think they’re all washed up for 2019 (whereas Tennessee looks really fucking good).

My Irrational Homer Pick is going to be me actually TRYING this time, and not just doing a reverse jinx. Truth be told, either outcome has its positives for the Seahawks (either the Saints lose and our path to the #1 seed gets a little bit easier, or the 49ers lose and our path to the NFC West title gets a little bit easier). The Saints are at home and they’re favored by 2.5 points. I believe that the 49ers are the better team. I believe they can go into New Orleans and come away victorious. I think Drew Brees can look his age at times, and I think the 49ers have just the defense to slow down the high-flying Saints attack. So, give me the 49ers +2.5.

Also, let’s tease this one. Move the line to 49ers +8.5 and move the over/under up to 50. I’ll take the 49ers +8.5 and UNDER 50 points.

As for Steven’s Stay Aways, I can’t get a good read on the Texans vs. Broncos game (gun to my head: Broncos +9), and that’s about it. As I said earlier, I’m avoiding a lot of the over/unders, but if you put a gun to my head, I’d think the Bengals/Browns game goes over 41.5; I kinda like the Panthers/Falcons game to go over 47.5 (both defenses are pretty terrible), and give me Steelers/Cardinals over 43.5.

Actually, fuck it, for real this time: give me Rams/Seahawks over 46.5. That feels like the easiest money of the day.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Gambling Corner: Week 13

Go ahead and check out my last gambling post to see where I went right and horribly, horribly wrong (thanks a lot, Green Bay). As I noted before, I’m going to Vegas in T-Minus two weeks, so I’m ramping up my gambling thoughts in the hopes of winning lots of monies.

I’m gonna go ahead and walk my way through the games, to see if maybe I can coalesce my thoughts into something resembling a coherent plan.

Right off the bat, I love Green Bay -6.5 at the Giants. I think that’s going to be a total walk-over and would gladly put a good chunk of change on the line as is. There’s also ample teaser opportunity (bringing the line down to GB -0.5, aka they just have to win by any score) that I’m hoping to pair with something a little later.

Speaking of teasers, I’m seeing three games with even 10-point lines, and I’m wondering which of the three teams screws me here: Carolina at home over Washington, Kansas City at home over Oakland, and Philly on the road at Miami. A three-team tease makes all of those games pick ’ems, so I ask again: who screws me here? The best of the underdogs would be Oakland – so that’s the obvious choice – but the Chiefs are coming off of a BYE, they should be fully healthy, and I just can’t see them blowing this. Of course, the more I think about it, the more I recall Kansas City’s defense is the absolute worst, but I’m sticking by them anyway. The worst team among the favorites might actually be Philly, and I think that’s the one that scares me the most. Their defense has picked it up in a big way, so there’s always the opportunity for them to pick off Fitzpatrick a bunch of times. But, I’m never one to shy away from a bad team.

So, here’s my 3-team tease: Carolina down to a pick ’em, Kansas City down to a pick ’em, and Miami to +20. Lock it in!

Next up: my Tampa Bay obsession! When I wrote about the Bucs last time, it looked like Vegas had finally corrected things with the over/unders here, boosting it to 54. The bettors apparently took my advice to finally go with the under, and the line eventually ended up moving down to around 51 points, which is only a 3-point difference, but looks oddly comforting when faced with the prospect of betting the over. Had I been in Vegas and seen the line at 51, I certainly would’ve bet the over and won yet again (that’s at least four weeks in a row their game has gone over). This time, at Jacksonville, the Bucs are favored by 1.5 points, so give me that line all day. Separately, the over/under is only 47, so let’s run it back with the OVER! Make that my lock of the week; easiest money on the board this week.

Also, go ahead and parlay the 1.5 with the over and thank me later.

There are a ton of home underdogs this week, including all of the afternoon games and the Sunday Night game. The Rams are favored at Arizona by 3 points, and while I like the Rams (and am tempted to bet them as is), what I like even more is the over/under of 47.5. Give me the OVER. Arizona’s defense is pretty crappy – this feels like a Get Right game for the Rams’ beleaguered offense – and the Cards have proven (particularly with their games against the 49ers) that they can score against top defenses. So, the over feels pretty lock-ish.

