COLUMN: Are you a sports gambler?

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

     When it comes to gambling, I usually sit that one out. I seldom go to the casino. I’ve never bet on horses. I have been to Vegas a couple of times and maybe spent $100 total on slots.

     A few times a year I might jump into a poker game but those are usually low stakes. I do like the dog track, but haven’t been there for years. So, I think it’s safe to say I do not need to call 1-800- bets off.

     The other day Pete Temple and I discussed the point spread for the Iowa-Minnesota football game. The Hawks were favored by three points. I asked Pete about that. He thought it would be a good bet. After all, the Gophers were undefeated and ranked eighth in the country.

     The Hawks meanwhile have been having an up-and-down season. More ups than downs. Three close losses to ranked teams though has me thinking maybe I should look into online sports gambling now that it has become legal in Iowa.

     Pete the Greek, as we refer to him at the office, gave me the ins and outs of online sports betting. It would involve a trip to a casino or dog track to set up an account. Or, I thought, how about I just give someone who is already set up $20 and have him place the bet for me.

     In the end, I decided not to pull the strings on the betting line for the Hawkeye game. Turns out, I was going to pick Minnesota and would have ended up losing that bet.

     Maybe I’ll venture over to one of the casinos some day and get set up. I’m sure being a conservative better I just may end up winning a sawbuck or two. I wonder if Pete would like to accompany me to the dog track soon? I’m betting he would!

     Hawkeye Football. The Hawks are down to two more games, at home against a much-improved Illinois team and then on their annual Black Friday shootout with Nebraska. I would think they should be able to handle things at home against the Illini but anytime you go on the road, it is a challenge.

     Nebraska is just bad; they have been bad for a few years. The Tom Osborne days are long gone and they just can’t seem to find the right guy to fix the one storied program.

     With that being said, never count out a Scott Frost-coached team. I do believe they may be playing for bowl eligibility that day.

     MLB off season. The baseball season has come to an end. I went back and looked at my season predictions. Never mentioned anything about the Nationals. I had the Phillies and Twins in the series. Another indication I should stay away from sports betting.

     Soon we will see teams scrambling to sign free agent players. Some big names to watch for are Gerrit Cole, P, Anthony Rendon, 3B, Stephen Strasburg, P, Zach Wheeler, P and Madison Baumgarner, P.

     I’ll go out on a limb and predict none will be signed by the cash-strapped Cubs. Now I’m not even sure they will be able to sign their own guy, OF Nicholas Castellanos.



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