When Is a Win Not a Win?

Phil KohenCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2009

BARRANQUITAS, PUERTO RICO - NOVEMBER 11, 2006: A fan counts his money after winning a bet on a cockfight on opening night of the Cockfighting season at the Coliseo Central De Barranquitas on November 11, 2006 in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico.  Heavy betting between the fans are made before and during the fights.  Most of the time multiple bets are made by one person of up to several thousand dollars. all bets are paid off in cash at the end of each fight.  Cockfighting, or 'peleas de gallos,' is a legal sport in Puerto Rico, unlike in the United States where some states have made it a felony.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

So here we are. The start of another NCAA Football & NFL season.

Are you ready for some football...wagering?

I want to share this anecdote.  My college alma mater, Penn State, defeated Syracuse yesterday by a score of 28-7.  The point spread on the game, at the time I reported it on 'THE SPORTS ZOO' radio show here in Vegas, was 28.5 points with Penn State as the favorite.

Now for the small few of you who do not follow Penn State football, and I know there are only a few of you, Joe Paterno has always had a lot of respect for the game and sportsmanship. 

Generally speaking, he doesn't "roll up" the score like many other teams will do to earn browny points with any potential polls. This is evident by the large number of 50, 60 or 70 points that seem to be scored every week by one team or another on game day.

As a proud supporter of my alma mater, I was delighted that The Nittany Lions took care of business. (The fact Penn State beat my wife's alma mater added a little more satisfaction!)

So I called my Dad Saturday afternoon, just to check in and chat with him, and as ususal our conversation turned to the game. The first words my Dad said to me were, "They didn't cover. They should have crushed Syracuse because they are not very good. They couldn't beat them by more than 28 points!"

I responded by reminding my Dad, that Joe Paterno does not operate that way. They won the game, they played hard and are now 2-0.

Did I miss the memo that the wager is more important than the actual win for your favorite team?

One solution would be to not bet on your favorite team, so your heart and head do not clash when in that situation. You can root for your team with all the enthusiasm of a college freshman and enjoy the result without worrying about the effect it will have on a 10-team parlay that you are counting on to pay the mortgage!

That is why I can never bet on my teams: Penn State & The Giants. My passion for these teams will not allow me to lose sight of the fact that winning the game is what I really want as the result.

Now I have to admit, I place a bet now and then during certain major events like The Super Bowl, but to me, I work too hard for my money to be disappointed when my team wins but they could not cover the spread.

I watch my teams as a way to relax and escape any stress. By adding the result of a bet to the game, adds more stress, which is exactly what I want to get away from!

So I ask you again, when is a win not a win?

This should never be a question in the first place.

Until next time...