ESPN Wonders: Is Baseball's Popularity Waning Due to the Lack of Gambling on Baseball?

Chad Millman, editor of ESPN the Magazine and the WWL’s resident gambling guy, wrote this about opening day:

We all know that the truth is baseball sunk to second, some would say third behind college football, in the national conversation because it is so darn difficult for the public to bet on it. TV helped hasten the demise, but that medium’s rise as an entertainment delivery service coincided with the popularity of the point spread, invented in the 1940s. I have been making this case for years. And I will make it every year at the beginning of the baseball season. Money lines, the standard baseball bet, are too difficult for casual fans to understand, as opposed to the point spread favored by football. And unlike football, in which fans can gear up for a once-a-week play, baseball is unkind to those who parachute in once a week.

Interesting premise. Here’s the portion of the program where you wonder whether instant replay might help, whether a shorter season is the answer, or whether it makes no difference ratings have been trending down for 30 years because the sport is a cash cow.

While gambling on baseball is down, wagering on golf is soaring, according to the New York Times.

Street bookies, casinos and online sports books have all reported a rise in golf betting. There are several factors, including increased television coverage, improved technology that allows bettors to literally wager on a golfer’s every swing if they so desire — and, of course, Tiger Woods. As a result, experts believe that this week’s Masters could be the most wagered-on golf event in history.

Everyone else liked Bo Van Pelt at 80:1, right? He’s even through 17.

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