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Shaved Heads and the Non-Mush

By Pauly

Los Angeles, CA

The worst time to get a text from a so-called mush is the moment right after you pull the trigger on a bet. I backed Indy -3 (and the Under 42) on Thursday Night Football. My buddy Waffles is not exactly a mush… although he has displayed mush tendencies. That’s why I kinda got that moment of terror (similar to over-anxious buyer’s remorse but jacked up on tequila) when Waffles sent me a text that read: “Bet the farm on Indy.”

No. Fucking. Way.

Waffles originally sent me a text to let me know about an episode of Jesse the Body Ventura’s conspiracy theory show… which I skipped last night so I could sweat basketball. He told me to watch it because it had lizard people, but the last thing he said was “Bet the farm on Indy.” That was weird because he’s not a sports bettor. So if he doesn’t bet, he can’t really be a mush, right? Non-mush.

After I read his text “Bet the farm on Indy”, I took a deep breath. Waffles is just a good guy who slipped on a couple rough patches of bad luck thrown his way. But the guy is a fighter and despite all the obstacles thrown at him, he’s still way ahead in life. Yet, a five-word text made me feel like the paranoid character from a Talking Heads song…  “I’m just a little freaked out.”

***

We took a night off from the NBA even though we were itching to bet the Clippers. **

With college hoops on the horizon, I took time off from the pro grind to delve into college basketball. I dove right into the Pac-12 and got intimidated by the overwhelming task at the entire college schedule. Too many teams! I dove right out. There’s too much going on in the sports world anyway and I have too much on my plate which is awful because I’m supposed to be Ocelot Sports resident expert on college hoops. Ah, too much responsibility… I miss the days when I could smoke dope and sit on the couch in the darkness with a Dead bootleg cranking in the background and stumble upon a moment of clarity by picking a side in a college hoops game with the intensity and calmness of a Zen monk.

Alas, I have not done any homework yet and probably will ease into it. My formula has always been this… ignore college hoops until after the New Year, then slowly start watching games over January, while paying more close attention in February, and then ready to pounce in March during the conference tournament games and eventually March Madness. Sure, there’s plenty of value out there in the first few weeks of the season, but I just cannot devote the resources to college hoops during college football and NFL season and stay sane and still have a girlfriend. I could sense she’s being waaaaay cooler than she’d like to be with the constant bombardment of sports chatter. But then again, the Clippers are fun to watch and it’s a heck of lot cheerier than the doom and gloom I’m used to watch from all of those Stanley Kubrick faked moon conspiracy videos on YouTube.

Anyway… college hoops started but we’re not on that bus for now, we’re keeping our distance unless something jumps out.

***

Thursday Night Football. This season’s experiment of a game every Thursday gave degen gamblers another shot at donking it up. I don’t think I’d bet Indy/Jax if it was one of eight 1pm Sunday games, but since it was the  only show in town on Thursday, we couldn’t resist the temptation.

Who else aside from Colts and Jags fans were watching the game? Gamblers that’s who. Come to think of it, most Jags home games get blacked out… so even the citizens of Jacksonville couldn’t witness their team play like a bunch of chumpstains.

A couple of days ago, HAL420 spit out his recommendation for an UNDER. However, it wasn’t until the morning of the game that we decided to bet Indy -3. It was those kinda-scary shaved heads thing that got us thinking… never mess with a team on a mission. Not only was Indy looking to get revenge on JAX (the 1-7 team had their only win at Indy) for an earlier loss, but they were all fired up by their ailing head coach Chuck Pagano’s tear-jerking locker room speech. Pagano is battling Leukemia and Andrew Luck and 30+ of his teammates shaved their heads in solidarity. The dudes with dreadlocks offered their support by dying their dreadlocks orange (it’s a fighting Leukemia thing).

While coach Pagano remained in Indiana and watched the game from home, all eyes were on Jacksonville’s head coach Mike Mularkey, who went nuts in the first half with his team down 17-zip. He was so angry and having such a bad day that he couldn’t even slam his playbook down on the ground without fucking that up.

Jax was down 17-3 at halftime. Indy added a touchdown in the 3Q and took a 24-3 lead into the 4Q. All they had to do was sit on the ball and nurse the lead.

Mularkey yanked QB Blaine “Bad Porn Stash” Gabbert and put in old Dolphins QB Chad Henne. Blaine? What kinda name is Blaine anyway? Blaine sounds like he’s one of those date rapists snobs on the lacrosse team from prep school.

I never like to see a backup QBs get playing time in a blow out because they are trying to impress the coaching staff. Henne marched Jags down the field for a TD. 24-10. Too bad 75% of the attending fans had already left.

Luck responded with a drive for Indy… but they could only muster up a FG. 27-10. That’s 37 points. We were on the UNDER 42. 4:20 left in the game. We needed the score to stay that way (at worst we could handle another FG).  Henne got the ball back and cranked the Jags offense back up for one more drive to prove he should be the starter instead of Bad Porn Stash guy. It could not have been a worse spot for us. Even if Indy gave up a TD, they were still ahead by 2 scores. So their D wasn’t exactly pressing to shut down Henne.

2 minute warning. Henne and the Jags were in Indy territory. I never cheered harder for the Colts D to stop the friggin’ Jags. Sure, we had Indy -3 locked up in the back… but the last thing I wanted to do was let that fuck-stick Henne take money out of my pocket.

And then it happened. A tipped ball ended up being tipped several times like a hot potato before a freak interception happened. Indy snatched the ball and started running. Oh. Fuck. Me. Not a single Jags player anywhere. They scampered by the 50-yard mark and headed into Jags territory. Then the 40. And the 30. And luckily he ran out of gas and someone on the Jags tackled him at the 25. That was close… seriously… that was so fucking close. Indy had the ball but the classy Luck set up the Colts in a victory formation and took a knee. Thank God! Final score 27-10. Sick sweat. Seriously. Sick. Fucking. Sweat. Ship the UNDER and Indy -3.

The shaved heads prevailed. Andrew Luck and the bald-headed Indy Colts won another one for the Gipper.

——

Notes:

** We actually bet the Clippers… and they covered by 13 on the road.

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