The Supreme Court just overturned the federal laws that kept sports gambling illegal across most of the country. Betting parlors will be open for business at one New Jersey racetrack by Memorial Day, with more across the nation opening as soon as states scramble to adjust to the new laws, or lack thereof. By the start of football season, the opportunity to wager 100 percent legally on NFL games (and other less interesting sporting events) may literally be at your fingertips!
As law-abiding American citizens, most of us have never placed a bet on any sporting event in our lives, except maybe in March Madness pools that are really “for entertainment purposes only” (wink, wink). That means our first tentative experiments with sports gambling will be much like our honeymoon nights and our first sips of alcohol on our 21st birthdays: exciting, mysterious, somewhat clumsy maiden journeys into uncharted territory.
How bets are really currently placed: Bettors call their college roommate or bartender’s cousin or some other side-hustling local bookie about 20 minutes before kickoff, right after Jay Glazer announces the final injury reports on the Fox pregame show. That person processes bets for someone else, with several intermediaries before any money leaves the suburbs and gets anywhere near a character from Goodfellas. Your friendly neighborhood bookie deals in small sums and doesn’t have knuckle-breakers on their payroll. They’re more likely to tattle to a tardy gambler’s spouse or parents, which is a far more effective deterrent against getting in trouble.
Those rules were simple: teams don’t have to be on the show if they have a first-year head coach, have been in a playoff game in the past two seasons, or have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years. That left the Browns, 49ers, Broncos, Chargers, Ravens, and Washington.
We’re hopeful the Browns can provide more excitement than recent seasons of the show. Last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had its moments, but was so-so overall. The year before, starring the Los Angeles Rams, was perhaps, the dullest season of Hard Knocks yet.
The Browns, coming off an 0-16 season, have been so bad for so long and have several potentially interesting storylines entering 2018. Here’s what we want to see when the new season of Hard Knocks debuts on Tuesday, Aug. 7:
It’s not like we’re rooting for chaos. The Browns coming off well and gaining some support from the general NFL fan base would be great to see! They’re underdogs (even if it’s mostly their fault), and presenting a likable team would be a win for the Browns.