Sunday, March 21, 2010

Whether You're Big or Grateful, You're in the Red.

The weekend is over. A welcome fact for even those who are serious fans. If you watched all of the games this weekend you would have to be spent. I saw very few games on Thursday and Friday and still, am a bit fatigued from just two days of watching games.

I spent a few hours at Champions in downtown Boston today. It almost had the feel of a Las Vegas sports book, though they were not nearly as quick (or capable) of making the changes when CBS switched away from a game that was lopsided. In Las Vegas because of the spread, few games are lopsided. Somebody somewhere has some bet that is alive until the buzzer is heard.

The crowd at Champions was a decidedly pro Cornell group, but when CBS switched away from Cornell because the Big Red were devouring the Grateful Red, there was no whoop and cry from the diners. In Las Vegas there would have been a din. Still lots of sets in this newly redone Champions right in the heart of the city. You know you are right in the heart of the city when it costs ten dollars to park your car for an hour and that is BECAUSE you have validated parking since you spent close to 30 dollars on a sandwich and a glass of beer. What a deal. Now, a few hours later, I am ready to eat.

Today I went 4-4, bringing my four day total of betting against the spread on the 48 games to 27-20-1. As I have written before, betting against the spread is like betting on the flip of a coin. Today, for example, at the buzzer I would have won one of my mock bets when Michigan State beat Maryland on a last second shot, but would have lost another at the very end when Purdue scored at the end of overtime to beat Texas A & M.

Earlier today I posted a blog making the point that the people who go to Las Vegas are there for a vacation, not a windfall. I mentioned that if I broke even today--which is what happened--and had bet 10 dollars a game for the entire weekend, I would be up about 70 dollars, not nearly enough to offset the cost of flight, lodging, and food. Even if I had bet 100 dollars a game--a foolishness that only would have occurred if I landed on my head after a spill before betting--my predictions would have yielded 700 dollars. Figuring the cost of a flight 300 dollars at least, lodging 300 dollars at least, and food say 100 dollars if all one did was eat subway sandwiches all weekend, I would still only be even. And that does not count the shellacking I'd have taken at Starbucks every morning.

The thing is--and I write this at the risk of sounding boastful--I really kind of know what I am doing. And I still only picked 27 right out of 48 games. I probably watched 100 basketball games this year. I know the teams, the coaches, I have a better sense than the average bear, still I only won 7 more than I lost. And this was a good year. Many years, despite knowing what I am doing I come out even.

Bottom line is this: whether you were cheering for the Grateful Red of Wisconsin or the Big Red of Cornell on Sunday, at day's end when you added up your shekels, you would have discovered that whether you were grateful or not, you were in the big red.

And you would likely have begun to plan for next year.

The sweet sixteen begins on Thursday.

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