“…the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, and then you take the house.”
–-Danny Ocean, Oceans Eleven
Now that full college football & NFL weekends are here, the Notebook’s Saturday feature will focus on what I’d do if I was in Las Vegas with a thousand bucks in my pocket to bet. The premise of this is that the dime has to bankroll me the entire season, so it’s not being bet all at once. This week, $100 is being parceled out and if I were in a sportsbook this morning, this is how it would be bet…
$30: Mississippi State/Auburn (Under 56): These teams played a 17-14 game last year, Cam Newton is now in the NFL and they’re going to score 25 more? Don’t think so.
$10: Air Force (-1) TCU: My conviction that TCU has a rougher ride ahead of them this season were only emboldened with their 50-48 loss to Baylor. Air Force gets its licks in today in Colorado Springs.
$10: Penn State (+305) Alabama: In this case, the 305 obviously isn’t the pointspread, but the moneyline. PSU would return $305 on a $100 bet if they beat ‘Bama straight up. This is my upset special of the week, so I’m taking a flyer on those 3-1 odds and forgoing the points.
$20: St. Louis Rams (+4.5) Philadelphia Eagles: This game’s in St. Louis and while I’m not sure the Rams will win, I do think the Eagles are overrated and I’ll take the points with a feisty young team.
$15: Tampa Bay (-1.5) Detroit: The Bucs are my dark horse pick to reach the NFC Championship Game and they’re playing at home in a near pick’em spot. If I don’t pick them here, what was the point of the overall prediction?
$15: Baltimore (-1.5) Pittsburgh: As always, it comes down to a score either way with these teams, and the Ravens pull it out at home.
That’s where the first hundred is going this week. Am I optimistic about my chances? Hey I always like the games before they hit the field. But for anyone really thinking big dreams, this quote from the 1995 movie Casino, from the perspective of the house, is the end reminder of reality.
"We're the only winners. The players don't stand a chance. And their cash flows from the tables to our boxes…This is the end result of all the bright lights and the comped trips, of all the champagne and free hotel suites, and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money. That's the truth about Las Vegas."
–Ace Rothstein, Las Vegas bookmaker
Very true. But it’s fun to try, especially when it’s theoretical. Everybody have a good weekend.