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Want The Truth About the NFL? Ask a Gambler

The past few days I've been trading emails with an old friend over the upcoming Dallas-NY Giants game. He is a well-off soul (thanks to the generosity of pre-sub prime crisis Wall Street) and he always has interesting perspectives when it comes to sports—and life.

Everything with him comes down to money. He is a big-time NFL gambler, As a matter of fact he spends most of his weekends at the Mirage sportsbook in Las Vegas. This week, since his Cowboys are playing my Giants, I asked if I could interview him. He gladly obliged as long as he could remain anonymous.

JF: Are going to lay the three points against the Giants this week?

GA: You know I never bet a Dallas Cowboy game—unless it's the Super Bowl.  No, I stay away from them, and I tell all my partners to do the same. You know, they stink against the spread. I think they are 6-12 or something in their last 18 games. The Giants play pretty well on the road, too. Either way, I'd lay off this game.

JF: How do you think they will do in their last three games? And—can they make the playoffs?

GA: Nothing this team does surprises me. I wouldn't put it past them to run the table, but that would be wishful thinking. Nor would i put it past them to take a dive.  The coach sucks and the quarterback freezes up in the clutch. That's not a good combination.  This team is a far cry from the Landry and Staubach teams.

And even a farther cry from the Jimmy Johnson-Troy Aikman teams. I thought Jerry Jones was good football man until he brought in Wade Phillips. His father was called Bum, but he's the real bum. They're going nowhere.  If they make it into the playoffs, I feel it will be the same old story...

JF: What teams right now do you see as serious Super Bowl contenders?

GA: In the AFC, I have a feeling that Tennessee will get knocked off. They don't have the offense to compete in a shootout and I think that is essential if a team is going to win a championship.. I don't like any of the East or West teams, so that leaves the old stand-bys—Pittsburgh and the Colts. In the NFC, the Giants are still the team to beat.

I know that's what you wanted to hear, so I'll tell you.  But I like this Carolina team, too. They run the ball and have a potent offense. I hate to say it, but Philly is coming on, too. I hope they lose every game, but they won't. Instead, I'll bet them right into the Super Bowl. I'm not dumb - you know. The Mirage will be comping me courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles.

JF: That's great. Now answer the question...

GA: I like the Eagles and Colts in the Super Bowl, OK?

JF: What players do you follow, if any..?

GA: Well, I just started getting back into fantasy this past year. My QB is Drew Brees, and he's been terrific.  He reminds me of an old AFL QB the way he looks to go deep all the time. I also have Michael Turner and Larry Fitzgerald.  San Diego was foolish to let Turner get away, and Fitzgerald is just great.

JF: Do you have any advice for Detroit Lion fans?

GA: First, I hope the bailout turns the US auto industry around.  I have been eyeing up those stocks and am contemplating buying a block of one—if not all—of those companies. Without those companies, the city of Detroit will collapse and the Lions will be forced to move. But, on a football level they need to build through the draft.

If you look at their drafts, they've been terrible. What are their scouts looking at? The fans will be rewarded, but it won't be for awhile. The league is set up for teams to turn things around quickly. Look at Miami and Atlanta.

JF: How about the BCS? Will their be a playoff system soon?

GA: No way. Who would it serve—the fans? Who cares about the fans. There's too much money involved to unravel it right now. College football is a gambler's paradise, plus the bowl money is too good for some conferences to vote for a change.

The networks are all wrapped up in contracts for the next five years or so, too, so I can't see anything happening until those commitments run out.

JF: Well, thanks GA. Good luck this weekend.

GA: I'll see you in Lake Tahoe for the Super Bowl.

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