A 22-year-old senior at the University of Georgia, whom we'll call Sonny Martin, has been betting on football and basketball games with a campus bookmaker for three years. What follows is a recounting of his bets during a nine-day period, beginning on Jan. 7, in which he wagered on NFL, college basketball and NBA games and after winning $295 in the first two days, played himself into a $125 hole. He is the classic case of a gambler betting foolishly after a hot start. Instead of sticking to his system of making occasional small wagers on basketball, he increased his action throughout the nine days and wound up "chasing bets"—wagering too much money on too many games in a bid to stop a losing streak.
Note: A bettor pays the bookie 10% vigorish on losing bets, 20% on losing parlays and teasers. A gambler has to win both ends of a parlay or a teaser to collect. Winning parlays pay 3 to 1 to the bettor. On a teaser, which pays 2 to 1, the bettor takes two games and moves the line on each six points in his favor; the idea is to buy a better line by risking 10% higher vigorish.
Saturday, Jan. 7
$50 STRAIGHT—Pittsburgh Stealers, minus 3�, at home vs. Cleveland Browns, AFC playoff.
( Steelers win 29-9, covering spread; Martin wins $50.)
$25 PARLAY—San Francisco 49ers, minus 18, vs. Chicago Bears, NFC playoff, and 49ers-Bears, over 43 points.
( 49ers win 44-15, covering spread, and the over hits; Martin wins $75.)
$25 PARLAY (OVER TWO DAYS)—49ers, minus 18, vs. Bears and Miami Dolphins, plus 2, at San Diego Chargers, AFC playoff on Sunday.
(Martin wins front end of parlay, waits for Sunday result on back end.)
$25 STRAIGHT—49ers-Bears, over 43.