At different times in my life I’ve wagered on dogs, cows, coins, child births, lawn darts and snow. But there’s one annual event that’s proven more consistently enjoyable than anything else.
Seasoned gamblers know anything with an outcome is fair game to bet on. And as the eyes of the sporting world turn to South Williamsport, Pa., this week, the Little League World Series should be no exception.
I’ve been making bets on the LLWS every year since 2007 (the same year most of the players in this year’s tournament were born), and I can promise you, it never fails to deliver bettors more than their money’s worth.
But for those of you who think getting in on the action isn’t worth your time, here are 10 reasons the Little League World Series is hands down the most fun sporting event to gamble on.
The 10 Commandments of Betting on the Little League World Series
- If a kid makes a big mistake or your team fails to win, players get very upset. And it always makes you feel better! “There, there. It’s OK, don’t be sad. I’ll come up with the money.” I assume if major leaguers cried after they blew a game for me, I might not hate Fernando Rodney so much.
- In the majors, a grounder with two outs means “see you next inning.” In the LLWS, the fun’s just getting started. Once a ball is in play, anything can happen from a fielding perspective. It’s like watching pro ball — if every player drank six beers.
- At just six innings, games move really fast. And if you’ve got a great pitcher out there, a half inning can go faster than the ensuing commercial break.
- You can ride a great pitcher like a hot blackjack dealer, or a hot goalie in the Stanley Cup playoffs. When you discover one before the betting market corrects, it’s like secretly entering a cheat code in NBA Jam, then betting your friend on the game.
- You’ll never lose a bet because of poor effort. Every kid tries his hardest 100% of time. It’s refreshing to bet on athletes who always compete like it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals, even if they aren’t old enough to choose their own dinner.
- It’s international! The tournament’s nation vs. nation angle borrows from one of the best parts of the World Cup. And if you include gambling on it while day drinking with your friends, then it borrows ALL the best parts of the World Cup.
- After the game, you get to hear from athletes who aren’t media-savvy. A player will get asked after a game about what he was thinking during a big moment. And he’ll just tell the truth: He was scared to death! And can you blame him? Nana was watching! (I’m not trying to tease here. To be clear, I’m amazed by their skill level and poise. I’m a grown man, and I couldn’t handle anything I do being broadcast on ESPN. Like, I’m great at eating cereal, but I’d jab the spoon right into my eye if you told me millions of people were watching me, judging my technique.)
- You’re never out of it. If you’re down five runs late in an MLB bet, you can probably just turn the game off. But the tournament’s pitch-count rules and requirement to play every player in every game really spices things up.
- If you think cashing an over by halftime feels good, you should try hitting an under because of a 10-run mercy rule stoppage.
- You never lose on a bad call. Somehow, a youth-oriented not-for-profit run by a collective of unfashionable, stressed-out dads has a review process more thorough, more reliable and at least three times faster than every pro sports league in America.