Sports gambling column: Week Four

For once, some things went right for me gambling-wise over the weekend. Maybe it’s because Bovada actually did deactivate my account when I asked them to. Maybe it’s because God or whatever higher power there is (or lack thereof) is trying to tell me to stop gambling. Spoiler alert: That isn’t happening for a while, or at least until the end of the school year. Assuming I have any money whatsoever left by then, and with the Austin City Limits music festival coming up this weekend, that isn’t a guarantee. Anyway, my Bovada account is indeed locked until Oct. 21, and there’s nothing I can do about it. But that didn’t stop this weekend from having major gambling ramifications for me.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bengals were battling the Falcons in what was a very, very close game. If you don’t know already, I have money on the Bengals winning the AFC North this year. They were 2-1 heading into the Falcons game, and because I also despise the Falcons because they play in the NFC South with the Saints (my favorite team), this game was pretty important to me. The Bengals were down 5 with 4:15 left, and they had one more drive to win the game with a touchdown. I had NFL Redzone playing on my computer and my attention completely on it instead of my calculus homework. This game was a nail-biter, and the Bengals had to convert on consecutive 4th-and-8 plays to keep their chances of winning the game alive. With 7 seconds left, A.J. Green caught a touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to put the Bengals ahead for good, and I reacted almost as loudly as I did when Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez choked for the final time in week two in New Orleans. The Bengals win put them at 3-1, which was fantastic until the Ravens improved to 3-1 that same night versus the Steelers, who are 1-1-2 but are expected to have superstar running back Le’Veon Bell back in week 7. I still feel relatively fine about the Bengals winning the division, especially since they already beat the Ravens in Baltimore. But, the Ravens are just a well-coached machine and I would think that the Steelers will return to their dominant form later in the year. Time will tell.

The other year-long bet I made a few weeks ago was for the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC West. I feel a lot better about this one, because the Chiefs are 4-0 after a comeback win last night on Monday Night Football over the Broncos. Patrick Mahomes didn’t find his groove until the fourth quarter, and made an incredible off-handed throw to Tyreek Hill for a crucial first down while being chased by one of the premier pass-rushers in the NFL in Von Miller. There was also a moment where other gambling implications for me and others (in a way) came into play. Near the end of the third quarter, the Broncos had the ball on the Chief’s five-yard-line, on 1st-and-goal. On first down, they handed it off to rookie running back Phillip Lindsay, who gained four yards. On the next play, they gave it to Lindsay again, and he scored the touchdown. This came as a bit of a shock to me because the Broncos other rookie running back, Royce Freeman (who I bet to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at +3000 odds) is usually the goal-line back for the Broncos. But, Lindsay got the carry and my chances of winning that bet went down just a little bit. The frontrunner for that award is Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, who I would absolutely be putting money on if I could use my account.

The Phillip Lindsay touchdown actually effected one of my close friends, who plays in the same fantasy league as me. In our league, first place gets $90, second place gets $50 and third place gets $20. But what really motivates the people in our league to win is the punishments that will rain down on the last and second-to-last place teams. These punishments haven’t been determined yet, but rest assured, they will be unspeakable and horrible. Anyway, said friend was heading into week 4 with an 0-3 record, and he would win if Lindsay scored 13 or less (PPR) fantasy points vs the Chiefs. That touchdown that I talked about earlier proved to be the difference, and my friend lost by one point. He is now 0-4, and while he could conceivably make up ground to not be one of the bottom two teams in the league, no one in our league is 0-4 (other than him) and no one is 1-3 either. It would take a miracle for him to finish in the top three, as only the top four out of the eight teams in the league make the playoffs. While this fantasy loss wasn’t as painful as someone who lost a fantasy playoff game because Aaron Rodgers’ kneel counted as negative rushing yards (this actually happened,, it still hurts. The lesson, as always: Don’t gamble.

See you next week.


Money spent to date: $70

Winnings to date: $0