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Can You Mix Football With Basketball and Survive?
by Mickey Charles

The football season, NFL and college, has just about wound down and, in the midst of spirals filling the air, along comes basketball, NBA and college versions. You begin to hyperventilate and you wonder whether you can survive the world of hoops while still agonizing over the one on the turf that covers 100 yards.

Can you really juggle a couple of sports at the same time? Why not? At this stage of the game there is little to determine in football concerning the capabilities of various teams and who you see as the odds on winner for a given game. Besides, football is easier to follow. You should have analyzed the parity ridden NFL early on and sorted out the better teams from the lesser ones. A few upsets aside it had to be a simpler matter than ever before, analyzing whether one team would beat the other by the Las Vegas driven point spread. Sure, any team could have beaten any other team on any given Sunday but there were assuredly teams that never should have lost—and did not—absent a complete breakdown of their offense and defense.

That, by the way, took place when Denver traveled to Baltimore for a Monday night game and decided to leave their game plan back in Mile High instead of bringing it with them. They simply did not show up and left the Ravens believing that they were, once again, a Super Bowl contender. Can it happen? Of course! The Broncos were an embarrassment that night. But it was an aberration; you live with it and then prepare for the next weekend.

Basketball takes the same studied effort and analysis we have always suggested as necessary for football. With football solidly in place that will not be difficult. You can mix the two sports at this incredibly busy time of the year. There is, however, a particular difference when it comes to the world of hoops.

You should have selected certain leagues in college football and become thoroughly familiar with them, to the point of being able to replace the entire scouting and coaching staff if ever called upon to do so. I hope that you did the same for college basketball and do not intend to wander outside of that circle no matter what you read, see on television or hear on sports talk shows. All of them are hypothesizing and throwing darts. They are not your points of information! You have to know whether Duke can beat Wake Forest on the road, North Carolina is better than North Carolina State, and what the home court advantage means to Virginia. Do not stray from that and you can still handle the job of juggling more than one sport at the same time.

The NBA is a different world altogether. It’s no longer the same sport it used to be. All of the revenge theories of prognosticators do not work. The back-to-back series, traveling from one city to the other of the team that you just played twenty-four hours ago, is no longer predictable. Four games in five nights have to be studied and the distance between the cities of those games noted, with travel and rest time allotted to the journeying team. If the best team always won in the NBA the Lakers would go undefeated.

“So, what do I do, can the NBA be beaten and should I get involved?”

Good question with lots of sub-parts. Get into the NBA but don’t plan on jumping into that pool and attempting to swim the length of it underwater by taking just one deep breath. Skim along the surface in a relaxed manner. Make your football selections and then turn to the NBA teams that you have been following, whose records you have been tracking, totals that are an average of their every game offensively and defensively, and historical data that shows how they do against such and such a team year in and year out in every circumstance allied with that game—i.e., travel, coming off a win, experiencing a loss the night before, where the next game is, etc.

There are an abundance of losers in sports when it comes to wagering. Proof positive of that is Nevada, where sports books usually thrive and casinos continue to have positive bottom lines. But, there are winners. You have to be one of the latter, and can be while tossing more than one ball into the air. Consider this, therefore, an endorsement to undertake basketball while firmly ensconced in football. It is not that difficult.

When it comes to the NBA, I would stay with teams on the coasts. What happens when those teams play the other entries? You study the history, current situations, injuries, and all the other key elements of the contest. But, you do not become interested when teams outside of those occupying the respective coasts of our country are involved with one another. Just a thought based upon history and winning ways.

Are there those that, like casino play, are expert in one sport over the other? No doubt. I would prefer to play Blackjack rather than any other casino game but will indulge in a round of baccarat as well as a turn at the crap table from time to time. If you think that football has been very good to you and want to now spend the rest of the year with family, traveling, working, being a fan, cleaning out the garage or basement, knock yourself out. There is no mandate that says you must have a vested monetary interest in the outcome of any game, basketball or otherwise, once the sport of your choice has come and gone. Enjoy the Lakers or Sixers without laying the points.

The question before us, however, is whether you can easily indulge your desire to wager on sports by following both basketball and what is left of football at the same time, and the answer to that is an unabashed “yes.” Not advice to do so, not a directive, not a must because it is an athletic event taking place on a given day, happens to be on television or the voice on the local radio station referred to a particular contest as a “mortal lock.” In that case, run the other way as fast as you can.

It is a business and it can be fun, especially when you are winning. No encouragement here to engage in an illegal activity, so get to a Nevada sports book or an off-shore facility that is legal in the country where it is located and over which the States does not have a firm anti this or that ruling. You can marry basketball with football. Just take careful steps to the altar.

This story was first published in the Winter 2002-2003 issue of Gambling Times Magazine.

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