Betting Resolutions for the New Year
by Trevor Whenham - 01/04/2008
It's the beginning of a new year. That means that we have to make a bunch of resolutions. In almost every case those resolutions will either be completely broken or forgotten within a couple of weeks, or else there was never a chance of sticking to them in the first place. You can't get into a gym right now, but give it two weeks and the places will be ghost towns again. In the spirit of the season, here are my five betting resolutions for the new year. Like everyone else, I likely won't stick to any of them, and I will forget most of them by the time the Celtics lose again, but that's beside the point. Without further ado:
1) I won't rush to judgment on loser NFL coaches - Going into the current NFL season I had fairly strong opinions on both Wade Phillips and Norv Turner. In a nutshell, I thought that both guys were truly terrible hires that were going to drive their teams into the ground. Oops. I looked pretty smart on the Turner front for a while, but he straightened things out and won the division easily. Phillips only led his team to the best record in the NFC and got along so well with Terrell Owens that you'd guess they were blood brothers if you didn't know better. The two 'losers' combined to go 20-12 ATS. I thought Cam Cameron was a loser hire, too, but Vince Lombardi himself couldn't have done anything in Miami this year, so I don't credit for that (but I guess Bill Parcells didn't agree). The lesson is that I have to go into next year with an open mind about the new coaches, regardless of how ridiculous and laughable they seem. I'll be open-minded no matter how bone-headed the move looks - Bill Callahan could land a gig and I'll be open-minded.
2) Any time I feel really confident about something, I'll pass - Whenever I seem positive of how a game will end I am just flat out wrong. The latest example came just this week. I'm a huge Michigan guy, and my love for them made me certain that we would get crushed by Florida. The Gators seemed like a lock - they played in a stronger conference all year, they have an offense that we struggle with, their defense matched up well with us, they were playing in their home state, and our entire coaching staff would be looking for a new job as soon as the game ended. Of course, that all means that Michigan showed more creativity on offense than they have in years, they were able to contain Florida's potent offense thanks to a ruthless pass rush, they had a game plan on both sides of the ball that was superior to any plan the team has implemented since at least 1997, and they won a thrilling game that wasn't as close as the score. In this case and others, the real value was in fading my strong opinion. It would be too hard on my self-esteem to profit from going against what I believe, so from now on I'll just pass.
3) I'll quit getting sucked in by Louisville - I have a soft spot for the Cardinals. It cost me a fortune this year. I was convinced that the Cardinals were legitimate national championship contenders coming into the football season. They would have been if only they could have made a bowl. Oops. I'm a big Rick Pitino guy, and I loved how his team looked on paper coming into the season. They are 3-8 ATS. Add that to the 4-7 ATS on the football front, and that adds up to a pretty serious loss. I clearly need a new team to get sucked in by.
4) I'll be objective when handicapping the Preakness and the Belmont - Who am I kidding, I don't stand a chance. I fancy myself as a bit of horse player, but when it comes to the second and third legs of the Triple Crown I am a total sucker. Absolute dead money. For each of the last 20 or so years I have placed precisely one bet in the Preakness - the Derby winner to win. That's obviously a great place to find value. I ignore price or any other factor. I'm so desperate for a Triple Crown that I could care less. If I win that bet things get even uglier. I not only bet the same horse to win the Belmont, but I forbid everyone I know from betting on any other horse. It wouldn't matter if the horse was a sprinter with no chance of getting the distance, or if he had lost a leg in his stall and would have to limp his way through the race - if he has won two legs I am betting him, and I am taking everyone I know down with me. I should stop this, but I know I won't.
5) I won't bother even trying to handicap golf - There is only one thing that is relevant when it comes to golf - Tiger. Woods entered 16 regular tournaments last year. He won eight of them. His prices are ridiculously low, but even at those levels a comfortable profit could be made just from making the most public play in the world.