Tuesday, January 25, 2005

This gambling is a tough racket

I should start by sticking by my post from January 14th, and affirm that the AFC is still the smart money in the Super Bowl. The line opened at Patriots -7 v. Eagles, and it's leaning in the -7.5 direction, so your bet should probably be placed sooner rather than later.

It's unfortunate the way the playoffs, er, played out, though. It started so well. The Colts went down, which is good, because no one wants to bet on a spread of 10+, which is what it would have been had they made the Super Bowl.

Then the Eagles rolled handily, waxing the Vikings by 13 when it should have been 30, then dominating the Falcons in the early game Sunday. At that point, I was rubbing my hands together: "This is fantastic! If the AFC championship is ugly (and even better, if the Steelers win), the Super Bowl spread is going to be 3.5, tops!"

Alas, the Pats were superb, and they hit the Super Bowl having beaten 2 of the (other) top 3 teams in the league by a total of 31 points. So to back them now, you have to put up $260 to win $100 (straight up), or give up 7 points to take them at (almost) even money.

It's still the right call - I count 3 dominating performances by the Pats in the past month, against good teams in meaningful games. I count 2 by the Eagles this whole season (v. Packers in Dec, and v. Falcons on Sunday - yes I am discounting the wins against the utterly schizophrenic Vikings).

Moving on, in cast-iron sure-thing of the century news, today Imelda Staunton was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, along with Hilary Swank, Annette Bening, Kate Winslet, and Catalina Sandina Moreno. There are two relevant updates to my previous comments:

January 16 - Hilary Swank wins Golden Globe, Best Actress in Motion Picture, Drama (Million Dollar Baby) - uh-oh!

January 19 - Chicago disability activists protest Million Dollar Baby - well, well, well!

Any chance voters will shy away from this controversy, and instead go for a performance that Roger Ebert describes thusly:
"..if Swank doesn't win, Staunton will, despite the controversy involving her role as an abortionist [huh? - ed.]. The character is so naive and innocent, and so well-played, it draws attention away from the issue."

Also, the film critic at the World Socialist Web Site decries the "rancid individualism" of Million Dollar Baby, which may sway those Hollywood Communists I've heard so darn much about.

And lo and behold, here are the opening lines at bowmans.com - judge for yourself, but it seems to me that sextupling your money is pretty good value for anything in the neighbourhood of a mortal lock:
Hilary Swank -160
Annette Bening +175
Imelda Staunton +500
Kate Winslet +1600
Catalina Sandina Moreno +1800

Good luck!

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