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UCLA Football: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

While Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe aren’t that far away for most Californians, what would it be like if you could place a wager on the Bruins on your way home from work?

Delaware Becomes First State To Launch Legal Sports Betting
Sportsbooks like the one at Dover Downs Casino are bound to pop up in states across the country after a landmark Supreme Court decision this year.
Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

Great Scott! Last night, I saw...into the future!

But, before I go there, I want to remind you of a classic scene in one of my favorite 80s movie trilogies.

In Back To The Future Part II, Old Biff gives a copy of “Grays Sports Almanac: 1950-2000” to young Biff while “proving it” to him by turning on the car radio to hear a broadcast of UCLA’s 19-17 win over Washington on November 12, 1955 when Bruin kicker Jim Decker kicked a 35-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to win the game. Surely, you remember the scene....

It’s a classic reference and one of the few movie references that I’m aware of dealing with UCLA Football.

Now, I didn’t have “older me” visit “present me” last night to provide me with a copy of “Grays Sports Almanac: 2000-2050” or anything like that. Hell, I wish that was the case!

No, my friends, but I did have the opportunity to visit the Monmouth Park Sportsbook by William Hill, located at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ, where I got to have my first sports gambling experience outside the state of Nevada. That’s because, in June, the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which prohibited most sports gambling outside the state of Nevada and New Jersey is one of the first states in the nation to allow sports gambling.

“So, wait...what’s all this talk about experiencing the future?” you ask?

Simple. Sports gambling is about to spread like wildfire across the 50 United States due to that Supreme Court case as legislators in each state decide they want a piece of the action. Do you really think the California Legislature will keep their grubby mitts off the chance to put more money into the California Treasury rather than the Nevada Treasury? Of course not!

My visit to the Monmouth Park Sportsbook started simply enough. I drove to Monmouth Park racetrack and started following the signs for sportsbook parking, but they suddenly ended and we had to ask for some help. After the security guard showed us where to park, we were in and a veritable smorgasbord of activity awaited me as the big board showed the UCLA Bruins as a 17-point favorite over the Cincinnati Bearcats, among all the other various NFL, college football and Major League Baseball games you can bet on.

Not seeing the proposition I was really looking for, I asked the man behind the counter about a few other betting props involving UCLA Football. I asked about the odds on UCLA to win the National Championship Game this year. They are 250 to 1.

I also inquired about the odds of UCLA winning the Pac-12 Championship Game. Those odds were much better at “only” 25 to 1. Of course, I checked the odds on UCLA Football’s win totals for 2018. Thankfully, the over-under on UCLA’s win total for 2018 is still the 512 wins that it has been most of the summer.

But, the one that I wanted was the “over” on the Bruins’ win total for 2018. After all, I said months ago that, given the low win total expected and the impact I think Chip Kelly will have on the Bruins, I completely believe UCLA Football will win at least six games this year. How confident in this am I? I wasn’t going crazy. So, I settled on 50 bucks worth.

The best part of this is that, just winning this bet almost pays for the other ones I made.

Since I was there, I decided to put down 10 bucks on UCLA winning the Pac-12 Championship Game as well as another 10 bucks on the Bruins winning the National Championship this year. At 25 to 1 and 250 to 1, you’ve got to like those odds. So, I took a flyer on each.

Finally, I also put down $30 on the Cincinnati game minus the points. Seventeen points felt like a lot to give, but, hey...In Chip, we trust. Right?

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t yet bet on the September 8th game against Oklahoma, however, because I really wanted to take those 2312 points that some off-shore sportsbooks have started to offer.

At least, now, I’ve got four more reasons to cheer on the Bruins this season and I can’t wait until Californians don’t have to head all the way to Las Vegas, Tahoe or New Jersey in order to bet on their favorite team.

Now, if I can just figure out a way to travel through time after getting a DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, I’m sure I’ll find an equivalent to the Gray Sports Almanac in 2065....

Go Bruins!