Tuesday, September 07, 2004

National Gambling League kicks off Thursday

Since there's an Alberta election coming up (probably) in November, I thought I'd recharge my political enthusiasm for a while, and spend a bit more time over the next month posting about things that matter less (or more, depending on how much money you have riding on it).

Like a hell of a lot of Canadians, I take a fairly keen interest in the NFL season. And, like most, it's mainly due to the fact that the NFL and its schedule lends itself so well to gambling in its many variations. The one-game-per-week, at a consistent time, 14-16 games per week, just works perfectly for pools and other wagering. (By the way, the biggest lie regularly told by a non-elected official? "The NFL is opposed to gambling on NFL games." - Commissioner Paul Tagliabue).

There's our provincial "lotteries". The fine folks in the Caribbean. Just about every bar, in this town at least, has a $5 weekly winner-take-all pool, where you pick the straight-up winners, and the tiebreaker is the Monday night total.

My personal favourite is the Survivor pool - loser variation. Pick exactly one team in Week 1 who you are sure will lose. If they win, you're eliminated for the season. If they lose, repeat for Week 2, but you can't ever pick your Week 1 loser again. Etcetera. Proof that gambling on sports is objectively unwise: most Survivor pools, even those with >100 entrants, are over by Week 10.

Intuitively, I find it incredible that less than 1 in 100 people can pick a single game (of their choice!) correctly, without having to cover a point spread, for 10 weeks in a row. So, I'm ready to test it myself, and you are encouraged to join in. In the comments to this post, pick one NFL Week 1 loser by 11AM Mountain Time on Sunday (Thursday's Colts-Pats game is obviously excluded).

The winner will receive a limited-edition Filet Mignon on a Flaming Sword. If I can't secure Gooey's cooperation, the winner will receive an unlimited-edition FMFS (Figurative Edition).

I'll weigh in another day with some of my general rules for NFL gambling (undoubtedly, right before I crash out of this thing in Week 1 or 2). If you need resource material in the meantime, check out one of The Sports Guy's 4,713 columns on NFL gambling, or follow the soon-to-be-expanding NFL links on the sidebar. Based on today's lines, the biggest underdog is Arizona (+11 @ Rams), followed by the New York Football Giants (+9.5 @ Eagles).

My Week 1 pick for Guaranteed, Shoe-In, Lock-of-the-Week Loser is:

The Raiderrrzzz
(@ Steelers, unless of course I change my mind before Sunday.)

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