Monday, December 2, 2013

Send in the limousines

 A few weeks back I was listening to a sports radio station on my way to work. A fellow was being interviewed. Very altruistic fellow.  If you did not listen carefully it sounded as if he was a leading player in a charitable organization.

As I continued to listen I realized that this fellow ran an organization that, for a fee, gave bettors tips on who to bet on in upcoming football games. Breezily he talked about how he had won this game and that the previous week and had hauled in a good bit of cash.  His selfless message was that he knew that this was the time of the year when people were buying gifts for one another and he was happy that he could help out.  If you called him, he would tell you his picks for the upcoming week. Since he was so clearly clairvoyant you would gain the benefit of his wisdom, slap some money on sure things, and walk away with enough loot to make you a hero at holiday time.

What a guy.  Great to know that there are people out there who are concerned about the little guy, who know how tough it is to make ends meet, and who want to help.  Just great. Tis the season to be jolly.

Well, swell. I remember when I did some radio interviews after my book came out.  A question that surfaced from callers regularly was if I had any tips for the upcoming games.

I do. Here's is my tip.

If you need the money, don't bet on the game. Only bet on a game if the money you are spending is your recreational dough.  If you have money that you would typically spend on dinner or to see a movie and you think it will be fun to bet on the Saints tonight as opposed to the Seahawks, well knock yourself out.  But if you are betting to make money, use the funds to get your head examined.

You cannot win betting on sports if you bet on a regular basis. You cannot.  Sure, you might win one week, or two weeks, and then think you are a wizard, but keep betting and you will lose, and lose big. The fancy hotels on Las Vegas Boulevard are, brick by brick, paid for by people who thought they could win and lost.  If they thought they could win, and did win, then Las Vegas would not have fancy hotels.

The interview with the altruist has surfaced in my consciousness because I am reading a book that had a minor character who killed himself after he started losing his shirt betting on football games.  The guy, before he drove drunk in the wrong direction, had stolen his kid's social security number and "borrowed" from his son to pay his debts only to lose 65 K more.

I play, for fun, in an NFL pool.  Been doing it for years.  One year we, the Raccoon Lodge, won it all. My brother and I put up short dough in the beginning of the year and if we win a single week we get the dough back. Haven't won a single week in a couple of years, but we did, one year, win the grand prize which was enough to buy a decent dinner.  Since then, I have won bubkas. Nothing.

The thing is, I really do know something about football. I watch a lot of games, know the teams, have a pretty decent sense of who is the better squad. But when you bet on games you bet against the spread, not even up.  You cannot win for an extended period of time betting against the spread, any more than you could win betting on heads or tales for an extended period of time. Case closed. You bet enough, you cannot win.

That radio altruistic hawker of wisdom is a class A louse for suggesting that to help you pay for the kids' gifts you should just give him a call and he will be Uncle Friendly and tell you who to bet on.  He knows you will lose. He will take his cut, and you will need even more money.

Once on one of those talk shows I was on, a fellow, in response to my comment that you cannot win, opined confidently that he knew how to win because he had a system.  I am reminded of what my uncle said once when we informed him that we had a system. He nodded his head a few times and then told us, "they send limousines for those who have systems."

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