Thursday, October 11, 2007

Week 6- Honoring the Sabbath

Muslims have Mecca
Jews have the Wailing Wall
Catholics have Vatican City
and football fans have a sport book on Sundays

It’s the holiest place for the followers of footballism, a not yet recognized religious sect in the United States. There is no better place to watch a Sunday worth of football than at a sports book in Las Vegas for the following reasons:
1) Every game going on right in front of you.
2) You can legally bet on the games.
3) Not only to you not have to buy food and drink, you get the drinks for free.
4) You can bet first half lines, and if you lose those, bet second half lines on every game.
5) You are likely to find at least one other person cheering for your team, even if it is for strictly financial reasons.
6) Your football day starts at 10am and doesn’t end until close to 9:00pm. Granted Catholic services run just as long and with an equal amount of booze involved.
7) What else can you do that will allow you to have a great time and give you the chance to leave with more money than you started with?

The hallowed grounds of the sports book give you the opportunity to see things that can only be explained by divine intervention, and I just don’t mean the end of that Cowboys game. I do mean the sights and sounds of your fellow worshipers. It brings together an eclectic mix of people, from all walks of life, all areas of the world, and all ranges of mental stability.

I have seen and heard the following so far this year (I am not making any of these up):

A guy who makes the homeless look clean with three empty Bud bottles and a wad of betting slips in front of him sitting next to who I believe was Thurston Howell III.

A guy standing near the front, looking up at the board, and blabbing away on his cell phone. The clerk, right in front of him, is literally waving his arms and screaming at him to get off the phone. He looks dumbfounded, as security points to the huge sign at the front saying no cell phones.
(Nothing makes you look more like a novice than using a cell phone in a sports books. Do what the rest of us do and use a hand free devise cupped in your hand to mumble to your friends.)

A guy muttered "F$%king Grossman" after his umpteenth pick and three others in unison said “Amen.” Who says this isn’t a church?

An older gentleman upon seeing the USC/Stanford score said “Even though they don’t have that Elway anymore, that Stanford is still pretty tough.” They have not had Elway for going on 25 years.

I saw a mother shout out the betting lines to her 13 year old son who was standing just away from the sports book, and him shouting back his picks. A family that bets together stays together.

There was a young lady who was probably betting for the first time. She was yelling and screaming for her team. Which is fine. But she was getting excited about a kick return to the team’s own 30, …and in the second quarter. Nothing more annoying than misplaced exuberance.

I have seen jerseys, hats, or other items worn for every NFL team, except the Seattle Seahawks. The teams I see the most represented are the Giants, Cowboys and Steelers.

I’ve seen a grown man stand up and stare with tears in his eyes at the huge TV screen as his team loses to a last second, 57 yard field goal
. Actually, I only caught a glimpse of this through a reflection and with water clouded eyes.

Last week, I fell back to below mediocrity and was 6-8 overall and 1-3 on my star picks. For the year, I am 34-35-6 overall and 6-9-2 with my star picks.

My picks are in bold.
*- denotes I really feel so strongly about this pick, I will tip the cashier when I place the bet instead of waiting until I cash the winner.

Cincinnati –3 at Kansas City- the last team with the ball, will throw an interception and have it returned for a TD.

Houston at Jacksonville –6.5 – Houston doesn’t even try for TDs anymore, they just starting kicking when they get inside the 35.

Miami at Cleveland –5 – Cleo Lemon v. Derek Anderson. You’ve got to throw the record books out when these two lock horns.

Minnesota at Chicago –6 – I’ll be the sucker to jump on the Brian Griese Super Bowl bandwagon. Length of trip, one week.

Philadelphia at NY Jets +3- My “forget about it” pick of the week. Both fans are equally obnoxious and bitter. The only just result would be a tie.

St. Louis +9.5 at Baltimore – St. Louis is 1-4 against the spread, the Raven are 0-5. Both these teams have shredded a forest full of parlay cards.

*Tennessee +2.5 at Tampa Bay - Don’t drink pop rocks and coke. Don’t swim within 30 minutes of eating. Do not bet against the Titans when they are getting points.

Washington +3 at Green Bay - Now last week was the Farve we have all grown to love and curse.

*Carolina at Arizona –4 – Vinny Testaverde might start for the Panthers. I don’t think you heard me. How this spread is only 4 points either makes me want to run to the window or scares the hell out of me.

*New England –6 at Dallas – Everyone is praising the Cowboys for overcoming 6 turnovers and winning, but how bad must the Bills be to get 6 turnovers and lose?

Oakland at San Diego –10 – I know, I know. Oakland looks good this year. But this is one of those sucker lines, it suckers you in to betting the Raiders when the Chargers are prime for a rout. And I should know suckers having been one for most of my professional gambling life.

New Orleans at Seattle –6.5 – The Seahawks are the Dorothy of the NFL, there is no place like home for them. Okay, okay, San Fran, you can still be the Dorothys of the league.

New York Giants –3.5 at Atlanta- When the league planned this Monday night games, I am sure they were looking forward to showcasing Joey Harrington. I think there is a 3 to 1 chance baseball getting a better rating than football this night.

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