When Pete Rose finally admitted to gambling on baseball, he took care to say that he always put money on his team -- never against.
Perhaps that was the wrong philosophy.
Gary Mercer, a lifetime Pirates fan, decided to see just how much money he could make by betting on the Pirates to lose. Yes, to lose -- this coming from a Bucs fan. Mercer laid $20 bucks on every game and earned more money than an IRA, with 9.98 percent earnings on a $3,250 investment. He walked away with a total profit of $324.24, which could have been much higher had the Pirates not ripped off a five-game winning streak in September. For our entertainment, Mercer kept a spreadsheet of all of his bets , plus several other goodies.
Mercer began by taking just the line, which Vegas put against the line, meaning Mercer didn't bet $20 to win $20. For example, the first loss of the season for Pittsburgh came on April 8 with a -151 line, netting Mercer $13.25.
He bet the line for a while before dabbling in betting the runs to make more money, also throwing in a combination of the straight moneylines and run spreads. He deviated from $20 per game just once, when he could'nt resist a Charlie Morton start (2-12, 7.17 ERA in 17 games over 79 2/3 innings) on September 5 by betting $29.09 on runs. He walked away with $40.73 dollars as a result.
Mercer published a profit chart, which you can see below. He also created home/away splits, which indicate that Mercer lost $111.47 when the Pirates played at home thanks to a 40-41 home record. The away record of 17-64 (wow) was what enabled Mercer to go into the red with an away-game profit of $435.82.
-- Evan Brunell
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