Monday, June 6, 2016

Muhammad Ali's 50 Opponents

Muhammad Ali's Opponents

Boxing, like football, is a brutal sport that takes a toll on a man's body. But beyond the physical pain lies a spiritual darkness that seems to follow many boxers after they leave boxing, as if there's no escape from the karma of having once entered the ring. Witness the fate of those among the 50 men who stepped into the ring with Muhammad Ali:
  • Tunney Hunsaker, the first opponent, spent nine days in a coma after a bout.
  • Trevor Berbick, the final opponent, was beat to death with a steel pipe.
  • Herb Siler went to prison for shooting his girlfriend.
  • Tony Esperti went to prison for a Mafia hit in a Miami Beach nightclub.
  • Alfredo Evangelista went to prison in Spain.
  • Alejandro Lavorante died from injuries sustained in the ring.
  • Sonny Banks did, too.
  • Jerry Quarry died broke, his mind scrambled from dementia pugilistica.
  • Jimmy Ellis suffered from it, too.
  • Rudi Lubbers turned into a drunk and joined a carnival.
  • Buster Mathis blew up to 550 pounds and died of a heart attack at 52.
  • George Chuvalo lost three sons to heroin overdoses; his wife killed herself after the second son's death.
  • Oscar Bonavena was shot through the heart with a high-powered rifle outside a Reno whorehouse.
  • Cleveland Williams was killed in a hit-and-run.
  • Zora Folley died mysteriously in a motel swimming pool.
  • Sonny Liston died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas. Many still believe the Mafia killed him.
- from

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Bet College Football

1. Treat this like a business...Don't bet on a game just to have action. Only bet on games you feel good about. (Corollary: don't bet on too many games at the same time. Too many games means risking a push, which means you lose the juice).
2. Don't ever play a parlay or teaser. These are in the books favor: even if you win a couple, over time the payout will be negative. Too many players use parlays to rescue bad days. Also hitting parlays early in your career can give you the wrong impression about their true odds since the ROI is negative over the long haul.
3. Generally bet around the same amount on each play. You can do this as a percentage of your balance (5%) instead of a set sum. Using percentages, as your bankroll goes down, so do your wagers. Another way to calculate bet size is to use the Kelly Criterion to calculate bet size.
 4. A good rule of thumb is if you like the favorite or over then play it early in the week and if you like the dog or under, wait til right before game time to place the bet.
5. Take advantage of books like who give you +juice like +105. Heck placing those bets it is like you are the bookie.
6. Don't buy any points. Fact: the spread only comes into play 17% of the time in the NFL (data applies if the spread is not double digits). The juice you pay on losses can never be made up if you buy points regularily. It may save you from time to time but over time this will crush you. (selling points can actually be profitable if done judiciously. is a great place to sell points).
7. Know where the action is. This doesn't mean you cant play public plays but try to avoid them as much as possible.
8. Do NOT trust anyone, but listen to everyone. 85% of the people who wager are losers. A lot of information you are going to see in here, and other sites like this one, is going to be incorrect. Many systems will be discussed. The reason why you should read everything is because someone may have that one idea, or thought, that can change your mind. There could be that one angle or stat that you were not aware of that could change your mind. Most of the time, it will take you off of a wager, but occasionally, it may help you choose a team to wager on.
9. Sometimes the best wager is NO wager at all. Passing on a game guarantees that you will not lose. If you are not sure about a game, pass. If you hit 56% of your wagers you are doing well, so why gamble on something you are not sure about?

 Playing underdogs versus the Money Line: One strategy is playing all underdogs on the ML (ML= Money Line. You are betting the outright straight up winner without regard to point spread). The betting strategy is like this: you play the spread for the favorite when the line is 7 or greater and then put a small fraction of that bet on the ML. Since it's a small % of your bet that you're losing on the ML versus winning on the spread, it isn't too bad. And then your ML wins are kind of like insurance.
most of the guys who play ML...they play the ML faves which is dumb...playing ML faves is definitely a losing proposition over time. For college football, playing ML dogs is the way to go especially if the line is low like 6 or less...better odds than playing the spread and with so many games the lines are looser.
It's a good idea to always play the money line on underdogs. That way you can collect on the + money (underdogs are given for example as +200 - bet 100 to win 200). Better to collect the juice than pay it. Personal sidenote: It's more often that I see underdogs winning in the NFL than in college. Also, if a top 25 team is an underdog against an unranked team, always bet against the ranked team. Consider their top 25 ranking an impediment against the line being even more against them than it already is.
Good Sports Books for Betting Underdogs  5Dimes, and are great books for playing underdogs. Also take note of razor sharp books like Pinnacle Sportsbook. They have opinions and are usually right - watch for the "PINNY Lean" as discussed here:

