There is this person I know, let’s call him Jim, who claims to be a “die-hard” 49ers fan. While many claim to be, this time it’s true.
Jim has been supporting the team for many, many years, even through the (very) dark days of the mid to late 2000s. He was one of the few people that stuck by Alex Smith when the whole world had given up on him.
However, Jim did something very odd recently. A few days before the 49ers/Packers divisional playoff game, he informed everyone via social network that the “Packers are going to win” he will be placing a bet on them.
“Funny,” I wondered. “I thought a die-hard fan is never supposed to go against their team no matter what. Through the thick and the thin, those red and gold goggles stay strapped on.” So I asked why he was betting against his own team. Jim responded, saying that he was trying to “make $$$” and said the Packers have the better chance of winning, stating something about their underrated defense.
As a die-hard sports fan myself, several things about that irritated me. I know it’s not my money, so who cares, but for some reason it still irritated me. To me, that is just plain wrong.
First of all, what is a die-hard fan? To me, a “die-hard” is a fan who is so blinded by his loyalty to the team that he will stick up for them no matter what. He will find the positives in the negatives. As in, “We went 3-13, but all of those losses were only by like 3! Give our talent some time to mesh, and watch out next year!”
But of course, in Vegas, the smart thing to do is leave your emotions at home. Be objective. And therein lies the problem.
Objectively, it’s one thing if this was a meaningless game in 2005 (where the 49ers were more lost than… the characters on Lost) and they were playing Tom Brady or something. By all means, in that case bet against the Niners. No big deal.
But… for the 49ers, this was a divisional game, at home (where they have been dominant in the Harbaugh era), with one of the best defenses in the league, and an up-and-coming QB. On the other side stood Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers with a chip on his shoulder because the 49ers didn’t draft him. That, and a middle-of-the-road defense, according to their season stats.
So, the facts are simply this: neither team really had any discernable advantage over the other!
Essentially, the game is a toss up!
So in this case, why not bet with your team??
Because if you look at the flip side (betting against your team), Jim won’t get a total win/win any scenario. If the 49ers lose, you’ll make some money. But your favorite team still got eliminated from the playoffs. Bittersweet… for a die-hard. But the 49ers win, you actually lost money! Your team won, but your pockets are a little lighter. Also bittersweet!
It’s a paradox! God, where’s my top?
Now, I’m a guy. I’ve been to Vegas and I understand how addictive yet fun gambling can be. When the dice are friendly and the cards are in your favor, the adrenaline rush of winning can sweep you off your feet. You feel like a king when you’re up. Conversely, when you’re down, you feel that you can come back and your luck will change any moment. And that is how addictions are formed.
Fortunately, I don’t gamble too often.
The alternative I suggested was that he bet on the other three NFL games that weekend, but he wasn’t having any of that. I decided at that point that it’s not my business and let it be.
I’m just saying though, how much money could you possibly win off of a bet like this? A few hundred?
Unless you are betting thousands of dollars (which he most likely is not), it’s not worth it, in my opinion. There were three other games that you can bet on that have literally no emotional attachment to them, so if you really want to bet, do it on those!
Funnily enough, the 49ers did win. And the question is… is Jim happy?