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25 May 2015
By Vin Narayanan
I finally got around to watching the season finale of The Flash this weekend and I was surprised by how badly the show handled the time travel plot. These characters live in a world that's already seen Back to the Future, The Terminator and Star Trek (in all of its incarnations). These characters should know the Prime Directive and how dangerous it is to mess with the space-time continuum. But instead, they decide to charge into past without really thinking about the consequences.
The cavalier treatment of the space-continuum made me wonder what I would tell my younger self if I traveled into the past with Biff Tannen-like intentions to profit off of future knowledge. Here are the wagers I'd want him to make. (Note: USA-Russia hockey, Villanova-Georgetown and North Carolina State-Houston are not on the list because I wouldn't want my younger self betting at those ages.)
10. Lions to go 0-16
In a league that's built to create parity, it's almost impossible to finish a season winless. But that's exactly what the Detroit Lions did in 2008. Partway through the season, you could still get a winless season at +600. That price later dropped to around +180 towards the end of the season. Bet this big to start the season and walk away with a ton of money.
9. Bills rally to beat the Oilers
In play betting wasn't available in 1993, but if it was, you could make a pretty penny betting on the Buffalo Bills to rally from 32 points down in the third quarter to beat the Houston Oilers. Yes, the Bills needed overtime, but they still won. If you were betting this in Vegas back then, the key would be to hit the second-half lines hard. The Oilers were leading 28-3 at the half, had a high-powered offense and the Bills didn't have star quarterback Jim Kelly, who was out with an injury. A Bills victory was improbable at that point. But backup QB Frank Reich rallied the team to victory, and younger me would have cleaned up.
8. Don't bet big on a Triple Crown winner
No horse has won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in the same year since Affirmed in 1978. Fourteen horses have won the Derby and Preakness since then, but none have been able to complete the deal. Fresh challengers, the 1.5 mile distance and the grueling Triple Crown race schedule have been too much to overcome. American Pharoah has a chance to win the Belmont and complete the Triple Crown on Saturday, but don't count on it.
7. But always have a sweat
Betting is supposed to be fun. And it's fun to root for a Triple Crown winner. So if you can afford it, plunk down $5 and cheer for history.
6. Bet on yourself
For the most part, I was always a pretty confident guy, especially when it came to sports and career. My confidence in my romantic game didn't come until later in life, however. If I had chance to tell my younger self anything, it would be to bet on himself and go for it in his personal life.
Back to making money. Rulon Gardner's victory over Alexander Karelin in wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia is one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Karelin had never lost in 15 years of competition. NEVER. He also hadn't been scored on in 10 years. And he had already won three Olympic gold medals. Gardner's best finish in international competition had been fifth. The only previous time Gardner wrestled Karelin, he lost 5-0. This wasn't just a mismatch. It was an expected beatdown. But then the unthinkable happened. Gardner eked out a 1-0 victory.
I'm not sure what odds the European bookmakers set back then for this match. Regardless, Gardner would have been a tremendous longshot with a huge payout if you backed him.
4. The over on The Simpsons
When The Simpsons started in 1989, it was an instant cultural phenomenon. But even the most ardent Simpsons fans couldn't have predicted it would still be on the air today. Cheers lasted 11 seasons. The Cosby Show lasted eight seasons. Friends lasted 10 seasons. Seinfeld made it through nine seasons.There was no reason to think that The Simpsons would make a run at Gunsmoke (635 episodes) as the longest-running scripted prime-time show. Yet that's exactly what's happening. In May, Fox agreed to pick up the 27th and 28th seasons of The Simpsons. When The Simpsons finishes its 28th season, it will have 625 episodes in the books. And I'm pretty sure The Simpsons will want to go for the record with a 29th season. There's no way anyone setting a line in 1989, or even 1995, would see this coming. Bet the over.
Mike Tyson was a 42-1 favorite and at the top of his game in 1990 when he lost to Buster Douglas. In any list of major upsets in sports, this will always be one of the top few items. And it was the first sign that Tyson's fight career was headed towards ignominious ending.
2. Tyson will bite an ear
It's easy to forget just how dominant Mike Tyson was early in career. Tyson was fierce, powerful and unbeatable. No sane man would get into the ring with Tyson. And those that did were scared. You could see it in their faces. Back then, it was hard to imagine a time where Tyson would resort to biting his opponent's ear, like he did to Evander Holyfield in 1997. Actually, it's tough to imagine any boxer biting someone's ear in the ring. Place this bet early enough in Tyson's career and you can pretty much set the odds and guarantee a big score.
1. Buy Apple stock in the 80s
In 1985, you could buy Apple stock for $1.98. Today, Apple trades at around $132 per share. But that doesn't take into account various stock splits over the year. In 1985, Apple was a struggling computer maker. Today, it's one of the world's wealthiest companies. If you bought big in 1985, you'd be a very wealthy person right now.
4 May 2015OK. Betting Saturday wasn't Saturday's official name. But with the Kentucky Derby, the boring but heavily bet-on Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, a Game 7 in the NBA playoffs and the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs entering the second round, May 2 might have been the most lucrative sports betting day we've ever seen. ... (read more)
26 March 2015WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Demon Rum." Two simple words uttered by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) perfectly summed up the farcical testimony offered by proponents of federal legislation to ban online gaming in front the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Wednesday. "I don't ... (read more)
16 March 2015The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the single biggest sports wagering event in the United States. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), about $240 million will be wagered in Nevada alone on this year's tournament. By comparison, more than $185 million was wagered on Kentucky Derby Day. ... (read more)