The Chargers are also favored by 3 at Denver. This is probably a stay-away for me, but if anything I kinda like the Broncos. Welcome back to Underdog Watch! And, not for nothing, but Cleveland is favored by 2 at Pittsburgh. There’s a big revenge-game factor flowing throughout this one, and call me crazy, but I don’t buy this Browns resurgence. So, here’s what we’re gonna do: let’s tease the Broncos to +9 and the Steelers to +8. Couple of quality defenses, at home, in divisional matchups; I like these both to at least stay close. I could also be tempted into parlaying both of these teams to win on the money line, but let’s keep that to a smallish amount.

Last week, my Irrational Homer Pick totally and completely backfired. The Packers were just a TERRIBLE pick on my part. So, I’m flip-flopping! The Ravens are at home and they’re favored by 5.5 points over the 49ers. The Seahawks, obviously, need the 49ers to lose. So, were I in Vegas right now, I’d be putting my money on the 49ers to cover. I’d also be putting a little on the 49ers to win outright! Either I lose my money and the Seahawks benefit, or I win both bets and feel shitty collecting my winnings.

And, before I forget, here’s what I’m looking at for my Packers tease: bring Green Bay down to -0.5, and pair that with the Bengals! Andy Dalton is back, the Jets are on the road, this feels like the perfect opportunity to put money on another home underdog. The Jets are favored by 3, and nothing about that feels right. So, let’s bring the Bengals up to +9 and have ourselves a day!

Here’s the part of the post I call Steven’s Stay-Aways. I’m staying away from Indy -2.5 at home against Tennessee (gun to my head, I say Indy covers); I’m staying away from New England -3 at Houston (gun to my head, give me the Pats). Everything else is in play this week, which is fun!

In doing another sweep of the over/unders, I like KC/Oakland over 51, I like Baltimore/SF over 46, and I kinda like GB/Giants over 45 (but probably not enough to put much down on it).

Finally, give me ALL the Seahawks -3 at home on Monday Night against the Vikings. I think it’ll be a rout.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Gambling Corner

I’ll be going to Vegas on December 14th. Just a quick weekend trip, to try to not lose all my money on sports gambling, see a live NHL game, maybe worm our way into the big UFC fight at whatever arena they’re doing it in. Should be a good time!

So, in our run-up to that weekend, my buddy and I have been throwing out fake bets every week to try to hone our craft. We’ve dabbled in teases, parlays, moneyline parlays, over/unders, and just your general regular point-spread bets. It’s been a mixed bag, and I know anything can happen in any given week, but I feel like I’m making some real progress in my way of thinking about these things.

I was all over the Jets last weekend. For some ungodly reason, the Redskins were favored by 1.5 points, which makes no sense because their quarterback doesn’t even know the playbook! He’s looked as bad and as unprepared as anyone has ever looked, and I know it never feels great putting your hard-earned fake money on a team like the Jets, but they absolutely should’ve had no problem getting the win in that game. Lo and behold, count one for the good guys!

Of course, by the same token, I loved the Steelers on the moneyline, who were getting points against the Browns. The Browns have now been favored for 2 straight weeks against some quality defenses (the Bills the week before) and have covered both games, which is interesting because coming into that Bills game, the Browns were a whopping 2-6 and looked dead in the water. My radar was flagged when they were favored against the Bills, like Vegas knew something the rest of us didn’t. Like they were expecting a big Browns bounce-back or something. Here we are, and they’re now 4-6 and were starting to look frisky until that guy murdered that other guy with his own helmet on national television. I think that’s what happened, right? First degree premeditated murder? That’s what everyone’s so God damned up in arms about?

One trend I’ve noticed is Vegas has seriously overestimated the defensive capabilities of the Tampa Bay Bucs. For the last three weeks, their over/unders have been set FAR too low; I’ve fake-bet the over in each of the last three Tampa games and would’ve come out a winner. I want to make sure I track these games for the next few weeks and see who else has shoddy defensive play that we can exploit for big financial gains! And, conversely, which defenses are playing really well, to pound some unders.

I think Dallas’ defense is sneaky terrible. Minnesota’s defense is vastly overrated. Jacksonville might be on the decline and could fall apart at any time. Washington’s defense is, of course, abysmal. Nothing to like about Miami. Houston’s defense could be on the decline as well. Arizona, of course, couldn’t stop a cold (is how I think that phrase goes). On the flipside, maybe Philly’s defense is back? And Atlanta has been particularly frisky in their quest to save Dan Quinn’s job since the BYE.

Anyway, heading into tonight’s game, 7 of the weekend’s games went over, and 6 (including Thursday) went under, which I would presume is exactly where Vegas wants it to be.

I did like Dallas to cover 4.5 points, Buffalo and New Orleans to prevail pretty strongly in their respective games (or, at least knew enough to stay away from Miami and Tampa). I liked Oakland in any tease you wanted to put them in, but I also liked them straight up and they didn’t cover the double-digit spread somehow. I also thought Carolina would get right and they looked as bad as can be.

So, let’s get to it. I’ll throw out some of my best bets below for next weekend and we’ll see how I do.

Just to get it out of the way, Thursday Games should be off limits for the purposes of this exercise, but I like to look at them anyway because they can be wacky and if I ever quit my job to gamble on sports full time, I’d like a head start on where I think these games will go. So, let’s look at Houston/Indy. The Texans are at home and favored by 3.5 points. I think Vegas expects a lot of money on Indy with that extra half point. The Colts are good, but banged up. The Texans, on the other hand, just got thrashed by the Ravens. The over/under is 46.5, but I have no good read on that; I would assume a lot of these Thursday games go under just by way of still recovering from the week before. If I had to bet this game, I’d take the Texans. I think they win by 7+.

Oh man, there are so many interesting gambling games this weekend! The one that jumps out at me is Cleveland -10 at home against Miami. Vegas is all in on this Browns resurgence! I think that’s too many points though, especially with the Browns losing their best player for the rest of the year. I think this line moves down a bit before gametime; I’m inclined to go Dolphins. And, if I’m inclined to do that, I’m also inclined to parlay that with the over of 44.5 points. So, maybe one with the Dolphins and the points, and a separate bet parlaying the over. I could also tease the Dolphins and the over, moving 6 points for each, so it’s Miami +16 and over 38.5.

Next up, let’s look at that Tampa game. With an over/under of 54, it looks like Vegas is finally correcting themselves. The interesting thing here is that this game is in Atlanta, and the “lowly” Falcons are favored by 4.5 points. Now, obviously the Falcons have looked excellent the last two weeks – at NO and at CAR – and with that has come a rejuvenated defensive performance from the team. By that token, something has to give here. Either Tampa’s passing attack brings them back down to Earth, or the Falcons continue this improbable run they’ve been on and the under comes into play. In a weird scheduling quirk, this is the third division game out of five in a row for the Falcons (they also host the Saints and Panthers again in the next two weeks). I don’t know how that plays into this, but any information is good information, I suppose. Part of me wonders if the Falcons haven’t stumbled onto something; but also they can’t be this good and these good vibes have to end sometime! This game is probably a stay-away for me, but I think if anything this game probably goes under for Tampa for the first time since I’ve been tracking this.

Okay, here’s an easy tease: Pittsburgh at Cincy is favored by 6.5; New England at home vs. Dallas is favored by 6.5. Tease Pittsburgh and New England down to 0.5, to where they just have to win their respective games. I think the Steelers’ defense is good enough to hold Cincy at bay, and I think the Pats are simply better-coached than the Cowboys. That should be an easy 2-team tease right there.

Here’s another tease that might float your boat: New Orleans at home is giving 9 to Carolina; the Bears at home are giving the Giants 7. Tease the Saints to 3 and the Bears to 1. The Bears’ defense is good enough by itself to get that win over a pretty terrible Giants team; at worst I think this ends up being a push if the Saints only win by a field goal. You can also mix & match these with my Pittsburgh and/or New England teasers.

Underdog Watch! How can you not like the Seahawks getting 2.5 points in Philly after a week off? The Seahawks under Pete Carroll generally come out with a win in games leading up to and immediately following their BYE. You could take the Seahawks on the moneyline, or you could take the points and I wouldn’t be mad atcha; this one should be close regardless. With an over/under of 49, I could certainly see this one going over, but I don’t know if the Seahawks’ defense has turned a corner or not. I wouldn’t bet the under, because I think you’re going to be clenching your buttcheeks for 3+ hours, so probably stay away from that one and just take the Seahawks and the points.

In Irrational Homer picks, I have a doozy. I’ve been saying this for two weeks and I’m ready to quadruple-down on it here: the Packers are going to San Francisco and they’re getting 3.5 points. Not only do I think the cover is a mortal lock, I think the Packers will actually come away with the win. So, bet the Packers on the moneyline to your heart’s content!

