If you don’t believe that playing the Stock Market or other Institutional Investing is not gambling, just ask any one of the millions of people that saw their lives turned upside down and inside out in the past few months.
Now that the Arizona Cardinals are on the verge of a 50-1 Super Bowl payoff, IBM and Microsoft are looking more and more like a second rate bet.They have already quadrupled some bettors’ money by winning their first National Football League playoff games as underdogs.
Sports bettors, reacting to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, wagered more heavily this year on Super Bowl success for big underdogs such as the Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ foe in the NFL’s championship game, said Richard Gardner, who manages the sports book for gambling Web site Bodog. He said bettors also cut the size of their wagers by 10-15 percent.
“That’s just trying to hit the home run to try to help through this economic downturn, kind of buying a lottery ticket on sports,” Gardner said in a telephone interview. “People are just taking the extra-long shot.”
The strategy might pay off Feb. 1, when the teams meet in Tampa, Florida. Arizona (12-7) is a 7-point underdog to the Steelers (14-4), according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which advises Nevada sports books on gambling lines. It’s a familiar role for the National Football Conference champions, who were underdogs in each of their playoff wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles. A $100 bet on the Cardinals against the point spread in each of those games would have yielded a total profit of $300. The original $100 investment would now be $400.
The Steelers had 4-1 odds to win the title on Bodog as the post-season began, second behind the New York Giants at 7-2. Arizona’s 50-1 odds, the second-longest behind 60-1 for the Miami Dolphins, mean that a gambler would win $5,000 with a successful $100 bet on the Cardinals. Arizona isn’t the only long shot to make a championship round: The Tampa Bay Rays, who lost the World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies, started the 2008 baseball season as a 75-1 bet.
The current inclination to favor long shots is the same one that keeps lottery gambling going strong in rough economic times, according to Jeffrey Beck, a certified compulsive gambling counselor.
“In a tight economy, ‘a dollar and a dream’ seems to run pretty true for people,” Beck, a managerial assistant at the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said in a telephone interview, adding that lottery revenue is up a bit in the state. “Even in tough times, it’s a minimal investment with a maximum return.”