Basketball Season Should Be Hibernation Time
by Mickey Charles
In the frenetic and frenzied world of the player,
where stress is the norm and anxiety is worn like a badge of honor, it
is safe to say that he or she has more than enough to fill waking and
sleeping moments with football, baseball, and assorted casino games, without
having to worry about collegiate or professional basketball.
Hockey, the NHL, and its minor league of boxing and wrestling rolled up
into one, holds as much interest for the gaming public as does sky diving
with your parachute being delivered by UPS as you stand at the door of
the plane ready to go. It will not catch up with you and neither will
some latent interest in this sport. That is particularly so when it comes
to placing a wager on one side or the other. Those that bet on the outcome
are welcome to it, it is their personal planet and the macrocosm that
evolves is of little interest to anyone else.
The gambler is besieged by statistics, historical trends, tradition,
and records from the past that, realistically, have as much bearing on
the outcome of the current event as does your carefully hand-written letter
to your Congressman. Handicappers proliferate the local newspapers, sports
magazines, and game schedules from Las Vegas and the Internet in greater
numbers than salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Everyone has an opinion.
The world of technology is rife with winning formulas. Statisticians have
determined that when Aquarius is in line with Saturn and the moon is full
the night before the big game, a particular team will win if the groundhog
sees his shadow that morning. It is the nature of the world of gaming.
The more items that are available to the person trying to make a decision
and select a team that will win the gameby the points, of coursethe
higher the comfort zone. Hey, you take all the advice you can whenever
and wherever you can, hoping that it agrees with your initial gut reaction.
Thats about as scientific as it gets.
When it comes to the NFL, there are upsets, snow storms (great under
situations), other impactful weather conditions, historical trends that
stand up like iron, injuries to take into consideration, travel, teams
peaking, others heading downhill, coaching changes, and whatever else
can be thrown into the mix before the opening kick-off. Besides, it is
a once a week sport so the anguish and pain of the game only comes on
a Saturday or Sunday (albeit lasting some three hours or so). The same
goes for college football and one must study and take notes on a particular
conference or a few studied teams during the course of the season to be
consistently on the plus side of things.
Baseball is a streak and pitcher game. The streaks are the most established,
prevailing, and reliable touchstone that the sport has to offer. There
is no sense wagering on Randy Johnson when he is a 250 to 1 favorite.
Sure, the odds are excellent that he will win but the make-up you must
endure when he loses is enough to throw the entire season out of synch.
This game is the baccarat of sports. Just follow the streaks, winning
or losing, and manage the heck out of your funds.
That brings us to basketball played at the professional level, a sport
about as unpredictable as a chameleons next color change. These
guys put on more mileage than international pilots. The time changes that
they go through are equivalent to the number of costumes Britney or Janet
bring to any performance. Their minds are playing in New York and their
bodies are still sleeping in Seattle. The mood changes of the players
rank right up there with the weather in Michigan. Just wait a few minutes
and it is everything but what you expected. They are as dependable as
a politician, which means not at all. Oh sure, you can follow the Los
Angeles Lakers and pick out some really calculable and seemingly secure
situations that might increase your bankroll but, overall, trying to determine
projected winners in the NBA should be considered with registration at
the Cuckoos Nest. Start to delve into potential over/under conditions
and a Ouija board takes on a life of its own as a source of data.
The basic problem is that the player, possibly you, cannot exercise any
degree of self-control, which makes involvement with the NBA a trip into
the black hole of space. There is no returning the same way you entered.
You are sucked in and the more you struggle to extricate yourself, the
deeper you are drawn. Not good. Pre-game determinations are dubious at
best. The ups and downs of the teams are mercurial. Erratic should be
a listing in the box score. Nothing exists in this game of professional
basketball that actually holds true to form. There is neither standard
nor history. The playoffs? Maybe. During the season? Find an ice hole
and go fishing. The NFL is still in action so concentrate your attention
Does the same hold true for college basketball? Pretty much. You can,
however, treat it, as I would urge you to do for college football. Select
some teams or a conference or two and become as expert as you can on them.
Read the books, follow the standings, determine grudge matches, games
that a team really needs, look for Duke after an unanticipated loss or
precariously close decision. Weigh lots and lots of input on the teams
within the conferencetravel schedules, exams, injuries, excessive
point spreads (the odds makers do not know much more than you about many
leagues), rankings prior to playing for position, and the March Madness
frivolities. But, do not, under any circumstances, believe that there
is formula for hoops, college or pro, other than that to which I have
just made reference. The malaise that surrounds you is usually the belief
that you know, that you really, really know, and can figure it out. Or,
possibly, you have a colleague that tells you how easy it is and how he
is always winning. Then how come he drives a Hyundai and not a Bentley?
Besides, you are entitled to rest, to take a sabbatical every now and
then. Yes, it is allowable. The basketball itself goes up and down, as
many times during the course of a game as do the bankrolls and opinions
of those who feel compelled to make an investment in the outcome of games
of the sport. There is no system, no proven methodology, streaks do not
exist, injuries to key players are almost a certain sign that the rest
of the team will overcome their new shortcomings and win the game, while
coaching decisions coupled with technicals are pro forma, helping to create
winning and losing point spreads, not actual game outcomes in most cases.
It is a great game to watchNBA or collegiate level. The athletes
are stellar and maneuver themselves in ways that other sports participants
only dream of. They are conditioned colts that can run forever, leap with
gazelles and still push a small bull elephant out of the way if need be.
They soar above the rim as easily as most of us jump over a small puddle.
Their hands are large enough to cradle Third World countries without upsetting
the countryside. Many are walking advertisements for tattoo parlors and
they make more money than the mint can print in a day. You are thinking
of covering the point spread and they have their minds on scoring titles,
parties, and big cars.
In the college ranks there are just too many teams, players, coaches
and other intangibles to allow for a definitive choice. Your knowledge
bank can hold just so much. The constant problem is trying to figure it
all out. You cannot. You must accept that as a fact. You must admit your
own failings even though you do not recognize them now. Accept reality.
There is more than enough action to keep you busy and on a winning course
with the NFL, college football, and Major League Baseball. All are easy
to swallow and there is no reason to choke on basketball.
A closing note, however. The odds makers know less than you do at the
beginning of a college basketball season and there are many, many, wrong
lines made in those first two weeks. If you can manage to study and set
some projected numbers of your own in place, then match them up against
what is put out as the line, you will learn that you know, in this instance,
much more than they do. Seek out those gamesyou will recognize themand,
once they are over, stop, collect and return to football. Discipline!
Buy yourself a big screen television and watch the guys in short pants
running up and down while you have some pretzels, chips, and a diet drink
before falling asleep. Leave the wagering on this sport to someone else
who can afford the losses.
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