I’m a Writer, Not a Gambler

Yesterday, I relearned what I already knew: this is about problem solving and guessing the future, not money. 

I made the best call I’ll ever make wagering, anticipating last night’s Bullets road victory in Utah. I mulled a moneyline bet that returned $7 for every dollar risked, and fussed over putting as much as $100 on that thought. The payout would have more than doubled my profits thus far, and sent my hypothetical stake into the gaudy profit range, allowing me to close out the NBA regular season with a flourish.

But I didn’t wager. I just wrote about why the Bullets might win.

A gambler would curse the blown chance and call it chickening out.

Yet I’m over the moon, simply because I wrote about an improbable outcome accurately.

That’s how I’m wired; I don’t mind passing on a bet–even one with a spectacular payoff–because I figure every game has a winning pick, and I pass on most of them. Even with a missed opportunity, I get enough of a charge out of reading the game correctly to shrug it off and go on.

That kind of reasoning doesn’t wash with a risk lover, an aggressive wagerer, or someone who simply likes the action of betting itself. And those readers deserve a payoff too. So here are tonight’s wagers:

  • $55 to win $50 on Houston on the road giving 7 to New Jersey
  • $110 to win $100 on Golden State on the road getting 11 from Oklahoma City

If I lose the former, it will likely be structural–generally speaking, it’s risky backing road favorites. But New Jersey without Deron Williams hasn’t scared anyone save Cleveland, Houston is in hot pursuit of a playoff spot, and the Rockets can’t dillydally when their next stop is a war in Philly. Houston is motivated, healthy and vastly better, and I think this is a 15-point game.

Meanwhile, at the the trade deadline, Oklahoma City’s rotation took a strange turn. It now starts two superb offensive threats alongside three starters who don’t score much at all. That odd mix of specialists has racked up wins, but OKC isn’t scoring enough to blow anyone away. Though Golden State has been demolished on the road of late, the Warriors are sticking with an 8-man rotation that can fill it up, and in relative terms, they’re rested, having waltzed past Toronto and Washington in their last two contests. I like the points here, and I’m hoping the hosts stay true to form and fail to cover.

Go Rockets. Go Warriors.

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