Sports betting colleague John Netto once said, “The best wagers to make are the ones most difficult to make. Call it the ‘uncomfortable investment,’ if you will.”
This past Sunday, the New York Giants led at halftime over the Green Bay Packers, 20-10, after Eli Manning found Hakeem Nicks with a desperation 37-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the first half.
It was the first time all season that the Packers headed to the locker room trailing at the break.
As halftime wagering commenced, Pinnacle Sports Book offered Green Bay as a 7.5-point favorite and then quickly flashed the Packers as a 10-point choice in the game’s final 30 minutes.
Most recreational sports bettors, including EOG head moderator KingRevolver, felt the Packers were the side to bet.
“Kinger” posted an opinion in the main forum at Eye On Gaming (www.eog.com) to take “all-you-can-eat” on Green Bay -10 (+109) as he felt the defending Super Bowl champion Packers undoubtedly would rally past the Giants in the first playoff game at Lambeau Field since 2008.
Unfortunately for Kinger, the second half looked a lot like the first half as the Giants won going away, 37-20.
Wiseguy gambler Ray Luca, who earlier in the week backed the Giants on the money line at odds of better than 3-1, quickly responded to Kinger’s halftime recommendation by asking the question, “R U INSANE?”
Sports gambling newbies often support a home favorite trailing at halftime in a must-win spot. It’s a rookie mistake, a knee-jerk reaction and a poor decision all wrapped into one. It’s a losing proposition that largely ignores the all-important developments of the first half and fails to embrace the counterintuitive nature of sports gambling.
The difficult bet to make or the “uncomfortable investment,” as Netto calls it, during halftime of the Giants-Packers game was New York +7.5. The 10-point halftime cushion allowed the Giants some margin for error in the second half and the team’s relentless pass rush — led by Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and the emerging Jason Pierre-Paul — strengthened as the game lengthened.
I’ll go on record adhering to Netto’s theory with an “uncomfortable investment” from today’s college basketball board later in my blog entry.
PAC-12 BASKETBALL…..For the third time in three years, the league is off to another rocky start. There are no Pac-12 teams currently listed in the AP Top 25. More importantly, only one Pac-12 team resides inside the RPI’s Top 40 (California is rated #40). There were no signature wins for the struggling conference in November or December, but several shocking losses including embarrassing defeats to college basketball patsies Loyola Marymount, UC Riverside and UNC-Asheville.
The Pac-12 played teams from the Mountain West Conference 14 times over the first 10 weeks of the college hoop season. The supposedly more powerful conference, a “Power Six” conference, recorded a miserable 3-11 mark against the Mountain West, a league widely viewed as a mid-major conference.
The best teams this season in the Pac-12 (Cal, Stanford and Washington) will be fortunate to play in the NCAA Tournament let alone advance to the second round, the middle of the conference is more CBI quality than NIT material, and the bottom team in the conference (Utah) is threatening to become the worst squad in the 97-year history of the league, titled the Pacific Coast Conference during its inaugural season in 1915.
Poor results in non-conference play over the past three seasons hurt the Pac-12 in a pair of significant ways:
1) elite basketball recruits consider schools like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina or Syracuse, programs almost certain to secure a favorable seed in the tournament, providing young players a stage to display their talents to the basketball world
2) the subpar results in November and December damage the conference rating in the all-important Ratings Percentage Index, resulting in lower tournament seeds for the few Pac-12 teams selected to compete in the Big Dance.
WEDNESDAY’S BEST BET……Play “OVER” 116.5 in the Northwestern-Wisconsin game. The Wildcats ran their Princeton-style offense to perfection in Sunday’s 81-74 victory over Michigan State. John Shurna scored a team-high 22 points and Drew Crawford added 20 as NU went 8-for-17 from beyond the arc in posting the upset victory. Wisconsin has been shooting poorly from three-point range in its home games (2-for-18 this past Sunday in a five-point win over Nebraska), however the Badgers figure to hit some long-range shots against Northwestern’s soft zone defense. Wisconsin scored 78 points in each of its two victories over Northwestern last season. Here’s the hard part of making an “OVER” wager in a Wisconsin basketball game: the Badgers play at the slowest tempo of all 345 Division I basketball teams and they defend without fouling. In a Big Ten tournament game last season, Wisconsin lost to Purdue, 36-33. An “uncomfortable investment,” to be sure.
COMING THURSDAY…..Professional sports bettor Mike Greene offers his top selection for Championship Sunday in the NFL.
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