Showing 1 - 3 of 3 posts found matching keyword: gambling

The fellow who pays me to open Magic cards was disappointed that I didn't mention him by name in my last post. That fellow's name is Randy, and this is my way of apologizing for not mentioning him earlier.

Randy loves to gamble. He'll bet on anything. That's not to say that Randy has a problem. I'm sure he could quit any time he could no longer find someone willing to take his money. He's preparing to have a second child, I suspect, because he's already lost the rights to his first kid.

Randy is excited about today's Super Bowl. He'll certainly be wagering on the game. That doesn't make Randy unique: it is estimated that about half of all adult American -- probably the male half -- will be gambling today's game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. And like Randy, most of those bettors will be gambling not on the game's outcome, but on its details.

Proposition bets are wildly popular, Randy assures me. These "prop" bets are for the outcome of curiously specific events. Randy's personal favorite prop is to gamble on whether the first turnover of the game will be a fumble or interception. (Randy prefers fumble, but interception is the big favorite. [Actual outcome: interception]) Other examples of props for Super Bowl XLVI:

  • Will Tom Brady's first pass of the game be complete, incomplete, or intercepted?
    (Favorite: incomplete)[Actual: incomplete]
  • Will Eli Manning throw a touchdown pass in the first quarter of the game?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: yes]
  • Which quarterback will throw an interception first?
    (Favorite: Manning) [Actual: Brady]
  • Will more or fewer than 2.5 players attempt a pass during the game?
    (Favorite: fewer) [Actual: fewer]
  • Which team will cross the 50 yard line on offense first?
    (Favorite: Giants) [Actual: Giants]
  • Will any player draw a penalty for excessive celebration after a touchdown?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: no]
  • Will the jersey number be of the first player to score a touchdown be higher or lower than 80.5?
    (Favorite: lower) [Actual: lower (80)]
  • Will the Patriots convert a 4th down?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: yes]
  • Will the first missed field goal of the game miss left, miss right, or be blocked?
    (Favorite: miss left) [Actual: none missed]
  • Will the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach be yellow, orange, clear, red, green, or blue?
    (Favorite: yellow) [Actual: purple!]
  • If Tom Brady's son is shown on TV during the game, will he be wearing a Tom Brady Jersey?
    (Favorite: yes) [Actual: not shown]
  • Will Kelly Clarkson's bare belly be showing when she sings the National Anthem?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: no]
  • Will Madonna wear an NFL jersey or shirt at any point during the Super Bowl halftime show?
    (Favorite: no) [Actual: no]
  • Which number will be higher: the gross passing yards accrued by Tom Brady plus 63.5 yards or the number of points accrued by the college basketball teams of Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern on February 5 minus 63.5 points?
    (Favorite: even) [Actual: Brady]

I think Randy was going to tell me that the last bet is a sure thing for Brady, but he barely got through reading it when he excused himself to make a phone call. Don't worry, though. I made sure that he paid me in cash as soon as he came back.

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Dogs win for homecoming! Bulldogs 44, Troy 34. I think this game had just about everything that you could've asked for in a football game. An F-14 flyover, an enthusiastic crowd, and an alumni band and cheerleader squad. Not to mention that for the better part of 4 quarters, it was anybody's game.

But it shouldn't pass without controversy. Down 10 points and losing yards to penalties and a suddenly swarming Bulldog defense, Troy's coach, Larry Blakeney, seemed to give up late in the fourth quarter when his team chose not to attempt to convert a 3rd and 29 from their own 16 yard line, instead opting for a short yardage run up the middle to set up the punt. Invigorated by Troy's decision to give up the game, the Bulldogs returned the punt to Troy's 2 yard line, from which they easily scored their final touchdown to drive the victory margin up to 17 points.

Troy's next possession was a quick 4 and out. No attempt to punt, but it certainly appeared that since the coach had given up on the team, the team didn't care to play anymore. And why should they? What was the point if the coach had already thrown in the towel on the game? Taking advantage of the situation, the Bulldogs ate another about half the remaining time off the clock and gave the ball back to Troy with more than 2 minutes remaining. That's when things got weird.

UGA 44, Troy 34

For their final drive, Troy put in their second string. And drove the ball down the field. When they reached the UGA 35 yard line, they took a timeout with 34 seconds remaining. Two plays later, having reached the UGA 4 yard line, they took their second timeout with 18 seconds remaining. Failing to score, they took their final timeout with a mere 11 seconds remaining. That's right: eleven seconds in the game. Down 17 points. With the second team in the game. Troy called their third timeout. Sure, on the next play they scored. But with so little time remaining, the game was over.

