Sports betting opens up a world of thrills without team loyalty
You are a Giants fan, same as your father and grandfather, and there you are at MetLife Stadium, part of a raucous blue army, your beloved G-Men driving for the go-ahead score, when some Cowboys cornerback intercepts Eli Manning and returns it 75 yards for touchdown, and yet you are secretly celebrating inside as others around you gasp in horror.
The final: Cowboys 31, Giants 21.
You are not one of the legions of true Blue fans cursing the football gods on your way to the parking lot.
Because the Cowboys were 4-point favorites.
And you bet the Cowboys to cover the point spread.
Your personal Miracle of the Meadowlands.
It is hardly a makeup call for all the games you bet and lost through the years in some wild and wacky way in the last minute — NO WAY THAT WAS PASS INTERFERENCE, YOU BLANKETY-BLANK — and that’s why they called you Mr. Loser.
Such are the heart-pounding, hair-pulling, lump-in-the-throat emotions of bettors of all 32 NFL teams inside every NFL stadium or in front of their televisions or iPhones or listening on radio on Any Given Sunday, Monday night, Thursday night or Saturday.
As much as you love your Giants or your Jets or your Cowboys or your Patriots, et cetera — you love winning your bet more.
You experience the same euphoria-or-disaster moments during March Madness, when maybe you bet No. 1 seed Virginia and never saw No. 16 seed UMBC coming, or you bet the Red Sox and Aaron Judge belts a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth, or you bet the Cavaliers minus-8 points and LeBron nails a three-pointer at the buzzer to win by nine, or when you took a flier on a 45-point college football underdog like Howard University the day they upset UNLV.
You are living, breathing proof that there is no team loyalty when it comes to betting on a sporting event.
It is why you never head for the exits or turn the channel when a game is decided — because you are held hostage to the point spread. Which so often dictates that a game is never decided until the final whistle blows.
And no matter what the politically correct NFL might say publicly, you are the biggest reason why football is the national pastime. Why FOX Sports gave the NFL $3.3 billion over five years for the “Thursday Night Football” package.
You were euphoric Monday when the Supreme Court legalized sports betting in New Jersey. It is the top of the state iceberg. The adrenaline rush you get when the team you bet on covers the spread cannot be replaced. Thankfully, it doesn’t become an obsession that forces you to Gamblers Anonymous. But risk-taking is in your DNA.
And so you will not dare turn off that dreary Browns-Colts game. When the late Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” he may as well have been talking to the NFL bettor.
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