Finally, I’ll present Steven’s Stay-Aways, the games I won’t touch with a 10-foot pole. I want no part of Tennessee (-2.5) vs. Jacksonville. I don’t like anyone crossing multiple time zones, so don’t talk to me about Oakland (-3) at the Jets. And, God help me if I change my mind and put money on Detroit (-3) at Washington (unless you like over 41.5, because I think these defenses are both pretty crappy; you know what, put a hundo on the over!).

As usual, I’m a degenerate. Happy gambling everyone!

We’re Still Playing Keno: A Loser’s Guide To Losing

Looks like we picked the absolute worst possible weekend to bet on the NFL.

Tahoe Bucket O’ Shame

Every year, for the first weekend of March Madness, my friends and I go down to South Lake Tahoe, stay at the Montbleu Resort & Casino, make a bunch of ill-advised bets on the college basketball games, and then follow that up by playing slots, black jack, roulette, and whatever else catches our fancies, to try to recoup all that we lost when we made all of those ill-advised college basketball bets.  See, the thing is, as a collective, we really don’t watch enough college basketball throughout the season to be even remotely aware of where we should be putting our money; and I probably watch less college basketball than anyone!  Inevitably, when we’re ripping up our tickets, someone will always say, “Why don’t we come down here during football season?  We’d surely clean up THEN!”

Well, this year, we decided to make good on that threat.  This past weekend, we flew down on Friday night (where our flight was delayed an hour, as if that wasn’t our first foreboding clue), set up shop at the Montbleu, and readied ourselves for a weekend with a massive amount of sports betting.

Saturday early morning started off pretty promising.  I had Florida -7 against South Carolina for a small winner.  I had Kansas +46.5 for a big winner against TCU.  But, things took a dark turn in the afternoon.  I had SMU +20 against Navy (loss), Baylor -2.5 against Oklahoma parlayed with the over (loss), Washington State +11 against UCLA parlayed with the over (loss), and every God damn one of my multi-team parlays and teasers all went down in flames.  In an attempt to recoup some money and salvage the day, I decided to put a bunch of eggs in the New Mexico basket.  To start the day, Boise State was favored by 30 against New Mexico, so I put $20 on the Lobos to cover.  Believing that bet to be a sure thing after our Afternoon of Terror, I put a very large amount on the Lobos again, this time with the line moving to 30.5.  Not only did the Lobos cover, but they won outright, and I thought my weekend would be saved.  After winning a moderate amount on one of the UFC fighters (one of the undercard fighters in the Rousey debacle), my friends and I set out to test our luck at some of the other casinos.

The order of events might be wrong, but I know this was the night where three of us dumped $100 each into one of those $5 slot machines and ended up each of us winning about $300 in profit.  Then, we decided to play some of that Texas Hold ‘Em table game where you go up against the dealer.  We didn’t really know all the rules, but fortunately the four of us were the only ones at this particular table at Harrah’s, and Sandra was a more-than-willing tutor to three drunken jackasses.  Of course, she ended up giving way to Tom The Fuckstick, this humorless old cunt, who couldn’t have been less friendly or engaging with four guys just begging to give their money away.  Anyway, he ended up making a mistake (which I still don’t fully understand, because it seems like both dealers had been making that same “mistake” all night since we sat down), didn’t really explain it properly, which led to us calling for the pit boss to come over.  Long story short, there was a showdown over a grand total of $15 ($5 from three players) that they wanted to take away from us because of a mistake their dealer made.  Now, had we been dealing with Sandra, all probably would have been forgiven.  But, since we were dealing with Tom, a fucking asshole, we all stood up, kept our $15, and walked away to have our money cashed in.  Suffice it to say, their utter lack of customer service (combined with a ridiculous hard on over taking each of our five dollar chips) has left me with a lifelong passion to boycott Harrah’s from now on.  Pity too, because I’m a reckless and foolish gambler, and I don’t plan to stop going to Tahoe anytime soon.

Our night ended back at the Montbleu, recounting our horrific experience to the black jack dealer as each of us won a minimum of $100 over the next hour or so.  Saturday, it would seem, turned out quite all right.  We’d end up waking 5 hours later to an entirely new day.

