The Joy of Sports Betting
Last night I watched the World Baseball Classic (WBC) semi-final between Japan and Mexico. I think it was the most perfect baseball game I’ve ever watched. The next day I’m still coming down from the excitement. Coming back from 0-3 and 3-5, Japan won with a walk-off double by 24-year-old Munetaka Murakami, MVP and Triple Crown winner in Japan’s highest level professional baseball league. Murakami had been in a slump throughout the WBC and was set up to be the goat (not G.O.A.T.) for Japan’s sports-crazy fans. Now he’s again the hero. Japan plays the U.S. for the title tonight.
The WBC has taken some criticism as being a money grab by baseball owners, with professional players not yet in regular season form risking injury, while getting little or no money to participate. In fact, Mets star closer, Puerto Rican Edwin Diaz, will miss the season and may never be the same after tearing the patella tendon in his knee in an on-field celebration of a win, no less. Astros star, Venezuelan Jose Altuve, was hit by a pitch, suffered a fractured thumb and will be out a couple of months. Some other players suffered less serious injuries. But the joys and heartbreaks witnessed of players playing hard for very little money but a lot of national pride makes this a worthy event for both players and fans.
Which brings me to the point of this blog. A couple of months ago my friend Mike, who spends hours every day searching through betting lines looking for weaknesses, told me that Japan at +450 to win the WBC had slight value. I found it at Westgate and made a small “sweat bet.”
Japan had been a huge favorite in their games leading up to the Mexico game, so I paid little attention. But last night’s game was to get into the final, so it was time to sweat!
A word about sweating; among my circle of friends are professional gamblers who are in it for the bottom line, not the enjoyment. Many don’t watch the games; they just look at the results to see if they won. I don’t get it. I believe if you don’t enjoy your work, it becomes drudgery. For me, the payoff for doing the work finding the bets is getting to sweat the game or event! Win or lose, it’s my entertainment.
In the ‘90s I was part of one of the most successful sports-betting groups in history. We were betting big. So big that one of our guys tried to sweat the games and ended up in the hospital with an ulcer. Our computer guy cared only about results. Me? I was in sweating heaven! Especially when we started seriously winning.
Had I not bet on the WBC, it’s very unlikely I would have watched this game, thereby missing out on a great viewing experience. In fact, I can count on one hand the sporting events I’d watch without having a little action. And I almost always have a little action on them anyway!
In my upcoming book, with the working title All About Sports Betting, I do my best to educate readers, many of whom will be introduced to legal sports betting for the first time, on all aspects of the sports betting world, including a journey through the years with my group. I also include an important section outlining the things I do now, absent the advantages of working with a highly intelligent and motivated team, to try to ferret out small edges in the battle against the sports books. I think it will illuminate for my readers the best approach to recreational sports betting.
Sports betting is now my primary source of entertainment, not income. I no longer have delusions that I can make lots of money betting on my own. My goal is to break even or make a small profit, get some comps, and have a year’s worth of great entertainment, like the WBC game that I would have missed without having a bet. Hopefully my readers will be cured of any such delusions and learn how to enjoy the entertainment the sports betting world offers and avoid the inherent dangers.