The next fun-and-games writer or media critic who lambastes the National Football League for seeking to expand its television schedule should be banished from prime-time reading.
It has become fashionable for the columnists to tell us that there already is too much of the "sameness" of the professional game on thr tube. They contend that adding Sunday night and Thursday night games in 1978 to the present Sunday double headers. Monday night, Thanksgiving Day and stitute an overdose of the same thing.
For shame. I never mind a person criticizing my low taste in entertainment. It is his problem if he prefers PBS to the NFL on TV. But when that person tries to take money out of my pocketbook by restricting the number of televised games available to me, well, it is time to sent him off to Gilligan's Island.
The more NFL, teams that an intelligent bettor can see on television, the better are his chances of beating the bookmakers. The head linesman works out of Las Vegas. He does not get to see as many of the teams as frequently as we do here in the East , particularly those of us fortunate enough to live in the Washington-Baltimore area, where five games are on tap this weekend.
That is an edge, and edges are what makes the betting world go round.
One critic recently acknowledged that his wife would hurt him real bad if he became turned on to too many of the NFL games on TV. That, admittedly, is a risk to be run in many households. But I have found an easy way to overcome the problem. Simply cut the little lady in on the excitement generated by gambling on the pointspread.
Tell her the truth: If Dallas can spot St. Louis 1/2 points on Sunday, that lovely brown designer sweater she has been longing for will be hers. You will be amazed how quickly the lady starts cheering for Roger Staubach and the Cowboys. If the game is close in the fourthe quarter she will probably join the front-room rooting section.
You see, the family that bets together, roots together. It is a most enjoyable way to spend time. So long as the wagering is done within the family's means. Do not risk the bread money. But for $10 - the cost of a lusy movie - even the dullest NFL game often becomes thrilling long after the winning and losing team has been determined. The spread takes care of that.
Washington, Tampa Bay, Dallas, St. Louis, Oakland, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York Giants, Los Angeles and Chicago are scheduled for central Marryland viewing this weekend. Wonderful. Set up the sets and do your homework for future weeks.
One of the games seen last week led to my only betting venture of this week. St. Louis is struggling. Terry Metcalf is playing with a cast on his hand and primarily on third downs. The Cardinal running game has deteriorated accordingly. Jim Hart still enjoys superb pass protection, but he appears to have revented to the hesitant Hart of old.
Dallas, meanwhile, is coming off easy sorties against the Giants and Tampa Bay.
The Cowboy defense might be the best in the league, as it showed against Minnesota. Tony Dorsett has helped the ground attack. Now if only Staubach would rediscover his early 1976 arm, the eyes of Texas would be riveted on Super Bowl 12.
Unfortunately, the Dallas-St. Louis game is being played in St. Louis. The Cardinals face the end of the line, in their fourth game of the season. They will be fired up, so Dallas draws only $250 of my bankroll.
This is a light week, a time to show restraint. More and more, I want to have the home field advantage when the action becomes heavy. Dallas, Miami and San Diego all play in foreign stadiums Sunday and they were the only teams I considered backing.
For those of you looking for guidelines, however. I recommend Tampa Bay getting 11 points from Washington. San Francisco giving Atlanta 3 1/2, Detroit getting 8 from Minnesota, Denver giving Kansas City 10 1/2. Miami getting 7 from Baltimore, Buffalo giving the Jets five. Cleveland getting 10 from Oakland, Philadelphia getting 3 1/2 from the Fiants, Pittsburgh giving Houston 10, San Diego over New Orleans even, and Los Angeles giving Chicago 4.