My plan for the NFL portion of the weekend seemed to center around the “Go Big Or Go Home” credo.  I ended up making nine 8-team parlays against the spread, and they all fell apart in the morning.  Not to worry, though.  Each card only cost $10 (which would’ve won me many thousands of dollars had any of them won); these were long shots I put out there to test the waters, see if I could come home a big winner.  I put an obscene amount of money on the Dallas Cowboys beating the Tampa Bay Bucs, though, which had me moping around all morning and sent me into a tailspin once the game ended (the Bucs, on a last-minute touchdown, to go ahead 10-6; the Cowboys unable to do anything in that final minute).  For some reason, I had all the confidence in the world that this would be the Romo-less game the Cowboys would win.  I compounded that by betting on the Raiders (favored by 3) over the Vikings and the Patriots (favored by 7) over the Giants.  That sufficiently ruined my afternoon; the only bet I ended up winning was a prop bet (Eli Manning over 1.5 touchdowns) for a very moderate gain compared to all my huge losses of the day so far.

My one saving grace was the Arizona at Seattle game.  One of the reasons I chose this weekend, aside from it working out for everyone from a scheduling standpoint, was that the Seahawks were coming off of a BYE, playing on Sunday Night Football, against the Cardinals (who, while good, is a team we tend to beat more often than not).  The Seahawks were -3, and the sports book was paying out even money on the Seahawks to cover.  So, my thought process from the very beginning, when I proposed this weekend, was that even if we got knocked around during the day, we could always double down on the Seahawks and get all of our money back.

So, here’s what I did:

  • In two separate bets (one in the morning, one in the afternoon after I’d lost almost every other bet of the day), I put down $300 and $200 on the Seahawks to cover the -3 spread.  This would have won me my money back plus $500.
  • In a point spread prop bet, I put down $100 on the Seahawks covering a -10.5 point spread (meaning the Seahawks would have to win by 11 points or more).  This would have won me my money back plus $255
  • In another prop bet, I put down $200 on Larry Fitzgerald getting under 76.5 receiving yards.  This would have won me my money back plus $181.80

All told, if the Seahawks would’ve come through on each of those wagers, I would have walked away with $1,736.80.  And, if I could have managed to NOT go out and party until 4am that night with my friends after such a windfall, I would have walked away from Tahoe entirely with more money in my wallet than I flew down with.

Well, since the Seahawks opted to NOT have Richard Sherman follow their best receiver all over the field, Larry Fitzgerald was able to beat that prop bet by halftime.  And, since the Seahawks’ offense was a collosal shitshow from their first drive of the game, the point spread prop bet also had almost no chance of succeeding.  Luckily, the defense kept us in it by forcing turnovers that directly led to 14 points for the Seahawks, so covering the 3-point spread was still in play for a while there in the fourth quarter (with a very outside chance of the Seahawks covering 11 if everything happened to go our way).  But, ultimately, the Seahawks were too shitty, and I walked away from that game a broke and downtrodden man.  As I may have gotten a collective 9 hours of sleep the previous two nights, I ended up going to bed right after the Seahawks game, so I missed out on another 6 hours of gambling that my friends took part in.  But, it’s just as well.  You don’t want to be wandering around the floor of a casino after having a shit-ton of money ripped from your grasp.  Sad gambling is no good for anyone.

When all is said and done, I couldn’t have picked a worse NFL weekend.  Counting the Thursday and Monday night games, all told there were 10 of 14 games where the underdog won outright.  When you tack on the Pats only winning by a point, that’s 11 underdogs making life miserable, with only 3 favorites covering their spreads.  Why we chose to have faith in so many favorites is beyond me, but it all adds up to all four of me and my friends walking out of there with our pockets turned inside out.

Tahoe, you got us this time.  But, we’ll be back in March, to fight again, with honor.

And, who knows?  Maybe we’ll be hundred-thousandaires when we get there!  See, at the Harvey’s casino, they have a little Keno area.  Harvey’s is really old school, which might make it my favorite (even though it’s owned by the same company that owns Harrah’s).  Anyway, Keno is the most boring thing to bet on at any casino, which is fine if you need to get away from all the flashing lights of the slots, or all the breathtaking action of the sportsbook.  You just sit, drink your drink, smoke your cigars or cigarettes, and watch the little numbers light up on a bingo-esque screen.

