Don’t bet on Rox; let it ride on the Broncos

Bits ‘n’ pieces ...

■ I recently took to the road in search of the Holy Grail, or easy money, whichever came first.

I found neither.

Unearthed, however, was maybe the most optimistic bet any one person could make: The Colorado Rockies apparently still have a chance to win the World Series — meaning they have not yet been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Got a spare $10? Spare $100?

Fly, drive, hitchhike or peddle as fast as you can to Mesquite, Nev., and get your bet down. The Rockies will earn you a quick $355 for every buck you bet.

That’s right. If Troy Tulowitzki can just get healthy, Carlos Gonzalez goes off as he can, Todd Helton resurrects his career one last time, Christian Friedrich finds the strike zone a bit more often, Drew Pomeranz becomes a bit more consistent — and if all the stars align just the way they are supposed to — the Rox, almost 13 games below .500, still have a chance to win it all.

I actually asked one of the fellas behind the counter at the Casa Blanca sports book in Mesquite if he knew of anyone making such a bet, and he responded with a rather incredulous look, followed by, “Are you kidding me? No one would be that stupid.”

Not even Yours Truly.

Instead, I took my hard-earned money and bet it on the Rockies to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on the night Jonathan Sanchez made his Rockies debut, thinking the struggling lefty just acquired for Jeremy Guthrie would appreciate the change of scenery and a return to the National League from the much-tougher American League where he had toiled with the Kansas City Royals.

Easy come, easy go.

■ Continuing our betting theme, what a difference a quarterback can make ... at least in the eye of the betting public. The Denver Broncos, of course, acquired one Peyton Manning in the offseason and have gone from roughly 50–1 to win the NFL’s Super Bowl prior to the start of last season to the current 12–1 to 14–1 to win it all. And that is with the second-toughest schedule in the upcoming season, according to opposition won-loss records.

The Broncos rank as the sixth or seventh most-popular Super Bowl pick, according to popular bookmakers like MGM, LeRoys, and Bovada. They rate ahead of the defending champion New York Giants and perennial toughies like Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

The top pick with most is Green Bay, with the Pack somewhere around 5–1 or 6–1. New England is second choice at about 8–1, with the 49ers and Dallas running at 10–1.

You can get a little more bang for your Bronco buck now in Mesquite at the Virgin River or Casa Blanca at 14–1.

■ One of the big betting surprises I encountered in looking at futures proposition bets was on Tad Boyle’s University of Colorado basketball team — an up-and-comer to be sure.

Boyle’s Buffs stunned everyone last season by winning the Pac-12 conference tournament to earn a rare NCAA tournament berth, where they advanced to the third round. The Buffs were at 55–1 to win the NCAA title next year at the Casa Blanca, and in very heady company with the likes of Alabama, Georgetown and even Gonzaga.

Respect, it seems, is starting to rear its head in Boulder.

Not so much so for the Buffs’ football team, however, which has been picked by Pac-12 sportswriters to finish last in the conference.

■ From the Incredible But True Department comes this story from Ken Gregory, retired Central High School teaching legend who spent much of the past decade in Mesquite, working as a course marshal on one of the Nevada city’s fine golf courses.

Gregory tells the sad tale of Bill McClure, a worker at the course who was driving his golf cart up over a rain-soaked hill. It seems the cart skidded, and McClure, thinking he may crash, stuck a foot out onto the ground preparing to jump.

The foot got tangled with a wheel, and McClure crashed just off the cart path near the bottom of the hill, his ankle broken so badly the two major bones were snapped, with one of those bones sticking out of the leg.

Another course worker came upon the scene and was attempting to help McClure when two golf carts skirted past the accident scene rapidly, with the rider in the last cart screaming, “Oh, how gross,” on the way to the next tee box, where the foursome casually teed off and continued on its merry way.

Here’s hoping every member of that foursome that passed so callously never hits another ball square, never makes another four-foot putt, nor wins another bet.

Come on karma!

Rick Jussel is a former Daily Sentinel sports editor (think Dark Ages) and journalism teacher at Grand Junction High School, who belongs in the Armchair Quarterback Hall of Fame, if only there was one.


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