So we have our home base of operations established and get up early for Thursday’s action. We bounce downstairs and over to Planet Hollywood about 1.5 hours before the first tipoff. It is critical to get our bets in and find a good spot because this first game is our beloved Gators and this will most likely be their “one shining moment” as they are a slight dog in their first round game.
We go up to the “Mezz” and see an incredibly snaked line of bettors waiting to place their bets for the morning action. We make a quick executive decision to head back downstairs to the actual sportsbook as sure they would have more people working and actual pros manning the booth and not temps who just got a crash course in sports wagering. So we bounce only to see an almost equally intimidating line there. Oh well, we are here and we need to get these bets in.
The line moves slowly, but we are make some progress. I strike up a conversation with this Michigan State alum and he is chatting me up about this year’s team when his buddy comes over and says, “Hey man your dad is up at the front. Let’s go.” I didn’t even have time to process what he was saying when Sparty looks at me and says “let’s go!” So we proceed to the front of the line and cut about 200 people who have been waiting for God only knows how long. When I get there Sparty and his friend were already smoothing things over with the people at the front by saying that it was his dad and what not and how it was all good somehow. Glorious. I had left 44 and Hollywood behind without even a word, but when you have a chance to jump the line, you jump. They understood.
So after the euphoria of the moment passed, Sparty finishes his thoughts on this year’s team and how he has watched every game that they have played this year and that there was no way they would cover the spread. He says that this team is all IZZO and fairly light on superstar talent. Every game is a grind and the 14 point spread was way too much, no matter even if they are playing a middle of the road team like New Mexico State. He predicted that they would win, but it would be 7 or less and in no way would it be double digits. I thought that he made a lot of sense so that only confirmed that little bit of action I was already going to bet.
That’s what great about this weekend. Everyone comes out and is a small expert on the team that they follow. If you can get some real intel as to the feel of a team and not straight homerism then you are ahead of the game. Well my man came through because MSU only won by 3. Nice.
If someone was to ask me about Florida I would have said that we have virtually no inside presence and have to have an up tempo game to have success. They will hang tough, but will probably drop this game because they just don’t have enough consistent firepower to beat a good opponent who has balance scoring. True to form, Florida put up a great fight and took BYU to double overtime before losing 99-92. No shame in that.