Placing a Bet in Las Vegas

As I noted in the last article, I spent the weekend in Las Vegas. I had never been before, and I truly wonder how much electricity the city uses because EVERYTHING is lit up.

Neon signs, slot machines, people wearing costumes that look like Christmas displays. You’ll see it all in the city that — as I learned during my visit — translates to “The Meadows” in Spanish.

You’ll also see a TON of ways you can bet on sports. And since I was a newbie to the Las Vegas scene, I thought, “hey, why not waste some money?”

I saw on one of the 96 TVs in the hotel lobby that the Game 2 line of the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks series was Warriors -6.

This means the Warriors had to win by more than six points to cover the spread and win the bet. If the Mavericks won the game or lost by less than six, then Dallas would win the bet.

Perhaps you watched Game 1 of this series. And you may recall the Warriors won that game 112-87. Even if you’re not a math expert, you can probably determine that 25 is a lot more than six.

My mathematical brain did the same maneuver, and I said “huh, I bet the Warriors are a good bet for tonight’s game, too.”

I marched up to the sportsbook in the hotel lobby, past all the dudes that were sitting watching a horse race with various levels of hope and desperation.

“Ten dollars on the Warriors -6, please!” I proclaimed like I knew what I was doing.

The woman printed out the ticket and started handing it to me, then saw I was holding a credit card.

“Oh, I’m sorry, we only take cash. Do you have any?”

“I don’t, but I bet I could get some?”

She pointed me to the ATM machine, which only required navigating around 687 different poker machines. Once there, it took about six tries to successfully get money out of the ATM, and by money, I mean a slip of paper that told me to go to another cashier to get the actual money.

Who knew it was so hard to throw your hard-earned cash away?

Eventually, I got a few bills and walked back up to the sportsbook. She remembered my bet and had the Warriors slip ready.

“Did you want to place any other bets?” she asked.

The smallest bill I had was a 20, so I figured why not make another $10 bet. And because I was REALLY silly, I looked at the giant screen they had with all the baseball matchups. It looked like an airline board announcing departures and arrivals.

“Sure, how about…” I scanned the board for a minute. “The Braves moneyline and the…Brewers runline?”

Baseball bets are a bit different than basketball. For each game, you can either pick a game to win outright, or you can do the runline, which is always 1.5 runs. You’re either picking the favorite to win by more than 2, or the underdog to win or lose by one. Your odds change based on how good one team is, but it’s always that 1.5 number.

My rationale for choosing the Braves? They were playing the Marlins, who have the distinction of being regularly terrible.

Little did I know the Braves actually had a slightly worse record than the Marlins. OOPS.

I also picked the Brewers because I remember them having a good record a couple of weeks ago when I happened to see baseball standings on a television.

As you can tell, this is very meticulous work here. So, how did I do?

The Braves jumped out to an early lead, and despite a couple of scares, they secured a victory. The Brewers, needing to win by two runs or more, were tied at zero in the sixth inning. Slightly alarming, but then they scored seven runs in the final three innings and won comfortably. Already, I had essentially doubled my money.

I caught bits and pieces of the Warriors game, primarily in the first half when they were down by as many as 19 points. Again, OOPS.

Yet somehow, Golden State fired up one of their patented “we are very good and now we will score a lot of points in rapid succession” runs that they have perfected over the past several years. They came all the way back and won by nine points.

Yes, thanks to my studious reasoning, I was correct with every pick.

I collected my winnings and decided to retire on top. Should you find yourself going to Vegas or somewhere else where it’s legal to bet on sports, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t watch the game as it’s happening. It will only frustrate you.
  • Looking at a giant board with numbers on it is a good way to fool people into knowing what you’re doing.
  • Finally, please do not bet a huge amount of money on sports (or anything, really). These athletes do not know you exist and you are relying on them to accomplish something that you have zero influence on.

It feels good to leave Las Vegas with a flawless sports record. Sadly, I was not able to leave with my novelty Fat Tuesday cup, which was too big to fit in my carry-on.

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for the Crisp Bounce Pass newsletter to get more stories like this in your inbox once a week!