Hello everyone, Six Zero here with another installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH JAMIEMAC
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
Football. America’s true pastime. What’s the only way to make it more fun??
Well, wager money on the outcome, of course. On MGoBlog, we seem to have a resident expert for everything, and when it comes to the odds, naturally we think of Jamiemac. I was very prepared to announce that we’d be canceling this week’s profile in light of Monday’s holiday, but instead Jamiemac came through at the end with a super quick turnaround on his end to get it all in on schedule. I’m very pleased to introduce the one and only Jamiemac in this exclusive MGoProfile interview:
1. Jamiemac. The closest thing we have to a Vegas oddsmaking authority. So how did you discover MGoBlog?
Wait, there was a world without MGoBlog? I barely remember those days. I discovered the blog sometime in the offseason between the 2005 and 2006 seasons. I was google searching for Michigan stats and came across an entry with the famous phrase: Year Of Infinite Pain. Before I knew it I was reading through these uber intensive replays of the game called UFRs from the 2005 season and a regular reader was born. I didn’t become a commentator until the debacles to begin to the 2007 campaign. I was as frustrated as everyone else, but I felt the board needed a voice of reason, so I stepped in and have been pushing back against needless, bitter, ignorant and partisan fan angst ever since. Obviously, I have taken advantage of the diary section and have even started my own blog, www.justcoverblog.com. By accident, I have become a college sports writer thanks in large part to encouragement from Brian, my comrades at the Wolverine Liberation Army and the response from the MGoCommunity to my early diaries on this site. I really owe this blog a lot. Not only has it brought me closer to the program and school, but its rekindled my long lost desire to write about sports, allowed me to take part in the podcasts and HTTV and, most importantly, I've met a lot of new friends. No question, some tremendous people who I look forward to seeing on more than a few Saturdays this fall. Between my participation at MGo and WLA, my life has been changed for the better. Who knew blogs could do that?
2. When I think of your posts, two things immediately come to mind—an almost instant update on the lines for any given game, and intelligent, well-explained picks throughout the season. Discuss your background in the odds (and ends) of football.
Thank you for the kind words. With everything I write, I always start with the aim to not just inform readers, but tell them a few things they wont get anywhere else. As for my experience with the odds, the only professional experience I have within the sports gambling community was the one year I spent working for a street bookie in Chicago. I was in between fulltime jobs. The bookie is a friend of mine, knew I had time on my hands and could use some work, so he asked if I wanted to help him out. He had just opened up his own bar and worried he could not run his other business by himself anymore. I was a grunt in the operation, basically taking bets over the phone, clearing voice mails on our machines as the day went on and basically keeping tabs on everyone's accounts.
I had been gambling on sports for several years prior already, so it was fascinating to get this perspective. I learned a ton about the moods and shifting opinions of the betting public and just how often said public was wrong. I guess thats why there arent many cash poor bookies in the world. I was stunned at how many people put two grand--our house limit--on games. That's intense. I got a kick out of walking into the bar, looking around and secretly knowing what was on everyone's card. I was surprised by how many people lied about their picks. You know, guys bragging during the day that they went 4-0 in the day games when I knew full well they went 1-3. It took most of the season before my friends who went through this guy for bets realized what I was up to.
And, it provided me with one of the more surreal moments as a fan ever on New Year's Day, 2005. We had a tradition where we gathered in a penthouse suite at the Hotel Allegra to eat, drink and watch the bowl games. We gambled on the games, but also had some blackjack, poker and craps being played. Strippers were involved. Several laws got broken each time. Anyway, that year, as the fourth quarter of the Texas/Michigan Rose Bowl ticked away, I had to duck into one of the bedrooms to clear some voice mails and take some action on the upcoming Fiesta Bowl between Utah and Pitt. I had two strippers in the room with me who werent on the clock anymore, so I rolled us a joint that we smoked while taking calls and watching the end of the game. It was all good. Even when Texas won on a field goal. After all, the whole city of Chicago had the Horns -7, so we came out way ahead thanks to the gutty Wolverines. And, when I mentioned my favorite team lost a heartbreaker, the ladies in room did everything legally and not-so-legally in their power to improve my mood. It's not Babby Schemy falling asleep on Bo's chest to ease his mind after the 1969 loss to MSU, but its pretty gosh darm close. Thank God for Dusty Mangum. That red letter day in my life would not have been possible without him.
