Every week when I do my link dump, I pick three games that I’d be willing to wager on. I don’t actually wager on the games since betting on sports is usually a good way for you to donate some money back to a casino, but it’s fun to pretend. I’ve watched a few of the games I’ve “bet” on and they’re definitely more exciting when I have bragging rights on the line. Yes, I have celebrated over a meaningless MLB game in May. Feel free to mock me. I would.

Let’s say you wanted to bet on sports, but on a much larger scale and with downside protection. That sounds like a sports gambler’s wet dream, doesn’t it? Sit tight little one, I’ll explain how.

Traditionally, sports teams have been pretty good investments for their owners. Sure, there’s the odd Montreal Expos disaster thrown in there, but for the most part owners have watched the value of their team head steadily up for decades now. The Steinbrenner family originally bought the Yankees for $8.8M in 1973. A recent estimate put the value of the Yankees at $1.2B, which is just a measly 13.5% return. I’m cherry picking one of the best examples here, but most other professional sports teams have seen similar appreciation over the years. It’s good to be a billionaire sports owner.

Good news though. You don’t have to be a billionaire to own a sports team anymore. No, I’m not talking about buying shares in community owned teams like the Green Bay Packers (where you pay $250 per share for a fancy certificate and not much else) or the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (where you pay $250 per share for a slight discount on logoed stuff and have no rights to sell the shares) Frankly, you’re a special kind of moron if you buy shares in either of those football teams.

How about another football team? Sorry, soccer. Manchester United recently filed their IPO, raising $233M which will mostly go towards paying off the $660M in debt owner Malcolm Glazer needed to arrange to buy the team. Oh, and your class A shares will only get one vote to every 10 votes that class B shares get. You can probably figure out who owns most of the class B shares.

They were hoping to raise in excess of $325M, but appetite for the deal was about as lackluster as that time I took my shirt off. They hoped to price the shares between $16-$18, but were only able to price the deal at $14 per share. The club was looking to use that extra $100M to buy some good players, since the team has recently struggled to beat other powerhouses like Chelsea and Arsenal.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am wearing an Arsenal jersey as I type this.

So the issue was kind of a flop. The stock pays no dividend, your voting rights are crap, and the team is kind of heading downhill. Why would you buy this crap again?

Because you like to gamble.

If you believe Man U’s stars – like the ugliest human being alive, Mickey Wayne Rooney – are on the cusp of doing something terrific this season, it’s time to buy these shares. Sports teams do better when they go deep into the playoffs. If Manchester United finds a way to win the UEFA Cup (that’s the European-wide version of the Stanley Cup for the unaware) they’ll make millions. The shares will go up, and so on. You’ll be a happy investor.

Manchester United shares are a play on how good they do on the pitch. Is investing in the stock really the best way to gamble on their success? If the team has a mediocre season, the shares will probably be pretty flat. If there’s some sort of disaster, the shares fall. There’s downside protection if the team doesn’t win the championship, which is probably the more likely scenario.

On Bodog right now, Manchester United are currently at 9/1 to win the English Premier League Championship. The upside is much greater if you just bet on them. The downside is much greater too. They’re a distant 13/1 to win the UEFA European Championship. If they do win, what’s the stock going to do? Double at the most? I have no idea, but I can assure you the upside is much greater if you place a bet in Vegas.

Should you buy this stock? I have no idea what the hell it’s going to do. I wouldn’t though. There’s much better value out there.

Tell everyone, yo!