Holler: Vikings a good bet … for gamblers

The Vikings will end up with a losing record, but they have been consistent winners for the gambling community in the second half of the season.

Christmas often brings friends and family together that haven’t seen each other in some time. This week, I had the chance to run into an old college buddy. We’ll call him Al, because that’s his name.

There’s only two things you need to know about Al. He’s a degenerate gambler and he bleeds purple.

This year has been the best Christmas ever for Al’s family. He has cash falling out of his pockets. By nature, he’s a college football gambler. He rarely dabbles in the NFL because he says it’s too unpredictable. Good teams play bad games. Awful teams play the occasional good game. It’s too iffy.

With one exception – the purple and gold.

Al will on bet on Vikings games and he will only bet on the Vikings. Even for a degenerate gambler, he refused to bet on the New England game or the Packers game at Lambeau because he didn’t believe the spreads were high enough.

He was right.

Other than those two games, he’s been on the Vikings all season.

As most people know, when someone bets on NFL games, there is a favorite and an underdog. This week, for example, the Vikings are a 6½-point favorite over Chicago. That seems a little high for two teams that have struggled much of the season to string together wins.

It is too high. But there’s a reason for it. The guys in Vegas know. Al knows it. Thousands of degenerate gamblers like him know it. The Vikings are the hottest team in the NFL.

Sure, teams like New England and Seattle have been stringing together wins, but in the gambling world it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. It’s who covers the spread.

Since the Christian Ponder-led debacle against Green Bay, the Vikings have been on fire for those who those who bet on the point spread.

In their last nine games, the Vikings are 7-1-1 against the point spread. The reason for the high point spread against Chicago? It may be that Jay Cutler is playing. But more likely is that the boys in Vegas don’t like people consistently winning bets and, if you’ve been betting on the Vikings over the last two months plus, you’ve been heading to the pay window Sunday night or Monday.

In Al’s case, what makes him a degenerate gambler is that he increases the bets with the more success he’s had. November was great. December has been outstanding.

When most people who know or follow the point spread saw that the Vikings were a 6½-point favorites, the first impression was that it seems too high.

It is. But there’s a reason. People betting on the Vikings are winning so often, they need to inflate the point spread to a number that will get a lot of people to jump on the other team. That’s what the gamblers are doing.

They’re forcing people to bet on the Bears – not because they’re convinced they will cover, but too many people like Al keep betting on the Vikings and walking away with bookies’ money. That isn’t supposed to happen.

By the time the college football season is done, there’s little doubt Al will be broke. This isn’t his first gambling rodeo. He’s been there before. But he’s built a nest egg for himself for the anticipated (and perhaps inevitable) losses that are likely to follow.

And all he has done is show loyalty to his hometown Vikings.

As far as he’s concerned, he’s laying the 6½.


  • The Vikings practiced on Thursday had no changes to their injury report. LB Anthony Barr (knee), LB Chad Greenway (knee) LB Brandon Watts (hamstring), WR Jarius Wright (low back) and TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle) did not practice.

  • Safety Robert Blanton (knee/ankle), G Charlie Johnson, WR Greg Jennings (hamstring), S Antone Exum (knee), RT Mike Harris (foot) and TE Chase Ford (foot) were limited.

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