The question becomes why Troy's coach called those last two timeouts on consecutive plays with less than 18 seconds in the game. The likely answer was to ensure that he scored another touchdown to keep the margin of victory at 10 points. He called those timeouts not to win the game, which with a mere 11 seconds remaining is essentially impossible, but to ensure the scoring of the touchdown. (Note that after the score, with 5 seconds on the clock, he chose not to onside kick, but rather to kick a regular kickoff 40 yards deep to kill the remaining clock.) In the Coach's own words to ESPN following the game:

"The crowd that stayed booed us for trying to execute, which was funny," Blakeney said. "I think we certainly had the potential to win, and I doubt we'll get any quick invites back here."

Sir, we didn't boo you for trying to execute, we booed you for wasting our time.

"The potential to win"? Down 17 points with only 18 seconds left, victory is all but impossible. Certainly, I am completely unaware of any time when such a large margin was overcome so late in a football game. In an earlier game today, Clemson scored 16 points in 39 seconds (two touchdowns separated by a safety), a rare and amazing scoring pace that is one fewer point than what Troy needed in more than twice the time. Clemson running back Cullin Harper said of Clemson's performance, "that's the fastest I've ever seen 16 points scored." By comparison, Clemson's all-time fastest back-to-back touchdowns were scored just 14 seconds apart. But two touchdowns is still fewer points than Troy needed at that point in the game. Seventeen points is at least three scores.

Since the coach had all but given up the game two possessions earlier, and he had replaced his starting players with second-stringers, there are only three possibilities. One is that he intended to give his second-string players some experience. This possibility is a necessary evil of football and would not require a lie to cover it up. Another possibility is that he wished to ensure that the record books didn't include such a lopsided score. Unpleasant and selfish, but understandable. But the worst of all is the possibility that the coach was gambling on his team. Or at least encouraging it.

After the game I checked and found that at most Las Vegas casinos, the spread on the game was between 14 or 15 points in the Bulldog's favor. By struggling to score that last touchdown, Coach Blakeney was ensuring that his team would beat the spread. This no doubt won money for gamblers backing Troy and the spread. However, beating the spread serves no purpose on the field of play and should never be the concern of a coach or a team of players. It's an embarrassing day when the head coach of a highly touted (reigning Sun-Belt Conference champion) Division-IA football team is more concerned about beating a gambling spread than winning his game. Embarrassing and disgraceful.

There is at least one thing that I agree with Coach Blakeney about. I also certainly doubt that UGA will extend any more invites to have Troy back, either.

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This weekend I learned how to put snow chains on my car tires. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had to pay someone else to put them on my rental car. I'm so cheap, I avoid valet parking because I don't want to tip the valets a dollar, so paying thirty bucks for someone to put chains on my tires was like willingly participating in state-enforced highway robbery. But I watched the guy like a hawk, and should the ridiculously unlikely events of The Day After Tomorrow ever come to pass, I'll be ready!

Tahoe In, Tahoe Out

The drive into Tahoe was easily accomplished. There wasn't any snow on the ground then. No, California likes to make sure it has you in its mitts before it tries to screw you over. The whole reason that I was in South Lake Tahoe in the first place was for the wedding of one of my oldest friends. I once swore that I would never again A) return to California or B) drive in the snow, both of which I violated for the wedding. If I've never mentioned it before, let me stress my disapproval of snow here now: it sucks. It's cold, it's wet, and it makes travel impossible. Sure, it looks pretty, but like most pretty things, it's just not worth the hassle. Some way, some how, I'll get Jason back for this.

If you've got to get married, you can't pick better scenery

Despite eating my own words (which, unfortunately, I've done more times than I can count), it was an otherwise eventful weekend for me. I gambled in a casino for the first time (and lost my seed money, all 50ยข). I had a Coca-Cola Slurpee made from fresh, real snow (better than you can imagine). I attended an informal bachelor party with a table full of lawyers and teachers (but no strippers. It was commented that no stripper was hired because one couldn't be found who knew how to play chess). And, of course, I got to play in the deep, powdery snow with Chere. (Who goes to a wedding without a date?)

Chere loves snow

That's two weddings I've attended in three months on opposite sides of the country (Panama City, Florida and Lake Tahoe, Nevada), with another one coming up in May in New York City. Even though I don't care for the outdated and unnecessary concept of marriage, I do like free food and road trips. So it all works out in the end. Also I'm pretty sure it won't be snowing come May.

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To be continued...

 

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