I’m sorry, Globe Santa.
I thought I could spice up a story about the legal sports betting scene along the East Coast by placing bets along the way and for a good cause.
The Globe would be my backer ($50 a day for four days), Globe Santa would be my recipient, and my winnings would bring a burst of pre-holiday joy to needy children.
That was the idea, anyway.
I began my junket — er, journalistic enterprise — at the Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill in Capital One Arena in Washington. Although I wanted a Game 7 of the NBA Finals, I went with my head over my heart and bet $20 on the Milwaukee Bucks to cover the point spread, giving 5 points to the Phoenix Suns, and potentially clear $18.20.
I had $30 left to bet, and I headed over to Nationals Park, where if I’m within a two-block perimeter of the ballpark I can place a bet on my phone’s BetMGM app. For some reason, the Nationals are underdogs against the visiting, hapless Marlins. I put $15 on the Nationals and the 1.5 runs they’re getting to top Miami.
Before reaching my bleacher seat, I bet my last $15 impulsively, my still IPA-free thought process telling me that the Nationals’ Juan Soto, who hit two home runs the day before, will stay hot and hit a home run that will net me $51.
I barely won the Bucks bet (Milwaukee won by 7), and because the Nationals rallied for the win, I won $14.09 there. Soto failed me, but I’m still up $17.29 on the day.
If you like stories with happy endings, stop here.
I’m taking the Amtrak from D.C. to New York, and from my seat, I place four bets on the FoxBet app as soon as we cross into Pennsylvania, where there is online betting.
One $15 bet I can barely admit to, calling for a regulation-time tie between the Revolution and Inter Miami CF, arguably the best and worst teams in MLS. The other bet on that game was a $10 parlay for the Revolution’s top scorer, Gustavo Bou, to score a goal and for the Revolution to win.
My other two wagers were on a comfortable win by the Astros over the visiting Indians. It’s $15 for the Astros to win by at least two runs ($13.05 payout) and $10 for them to win by three or more runs ($13 payout). Both of those bets flopped; the Indians won.
That sting paled next to the tie-game bet, unless I’m being too harsh on myself for not looking at a 5-0 Revolution victory as pretty close to a tie. My sole “victory” was getting a refund on my Bou bet (Bou didn’t play) because of a promotion on “free bets” that FoxBet and nearly all the betting apps allow for first-time bettors. I still have $10 in my FoxBet account to squander next time I’m in Pennsylvania.
On the day, I lost $40, and now I’m in a hole of almost $23.
It got worse.
I visit the FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racing in East Rutherford, N.J., to bet on the opening game of a Red Sox-Yankees series. With $60 to wager, I spread out $15 apiece among four bets.
In a 5-4 Red Sox victory that went 10 innings with a rain delay and a gnarly implosion from the Yankees bullpen, I wound up going 2-2 on the bets, with three of the outcomes just about as close as they could be. I bet on the favored Red Sox to win ($15.50 payout) and on the under of 10 runs ($13.75 payout). The losses came on Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery striking out fewer than six Red Sox (he struck out exactly six) and on Christian Vazquez collecting at least two hits. Vazquez was a bust, 0 for 4, and so was I. Even though I went .500 on the day, I still lost $5.75.
I’m down $28.46 heading into my final day.
Using my FanDuel app from the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge, I spread out my final $50 among three more baseball bets.
If I win them all, my nearly $70 in winnings will wipe out my deficit and leave me and the kids more than $41 in the black.
I try to glean the best tips from touts on assorted websites like the Action Network, ESPN, and The Athletic, and come up with $15 on the Giants to beat the visiting Pirates by at least two runs and $20 on the under of 10.5 runs in the Cubs-Diamondbacks game.
I placed my final $15 on a parlay of wins from the Padres, Astros, and Dodgers for a $37.50 payout.
Back home in Boston that night, I knew I had lost the first two bets and it wasn’t close: $35 down the drain, leaving me in the red no matter what.
With the parlay, the Padres and Astros had already won. After five innings, the Dodgers were up, 4-1. I didn’t want a potential loss to spoil a night’s sleep. My delayed dejection plan worked only too well. In the morning, I woke up to find the Dodgers had lost in 10 innings.
Over four days, I lost $78.46.
I’ll make that up to the Globe Santa kids on my own dime before the holidays.
Next time I step into a state with legal sports betting, maybe I’ll bet more wisely, enjoy more luck, or simply not bet at all.
I do know I’ll be on my own.
I just have a hunch the Globe won’t be there to back me anymore.
(Editor’s note: This time, Silverman’s hunch is correct.)
Michael Silverman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.