Monday, October 8, 2007

Scumbag Gamblers: My Kind of People

I really like fantasy football, and I fucking love gambling on football (and for the record, I don't consider the former pastime to be a form of gambling). I'm 27 years-young, and I've been participating in both for over half my life. If you wanted to hear stories of some of my better draft picks--like Albert Connell in 1999--I'm your guy. I'm also your guy if you wanted to listen to a glorious tale of teenage gambling--like when I successfully bet an equal amount on the 49ers - 20 and the Chargers + 30 for Super Bowl XXIX (final score: 49ers 49, Chargers 26).

Here's why I bring this up: I'm not as passionate about fantasy football as I once was (although I still enjoy it), and I can't bet on football every weekend, because I've been cleaned out so many times that I finally learned my lesson (kinda, but that's another story). But anyway, even though I'm not as involved with fantasy and gambling anymore, I still watch games a bit differently.

When I watch football games, I always think about the ramifications of every little play. By ramifications, I mean I wonder how much money that play is going to cost the fantasy owners/gamblers of the world. I do this more so with gambling, but plenty with fantasy football, as well. I'll give you examples of what I mean for both.


Late in the 2nd quarter of the Chargers/Broncos game Sunday, San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding nailed a 35 yard FG to give his team a 20-3 lead. Not so fast, my friend: it turns out that someone for San Diego held on the play. After the ball was pushed back 10 yards, Kaeding calmly buried the 45 yarder. In most fantasy scoring formats, you (the owner) is awarded 4 points for FGs between 40-49 yards, 5 points for 50-59 yards, etc., and only 3 points for every FG less than 39 yards. So a stupid holding penalty probably resulted in an ass-chewing for the culprit, but it definitely resulted in dozens of wins across the land for fantasy geeks.

Gambling (the important stuff):

I got insanely boozed-up Saturday, so even though I watched every snap of the Ohio State-Purdue match, I forgot plenty of the details. Which is why I rewatched the 2nd half the next morning. What I found was amazing, even if it wasn't amazing at all.

Dear non-bettors,

Do you know what a teaser is? It's a multi-team wager, allowing the bettor to choose a minimum of two teams, but rarely more than four. The bettor will get points on his favor to add or subtract to the teams chosen to improve the point spread chosen. A typical two-teamer let's you take six points in your favor from both teams you'll be betting. For instance, If you wanted to bet on two teams that are favored by 6 points, they would no longer have to cover a spread; they would simply have to win (except in the NFL, where a tie is possible). Also, the more teams you take, the more points you get on your side...a standard three-teamer allows you to jerk the point spread 10 points in your favor for every team. And that's where this story is headed.

So, late in the 4th quarter, as I'm watching the mighty Buckeyes clobber poor little Purdue 23-0, I started to think about the point spread (OSU was favored by 7), and how it might affect the lives of the gambling gamblers. Clearly, OSU was going to cover the spread, but what about anybody who teased Purdue to + 17? It's conceivable that--considering it was a late night national TV game and OSU rarely blows teams out--many many many MANY of folk had Purdue + 17 to complete a three-team teaser.

And sure, you know Purdue lost by 16 to cover the teased 17 points, but the turn of events leading to the Purdue cover was enough to give even the most weathered of gamblers a goddamn heart attack.

With under two minutes remaining, Purdue was driving, but not really. They had backups in everywhere (including a white RB!), and were converting broken plays left and right; nothing about it was by design. Had you taken Purdue in a three-teamer you wouldn't have felt the slightest bit comfortable with their chances of achieving a backdoor cover. So anyway, after converting a difficult 3rd & long (or maybe it was 4th), Purdue was staring at a 1st & goal from well inside OSU's 5 yard line, with about :30 to go and no timeouts left. I couldn't tell you what happened on 1st down, but I'll never forget what happened on 2nd: Purdue scored a touchdown, except the refs inexplicably called the ball-carrier (the aforementioned white dude) down at the 1, even though his entire body was in the freaking endzone (this is not an exaggeration). I'm not kidding at all when I say that it was one of the ten worst calls I've ever seen. Hell, even Musberger and Herbstreit were shocked that it wasn't reviewed. And the whole time ABC was showing the replay the clock was ticking down and Purdue was down to what might be their last play. And while they were playing with urgency to keep from getting shutout, it wasn't like the game was on the line, and there's a big difference between the two. Meanwhile, every degenerate who teased Purdue is acting more irrational than they ever have (or at least since three hours ago) because the refs just wanted to get the hell out of there instead of waiting through another TV timeout.

Long story short, Purdue scored on the next play, with under ten seconds on the clock, to cover the tease by a single point. If you don't bet (or haven't bet a significant amount before), I can see how this post was fairly boring. But for the great people in this world who, on occasion, bet more than they have in their checking account, you understand what a rollercoaster ride it must have been for anyone who needed Purdue + 17 to complete a three team teaser.

Trust me, it wasn't Art Schlichter's fault

-Brad Spieser