Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Boone Pickens And Me: I Paid My "Bet" To Society


So after I wrote that Oklahoma State booster Boone Pickens was the most suffering fanbecause his team is worse than expected, Pickens called me on Friday to talk and to bet me $10 that his 1-2 team would beat 3-0 Texas Tech. I don't bet on sports--and Pickens said he didn't bet on his Cowboys--but we made this a special occasion.

Before making the bet--he doesn't know this--I quickly checked a Web site to see the odds. Texas Tech was a 5 1/2 point favorite and any bettor who bet the Cowboys to win the game straight up would receive $210 for each $100 bet if the team won the game. Liking my odds, I agreed to the bet.

Well, there's a reason why Boone Pickens was recently named the 117th richest American by Forbes with a net worth of $3 billion and I'm a lowly sports business television reporter. Boone Pickens wins more bets than he loses. And despite the odds being against him, Oklahoma State won 49-45 in a shootout that included 1,328 yards of total offense. (Texas Tech's defensive coordinator stepped down after the game).

Since my bet was public and I'm an honorable man, I realized this morning that I had to pay up. So I called Jay Rosser, Pickens' PR guy, and asked him how Pickens would like his $10. If my math is right, that's roughly .0000003 percent of his net worth. Rosser, not surprisingly, told me that Pickens didn't want my stinking $10 and that he'd rather I give it to one of his favorite charities: The Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children. So to prove that I've made good on this bet, here's my $10 donation, which was made in Pickens' name, to the hospital.

Darren Rovell's donation to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital

A Few More Notes:
*While we're on betting. New York Times reporter Pete Thamel has a great note in his college football blog. Thamel says that while some might think the Michigan-Appalachian State upset was the biggest of the season, Syracuse beating Louisville actually could have been the worst upset in college football betting history. Syracuse, who won 38-35 on Saturday, was a 36.5-point underdog and Thamel notes that the previous longshot record was Oregon State, who beat Washington in 1985 when they were a 36-point underdog. Appalachian State, by the way, lost to Wofford on Saturday.

*It's strange how good oddsmakers are. The Oakland Raiders were somehow a 3-point favorite against the Cleveland Browns yesterday. The Raiders haven't won a game since Oct. 29, 2006. How could they be favored against a team that just beat the Cincinnati Bengals the week before by scoring 51 points in a shootout? Well, the Raiders won, 26-24. Shows you why I don't bet.

*The Philadelphia Eagles had a huge game in the clearly the worst throwbacks I've ever seen. I'd be shocked if I ever see any Eagles fans wearing this gear.

Questions?  Comments?