We didn’t really have the will to play Keno when we got there on Friday night, but we saw they had penny-Keno.  1,000 games for $10.  Between three of us, we bought 5,000 games.  We each picked a random sampling of 16 numbers.  Every Keno game has 20 numbers selected.  If we hit all 16 of our numbers out of that 20-number sampling, we’ll win $250,000.  We thought, yeah, okay, we’ll buy 1,000 games, then we’ll come back on Sunday to see what we won (believing they played approximately 1,000 games in a day, so by Sunday we’ll SURELY have our answers).  Except, when we got there on Sunday, we found out that they only play about 200 games a day, and so it’ll be a few more days yet before our 1,000 games have concluded.  As such, technically – as of this post publishing – we will STILL be playing Keno.  And, when we go back in March (assuming we all managed to not lose our Keno tickets), we can have them scanned and see if we’re big winners.

So, there’s still a chance!  Look, every time I go to Tahoe, I make a futures bet in sports.  And, every time I’ve gone back to Tahoe, I’ve collected on at least one futures bet.  Well, this time, they didn’t have any futures bets I liked.  So, I’ve got this.  I’ve got Keno.  And, dammit, I’m going to have some money waiting for me when I get there!  Even if it’s only 40 fucking cents!

Real G’s Move In Silence Like Lasagna: Tahoe, Year Three

One year is a vacation.  Two years is a trend.  But, back-to-back-to-back years going to south Lake Tahoe for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament?  That shit’s a tradition!

I've yet to lose a futures bet and I don't plan on starting now ...

I’ve yet to lose a futures bet and I don’t plan on starting now …

The first year was actually a bachelor party, of which there is no written account.  Here’s what happened in year two; and damn, looking back on it, if I’d put $100 down on Felix to win the ERA title, I’d be sitting on another $800!

As it stands, my Robinson Cano bet came through with flying colors.  $550 to win $500, as he outlasted Adrian Beltre in total Hits, Home Runs & RBI.  The first thing I did after checking in to the Montbleu Casino & Resort was try to cash it in.  Of course, since the baseball season last year ended over 120 days ago, the sportsbook couldn’t honor my ticket.  Apparently, computers have limitless possibilities.  They hold the power to harness just about anything you could possibly imagine!  But, if you’re a sportsbook, computers apparently can’t hold ANY MORE BETTING INFORMATION after 120 days.  So, that’s fucking annoying.  Anyway, all hope is not lost.  I’m told if I simply mail in the ticket, they’ll mail me a check.  It’s not the way I wanted to do it, but I guess I don’t really have a choice in the matter.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts on the topic, I like to make at least one futures bet on my way out of Tahoe, just so I have something to look forward to.  Since sports gambling is illegal in Washington state and everything.  In my first Tahoe year, I put $100 on the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl at 7 to 1 odds.  When they beat the Denver Broncos, I was a happy camper in more ways than one.  Last year, I decided to up the ante with my Cano bet.  This year, not only did I up the ante again, but I upped the number of futures bets.  To wit:

  • Seattle Mariners Over 87 Wins, $110 to win $100
  • Seattle Mariners Win 2015 World Series, $100 at 14 to 1 odds
  • Seattle Seahawks Win Super Bowl, $100 at 6 to 1 odds
  • Most Regular Season Strikeouts For A MLB Pitcher Over 260.5, $550 to win $500

As you can tell, I’m banking on a Seattle Sports Renaissance the likes of which we’ve never come REMOTELY close to seeing.  The only one I really feel confident in winning is the strikeouts bet, but I was more confident when the number was 257.5 (what that bet means is:  I just need any pitcher in the Major Leagues to have 261 or more strikeouts by the end of the 2015 season.  Last year, two people achieved this feat – David Price with 271 and Corey Kluber with 269 – but I’m really banking on Max Scherzer’s move to the NL carrying a huge spike in his strikeouts.  Also, for the record, Felix ended last year with 248, which was a career high).

Thanks to last year’s horror show at the roulette table, where I lost $1,600 in the matter of a couple minutes, I decided to take a step back and gamble on other stuff.  My primary weapons ended up being sports bets and slot machines.  My first big wager of this year’s trip was $300 on Hampton +34.5 against Kentucky.  Just needed Hampton to lose by 34 points or less, and lo and behold they did just that!

