Wednesday, May 24, 2017

So What

In Bonding and Betting with the Boys I write that nearly all of the avocational gamblers I met while in Las Vegas were essentially sports fans.   I make the point that unless you were atypically successful, wagerers were likely to lose money given the flight, lodging, and assorted vacationing expenses.

I also point out that while nearly all will place bets based on their "wisdom" and most of the bets are made against the spread, a number of people told me that they did not like to bet the spread on "their team."   The reason was that they wanted to be happy if their team won regardless of the spread and they would be disappointed if the team lost even if they covered the spread.

Such are my sentiments today.  If you read my short blog entry last night you know that I picked correctly that the Celtics would get within 16 points of the Cavs and beat the spread. Also I felt that the under was the way to bet as I did not think that both teams would get beyond 217 points.  The Celts did indeed get within 16 losing by 13.  And the total points for the game was 211.  I would have been a winner had I been in the great state of Nevada yesterday evening.

However, I am disappointed today.  There is a small sense of satisfaction regarding my sports betting acumen, but since I am by far and away predominantly a fan of sport as opposed to a wagerer, I wanted the Celts to win.

And they almost did. The Celtics played a great first half. For the first time in a long time I was impressed with their rebounding. I am not a big fan of Kelly Olynyk, but he played very well as did nearly everyone on the team.

The problem was that Kyrie Irving was remarkable.  With the exception of a game that Eric "Sleepy" Floyd played in 1987 (that I still remember) in which Floyd scored 29 points in a quarter, Irving's play was the best example of one on one basketball I have ever seen.  Not only did he hit very long distance threes, his drives to the hoop were stunning. And everyone knew he was going to get the ball.  He drove past anyone who attempted to guard him and was dazzling.  Once in 1971 ( I do have a great long term memory, which is as good as my short term memory--frighteningly--is bad) I saw Earl the Pearl Monroe have a game where he hit such remarkable shots, but in a single quarter...?

Had Irving not had such an outstanding game, the Celtics would have won.  True, Kevin Love continued to make me a liar as he played very well ( I do not think he is so extra) and LeBron in the fourth quarter was LeBron--but the difference was Irving.

So, had I been in Vegas I would have some shekels in my pocket, but so what. My team lost even if it covered the spread.

Another point, that is also in the book:  Over the years I have watched carefully to see if a coach or player has any awareness of the game spread and, in fact, plays in a way that reflects that awareness. It would seem to me to be a difficult thing NOT to be aware of the spread and not be tempted to make decisions based on the spread or the over/under.

However, it almost never does seems to me that players or coaches are so tempted. Last night was an example.  With thirty seconds left and the Cavs holding a thirteen point lead, LeBron had the ball.  He did the classy thing and just dribbled out the 24 second clock without taking a shot.  Trust me, I wasn't there, but I just know that guys in Las Vegas were plotzing because had LeBron hoisted a three and hit it the game, in the parlance of sports betting, would have been a push.  (A tie) And had the Celtics responded after such a three by making a meaningless and consequently uncontested  basket, those who bet on the over would have been victorious. But neither James, or the Celtics did anything that suggested an awareness of the spread, or the over/under.  And this is a very good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment