Jun 15
by Don

So here is a little gem of a story that occurred during “the dark period” (so named for the period of time where I neglected this space) that was a lot of fun and ended in the most improbable of wins.

A group of us came out in September of 2015 for Goldie’s birthday extravaganza.  We hadn’t had a large group of couples come out at once for seemingly forever, so this was as good of an excuse to do so than any.  It was to be a long weekend of cabana time, dinners, and general revelry.  It was all of those things to be sure, but somewhere in the middle of all of that 44 and I snuck away and placed one singular The ticket sports bet.

Because we were in a larger group (4 couples) with various appetites for gambling, 44 and I decided to run down to the sports book at the Wynn and place a 6-team parlay bet.  Now if you are a frequent visitor to The Vegas Chronicles (and I know that you are not), you will undoubtedly know my feelings on betting parlay’s.  They are wildly unpredictable and have a juicy payout because they rarely hit.  2-3 teamers, sure.  But a 6-team? You are crazy.  For some reason, as we are standing up at the counter talking about the games we liked and why we liked them we somehow talked ourselves into 6 “winners”

Well we could have bet them all different ways, but to be “safe” (a ridiculous concept in betting I know) we should make the bet as a round robin.  This would mean that the ticket wouldn’t be a total loss if one of our teams didn’t win, but it would mean less of a payout than a more traditional parlay. (Here is a breakdown of how that works).

Well the next thing to do was to throw down some money. Somehow some way we settled on just under $4k.  Even in typing this, it sounds ridiculous.  But we did it.

The Total Pay OutNow the weekend progressed as you might imagine. Some had too much to drink (yours truly on Friday night) and others too much sun and drink (Goldie on Saturday) so it wasn’t until Sunday where everything and everyone was on the level. That meant that Saturday night was low key for a few of us, and the others went out on the town

At some point throughout Saturday, 44 and I had a half an eye on the games in the parlay. Once Florida won we all just relaxed and enjoyed the day. Goldie wanted to chill so the 4 of us went back to their suite and watched the last game of the night Mississippi State. The game was back and forth with some last second heroics we won. We won EVERY GAME! It was unreal. We were jumping up and down like children and just didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Eventually we gathered ourselves and went down to collect.

The Straight Cash



Jun 1
by Don

In truth, Vegas has always been there, it’s just been I who has been too busy with _______ to get back on here. It’s been more than a minute since I last posted anything really, but on the eve of yet another trip out to Vegas I felt compelled to do something.

Parlay's work sometimes.

Not a bad payout with 44 and Hollywood in the background

I have been to Vegas the requisite number of times over the years (which is 4-5 per if we are scoring at home) and most recently went back in March as I do annually for the first weekend of March Madness. It’s always a great time and honestly never gets old. We have upped our collective game over the last two years in terms of where we stay (Wynn/Encore) and where we bunker down for the first two days (Lagasse’s Stadium) and I honestly could not think of a better way to do it. It’s hard to come out that weekend with even a small group and not have a plan because Vegas has caught on to the March Madness hype and everyone now has a “party” set up where you have to reserve in advance with all different types of minimum spends required. Going there without a plan and advance reservations would be a nightmare because gone are the days where you could just wing it and go from place to place to watch and get your bets in.

So in going at the end of this month, we have a great plan of attack. Lori and I are posting up at Caesar’s for the first three days and then to the Wynn the last three. We are going to meet up with Goldie and 44 for the Wynn portion of the program and it promises to be epic. Goldie is responsible for the nighttime festivities as she has been out the Vegas a lot for work recently and has promised to scout out the best place for the four of us to hunker down for one crazy blow night of music, table service and awkward dancing (provided by 44 of course). This should rank fairly high on the ridiculous scale since we are basically the old folks at the club at this point so I am sure we will drink too much and hilarity will ensue.

If I can get more time I will put some more meat on this bone with later posts, but for now this quick hitter will have to do!

Oct 20
by Don

It’s like I always say, if given a chance the gambling gods will strike down on with the cruelest of intentions.  Sports betting seems to be the worst of it because you have to wait a period of time when your money is tied up in a “Future” and anything can happen.

I am not one for Parlays per say, but I have a friend who wanted to get a three team parlay that would have a nice pay day if it were to hit and who am I to stand in the way of a man and his crazy dreams?  So I siddled up to the book at Paris and put down $200 to win $1200 on two favorites and a slight underdog. 

Now there are ways to lose a bet, and then there is the HBC (head ball coach).  The Gamecocks were only 10 seconds away from punting the ball and running out the clock for a 14-10 point win and a cover (the spread was -3).  But Spurrier wanted to make sure that Miss. State wouldn’t get a chance to even touch the ball as he instructs the punter to take the ball and walk out of the back of the endzone for the last play of the game.  He does and the safety ends it, 14-12.  No cover, No win. 

The only saving grace is that this was the first game of the three and although the other two cover, I am told that the agony would have been greater if this was the last game and then this would have happened.  I am not sure, it was brutal anyway you look at it if you ask me.

There were other bets won and lost for sure, but this one stung.  All there is left is the ticket that if not for the last few seconds of a meaningless midseason SEC conference game would have been worth $1400.  Thanks HBC!

Apr 18
by Don

I still owe you all more from our March Madness trip, but 44 was kind enough to drop a top ten list on us and who am I to refuse such a gift. So without further ado…

1. This year our approach was better (and more profitable) because we got some outside help. We bought a pick pack from an expert on VegasInsider.com and we also religiously read Chad Millman’s blog on ESPN which is full of sharp money tidbits. We combined their opinions with our own and the mix worked really well. When I got back I totaled up all my bets for the trip and realized I ended up $1500! That mainly happened thanks to a big 3-0 run late on Sunday, the last day of the trip, when I had several parlays in play (thanks Cornell, Xavier and Duke for all covering!). Unfortunately I blew most of my winnings at blackjack, but what can you do.

2. I like money line bets on the underdogs, particularly with the lower seeds in round two. This year the money line paid off very nicely on many second round underdogs, such as Northern Iowa, Cornell, Washington, etc.

3. Conversely, in doing some reading after the fact, I also like the concept of parlaying the money line on a few heavy favorites in the second round. I didn’t place a bet on that this year, and I’m lucky I didn’t, because most people bet Kentucky-Kansas on a money line parlay in the second round and lost a bundle when Kansas was upset. But, in most years, that bet would have worked really well. I will definitely be looking at the odds next year and will strongly consider a second round money line parlay on 2, 3 or 4 of the number one seeds to win outright.

4. This year’s trip was the best we have ever had, because we kept the group small and we all had the same mindset of focusing on the games and our handicapping. Most March Madness (MM) trips get derailed by day two or three, because there are too many late night distractions – night clubs, strip clubs, all night blackjack marathons – and the focus on good handicapping goes away. You can see this easily by going to the sportsbooks before the first game tips off each morning of MM and looking at the crowd. On the first day of MM, the books are packed and everyone is focused on the games. By day three, the books are very quiet before the first games, and the crowd shows up around the start of the second set of games, looking crazy hung over and with no clue who is even playing, much less who to bet on. We fell into that trap in years past, but not this year. Our focus this year helped us come out on top.

5. The Mezz at Planet Hollywood was a nice place to watch the games, but I was really jealous of those who got a secured seat an Emril’s Stadium in the Palazzo. That place is MM heaven. I hope we’ll be there next year. We’ll see.

6. Thanks to Don for tricking the staff at Paris into putting a rollaway bed in our room. 44 and Hollywood appreciated not having to sleep in the same bed this year.

7. All time classic MM moment, one I will never forget: Northern Iowa’s Farokhmanesh taking that three point shot to kill Kansas late in the game when up by only one point and with 30 seconds still left on the shot clock. The Mezz went crazy. Everyone literally freaked out when he took the shot. It was an incredible sportsbook moment. Especially for those of us who had Northern Iowa on the money line!

8. Every year I am tempted to suggest we bring the girls along. I know if Don and I brought Lori and Goldie, it would get us out of some trouble when we got back home. Leaving the girls home alone for 5 days isn’t a popular decision. But frankly, as reinforced this year, it is a necessity. We did the trip “right” this year, because we really focused on the games and we used our dinners and free time each night to handicap the next day’s games. There is no way bringing the girls along would be compatible with this type of trip. Sorry Goldie.

9. There is something about the first and second half lines that make them seem more exploitable than the full game line. I think this is partially due to the fact that very little attention is paid to those lines, so I get the impression they can be beat. I didn’t have a particularly good record betting first halves this year (although Hollywood did), but I want to continue to explore that angle as a possible way to beat the books.

10. Based on my observations of the MM games this year, I am working up a special formula called the “Explosiveness Quotient” that may factor into my handicapping next year. Stay tuned….

Overall, it was simply an amazing trip. There is nothing like MM in Vegas. I can’t wait for next year. I guess the only question at this point is whether there will be 64 teams or 96 teams to bet on!

Mar 29
by Don

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.

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