The Daily Valet. - 2/9/24, Friday
Friday, February 9th Edition
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
I really don't care who wins or loses. But I take the nachos very, very seriously.
Today’s Big Story
Betting on the Big Game
The Super Bowl is expected to smash betting records, with nearly 68 million Americans planning to wager
What are the odds? You don’t need me to tell you that the Super Bowl is this Sunday, but it might be news to you that nearly 68 million Americans—or about one in four adults—plan to bet on this year’s game. It stands to set a record by a wide margin, according to the gambling industry’s national trade association. The figures include bets placed with legal outlets, as well as with illegal bookies and online operations in other countries.
The Atlantic reports that people are betting on just about everything these days, but something few would’ve bet on just a decade ago? That the Super Bowl would even be held in Las Vegas. For years, most major American sports leagues shunned Nevada’s most populous city, despite its status as a tourism epicenter. Gambling was taboo, especially after a referee betting scandal in the mid-2000s. And no place on earth embodied that unsavoriness more than Sin City.
And the world of gambling, once so anathema that the NFL refused to air a television ad for Las Vegas, has become woven directly into the fabric of pro sports. Online sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings—which allow bettors to wager on games straight from their phones—have signed big-money sponsorships with major leagues, feeding casual TV viewers a constant stream of gambling analysis and oddsmaking. As Bloomberg put it: “The bookies that once haunted Old Las Vegas are now in your pocket, leaving the city free to host the games directly.”
Whan to get in on the more than $23.1 billion about to be wagered during the Super Bowl? There are easily 300-plus different options available on ESPN BET and that's before counting any alternate lines. Bet on the color of Gatorade, or whether a fourth-down conversion will be made. Which will be the highest scoring quarter? Take your pick and put your money where you mouth is. If it all feels too overwhelming, the Washington Post’s sports desk combed through the lists to find Super Bowl prop bets worth considering to provide you with an assist.
Even if it’s not the game itself, nearly half of all Americans will find something to be excited about when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, a new poll finds.
“My Memory Is Fine”
Biden angrily pushes back at special counsel’s report that questioned his memory, handling of docs
The decision on Thursday not to file criminal charges against Joe Biden for mishandling classified documents should have been good news for the president. But instead, it was a something of a political disaster.
Special counsel Robert Hur, a former Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Maryland, concluded in his report that criminal charges were not warranted, but said that “Biden’s memory also appeared to have significant limitations,” citing his interview with the special counsel's office and recorded conversations with his ghostwriter. The assessment created an instant feeding frenzy among Biden’s opponents and the Trump campaign will likely try to use the report's findings to try to minimize the felony charges he faces over his post-presidency handling of classified documents.
In remarks at the White House Thursday evening, Biden denied that he improperly shared classified information and angrily lashed out at Hur for questioning his mental acuity, particularly his recollection of the timing of his late son Beau’s death from cancer. “I’ve been president and I put this country back on its feet, I don't need his recommendation," Biden said. He also suggested that if he had trouble concentrating during the five hours of questioning, it was because it was happening in the immediate aftermath of the Israel invasion in early October.
What’s the difference between the Trump and Biden classified documents investigations? NBC News offers an analysis.
Olympic Medals for Paris Games Feature a Little Something Special
Yes, that’s an actual piece of the Eiffel Tower going home with victorious athletes
At the 2024 Olympics this summer, the medalists will truly get to take a piece of Paris home with them. Organizers revealed on Thursday that the medals will each have a piece of original iron from the Eiffel Tower. To create the revolutionary design, the planning committee called upon Chaumet, a French jewelry house.
The iron pieces were actually cut from girders and other bits of the iconic tower that were swapped out during a recent round of renovations, according to organizers. They were then stripped of paint, polished, varnished, and stamped with “Paris 2024” and the Games logo.
“The sunburst represents shining sporting achievement, French pride at hosting the Games, and Paris as the City of Light,” Benoît Verhulle, Head of Atelier at Chaumet, told Forbes. “When the light hits the medals, they really come alive.” On the back is the traditional Greek goddess of victory, Nike, alongside the Pantheon and the Olympic Rings, to which has been added the Eiffel Tower itself for this edition of the Games.
By the Numbers:
Approximately 5,084 medals will be awarded to the various athletes on the podiums at the Paris Olympics.
A Weekend Pairing
‘Tokyo Vice’ + a Ginger Highball
Tokyo Vice is back … finally. Two years, a couple of industry strikes, and a massive streaming-market shakeup later, the surprise hit Michael Mann production continues the adventures of American reporter Jake Adelstein (played by Ansel Elgort) and the cops, gangsters, and smooth operators of Tokyo’s criminal underworld in the 1990s.
The Max series has been called “the best show you’re not watching,” and I hope more people discover it this go around. The first season left off with one helluva cliffhanger, so I’m happy to hear that the season-two premiere picks up right where we left off (despite having characters left mangled, stabbed and extorted). As many reviewers point out, the highlight of the cast remains its Japanese actors, particularly Ken Watanabe, whose police detective character Hiroto Katagiri takes on a daring new role. And Shô Kasamatsu equally excels as Sato, a young Yakuza member who this season adds more layers of humanity to a character who’s, in many ways, the soul of Tokyo Vice. Get ready for a stylish neo-noir with plenty of action, softened with some welcome nostalgic throwback moments.
Pair It With
Also Worth a Watch:
‘One Day’ on Netflix; ‘Abbott Elementary’ season 3 on Hulu
Give Jewelry Designed to Get Noticed
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Don’t sweat it.