Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flight of the Stripper and March Madness Sweet 16 Day 1 Betting Lines

By Pauly

My brother and I were on the same JetBlue flight from JFK to Las Vegas. We both booked separately and ended up getting seated in 19D and 20D. He was right in front of me sharing a row with an old guy. My row was empty and just before the flight attendants closed the airplane doors, two extremely loud women with Fendi purses rushed in and sauntered down the aisles. One was a skinny black woman wearing oversized Chanel shades carrying a pink jacket. The buxom blonde wore a pink Juicy track suit and had the biggest and worst fake boob job I had seen since the days when I lived at the Redneck Riviera. Her tits look like she had two pugs stuffed in there. Her weathered face suggested that she had been living a hard life of booze, drugs, and whatever else accompanied life on the pole. Even the botox could not hide the fact that everyone on the plane knew that they were strippers. And they were seated right next to me in 20E and 20F.

"I think your brother got a better seat assignment," the WWII vet joked with Derek. "He got the broads while you got stuck with the old fart."

Despite all my bad airplane karma the last few months having to sit next to crying babies and having several canceled and delayed flights, I finally got lucky and had two NYC strippers on their way out to Vegas to work the clubs or various hooker bars for the weekend. Man, sometimes I fuckin' miss the underbelly of Las Vegas. Sometimes.

The strippers next to me were like finding 10-10 in a short-handed game with four callers and then watching three overcards flop. It looked good pre-flight, but by the time the plane flew over the Rockies, sitting next to strippers got old.

They retired to the bathroom every thirty minutes (on a five and a half hour flight) to snort lines of blow. The black chick carefully climbed over me. She was thin enough to squeeze by. The blonde was not as limber. The one time she did that, I nearly suffocated in a sea of silicon. The bitches never even offered me a bump.

They yapped incessantly and drank like AlCantHang and BigMike on a bender. The blonde guzzled Skyy vodka and Sprite while the black chick ordered double Bloody Mary's.

"Are you going to drink with us?" they'd squeal everytime they ordered another drink.

"Nope," I said. "I'm high right now. On Jesus."

I lied. I wasn't high on Christ, just generic Vicodin. But I discovered that when you mention the Lord's name in vain, annoying strippers tend to leave you alone.

"By the way, where you girls working this weekend?" I asked somewhere over Ohio.

They were not happy that I called them out on living the total cliche of a life of a stripper and one muttered, "I'm retired."

They constantly rang the flight attendant light which drew the ire of the crew who did not like to be bossed around by wasted strippers. On our descent into McCarran, one flight attendant got snippy with the strippers because they wouldn't stash their purses underneath the seat. The other fussed around with her Blackberry and wouldn't shut it off.

"So strippers don't have to follow FAA rules?" I muttered. Their act was old and I couldn't wait to get off the plane.

When we finally arrived in Las Vegas, the buxom blonde shouted, "Time to double down!"

"If you're working at the Rhino, tell Brandi Hawbacker that Pauly says what's up," I mentioned as I gathered my bags and rushed off the plane. I hope that I didn't contract hepatitis C or some other venereal disease.

Moving on...

It's the Sweet 16, so who really cares about my random interaction with strippers, right? You junkies want the lines and to see who I'm betting on. I had gotten off to a hot start and that run fizzled out on Sunday. I'm still up for the tournament at 22-12-4 and looking to cash in big time as I'm going to throw out bets no less than 1K over the next four days.

Here are the betting lines for Thursday's games courtesy of BoDog as of 8:30am ET:
7:10p Southern Illinois +9 Kansas
7:25p Texas A&M -3.5 Memphis
9:40p Pittsburgh +3.5 UCLA
9:55p Tennessee +5 Ohio State

Here is what I'm betting on:
Kansas -9
Memphis +3.5
UCLA -3.5
Ohio St. -5
I have two games that I feel great about and two games I keep wondering if I should go the other way. On Sunday night, my gut shouted out Kansas, Memphis, UCLA, and Ohio State. I'm sticking with my gut because everytime I switch a pick at the last minute, I get fucked.

I can't wait for that UCLA game to start and wish I had the balls to put 10K on it. Alas, I don't but it will be my big bet of the day, as I hope UCLA comes to play. Pitt fucked me after blowing that 19 point lead against VCU and I'm bitter with those guys. UCLA has been shooting better from the FT line the last few games, while Pitt is 4-8 against the spread in the last 12 games, although UCLA has not fared well against Big East teams.

Memphis is the only lower seeded to team to be an underdog. Why? The game is being held in San Antonio Texas, which makes the game a virtual home game for Texas A&M, which is located just down the road in College Station. This game is the toughest on the board and I keep waffling. The numbers are against Memphis who has had a tough time covering recently. Acie Law is too good of a player to bet against, but Memphis has some very quick players. I'm praying that Memphis overcomes that loyal hootin' and hollerin' A&M crowd to prevail. They are the only dog I'm taking today and will be the smallest bet that I lay out. Very little confidence in Memphis, but they are hard to ignore getting points.

The Salukis' run should end today. All the numbers point towards taking them as the heavy dog against Kansas, but I'm not. I definitely liked the spread earlier in the week when it was at 8. After the games I saw, Kansas is much stronger and can beat S. Illinois by ten or more. I usually pick the better FT shooting team and that's what is going to be the difference between a 5 point Jayhawks victory and a 10 point win... knocking down those FT's in crunch time. Everyone I know likes the dog in this game, which means I'm going against convention and betting on a Kansas blowout.

The Ohio State pick is a game that I have confidence in, just like UCLA. A lot of action in Vegas is going on Tennessee because they have a solid record as a dog. After that scare against Xavier, I'm betting on that OSU will get their shit together and play much smarter (and better defense) against the running and gunning Vols. OSU is a better FT shooting team, a better defensive team, and a better rebounding team. In their matchup against Tenn this year, OSU won by 2 but failed to cover. They are going to have to play better perimeter defense to shut down Tenn's barrage of three-pointers. Teams that live by the trey, often die by the trey. Aside from chucking up shots from the cheap seats, Tenn's half-court offense is weak. If OSU slows down the pace of the game, the Vols will get impatient and force up several bad shots. If there's a day when their shooters get cold, I hope it's today.

Sometimes in the stock market and in sports betting, you have to go against the tide and ignore what the pundits think. I'm doing just that and sticking with my gut for the Thursday games. I'm favoring the OSU and UCLA games so if I lose the Kansas and Memphis games, it won't really affect my March Madness roll.

Oh, and I might just play a little poker or even some Pai Gow today as I wait for my buddy Senor to arrive from Rhode Island. When Senor is in town, you know what we end up doing... strip clubs. Last year, we took an epic side trip to Scores with Grubby, JoeSpeaker, and Change100. That's when the stipper twisted my nipples and made out with Change100. Perhaps later tonight we can stop by the Rhino and say hello to those strippers on my flight to Vegas?

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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