I did most of my sports gambling on Friday.  Virginia was heavily favored over Belmont, so I took Belmont and the points and won.  Louisville was favored by 9 over UC Irvine.  I took the Cardinals and a bath on that one as they only managed to win by 2.  My big winner of the day ended up being North Dakota State vs. Gonzaga.  The Bulldogs were favored by 17.5, so I bet on the Bison to beat that spread.  Thanks to their crazy barrage of three pointers, I ended up winning that bet, and a parlay with Belmont.  I also won on a prop bet on Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer.  He needed to get over 22 combined points and rebounds to win me $100 and he CRUSHED IT.

My sports gambling on Saturday was the turd in this year’s punchbowl.  I took the OVER on total points in the Kentucky/Cincinnati game (I think it was around 123.5 points combined) and got nowhere near winning that one.  I took Ohio State +10 points against Arizona and they ended up losing by 15.  I slept in too late and missed my chance to bet the OVER on total points in the UCLA/UAB game (which I would’ve crushed).  And, for good measure, I bet on the Mariners to beat the Cubs with Felix on the mound and most of our regulars playing.  YES, it was a Cactus League game, but when in Rome, assholes!  Anyway, the Mariners lost 12-10 and I decided to cut myself off for the rest of the weekend on sports bets.

Luckily, my slot machine game was on point.  I hit a couple of good-sized Wheel of Fortune progressives, winning around $700 each time.  The last time – at about 2am on Saturday night – was the difference between a winning and losing weekend.  I pumped in $300 into the same machine, just waiting to hit one of the big spins.  It took a while, but I got mine.  I entered Tahoe with $2,500 and left Tahoe with $2,900.  Plus, my Cano bet from last year that I need to mail away for, plus the futures bets mentioned above.  All in all, one of my better gambling weekends.

For the record, I’m already locked in to Year Four.  I kinda sorta got suckered in to sitting through a 90 minute timeshare presentation next year, but I think I got a pretty good deal.  For $149, I get four nights and five days at the Montbleu Casino (which is where we always stay anyway).  The guy gave me $100 in what I can only describe as “fun money”.  Brown chips that could only be used on black jack or craps.  Since I don’t play craps, I took it over to black jack.  I would bet only with my brown chips.  If I won a hand, I’d put my winnings aside and let the brown chips ride.  If I lost, they took the brown chips and I’d bet more brown chips until I was out.  I ended up turning $100 in fun money into $125 in real money, so for all intents and purposes, I’m going to stay at the Montbleu next year for four nights for less than $25 (and a 90 minute timeshare presentation).  On top of all that, once I finish the presentation, I get a $100 Visa giftcard to use on whatever I want, so I might have happened upon the deal of the century (assuming, of course, there isn’t some hidden thing waiting to fuck me over).  Bottom line:  I’m 34 years old and I’ve never been involved in one of these things.  I feel like it’s a rite of passage in First World Problems to get suckered into a timeshare presentation at least one time in your life.

Now, it’s only a matter of sitting back and rooting on the home teams.  For the record, if I win my Mariners and Seahawks bets, I might just blow the whole blog up and start fresh with a brand new one.  Why do we put ourselves through this?  For the hundreds of gambling dollars coming our way, that’s why!!!

P.S.  Also, I feel like I need to put this down for the record, because it’s important to me and my people.  While in Tahoe, on Thursday, we retired to one of our hotel rooms to play some beer pong.  My friends and I like to partake in the occasional beer pong session – particularly during tailgate season – and I like to think we’re all pretty good at our favorite drinking pasttime.  Anyway, a buddy and myself were controlling the table.  About two or three games in, we took our first turn of the game against two fresh opponents (as is our right, as we had yet to lose).  In a 6-cup game, on our first shots, we nailed the same cup (which, according to our house rules, means they have to pull & drink three cups, as well as give us balls back for an immediate second turn).  They pulled all the interior cups, leaving us with the three corner cups and huge gaps between each one.  On the same turn, we each nailed the same cup to effectively end the contest.  Without the other team having a turn!  As we play with the troll rule, if you lose a game without ever making a cup, you have to sit under the table during the entirety of the next game.  My buddy and I ended up going undefeated on Thursday, and would go on to troll a second team not too long after.

I just thought you should know:  this was the single greatest achievement in beer pong in my entire life.  Go on about your business.