Scenes from Sin City: Happy couple spends anniversary cashing in NFL bets

Each week during football season, Covers writer Colin Kelly will be in the Las Vegas sportsbooks profiling bettors just like you, sharing their Sin City stories, big wins, bad beats, and all the fun stuff that’s supposed to “stay in Vegas.”

You want to know a sure sign of a strong marriage? When husband and wife, on their 14th anniversary, are spending a Saturday night together in a sportsbook and both are happy as can be.

Such was the case last Saturday for Jim and Paola Borja, who occupied great front-and-center seats at the Mandalay Bay book for the New York Jets-Dallas Cowboys contest. Jim, a Brooklyn native, is a diehard Jets fan, so there was no place he’d rather be.

“Dude, this is the bomb. You better believe it,” he said during halftime, before quickly running up to the betting window to get a second-half wager on the Jets. That bet would be coupled with one the couple already had on the game.

“We love the Jets. We’ve got $300 on them for the game,” Paola said.

Jim and Paola Borja at the Mandalay Bay sportsbook on Saturday night for the Jets-Cowboys game.

That wager had the Jets laying three points on the road, which was the same number Jim got for his second-half bet of $570, even though New York trailed 10-9 at halftime.

“They’re not doing so well, but they’re a second-half team, and we believe in them,” Jim said. “They’ve pulled it off the last three games.”

Jim and Paola were in town for the weekend from their home in Anaheim Hills, California. After they were married, Jim said it took a while to get Paola as fired up for football as he is.

“But she finally started watching and enjoying it,” he said.

“Now I know what the hell is going on,” Paola said. “You’ve gotta have some money on the game, or else it’s not exciting. He’s all about the team. I’m all about the money!”

Indeed, Jim admitted he wasn’t even concerned about whether he turned a profit on the nearly $900 in wagers on the Jets.

“You’re in Vegas, you’re here to enjoy,” he said. “You’re gonna lose that money at the tables anyway. I’d rather bet it and enjoy my team.

“I don’t bet on anything else. I always bet on my team. To me, it’s adult entertainment. I don’t come to Vegas to win, I come for the entertainment. We never look to win, and because of that, we have fun.”

But if he could cash those two tickets, well …

“It’s just an exhilarating rush. It’s amazing,” Jim said. “It puts you over the top.”

It certainly did in this case, as the Jets won 19-16 on a last-minute field goal. With New York outscoring Dallas 10-6 in the second half, the Borjas cashed that $570 ticket, to go with a push on their $300 wager.

That surely made the rest of the night – geared more toward Paola – something to look forward to.

“We usually go to the club around 1 in the morning. I get my groove on,” she said, noting the couple is getting a breather from their two children. “The kids are at home. It’s gonna be a great night.”

Colin Kelly is a Las Vegas-based contributor for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinPKelly29.


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