Daze of My Life: Bet on It, I Think?
Daze of My Life
Bet on It, I Think?
I'd be crazy not to, if I believe even one tenth of what I hear rapid-fired at me over the sports-talk radio stations. And what it is that I'm hearing that sounds so enticing, so potentially life changing, are the multitude of "sports-book" betting operators/prognosticators opining their point-spread pontification concerning the National Football League and the NCAA college football.
Based out of Las Vegas and/or off shore where such "sports books" are legal and/or beyond the reach of American jurisprudence, the opportunities to make money by following their occasionally "guaranteed plays," "for free, this week only" abound with every breath. The more they talk (more like barrage you with words), the more reasons, both statistical (won-loss record, road vs. home, conference vs. conference, injuries, tendencies, weather conditions, type of field, team history, style of offense vs. style of defense, coaching, etc.) and emotional (number of winners they've picked year to date, numbers of parlays they've parlayed, etc.), are given that their "plays" sound almost like a sure thing.
But it can't be a sure thing, can it? I mean, it's still gambling, no matter how you spin it. And when you look the word gambling up in the dictionary, it doesn't say, "sure thing." It says, according to the Merriam-Webster New World Dictionary, Third College Edition (a gift I gave to my mother for her birthday in 1988), and I quote, "an act or undertaking involving risk of loss." Now I don't know much, as has been proven countless times in this space but, a "sure thing" doesn't mean "risk of loss," unless losing is the risk I'm sure about.
But listening to these radio-experts reason their explanations as to why team "A" will "cover" or "upset" or "push" really is quite fascinating. What they all say, and typically what I seem to hear, on Saturday and Sunday mornings before the official pre-game shows begin - and obviously before the actual games themselves begin, make so much sense and seem to consider so many factors that a "sports guy" like me can understand and appreciate, that I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I've been investing in the wrong places.
Granted, one shouldn't bet more than he can afford to lose but, the more I listen, and so far that listening hasn't been deliberate, the more I'm tempted to call one of their 800 numbers and place a bet. What's one bet? What harm could it cause? So what if I lose some money, it's not like it's a slippery slope and losing once will cascade me and my money immediately down the drain. I'd like to think I'm experienced enough to know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em. I understand that there is no such thing as a "sure thing" any more than there's a "free lunch."
Moreover, I am a grown man who has been raised to understand and accept the consequences of my actions. However, I am also a man who is not worrying about saving for retirement because I am "investing" three dollars a week into a lottery group at work that when our randomly assigned numbers match, will solve a multitude of financial problems. So I understand my limits (but perhaps not my limitations) and I'm clear on my risks.
What I'm not clear on, however, are my tendencies. If I win, will I walk away with my winnings or get greedy and bet again? And if I lose, will I swallow my pride (and put away my credit card) and chalk it up as experience or will I double-down, so to speak, and attempt to recoup my losses by "re-investing" and risk even greater exposure?
It all sounds so easy, though; so logical, so likely to outcome in a positive way; shouldn't I take a chance, just this once, it's only money, right?
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.