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Thursday, May 25, 2006 

Back on the Horse

The weather here in the 'burbs of Chicago today is gloomy, wet, and sticky. The humidity is just enough to make you think about turning on the air conditioning before you remember the clouds and the rain showers. Basically, it's the kind of weather I hate. And yet it is still shaping up to be a beautiful day. So, you ask, what could cheer up such a depressing day?

I'm back in the game.

I've reloaded my account at my online sports book and I couldn't be happier. This afternoon, while at work, I will fire up ESPN's GameCast and follow wagers on the early baseball games. Tonight, I will have a rooting interest in the 'Stons-Heat game although I'm a through and through Laker fan. This weekend, while at the Indy 500 in, uh, Indy, I will be cheering for Danica Patrick at 10-1 odds. Gambling can make any sporting event more intense than a leg pressing contest with Pat Robertson.

Now, you might have noticed that I said "reloaded." That's right, my first go 'round with online sports gambling ended somewhat badly. Of course, things started off extremely well. During the first week, I rode the Lakers and the Bulls in regular season NBA action and doubled my money. Soon after, I started experimenting with parlays and teasers and well, things quickly went south. There is a reason that bookies offer these bets: the odds heavily favor the house. The temptation of tripling or quadrupling your initial bet on a 3 team parlay or of adding 6 points to your wager is much harder to resist than the non-gambler might realize. It seems like easy money. However, if you make even just a few of these bets it can catch up with you quickly. After a few weeks, Vince Young finished off my dwindling stack at the Rose Bowl.

So why is making a comeback to sports gambling NOT a terrible decision?

1. We aren't talking high stakes here. Think slightly north of the usual amount wagered between Mortimer and Randolph Duke in "Trading Places."

2. The money wagered is a small price to pay to jack up the intensity of the games I'm going to watch any way. For example, I know literally nothing about car racing but am attending the Indy 500 to enjoy the spectacle and the boozing (more on this after the weekend). Regardless, I'll probably throw a ten spot on a car just so I have someone for whom to cheer. This is money well spent, in my book.

3. No more parlays and teasers under any conditions. I'll be much better off sticking with several individual bets than going all or nothing on those same games.

4. My bookie is not Rick Tocchet.

5. I respect the Noob Sports jinx and will not tempt the gods by making public predictions against the spread.

6. It's fucking fun.