 Information culled from Also heed the advice of sharp posters like trentmoney and sites like

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don DeLillo - Total Loss Weekend


 Columbia-Princeton ended 0-0, and the radio is now used exclusively to harvest scores. We hear from the Appalachians, the Ozarks, the Mississippi Delta. In the Rockies they are nearing the end of the first half. Here it is all over, the land in shadows, but in California there is sunlight everywhere, captive happiness and soft beginnings, a flurry of first-period scores. The radio is an instrument of geography. Beyond the numbers it gives, there is a sense of prairie mystery.
 CJ is dead in East Lansing. He is dead and buried in Pittsburgh. He is long dead in New York. He is dying a slow death in Oakland. Before the night is over he will have died in Kentucky, in Mississippi and in Oklahoma. Through the radio he breathes the air of our mysterious and lonely continent.

CJ and Chance Events

When CJ reads or hears about an unusual event, such as two ships colliding in mid-ocean with great loss of life, or a Latvian brother and sister separated during World War I who learn they have been living on the same street in Bridgeport for the past 47 years, he usually says: "What's the odds on something like that?"

CJ and the Weather

 CJ fears the weather most. He remembers waking up on the morning of Dec. 31, 1967 and turning on the radio and hearing a voice that sounded like the judgment of God (Him again). The voice said: "It is 13 below zero in Green Bay, Wis., site of today's NFL title game." Bad weather usually favors the underdog because it tends to neutralize superior strength, to atomize and equalize. CJ has the Packers 100 times and he is giving seven points and God has made the temperature drop to 13 below. The Packers win in the last few seconds but they fail to beat the spread.

CJ tries to use the weather like a tribal conjurer. One day the radio reports tornadoes in Kansas. It is Saturday evening and CJ tries desperately to find a college football game being played in Kansas that night. Finally he comes up with two small, small colleges—names he no longer remembers. He wants the points. He's dying to take the points. He will sit by the radio, all night if necessary, to wait for the final score of what is bound to be a windswept and topsy-turvy game. He feels sure the underdog will come through for him because he knows, he has always known, it has been basic knowledge for many years that bad weather favors the underdog because it is a neutralizer of ability, experience and talent, an atomizer and equalizer, and he is ready to wire his mind into the desolate roar of Kansas, for a full night if need be. But his bookmaker, Bernie-Sherm, has no line on the game in question because the two schools are exceedingly tiny, obscure and pathetic, assuming they exist at all.


 The Saints fumble on radio and the Browns fumble on TV. As time passes CJ becomes so repelled by the Saints that he switches to the Jets-Dolphins, even though he has no action on this game—an almost unprecedented move. A bit of stray sunlight forms a bright swatch on the TV screen and CJ puts a piece of cardboard under the blinds to reinforce the dimness. But the Browns are not worth looking at this day. They are playing bouncy-ball all over the field and it is becoming clear that CJ's weekend will have few redeeming features.

Pulse pulse pulse. Scores from Atlanta, scores from Baltimore, scores from Green Bay. We find ourselves pointing at the screen every time a score materializes. This enables us to pin the score, remember it, interpret it, hate it and fear it. CJ needs two touchdowns in Minnesota. He needs a touchdown and a field goal in Green Bay. He needs divine intervention in Washington. Pulse pulse. He has fallen behind in Cincinnati. He is virtually dead in Minnesota. He is coming back to life in Atlanta and Baltimore, but it is all too sudden, happening too fast, final scores beginning to flood the screen, and now we are confronted by the man at Network Control who manipulates a revolving scoreboard, and CJ is trying to read around corners, pulse pulse, mugged in Washington, slashed in New York, drawn and quartered in Cleveland, his stomach fluids gradually carbonating, his heartbeat interrupted by each new score, pulse pulse pulse pulse pulse.

- Don DeLillo
Total Loss Weekend
from the November 27, 1972 issue of Sports Illustrated