On my last trip to Vegas in November, I went down to the bar at T.G.I. Fridays at the Gold Coast at 9 a.m. to watch my beloved Michigan State Spartans play Minnesota. I had to head across the street to the Rio to cover the World Series of Poker Main Event that day, so I only had time to watch the first half.
Over breakfast, I watched the Spartans sputter to a 14-0 lead. Then, with 3 seconds left in the half, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio decided to go for a touchdown from the 3-yard-line instead of taking the sure points with a field goal.
I started talking to the TV. I couldn't believe Dantonio was giving up the sure points. The bartender heard me going off and stopped to assess the situation.
“He has to go for it,” the bartender said. “He’s got a big number to cover.”
“He should take the sure points,” I said. “This is about winning, not covering.”
“Bro, you’re in Vegas,” said the bartender. “In Vegas, good coaches win. Great coaches cover.”
I laughed. I laughed because it was funny. And I laughed because he was right.
The sports betting culture is different than the traditional sports fan culture. It’s a point driven home to me each time I visit Vegas (which is the only place where I bet on sports). On another Vegas trip, I asked someone what his favorite team was. He told me that since he moved to Vegas, he only cared about the number, not the team.
Like I said, it’s a different world. And that’s the world I hope to introduce you to in this space. I’m not going to pick games for you. That’s on you. What I will do is take you inside the world of sports betting. I’ll write about new betting technology, different ways to look at a game, how bookmakers set their odds and all sorts of things in between..
And oh, by the way, Dantonio proved he was only a good coach that day. The Spartans won, 31-8. But he missed the number, which was 24.