Gambling for Dummies: A New Column by Tyler Lauletta


Russell Wilson Credit: Peter Yang

Last year was a great year for gambling and I, thanks mostly to the glorious man pictured above and his teammates on the Seattle Seahawks.

They became champions one fateful day in February. The Seahawks were in New Jersey, I was in Las Vegas. What followed was the most magical gambling experience of my life. After turning Russell Wilson into some sort of demigod and riding Seattle all season, the Seahawks took the field and decimated the Broncos. I felt invincible. I felt elated.

I felt my wallet and my heart grow three sizes that day.

The day did not come without missed opportunities. There was a woman in line waiting to place bets before kickoff that assured me that I should bet that the first score of the game will be a safety. She had bet it her previous two times in Vegas, hitting both times. And it was her birthday. I laughed her off, and she cashed in a $20 bet for over a grand.

Also, there was this:


That is my betting sheet from the Super Bowl, torn from a legal pad that has since been retired. It has been residing in my laptop case for seven months waiting for me to write the anecdote. The line I circled for your perusal reads “Kam Chancellor 1st INT: +1500.” You might notice that a few of the bets on that sheet are crossed off. I went into the Super Bowl with that sheet and wrote down every bet I wanted to make. As I saw my bank account dwindle, I had to cut a few bets from the roster, and would thusly cross them off the list. But I never crossed Kam Chancellor off that list; I intended to bet him until the moment I got to the counter and realized that I was ten dollars short.

Spoiler Alert: Kam Chancellor caught the first INT of Super Bowl XLVIII. I would have won $150. These are the joys of gambling. This is basically what I live for.



But we have reached a new season, and with it a new resolution on my behalf: I will not gamble with actual money this season. Instead, I will gamble only with my pride. I will still be writing my Hypothetical SuperContest column, but limiting myself to picking five games against the spread would be like telling Mozart he could only play four bars. Or something like that.

I want to make parlays and teasers and take home dogs on the moneyline, and I want to explain to you, dear reader, what all of those terms mean. That is what this column will hopefully be a vehicle for, as well as providing me another excuse to keep track of my picks so I have proof when they all start winning.

I’m going to start by giving myself $5,000 in fictional money, and attempting to grow those five dimes into millions. Really, I just don’t want to lose it all. But I am not above pretending to go to an ATM and withdrawing $5,000 more.

Kickoff less than an hour away though – Let’s gamble!

Total I Like: Cowboys/Niners Over 52 (-110)

Two bad defenses, one good offense, and another offense with Tony Romo throwing the ball all day in a futile attempt to catch up.

Betting $110 to win $100

Eliminator Pick of the Week: Eagles (-525) over Jaguars

I blew it and did not register in time for my eliminator league this year. But I am looking at it as a blessing in disguise; I now have an excuse to try this theory I have had for a while. I am going to lay the money for a heavy favorite that is a popular eliminator pick each week, never using the same team twice, and I am going to see how long it takes for an underdog to bite me in the ass.

Betting $525 to win $100

Moneyline Bet of the Week: Raiders (+205) over Jets

Another running bit I want to have this year – pick one underdog each week to win outright. This week, that underdog is the Raiders (there wasn’t enough value to take the Chargers).

Betting $100 to win $205

Those are the quick hits this week! I will improve as the season goes on and I develop better ways to track my bets and take you inside the processes of gambling and existential thinking. Enjoy!

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