THE FEATHERDUSTER

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Sports gambling column: Week One

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Hello all, and welcome to the first week of my sports gambling column. Here, I’ll be posting updates as often as I can about bets I’ve made, and ones I wish I had, with plenty of near misses and frustration in between. Without further ado, here’s my column this week.

Before any of you people even ask, yes, everything I’m doing here is legal. I use Bovada, an offshore-based betting site that is completely legal to use for people 18 and over, which I am as of this past summer. Because I don’t really have much of an income as a high school student, I’ve decided to limit myself to betting $50 a month, and I’m keeping a log of every dollar I spend, win (we’ll see) and all the bets I make.

The bet I made this week was on Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman to win this season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award at a +3000 money line. If you don’t understand a money line, I can explain for you. A +3000 money line means that for every $100 I place on Freeman, I win $3000. Sadly, I’m not made out of money quite yet, so I put down $10 instead, meaning I will win $300 if Freeman wins the award. That’s a $290 profit, and the chance of it working out is worth the $10, even if it is a longshot. But I feel good about Freeman this year. I made sure I drafted him in a few of my fantasy football leagues, and I’m strongly considering going all-in and naming my fantasy team “Rolls Royce” or something if he starts to play as well as I think he will. Time will tell with this bet, and I have to wait until a few nights before the Super Bowl to find out if I can make any money on this.

And now for what has bothered me all weekend, the fact that I didn’t bet on Maryland to beat Texas in football for the second straight year. Not only did I say it would happen last year (and Maryland ran away with it in Austin), I also said it would happen this year when the Terps were playing in their home state. And sure enough, it happened again, although the game was much closer this time around. I had been planning to bet on this one all summer, and I even had a note on my phone reminding me to bet on Maryland. But I did what degenerate gamblers sometimes do: I balked. I got talked out of it by my friends, mostly because of all the turmoil around Maryland’s football program after a player died from exhaustion during a workout, which spawned allegations of a the program being an “environment based on fear and humiliation.” I should’ve ignored my friends and placed the bet anyway, because sometimes teams use that “nobody believes in us” rallying cry to fuel a victory. That brings me to a rule of gambling that I follow: There’s always one “nobody believes in us” team in any week of games. Or, maybe Maryland won because Texas was too hyped up for the second year in a row. Take your pick. Look, I love Sam Ehlinger as much as anyone, but right now, some of the decisions he makes on the field are questionable. He’ll get better, as he’s only a sophomore, but I wouldn’t bet on Texas this year. (That might be painfully obvious after week one). I was much less upset about not betting on this game after I saw that the money line was only +120. I probably would have ended up betting $10 on the game, so I would have made a $12 profit, which isn’t something to throw a fit over.

For me, what’s next is betting NFL money lines and maybe some NBA futures. I think college sports are just too unpredictable, and there aren’t really any odds I like. See you next week, and remember to never, ever gamble.

Money spent to date: $10

Winnings to date: $0

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Sports gambling column: Week One