3. So you admit to being a gambling man... So then, what’s your secret? Any leads you want to share with us going into next season?
Of course, I'll admit to being a gambling man. I just admitted to running numbers, smoking pot and hanging out with hookers. So, yeah, I am also a gambling man. Why not? I've always been fascinated by pointspreads and the challenge of picking games. While my first season as a regular gambler was 1999, I can trace my first bet all the way back to the 1981 divisional playoff game between Cleveland and Oakland. I had the Raiders in a straight up $1 bet with my uncle, a lifelong Brown fan. Brian Sipe tossed a pick in the end zone in the waning seconds, and I promptly walked down the street where he was watching the game with my grandparents and demanded my dollar. From there, its history.
I dont have any secrets to any success, but all you really need to do is bookmark the justcoverblog and make it a daily read during football and basketball seasons, AMIRITE!?!?! Last year, the JCB was 158-125 ATS in college football games. Had you put $100 for each suggested unit of play, you would have cleared over $2,200 bucks in the 2009-10 CFB season. I havent tallied up the college hoops record, but it was profitable. And, I've done four pick series within the MGoDiary section and all four made money. So, read the JCB. We're trying to help people over there. Even if you're not into gambling, I think there will be plenty of good content at the JCB this summer as we preview the season, so bookmark it anyway. I'll still be very active here at MGo. I have tons of diary ideas to get us through the next three months. I'll have plenty of tips for the upcoming season as well. They will be shared very publically both here and at the JCB.
Nothing beats making and winning with your own picks, however. To that end, my basic advice is that it’s all about knowledge and moderation. Sometimes I have too much of the former and can’t really control the latter. Thats when 3-8 records happen. Don’t overdo it. Limit your plays. There is always next week. You have a better chance at taking money from the book by betting more money on a small amount of games, then throwing cash down on 13-14 games a weekend. It’s hard enough winning on a couple of games, let alone the 7 or 8 games you'll need to cover to win cash when betting more than a dozen games at a time. Also, if you're going to wager on sports, you must do your homework and know these teams inside and out. There are over 120 team in the FBS and the profitable CFB gambler can converse on every team, even the depths of the Sun Belt and the MAC. Buy Phil Steele's magazine, for example, and wear out the pages devoted to those leagues. I'm successful on an annual basis because I do well in midweek games, involving mostly those teams, and I kill the bowl season, especially the ones with mid-majors. I wouldn’t be half as successful in those ventures if I weren’t obsessively following the whole nation. This dynamic is even stronger in college hoops where knowing leagues like the Colonial, Horizon and Missouri Valley from top to bottom actually give the bettor an intellectual advantage over the book. They don’t know those leagues, but you can with a little effort and study and take it to the bank all winter long.
The other thing worth mentioning, especially in college football, is know your history. I understand the academic mantra of past performance isnt indicative of future results. But, how do you explain the fact the Michigan never covers as chalk in its first road game, or that MSU is a great bet to lose after a loss, or that the underdog in series like Michigan/Notre Dame, Clemson/Georgia Tech and South Carolina/Georgia covers almost every year or Boise beating the number 80 percent of the time in home games or why teams coming off a big upset loss are great bets as road underdogs in the next start. I mean, I can go on and on. History matters in college football. Programs have identities. Programs have historic bugaboos. Programs have roles they excell at and roles where they've demonstrated consistent failure. Dont lose sight of history when it comes to capping college football. I dont think it means anything in pro football, but the collegiate game is different. I would advise going with your gut, intsincts and however it is you've handicapped a game, but putting yourself on the wrong end of historic trends will cost you over time.
