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Anticipation, Excitement, Agony & Exultation (My First Experience With Sports Betting)

As a resident of Michigan I was raised to love ice hockey. As a nearby resident of Detroit, that meant rooting for the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight I had the privilege of making my first sports betting wager on my hometown team, and I wanted to share the experience with you.

For those of you who are uninitiated, hockey is a game played on ice where players skate around at speeds up to 25 miles per hour shooting a black disc called a puck. The puck is shot around 90-100 miles per hour at a goal that is placed on the ice. The team who scores more goals at the end of the game wins. The game is very physical and jokes are often made about the fights and missing teeth that hockey players have.

The league the Red Wings play in is the National Hockey League (NHL) and a season consists of 82 regular season games and a championship playoff bracketed series. To win the championship a team must win 16 playoff games in 4 series. A series is won by the first team to win 4 games. The team that wins the championship is awarded the Stanley Cup, a trophy that has been awarded for more than 100 years and is perhaps the most famous trophy in the world of sports.

Entering todays game, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves in a 0-3 series hole against the San Jose Sharks. What this meant is that San Jose only had to win one more game against the Wings and they would move on to the next round of the playoffs. For the Detroit Red Wings it was simple; win or go home.

Looking at the odds on Legends.com, I noticed the Red Wings were actually favored to win tonight's game. Noticing the point spread the Wings were giving +1.5 goals with a payout of +225 on the spread. Every game in this series had been close, with the winning team only edging the other by one goal, a stat which rarely happens consistently during a series of games (a lot of teams win by 2,3,4 or more goals).

I decide to take the Red Wings with the spread, hoping they would beat San Jose by 2 goals or more. At this point I am feeling nervous, but anticipating the game tonight.

6 minutes and 22 seconds into the game I get a great sign of things to come. Red Wings forward spins into the San Jose zone and curls with the puck, flinging a backhanded shot at the goal. It goes in! GOAL DETROIT RED WINGS! They are now up 1-0 and if they keep it up I will be on my way to an easy payday.

Just under 12 minutes of game time later things are looking even brighter for me. Detroit team captain Nicklas Lidstrom, a Swedish hockey legend has put two pucks into the back of the San Jose net giving the Wings a big 3-0 lead. Things have never looked brighter and I am starting to find ways to spend my surely won money.

Not so fast.

15 seconds after Lidstrom's goal makes it 3-0 San Jose forward Logan Couture gets a lucky (and I mean LUCKY) bounce off of Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard making it 3-1. A twinge of nervousness hits me, and while still confident I decide to not count my money just yet.

The second period starts off slower than the first, with no real action going on goal scoring wise. Hits are flowing and the game is going along slowly. I can sense San Jose creeping back into this game and the crowd is not nearly as into things as they were earlier. Just after the midway point of the period a San Jose player gets a great shot off and puts the puck into the Detroit net making the score 3-2 Red Wings.

I start getting really nervous, and a few swear words start coming to the edge of my lips. Detroit holds on and we head to the third period with the Wings still up 3-2.

It wouldn't stay that way.

1 minute 14 seconds into the third and final period, San Jose Shark sniper Dany Heatley snaps a shot into the Detroit goal. My sure thing Detroit 3-0 has evaporated to a 3-3 tie and I am in agony.

The third period plays out with momentum shifting both ways repeatedly. For every good Detroit chance it seems that San Jose gets two, and as time creeps down it seems more and more likely that my 2 goal margin I need is not going to happen.

I am now giving players advice on how to play, and swearing and sweating and rubbing my hands together. It is awesome.

With 1 minute 27 seconds left to go and their playoff lives on the line, Detroit forward Darren Helm gets a rebounded shot right on his stick and fires a shot into the back of the net! Detroit is going to win this game, and even better, there is a chance that I can still win my bet!

With almost 90 seconds left on the clock San Jose is sure to pull their goalie to get an extra skater on the ice. The strategy is that the skater will generate more offensive pressure and increase the chance of scoring a goal. For me it means that a Detroit player has a wide open net to help me make the point spread.

I jump up and down with excitement. I am hooting and hollering. It is so much fun! But alas, it is not meant to be. The great ending does not result in a 2 goal margin, but does result in a Detroit Red Wings win. End score is 4-3. The series is currently sitting a 3-1 in favor of San Jose. Detroit resumes playing for their playoff lives on Sunday and I think I am going to be wagering on that game as well.

For me sports betting was great. I really enjoyed watching my bet come to fruition and seeing how it played out. I think this is perhaps my newest favorite form of gambling, with blackjack coming in second. I really have a lot to learn about betting on sports, but look forward to learning the nuances of it.

So to recap: Sports betting is great, hockey is great and I am exhausted from this violent swing of emotions I experienced today. Lets do it again on Sunday!

Game link: http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2010030244&navid=sb:recap

Poll: 
Do you bet on sports?
Yes
66.7% (6 votes)
No
33.3% (3 votes)
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usbarbadosslim93
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7 May 2011 - 2:30am
#1

Some pictures of Detroit Red Wings

stanley cup yzerman.jpgFranzen.jpg
auCL-Ed
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8 May 2011 - 12:05am
#2

That was an exciting read! But that sucks that your bet lost after being up 3-0.

