When it comes to the National Football League, Mark Gregorich and David “ODB” Baker are the poker world’s current lodestars. After the two netted $785,623 working over a pair of NFL handicapping contests in Vegas, they became off-pitch football heroes.
A first-place finish in the Westgate Las Vegas Super Contest was good to the duo for $435,623. Then the second-place spot in the Circa Sports Million won them another $200k. To go with those already significant profits, they also won a series of quarterly pools worth another $150k.
But at the Super Bowl this weekend, anyone who was looking to follow their picks for the big game found themself balanced between the horns of a dilemma. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were up against the Kansas City Chiefs. And with the line set at +3 for a Bucc win, Baker said yes. While Gregorich, on the other hand, preferred the Chiefs.
Naturally, if you hunted around and found one of the bookies laying off +3.5 on the Bucs you might had persuaded one of them to shift. But on the consensus line of +3, neither were budging.
“[The Chiefs] definitely seems to be peaking at the right time,” Gregorich said in a recent interview. “I think they are the best team in the NFL by a significant margin. And with an extra week to plan, [they] tend to really kill it.”
Baker, on the other hand, was going with Tom Brady and the Bucs by the same small margin as when the two teams played back in in November. That time around, the Bucs won by twenty-seven points to twenty-four.
“I won’t be having the kids’ college fund on this one,” Baker said. “I will have a nice stake though, it is the Super Bowl.”
An appointment with disappointment
With the two close friends taking the opposite sides of the bet, at least one of them was going to have to come out the other end doused in disappointment. In the end, that turned out to be Gregorich when the Bucs hammered the Chiefs 31 to 9, a far bigger margin than anyone could have predicted.
The Bucs weren’t expected to do quite that well, with most pundits expecting the Chiefs to have closed the already narrow gap since their loss of 27-24 against the Bucs in November.
Perhaps this parting of opinions is a sign that B & G’s success was more luck than betting acumen. Their previous wins were heavily centered around the idea that crowd-free stadiums would favor teams with sharp quarterbacks. Crowd-free stadiums make communication between the quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs. So the duo reasoned that a good QB’s effect on the game is massively amplified by the quiet on the field.
Perhaps we should all have listened when the two humbly described themselves as “a pair of idiots drinking wine and talking football.”
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