Tuesday, January 13, 2004 Updated: January 14, 4:36 PM ET
Being a betting man
By Hunter S. Thompson Page 2 columnist
My attorney called from Boston last week and said he would bet almost Anything on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. His voice sounded crazy and deeply excited. I could tell he had the gambling fever.
"Anything?" I asked him. "Okay. How about giving me the Colts plus 10 this Sunday? Let's take these games one at a time."
"Ten!" he yelled. "That's ridiculous! The spread is only three and a half. I would never give you 10 points. the Colts are the hottest team in the playoffs right now. They are playing PERFECT football. Don't insult me with your stupid sucker bets!"
I laughed and hung up the phone. I knew he was a helpless junkie for betting on the Patriots at almost any price. So I decided to work him a bit. I knew he would be calling back soon.
Giving 10 points to the Colts and Peyton Manning WAS a touch on the steep side, but it was not a sucker bet. The Patriots have won 13 straight games against the best teams in the league, including the Colts. And this time, they are playing at home in January.
The Colts are also a good team; but they play their home games in a dome, where the temperature rarely gets below 60 degrees -- which is a whole different world from playing New England on a frozen field.
To beat the Patriots at home, they will have to do something very special.
Winning in Boston has never been easy for visiting teams. The weather is rotten, the turf is always mucked up or frozen, and the crowds are consistently vicious and hostile.
All these factors combined, or even separately, have a tendency to intimidate visitors -- especially underdog visitors with no experience in ice storms ...
The Colts couldn't get by the Pats on Nov. 30, and that was without the windchill factor.
But so what? That is what the point spread is all about.
Boston in January is so hostile, so cruel, and so intimidating that gamblers habitually factor it into the point spread ... just as home teams automatically get three (3) points in the NFL, just for being there.
The Colts will be getting at least six, and I think I will take those points on this one. Peyton Manning is easily the smartest quarterback in the league, and he may have the best arm. The Colts are playing Super Bowl football right now, and the show they put on against the Chiefs on Sunday was awesome and just about perfect. No punts, no turnovers, and only one penalty.
But the Patriots have played every Sunday for three months without losing a game. They are even-money favorites to win the Super Bowl, while the Colts are 2-1 underdogs. This one is going to be a tall-walking bitch of a game, and the smart money is riding with New England.
The Colts have been good to me against Denver and Kansas City, so I am not about to dump them now. That would generate bad mojo and worse karma. So I will bet them again on Sunday, along with five or six points -- and nevermind what I said yesterday about the folly of betting your heart instead of your head.
Somebody's hot streak is going to end Sunday. The winners will go on to the Super Bowl, and the losers will feel suicidal, as always. Hell, I might even lose, myself, but why worry? Not even a super-gambler can win all the time.
My own W-L figures are about 70 percent for the season. I can live with that anytime, so why not bet the underdogs on Sunday? It is not entirely smart, but I am doing it anyway, gambling that both Indy and Carolina will at least beat the spread.
I am also betting that Howard Dean will win both Iowa and New Hampshire, and that Pete Rose will NEVER be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame. That truthless swine should have been put to sleep a long time ago.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.