It is that time of the year again, March Madness! This is a great time of the year to be a sports junky, or even a part time gambler. Before the tournament starts everyone is an expert, you put your picks down on your bracket sheet. If you are feeling frisky you may even fill out two or three brackets. You look at your picks, analyze the mascots, and listen to the Sports Center announcers all in an effort to solidify your picks. At this point you are rock solid, you know you have the perfect bracket. So why not put down a little parlay wager to make the early round games more interesting?
I am not going to try to explain the nuances of sports betting and what all the different plus and minus elements mean. There are already numerous forums and blog posts that explain those details. What I will say about a parlay is it is a combination of bets that when you win all of them you get paid more than you would have making each bet individually. At the same time, for this added bonus you also assume additional risk, because if you lose even one of your bets you lose the entire parlay.
The risk aside, I cannot pass up the chance to bet a couple dollars on a parlay. After all, I am so confident from my brackets that I have selected the right teams, why not put that knowledge to use and make a few extra dollars? Where else can I bet $20 and win $2000? So I make my parlay bets, and then sit back and dream about what I would do with that $2000.
The Failed Parlay
There are several painful ways to lose a parlay, but by far the worst is losing on your last bet. For example, you bet the Thursday opening round of the NCAA tourney, you watch the games from your office on the internet, sure enough pick after pick keeps rolling in. You drive home, and your upset pick comes in. All that is left is your late game, you picked the favorite to win, no points, just straight up win. First half looks good, your team has a ten point lead going into half time, you are already online looking at that Sling Shot you have wanted since you were a kid. The second half starts and your team dunks on the first possession, you figure it is in the bag and click order on your sling shot.
Then it happens, and you can feel it before it shows on the scoreboard. The underdog is starting a come back, but the favorite team does not realize it. The underdog scratches and claws their way back, and by the time the favorite team realizes it, the score is tied with 2 minutes to go. You are on the edge of your seat, hanging on every shot and cursing every damn commercial that comes on TV. While you know the game is not over yet, you can feel that you have already lost. After all your team had the insurmountable lead, and it was surmounted by the underdog. Needless to say, the Cinderella story that the media loves, just cost you $2000. All you have to show for it is an expensive sling shot and a pit in your stomach.
There is nothing worse than losing a parlay on the last game.
The Monday After
The Monday after the tournament is uncomfortable to most, after all we are not Dan Patrick, we don’t get paid to follow sports everyday of our lives. Why on earth did I place $100 in wagers on a game I don’t even watch during the regular season? So you head into the office with your tail between your legs, just hoping the bracket manager says you still have a chance. But you know, just like the failed parlay, that your bracket is toast. Jim in accounting, who wins every year is again in first place with his entire sweet 16 still in tack. He immediately mentions that the Cinderella story that just cost you $2K, he knew they were going to win, because after all they have that stupid mascot.
Hurray! For the NCAA Tournament!