Vegas and Madness

Mar 212006
Authors: /By Scott Bondy

No sleep. No money (at least at the end). Free drinks. This vicious combination is known as Vegas. We all know it, whether we’ve been there or not.

I’m not here to give you a detailed account of my trip-that would be lame. No, this column is for sports fans and Vegas lovers alike. After all, how often can you use the phrases “March Madness” and “Viva Las Vegas!” in the same sentence?

It’s a sports fan’s dream come true, I’ll tell you that much.

My brackets were not filled out until the last minute. I even had to phone home from Vegas for someone to fill them out for me online. I was trying to soak up as much information as I could. Teams like Bradley, Northwestern State, Southern Illinois and Nevada were all giving me a headache. It just so turned out that I picked every single one of their games wrong in the first round of the tournament. I looked like a complete idiot, but one thing kept me going – I knew there were other idiots out there.

My sole reason for heading to Vegas over break was strictly to bet on the first round of March Madness. The first thing that probably comes to most of your minds is that betting on the first round is just plain stupid. Too many upsets, right? Either way I wasn’t concerned. I had acquired a fondness for betting on sports from my last trip to Sin City and I had all the confidence I needed.

Now for those of you unschooled about the ins and outs of sports betting, it comes down to one thing: the spread. Oklahoma was favored to win by 2.5 points over Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A stupid bet would have been to pick Oklahoma to cover the spread. I took that bet (after far too many cocktails) and saw my $20 go to the nice people at the sports book at the Stardust. That would end up being one of the few wrong bets I placed. I ended up winning on more than 60 percent of my bets, although that didn’t dig me out of my Pai Gow Poker hole.

But the highlight of the trip came on Thursday night. A few of my buddies and I were flat broke after having been in Vegas for three days and three nights already. We were all down to less than $10, even after having hit up ATMs here and there. There was one game left for us to cash in on, though: Indiana versus San Diego State. I had to bet against the Aztecs of SDSU considering they are our Mountain West rivals. I advised everyone to throw down money on Indiana – they would surely beat the 2.5-point spread.

With roughly three seconds left in the game, my Vegas luck turned. The unthinkable happened. Indiana was up by two points (which obviously didn’t help me). I was ready to leave because even though Indiana would win, I didn’t care – I wanted my money. SDSU was about to inbound the ball. They tried, but all they could muster was a full-court inbounds pass that sailed across the court without touching anyone. INDIANA BALL.

An Indiana player was fouled on the inbounds and made his foul shots. Indiana up four.

To say the least, we put on a show for everyone in the sports book. Beer was flying everywhere, and all the grumpy old men (even those that lost) looked like they were on Spring Break with us. I still came back $600 in the hole and I’m still recovering from days of debauchery, but four days in Vegas with your buddies and March Madness is honestly priceless.

My Top 5 Vegas Suggestions

5. Stay off the slot machines until you’re at least 60 years old.

4. Take the busses. They are cheap and offer late night/early morning excitement.

3. There’s a reason why they say, “The house always wins.” Reason being: The house always wins.

2. Take all the money you plan on spending with you, leave the ATMs alone!

1. Never, ever is it necessary to stay longer than three nights.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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