Vegas was an absolute blast…literally. I was there from Monday until yesterday morning thanks to a preview event for THQ’s Red Faction Guerrilla, and THQ tapped into our inner Rambos and took us to the shooting range. This wasn’t just any shooting range though, but a place where grenade launchers and automatic machine guns abound.
Now you all know I’m not exactly the second coming of Charlton Heston, but the blast I heard (and felt) while shooting that mounted .50 caliber sniper rifle was something I’ll never forget. I think I still feel the kick that gun had in my chest and right shoulder, not surprising when you see the gigantic bullets this thing shoots (if you’re interested, here’s a video about that very gun with the Mack from “Future Weapons,” who was with us at the range). I also shot an M5, M60 and a different .50 cal gun from the roof of a Jeep — all crazy guns but nothing compared to the sniper rifle.
I guess I felt a little lucky to be alive after shooting all those guns before witnessing the biggest explosion I’ve ever seen (set up by the explosives experts at the range about 200 feet away from us, a blast that created a ball of fire traveling at least 50 feet in the air), because when we returned to the hotel I went immediately to the closest sports book and checked out the NBA lines. Why the NBA when Vegas was on the cusp of its annual March Madness frendzy? First, I wouldn’t be around to watch the NCAA Tournament, and second, my bracket picks have sucked for at least three years straight now.
My eyes were immediately drawn to one line above all the others: Warriors -2.5 over the Clippers at Oracle. Even though I knew Stephen Jackson would be unavailable due to hitting the Wallace Line (for getting his 16th technical of the season due to an NBA put in place to combat the antics of Rasheed Wallace, meaning 16 techs should be called the Wallace Line like a .200 average is called the Mendoza Line in baseball in honor of Mario Mendoza), I knew the Warriors would be fired up to face Baron. Plus, it’s the Warriors at home, and the Clippers are awful these days, regardless of who’s healthy.
While I was playing multiplayer Red Faction Guerrilla, drinking cocktails and eating pizza quiches (even better than you think), the Warrriors prevailed 127-120: my first Vegas sports gambling win. Sure, it was only a $20 bet that paid $38.20, for me it was a major breakthrough. Then I realized why people have gambling problems, because my first thought after finding seeing the score on ESPN’s ticker at “Eye Candy” at Mandalay Bay was, “I really should have taken the over (223.5)! I should have trusted myself! I really know this stuff!”
Then I realized that I had just made money ON THE FREAKING WARRIORS and that I should feel extraordinarly fortunate that I succeeded in such an ill-advised venture. Really, of all the bets I could have made I chose to place what little money I had and my hopes on Golden State, a team that has only really given its fans one pleasant surprise in the past 15 years? Of course, if they were on the road against everyone I’d probably bet on the other team no matter the spread.
One last semi-depressing bit of Bay Area-related sports info I found out at the Mandalay Bay sports book: The San Francisco 49ers are at 40/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, tied for 25th place with the Bills and in front of only the Rams, Browns, Bengals, Chiefs, Raiders (60/1) and Lions (80/1). Almost sadder, they Niners are 20/1 odds to win the NFC Championship, ahead of only the Rams (25/1) and Lions (40/1). Apparently Vegas isn’t too excited by Jimmy Raye Jr. or Brandon Jones. All the while Jay Cutler is still available and even Matt Maiocco jumped behind me on the bandwagon while I was gone. C’mon Scot McCloughan, what are you waiting for?