They show the games on HD here so I've watched a bit of ice hockey but (and I know you'll be laughing at this) I find it real hard to follow the puck. They are near the goal, the puck gets slapped around here and there and suddenly the commentator screams goal. And I have to wait for the slow mo replay to see what happened! I like it though, its brutal, and for someone who struggles to stay upright on a pair of ice skates I can totally respect their ability on the skates.

lol

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9 May 2011 - 4:57am
#3

I am with you there. I put £20 on my football team every week (yes you guessed Chelsea FC). And I actually won yesterday using the time honoured tactic of betting against your own team in a big game! Gutted they lost to ManU but happy with a little extra change in my pocket.

Also I have enjoyed your last few blogs, they are always entertaining so keep it up!

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9 May 2011 - 7:27am
#4

Ugh Chelsea! As a Liverpool supporter I am none too happy that they lost too. But then again, picking who I would rather win the league between Chelsea and Manchester United is like picking who you would rather kiss between your mother and your sister!

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usbarbadosslim93
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9 May 2011 - 11:48am
#5
Chelsea wrote:

I am with you there. I put £20 on my football team every week (yes you guessed Chelsea FC). And I actually won yesterday using the time honoured tactic of betting against your own team in a big game! Gutted they lost to ManU but happy with a little extra change in my pocket.

Also I have enjoyed your last few blogs, they are always entertaining so keep it up!

Chelsea, thanks for the support on the blogs. As long as I can keep thinking of good things to write about I will keep the blogs coming! I have to say that my Red Wings were down to an almost insurmountable 0-3 series deficit versus the Sharks but they have found a way to stay alive. They won game 4 as they were favored to do, but last night was pure robbery on the part of the Red Wings.

They were down 3-1 with less than 20 minutes to play and rallied to win 4-3; an amazing comeback. People are saying the 0-3 deficit is near impossible to come back from as only 3 teams have ever done it, but with wins like this, coupled with a change of luck and momentum, who can really say what is impossible!

Wings in 7!!!

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10 May 2011 - 12:34am
#6

I googled Detroit Red Wings and it shows a little list of game scores and links to highlights in the search results. So I just watched the highlights of the last two games. The third goal in the first game where the Swede controlled the puck while it was in the air and then bounced it in was brilliant.

Commentary highlights: "we saw some some sick passing man", "oh that was sick, just sick"! Way too much sick from the commentary team. Smile

And from what I saw, Clowe from San Jose is a bit of a tool. So I enjoyed this hit.

You've made me a Red Wings fan now, so lets hope I don't jinx them.

And Chelsea how about my reds eh? Another 5 goal haul. Too bad we appointed Roy Hodgson for half a season.

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10 May 2011 - 2:17am
#7

I have another convert! Hockey is a great, exciting game that doesn't get the fanfare that a lot of other sports get. This is my favorite time of the year and it is not uncommon for me to stay up to watch a game that starts at 10:30 PM EST when I have to be up at 4:45 AM EST.

Yay for red eye work days!

Oh, and I root for Chelsea too. I just don't get to watch too many UEFA games here. I have to hope I have a day off to catch them!

Best sports to me:

Hockey
Football (US)
Soccer (UEFA and World Cup)
Baseball

Oh, and one more video to show off an even bigger hit from Kronwall (another Swede):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KJm-qcnnC0

usbarbadosslim93
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11 May 2011 - 2:57am
#8

Ed- You didn't jinx them by supporting them! They are on the verge of history. In the almost 100 year history of the NHL the Red Wings are on the verge of being the fourth team to come back from a 0-3 series deficit.

Tonight's game was maybe the most thrilling sports game I have EVER seen. I am speechless at this moment. Of course Legends didn't have my payment processor available today and I was going to take the spread again!

Check the highlights if you can!

auCL-Ed
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11 May 2011 - 3:06am
#9

Oh yeah nice to know I'm not the jinx, I just watched the last ?? (I nearly called it a quarter - what is it? a third or period?) while eating my lunch. Its all down to the final game now.

Did you get a bet on slim?

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11 May 2011 - 3:08am
#10

I saw it, the rink was rocking. I was a bit confused at first because normally in soccer and other sports they list the home team first on the scoreboard, and they had San Jose first but it obviously was in Detroit with all the motor city signs and the crowd going mental.

What's with the octopus or squid on the ice?

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11 May 2011 - 3:30pm
#11

The octopus is a tradition started in the 1950's by some Detroit fans. Back then it took only 8 wins to win the Stanley Cup (now it is 16). Each leg is supposed to symbolize a win, and it has become a big tradition in Detroit.

I tried to get a bet on for Detroit to beat the 1.5 goal spread, but legends.com didn't have my payment processor on their site anymore and I couldn't get it in. Sucks too, because I would have won!

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12 May 2011 - 6:02am
#12
CL-Ed wrote:

And Chelsea how about my reds eh? Another 5 goal haul. Too bad we appointed Roy Hodgson for half a season.

Dont get carried away now you're only 5th. Just keep beating teams like Fulham and Spurs then i'll be happy. Although I think you got the better end of the Torres deal, if onyl we had bought Suarez instead!

barbadosslim93 wrote:

Oh, and I root for Chelsea too. I just don't get to watch too many UEFA games here. I have to hope I have a day off to catch them!

good man you have impeccable taste!

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