National Columnist

Late Buckeyes TD swings millions, reminds me why I don't gamble

This story here, this one right here, is why I don't gamble. And why I don't understand people who do gamble.

Hey, it goes both ways. I do things you don't understand. Me, I like to box. The better the opponent, the harder he's willing to go, the more fun it is. When I get a black eye I can feel it happen -- and I've literally stopped sparring, given the other guy a high five and thanked him for the badge of honor he just gave me. And then waded back in for more.

We all do stuff that someone else will think is crazy, is my point.

Gambling is one of those things I think is crazy, and it's for reasons like the Ohio State-Northwestern game. Pretty much, everyone who bet the roughly six-point line on that game saw their bet change with time expired when Northwestern was throwing laterals all over the place until a lateral bounced into the end zone, where the Buckeyes fell on it for a meaningless touchdown they didn't need.

Only, not so meaningless.

Apparently $100 million swung on that play.

And it swung away from the house, and into the pockets of bettors. If you're one of them, great. Congratulations, I guess, though that swing will probably cost you money down the road because it's a swing like that one -- sort of like that perfect swing on the golf course -- that brings you back for another round. Or in this case, another bet. The next swing might be good, too. And the next. But eventually the swings go bad. They always do.

I quit golf, by the way. Not enough good swings. Too many bad swings. And all I ever lost on the golf course was a green's fee and a few hours of my time.

The idea of losing money -- real money, big money -- makes no sense to me. Especially when the money is won or lost for reasons you can't control. That's why gambling seems so dangerous to me: You're throwing your money into the wind and hoping it blows in the right direction. Sure, you can do research and have knowledge about this team and that one and this system vs. that one, and how these injuries will (or won't) affect one side as much as people think.

But the people in Vegas are pretty smart, you know. They make those betting lines right where they make them for a reason. The reason being, it's their job to fool you into throwing your money into the wind.

And the oddsmaker is the weatherman.

But gambling gets people fired up about sports. Some people need fantasy sports to really get into the game. Some need to gamble. Whatever it takes, I'm glad you're there because you care about sports and you're reading about sports and maybe one of these days you'll come back to my website and click on one of my stories.

I just don't understand why you do what you do.

No, on second thought, yes I do. It's a rush, a thrill, the same thing I'm chasing when I'm chasing a boxer around a ring. And to be completely honest, I know exactly why I've never chased that rush by starting to gamble.

Because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to stop.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.
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