Freedman: The Time I Went to a Rainy Crosstown Game at Wrigley, Lost a Parlay in the First Inning and Caught a Cold
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
The title says it all, but in case you want the story, here it is. In fact, here it is even if you don’t want it.
Our Long National Nightmare Is Over
I’m writing this on the early evening of Monday, May 14, 2018, a date that years from now will seem every bit as historically significant as Dec. 5, 1933, when the 21st Amendment was ratified and prohibition in the United States officially ended.
At The Action Network, we’re excited about today’s news.
Our long national nightmare is over. The Supreme Court has ruled the federal ban on sports betting is unconstitutional.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) May 14, 2018
Only a few times in my life have I actually wanted to climb on top of a house and sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world (to borrow from Walt Whitman and Dead Poets Society). Today was one of those times.
But I couldn’t.
Because I have no voice.
Matt, How’d You Lose Your Voice?
It’s a long story, but basically I struck a bargain with a sea witch named Ursula, and yada yada yada my voice is gone.
What Really Happened?
You’re one persistent reader. Really wearing me down with these rhetorical questions.
Last week my wife and I went to Chicago for a long weekend. (That’s right. Someone chose to marry this.) Having never been to Wrigley Field, I decided on Friday afternoon to go to the first game of the White Sox-Cubs crosstown series while my wife did stuff around the city, like shop, go to museums and do whatever people do in Chicago when they’re not at sports events.
Of course, given that I’m privileged to work for The Action Network, I wasn’t just going to the game: I was also betting on it.
The Worst Parlay Ever
I never do parlays. Ever. Except when I do. But that’s rare. Like maybe only five days per week, when either BlackJack publishes a parlay piece or John George breaks down a League of Legends slate and I parlay all of his picks because he’s the GOAT and YOLO.
But I generally never do parlays. But it was a Friday in Chicago, the White Sox-Cubs game was the first one of the afternoon, and I had a hot read on two juicy bets:
- Run total under 8 (-110)
- White Sox moneyline (+205)
Shortly before leaving for the game, I looked at the FantasyLabs MLB Lineups page and saw that the wind was projected to blow in at 14 miles per hour. In combing through the BetLabs database, I found that a bet on the under with in-blowing Wrigley winds of 5+ mph had yielded a return on investment in excess of 15% since 2005.
Additionally, I noticed that regardless of whether they’re favorites or dogs or at home or on the road, American League teams have traditionally been profitable moneyline bets against National League opponents. Specifically, they’ve yielded more than 4% as road dogs since 2005.
Since each bet offered positive expected value, I parlayed the Sox moneyline with the under.
What could go wrong?
Something Went Wrong
The Cubs scored five runs in the first inning, at which point I was drawing dead: It was mathematically impossible to win the bet.
To borrow from Prince and Sinead O’Connor, “Where did I go wrong?”
I didn’t know the Cubs were giving away Willson Contreras bobbleheads that day. Seriously, I never bet against bobblehead batters. If I had known about the bobbleheads I would’ve parlayed the Cubs moneyline with the over faster than you can say, “Matt, you’re a superstitious loser.”
Anyway, Wilson crushed a bottom-of-the-first grand slam to put the Cubs up 5-0, and my day was done.
Other than that, I had a great time, except for . . .
Matt, Didn’t You Mention Something About the Rain?
Although the Associated Press described the afternoon as “cool and soggy,” you should remember that whoever wrote that was in a press box. In reality, the weather was colder than cool and soggier than soggy, and because I really wanted to do Wrigley right, I paid up for a ticket close to home plate, so I was exposed to the elements.
By the time the seventh-inning stretch rolled around and everyone was singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” my throat was sore (and it had nothing to do with my Axl Rose-inspired pipes).
Yada yada yada, three days later I have no voice.
But besides making the worst bet ever, sitting in the cold November rain for hours and getting sick, I had a great time. I recommend that all baseball fans catch a game at Wrigley. If you go in mid-May, be sure to wear a winter coat and avoid the parlays — because you’ll definitely be wagering on the game. (Thanks, Supreme Court.)
And then you’ll be the reason it’s raining.
Pictured above: Willson Contreras hitting a home run against the White Sox