I placed my first-ever sports wager while I was in Las Vegas last Sunday. I was getting ready to watch the AFC Championship Game in a casino bar, conveniently located about a hundred feet from the sports book. It seemed like the thing to do.
It’s often said you should bet against the team you want to win. That way, if your favorite team wins, you can be happy about the win. If your favorite team loses, you can be happy about your wager paying out.
I heeded the advice.
I placed a bet on the Baltimore Ravens, even though I wanted the New England Patriots to win. The spread was seven points, with New England the favorite. On a whim, I also bet the same amount on the over of the total score. The over-under was 49 points. At the window, the clerk asked me if I wanted to parlay the two bets. I’m new at this, so I hadn’t realized parlaying would be an option. Somewhat flustered, I declined and made two straight bets.
As I watched the game with Kathryn and our friend Kerrie, the score stayed close, the lead changed a couple times, and I realized another outcome was becoming more likely. My favorite team might win, but it might not beat the spread. In other words, I might get to see my favorite team win, and I might also win the bet I made against them.
In the end, that’s exactly what happened. New England won 23-20. My bet on Baltimore paid out. I did lose the over-under bet, though. In the words of Meat Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad.