Both my father’s and husband’s birthdays are the same week as The Kentucky Derby, so watching and betting on the race is a family tradition. This year I picked the winning horse, the third place horse, and… drumroll… the last place horse. As we laughed while Mom cashed in our winning tickets it dawned on me that after forty years living in Nevada I have no clue how to bet on anything. Give me a paragraph in Latin and I can pick out root words to decipher the gist, but if you throw numbers at me it’s all Greek.
My husband loves sports; NFL, NBA, MLB and college football–Go Irish! When we were young he’d talk me into going to the sports book where our long-time friend, Steve Mikkelson, worked and we’d pick some teams for fun. I never understood parley cards, or odds, or why a team was “getting” or “giving” points, overs, unders… God help me if someone said, “Yeah, they’re getting 5 1/2.” Who the hell gets half a score and/or gives the other team points? Which makes me a lame Nevadan where gambling has been legal forever.
As I said, Greek to me.
Back to the Derby, after I won I spoke with Steve who is an expert on sports handicaps and betting. He’s worked in the industry for thirty years, running the lines and managing several sports books in both Reno and Las Vegas, raking in big for the casinos. Now he’s helping people understand how to bet and beat the house.