4. Wow—I was just looking for a ‘take Vandy over Arkansas’ or something to that effect, but thanks for the advice. Okay then, enough about the odds—let’s learn a bit about what else you do. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what sort of field you’re involved in?
My professional background is in journalism. I worked in the field for a decade, covering just about everything from high school sports, county and city government and education. I worked in Northern Michigan covering beats in Emmet and Charlevoix counties for several different weeklies in the area before relocating to Chicago where I was a managing editor for the Wednesday Journal in Oak Park. We had several different papers covering the various communities, and I ran the real estate section for the home paper in Oak Park, but was in charge, front page to back page, of putting together our weekly that covered Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside. I never worked harder in my life. Eventually, I burned out, and we parted ways. I dont have the energy or desire to go back into that field again. After my year with the Book, I moved back to my hometown of Toledo, where I was born and raised. As for current vocation, I now do various sales, purchasing and customer service chores for the family firm. We're a rubber manufacturing business. My father started it in 1979, and we're still going strong. It's really been rewarding being able to contribute. And, frankly, its the perfect job as far as allowing time to blog at the office during down parts of the day. And, unlike my previous jobs, it doesnt involve long hours into the night or anything on the weekend. Being able to get to Ann Arbor in a half hour is also a major plus. If anyone needs Viton rubber or Viton caulk, give me a ring. I'll float you a Maize and Blue discount.
Hey, who doesn’t need more Viton caulk? So when you’re not rocking the family biz, what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
Away from work, I obviously like to write. I've pretty much tried to be a daily blogger ever since I started the Bubble News diaries in the winter of 2009. I've taken the last couple months off just to recharge and, i dont know, maybe read a book or two. I love writing about sports in this venue, and it's become my free time. But, I do play a lot, so dont worry. I spend a lot of time, during all four seasons, in various outposts of northern Michigan, either in the Traverse City area or on Burt Lake, which is just east of Petoskey/Harbor Springs. I took up running several years back, so I try to hit the trails a few times a week, although nagging injuries have held me back until recently. My newest running partner is a puppy Rotweiller my girlffriend got back in the fall. I tried to push for either Shoelace or Martavious, but I couldnt pull it off. Her name is Bella, but Shoelace is her approved nickname. It's worthy as she is fast as hell. Doggie dilithium. I play in a cut throat, no holds barred Whirley Ball tournament in Chicago every February. We've done this now for eight years and this year my team won. I say this because I know there are plenty of MGoLurkers in the Whirley crowd and its various offshoots. Tough break guys, there is always next year. I don’t know what else to say. I like to read, listen to music, enjoy the Monday night CBS lineup, inexplicably don’t want Friday Night Lights to ever end and just try to laugh and have fun as often as possible. We're not here to be drones.
No, my friend, we are not. Speaking of free time, describe the perfect meal.
My perfect meal? Anything that foodt.tumblr.com is cooking. Not to mention the lunch I eventually will be buying Other Chris because OC's alma mater Virginia pantsed mine--Indiana, for those who don’t know yet--in football last year. Sometime soon we'll meet up in Ann Arbor, exchange skin suits and eat some grub on the JCB''s dime. Outside of that, how about dueling main courses of my grandmother's fried chicken and meatballs. Seems like a weird combination, but that’s what she used to make for our tailgates in Ann Arbor. Man, it was fantastic and downright gourmet. I went to my first Michigan games sitting on my grandparents lap. I grew up down the street from them and, frankly, the obsessive sports fan that I've become can be traced right back to their house. For the first dozen years of my football fandom, fried chicken and meatballs was our tailgate menu. And, I can still taste it every gameday in Ann Arbor when the tailgate aroma is just right.
