Ah, the Situation. It's not just some pseudo-human making $5 million a year while pretending to be from New Jersey but really hailing from Staten Island. (As a guy who lived in Jersey and married a girl from Staten Island, that whole Situation will burn me long after the show joins the pet rock and hermit crabs in the fad basement of obscurity.)
The Situation is also a valuable gambling strategy. It's amazing how often the Situation is employed by professionals and how frequently it's discussed in the increasingly large betting conversation. It's also amazing how little the public actually trusts the Situation.
I'm talking about the Seattle Seahawks-Baltimore Ravens game this weekend. When the game opened a week ago, the Ravens were coming off a high-profile comeback win on national television against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Seahawks were coming off three-straight losses by a combined score of 63-28. Bookmakers made the Ravens, traveling across the country to one of the more difficult stadiums in which to play, 7.5-point favorites. It wasn't up more than 15 minutes before wiseguys picked that off and bet the Seahawks, pushing the number down to 6.5, where it stayed for the rest of the week.
All week long I heard about wiseguys liking this game. Jimmy Vaccaro mentioned it in my Friday column. Geoff Kulesa of wunderdogsports.com did too. They didn't love it. No one had the game rated the way it was listed. None of the metric analysts showed numbers that favored Seattle. And it wasn't a bet-the-house game. It was a Situational opportunity, a bet made out of habit, actually out of professional obligation. The Seahawks traditionally show up at home. The Ravens were coming off of a big win, were going west, were playing a non-divisional opponent and had shown they were susceptible to playing down to opponents when they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars and barely beat the Arizona Cardinals. The fact they had won in prime time meant the line was going to open up a little bloated. When it did, bettors jumped on it. Those who didn't should have their license revoked -- if sports betting was a regulated industry. (Hello, Jersey!)
Meanwhile, by Sunday, 87 percent of bets placed on the game were on the Ravens. One 22-17 upset win by the Seahawks later, and those bettors are now chasers. It's a sad Situation.