Behind The Betting Lines 2/4/2005

by T.B
Courtesy of
2/4/2005 2:01PM EST

Behind The Lines Vol. 22: Super Bowl XXXIX Edition

Well we’re finally here, Super Bowl weekend.  I can’t believe another season is coming to a close, went by fast didn’t it?  Before we get into this game and all the surrounding hoopla, there was one interesting story from the last week that I’d like to share because it didn’t really make a lot of headlines and you might’ve missed it.  Since it’s my last column for awhile, you’ll just have to indulge me.

Did you catch the wild and whacky story from the ABA this past week?  Ashley McElhiney, a 23 yr. old former point guard from Vanderbilt, was the first female coach of professional men’s basketball team.  She had led her team, the Nashville Rhythm, to a 17-7 record to start off this season.  However during a game last week one of the team’s co-owners, Sally Anthony, tried to fire McElhiney during a game because McElhiney continued to use a player that Anthony wanted benched.  Anthony eventually had to be escorted off the court by security.

Two things about this story.  First, I had a female coach when I was in high school and out of the 3 coaches I had in my high school hoops career, she was by far the most knowledgeable.  The other two were clowns.  Obviously McElhiney knew her stuff too if she had the team off to that good of a start.  Secondly, how about that co-owner, huh?  Not surprisingly there was a follow up to this story a couple days later.  Anthony had to be taken to the hospital after a 911 call claiming she had mixed booze and Xanax.  “I wanna party with YOU Lee Harvey …”

Oh yeah, I also caught my first episode of Celebrity Poker on Bravo last night.  Will the U.S. government just get over itself and legalize gambling already?  In fact, if you brought a Martian down here, and let them watch TV, listen to the radio or read the newspaper, do you think they would say gambling was legal or illegal in this country?  Every department store in the country now sells take home Hold ‘Em games.  So why not just make it official?  One other thing about the episode I caught last night: will somebody please end the Jason Alexander-era?  It’s almost getting to the point where I can’t watch a Seinfeld re-run anymore.  Watch this guy in public appearances, he is a sleaze.

Alright, onto the Super Bowl.  First off I have to say I’m really surprised by the prevailing attitude in the Boston area this week.  I haven’t heard one person on the street say they think Philly has a chance of keeping it close, never mind a chance to win the game.  How can that be?  Are their memories that short?  There’s another team that had that kind of arrogance, albeit in another sport: the Yankees.  Do Beantowners really want to be in that category?  Doesn’t that just take all the fun out of it?  Pride goeth before the Fall.  It’s especially astounding considering what happened to the Yankees against the Red Sox this year.

And it’s only one game, anything can happen in one game.  A sack and a fumble return, an injury, a punt return, anything.  But the confidence is having an effect on the local bookmaking action as well.  I’ve heard of some locals running – 8.5 on the game when the true line elsewhere is still -7.  And word is they still  can’t get Philadelphia action.

As far as the offshores, it’s pretty much -7 everywhere.  There is one square book I know that’s running -7.5 -105.  At first I thought this is ludicrous, like Sports Market out of Curacao running -14.5 on Super Bowl XXXVI when everyone else was running -14.  The difference is Sports Market used to take six-figure bets and this game put them out of business.  The book doing it this time takes peanuts for bets and is run by a bunch of publicity whores so they won’t get a mention here.

The game looked like it might get out of hand early, and the total number of bets still favor New England by an almost 2.3 count.  But that’s just the total number of bets and that’s a lot of Square action.  The big money is still sitting on the sidelines.  There’s no way anyone legitimate in the offshore world is going to move off 7.  Too dangerous at this point because they’ve been running that number for 12 days.  If you move off now, you get popped the other way and all the player will be risking is lost juice.

So, it’s my last column and where am I going for the Teaser of the Week?  My selections were doing fine right up until the end of the regular season.  Since the playoffs started, I’m 0-fer.  But that’s been the story for the books.  They did horrible early on, but December and January were good enough at most places to make this a more then respectable football season.  Well enough, time for the prediction.  It’s going to be close, but it’s going to go over.

Final Score: New England 27 Philadelphia 24. 

For those paying attention, that’s a gross score for the bookies because it means every teaser in the book, New England/Philly or Over/Under, will be winners.  That’s never a good thing.  Thanks for following the column this season, I had a great time writing it.  Enjoy the game Sunday.  Until next time … T.B.