Horse racing deserves more coverage, less NFL

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I have been betting on horse racing since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

We would go to Waterford Park in Chester, West Virginia, which was around 20 miles from our home in Steubenville, Ohio. The races started at 7:15 p.m. and we would usually leave before the last race.

Our Steubenville Herald Star covered all the races and we were always looking for selections and results. Horse racing is a sport and should have the same coverage as any other athletic event, especially the NFL, which is turning more into fantasy and a me-me-me league of gangs and angry overgrown men with tats all over their bodies.

At GamingToday we do our best to cover racing and are very fortunate to have a writer like Steve Davidowitz doing his weekly column. I try to do my best with our Horses to Watch feature.

As far as the NFL, it was a sad day this past weekend with the Steelers fighting the Bengals. Sad is an understatement. Did you know when these two teams met on Dec. 13 that over $100,000 in fines were assessed to them in that game alone?

You would think the coaches and zebras would have had this game under control, especially the Cincy coach Marvin Lewis. It seems to me fantasy betting has taken over the game and it’s all about the individual player. The NFL is no longer a team sport and something needs to be done. Otherwise the game will go the way of rollerball.

We start the divisional playoffs this Saturday and Sunday and we hope to do better than last week’s wild Wild Card games. When I was a teen in Steubenville I shot pool at a place called the Arcade Pool room owned by Jimmy “The Greek” Papas, and when someone missed an easy game-winning straight-in shot on a nine ball he would always say he got the lump.

If you never gambled on yourself in golf or pool, well, the lump is a lump in your throat that can cause you to almost go blind, mostly because of nerves and that is just what Vikings field goal kicker Blair Walsh experienced. He got the lump and The Greek would always tell the player he needed some no lump coffee, which he sold right there in his little coffee shop for a dime with unlimited refills.

Saturday

Chiefs +5 at Patriots (43.5): KC goes for its 12th straight win. The last time they played was on Monday night football back in 2014 and they crushed the Pats in Kansas City, 41-14. The Pats were not very good the last two games of the season, dropping both, 26-20 to the Jets as a 3.5 point chalk and 20-10 to the Dolphins as a 10 point favorite. They have had time to regroup, and one thing we know is Bill Belichick has a long memory and will get even from that Monday massacre in KC. Brady and his bunch get the money. PATS.

Packers +7.5 at Cardinals (50): Green Bay took one of their worst losses in years at Arizona on Dec. 27, getting humiliated 38-8 when getting 4 points. In the Packers’ win vs. the Redskins we saw a very energetic Mr. Rodgers and when he comes to play he will find a way to keep his team in the game. We will take the points in a game that will be much closer this time. PACKERS.

Sunday

Seahawks +3 at Panthers (44): The Chairman of the Board used to sing “Luck be a lady tonight…” and Seattle received that luck this past Sunday with the field goal miss that was never close. In their first meeting back in October, the Panthers beat the Seahawks, 27-23, in Seattle as a +7 point dog. We see revenge here for a very lucky team. We like to travel lucky and will opt for the magical Hawks. SEAHAWKS.

Steelers +7 at Broncos: All this scribe can say is Big Ben is one tough customer! The fans in Cincy cheered when he was carried out on a stretcher. Very sad to say the least, but fans were in shock when he came back, like Terry Bradshaw would, with a cast on his arm. You just can’t keep a winner down and Big Ben is a winner. In their first meeting the Broncos won the game, 34-27, but Pitt should have won. Ben gets some extra time to recover and if he plays the Steelers get the money if not the straight up win. STEELERS.

Playoff record: 1-3

Would you drive up to the stateline and buy some lotto tickets for a shot at a billion dollars? Even if you are walking around very lucky you have a better shot at hitting an eight spot in keno or the Megabucks. You don’t need to wait in line or use your gas, and you will get a free drink.

It could do more harm if you won all that cash. Better off to just stop in your favorite book and play a three team parlay. So bet a horse, a parlay card, play some machines or see if you can get a 7-11 on the craps table. You never know, you could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GT’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Twitter: @SabesBet. Email: [email protected].

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