5. We can all see where this will go, but can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I was born a Michigan fan. I dont know any other way. I attended my first game as a seven-year-old in 1979. Wangler to Carter was the second game I ever attended. How can you not be hooked after that? I heard my first cries of UNACCEPTABLE during the 1980 Purdue game when the drunk behind me kept screaming we need to play better than this to beat the Bucks. Crap, man, they shutout Mark Hermann, perhaps the best QB in the nation that year, and the 16th ranked Boilers, stop bitching already, will ya!?!?! Saw some drunk OSU chick strip on top of an camper in 1983 because she lost a bet when her Buckeyes lost 24-21 to the Wolverines that day. As a young kid, I used to wear this heavy, roomy Army coat to games so my grandfather, father and uncle could stuff as many beer cans as possible within its confines because, well, nobody searches an 11-year-old. I have been blessed with season tickets my whole life. We broke some new ground this past season when my brother bought and fixed up an RV, which made its maiden voyage for us at the Ohio State game. We had a blast and it was one of my favorite days of 2009, the loss to the Bucks notwithstanding. And therein lies a message I'd like to get out. It didnt matter if Michigan was 11-0 or 5-6 heading into that game. It never matters what their record is. It just matters that they're playing. I've seen just about everything possible, good and bad, happen to our club while perched up in Section 14. I was sitting in the exact same seat for Forcier to Matthews as I was for Wangler to Carter. That's a pretty powerful connection. While I have other allegiances on the side, my heart and soul will always be Maize and Blue. The whole school and community of Ann Arbor hold a special place in my heart.
6. Finally, the staple last question-- who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
My favorite Wolverines ever are the current crop. The ones busting their asses of 24/7, countable and not countable hours, in order to entertain and make us happy next season. They deserve our respect and our cheers even if we dont like the final result just yet. It breaks my heart knowing the time they're devoting to the cause without getting winning results .I literally want to break out the collection tools on people who demean this team efforts and heart merely for not winning up to their standards. I have faith their hard work will pay off. Beyond that, it has to be Anthony Carter. The #1 jersey tradition begins and ends with him. It's hard to put AC's impact on the program in perspective in this space.The modern era of Michigan football begins with him. He was my first ever football hero as a young child. He's still my favorite single player ever to play for Michigan. And, he's also my favorite all time Michigan Panther.
Obligatory +1 for the USFL reference, of course. One last question—given your unique outlook on the sport, give it to us straight. How do you see next season shaking out?
Michigan will begin to look good again this year. They began 4-1 last year, they will do that this year. They had a winning record heading into November a year ago, they will do that this year. Unlike last year, they'll win games in November and even score a couple road wins throughout the year. One of Phil Steele's power ratings call for Michigan to be 11-0 headed into the OSU game. Can you roll those ratings up into a joint? If so, I'd like some of that buzz. Realistically, I am thinking we go 8-4 overall, 5-3 in league play. We werent that bad last year, but youth and lack of depth killed us during the second half of the year. Both those issues have been fixed enough to expect more success down the back strech. I'll go with wins over UConn, UMass, BGSU, at IU, MSU, Illinois, at Purdue and Wisconsin and losses at Notre Dame, Iowa, at PSU and at OSU. Those are non binding. I reserve the right to up this to 12-0 at any time a summer buzz on Rum and Cokes warrants. But, seriously, we're going to have a fun season. And, we're going to start winning Big 10 games again in bulk. The program is moving in the right direction. We'll be live blogging a Michigan game on New Year's Day. Book it!
Jamiemac clearly knows his business, and quite frankly I was amazed at how
up front and open he was about his craft—I was expecting more deflection and far
less information, like asking David Copperfield how he made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Instead he shared his knowledge, as well as some really colorful stories about his grandmother and strippers (not in that order, of course). All in all, Jamie delivered the goods and illustrated why he does what he does so well. With that being said, I’m wondering what the over/under is on who I’ll be interviewing next week!! And yes, I’m sure we’ll get a response later today from the Jamiemac himself.
Until then, I’ll see you guys next week for another edition of MGoProfile!