Thursday, February 03, 2011

Giving You Your Props

To the young and hip, the title of this piece is another way of saying 'lauding your achievement and/or effort.' I certainly love you, and would have no problem giving you some applause - if I knew why you deserved some, aside from slogging your way through my writing - but since I'm neither young nor hip (which is obvious from my use of the word 'hip') I mean something else entirely. What I am is old and a former big-time degenerate gambler, so what I'm going to do is make you rich, instead. Personally, I'd rather be rich than get applause, so I hope you realize the favor I'm about to do for you.

Oh, yeah. Those of you who aren't (yet) degenerate gamblers may not know what else 'props' might mean. I'm talking about 'proposition bets', which is to say sporting wagers dependent upon an outcome other than the standard "Which team will win the game?" We shall be exploring the wacky and wonderful ways you can risk your money during this coming Super Bowl Sunday.

If you're not a football fan (American gridiron, that is, and pity if you didn't know that already) stick around anyway. This isn't about football. This is about insanity, and that's always fun!

Here are some of the odder proposition bets available, for this coming Sunday, from varied bookmakers in Las Vegas.

Will a National Football League player be arrested before the game this Sunday?

Yes +125
No -500

Explanation: All betting lines are per $100. In this instance, you would bet $100 to make $125 if you believed that an NFL player will be arrested prior to the game on Sunday. If you believe that an arrest will NOT be made, you would have to bet $500 to make $100. 'No' is the outcome the bookmakers would seem to expect. As with most proposition bets, inside information would be helpful. Say you were a high-ranking police official and you held an arrest warrant for some NFL player. Well, obviously you could get a bet down before making the arrest and make a pile of dough. Of course, unless you can cover up your tracks exceptionally well, you'll probably end up being arrested along with the NFL guy. Make sure you bet enough to make it worth your while!

Will Ben Roethlisberger be accused of a crime before the game this Sunday?

Yes +600
No -6000

You bet $100 to win $600 if you think Big Ben will have someone come out of the woodwork to accuse him of, for instance, molesting underage woodchucks. If you think he's clean - that is, you believe he's molesting only woodchucks that have reached the age of majority - you lay $6000 to win $100. Obviously, you'd have to be an idiot to risk $6000 to make $100 on such an iffy proposition. All it takes is one publicity-hungry bimbo (or woodchuck) to accuse him of something, whether true or not, and there goes your money. Now, that doesn't mean you should bet the other way, either. The odds aren't high enough (unless you're the publicity-hungry bimbo - or woodchuck - and you know it's a sure thing, although if you're a woodchuck you'll probably have trouble getting a bet down, especially if you're underage.)

Neither of those two are wagers I'd take a chance on. I only showed them to you as examples of the sort of lunatic bets that are available. As bizarre as those are, however, at least you might rationalize that you've made an analysis and that your money is riding on something more than a guess. There are other bets that are even odder, since there is no way in hell you could possibly have inside information or other reason to think you've picked a logical side. You can bet on the result of the coin flip; on which team will be the first to call a timeout; on which team will be the first to have a coach ask for an instant replay review; or which team will be the first penalized by the referee. If you bet on any of these, you're pretty much begging for a ride to Gamblers Anonymous.

Other bets from The Twilight Zone (but which at least can be analyzed and perhaps actually profited from by someone willing to do the strange homework) include:

Will the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl and Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2011?

Yes +1000
No -2000

I'd tend to lean towards the "No", but I'll be damned if I'd lay odds on it.

More Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers, National Basketball Association) Total Rebounds against Miami Heat -OR- Pittsburgh Steelers Total Points?

Griffin Rebounds +7 1/2 (-115)
Steeler Points -7 1/2 (-115)

If you bet on Griffin, you get 7 1/2 rebounds to add to his total. If you bet on the Steelers, subtract 7 1/2 points from their total. In either case, you have to bet $115 to make $100

More LeBron James 1st half points against Clippers -OR- Green Bay Packers 1st Half Points?

Straight up, laying $115 to make $100 on either.

More Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics, NBA) Total Points + Assists against Orlando Magic -OR- Green Bay Packers Total Points?

Also $115 to make $100, either way. This is one I'm almost tempted to tell you to bet on. I expect Green Bay to score in the 20 - 27 range. Rondo has consistently come up big in marquee games, and this one will be against a good opponent, on his home court, and nationally televised prior to the Super Bowl. I expect him to score 10 - 14, and add anywhere from 14 assists on up to 18, for a total range of 24 - 32. If I could get any sort of small odds on Rondo, rather than having to lay money, I'd jump on it. As is, not quite. Close, though.

(For every damn bet you can possibly imagine, go HERE. I'm not paid by that site, nor am I advocating placing bets anywhere on-line. It's just a good place for the info.)

Here are the proposition bets I would actually make. I suggest you do so also, as soon as possible. If you bet enough, you will become fabulously wealthy. When you do, you can thank me by giving me 10% of your winnings. If enough of you do this, I'll have millions of dollars and I'll never write again. Even a total damn fool can tell you that's a proposition worth every penny.

Will there be three unanswered scores in the game?

Yes -200
No +160

In other words, will either team, at any point in the game, score three times without an intervening score by the other team? Conversions following a touchdown (both extra points and two-point conversions) do not count as separate scores.

Take the odds on this one. While the over/under (the total points scored by both teams) and the regular betting line on the game are set to stimulate action on both sides, and are not necessarily reflective of what the wise guys in Vegas expect to happen exactly, they're still a decent enough guide to set you in the right direction on this sort of wager. Let's analyze.

The over/under is 44 1/2 as I write this. The line is Green Bay by 3 points. If both of those numbers end up being more-or-less correct, the outcome should be Green Bay winning either 24 - 21 or 24 - 20. In that case, if one team scores three times in succession, the odds are the other team will have to do so, too.

(Not a guarantee, but more likely than a split scoring scenario.)

Will Pittsburgh go up 17 - 0 or 21 - 0, then lose? Will Green Bay go up 17 - 0 or 21 - 0, only to have Pittsburgh rally strongly to make the final score one of those mentioned above? Both scenarios are unlikely. Even one side or the other scoring first then giving up 17 or 21 points in a row isn't something I see.

Lay it in heavy. Take the "No", $1000 to make $1600.

Will the game go to an overtime?

Yes +800
No -1400

There has never been an overtime game in the Super Bowl.

What is commonly known as "Gamblers Fallacy" is the notion that just because something has not happened in a long time, it is somehow 'due' to happen. Mathematicians will tell you this is a load of rubbish. The reason is because misguided gamblers are viewing the series of events from the beginning, in which case it might be an unlikely string of games, whereas the odds are set concerning the current event ONLY. What came before has no real bearing on the present outcome. This is true for all gambles. Dice, cards, little roulette balls, or whatever else, have no memory. They do not think "Oops! I haven't done such-and-such in a long time, so I'd better get going and do it now!"

Having said that, I'd still make a small bet on this game going into overtime. I think these two teams will play it close enough to the vest to make overtime a real possibility, and getting 8 - 1 seems just enough of an overlay to make it a worthwhile wager. Let's bet $50 to make $400.

For our next bet, we'll look at a series of possible outcomes.

Odds can be had on the exact number of points either team scores. I think Pittsburgh scores more than 20, but not more than 34. Here are the odds you can get for any outcome in that range.

Pittsburgh Steelers 21 Points 8/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 22 Points 75/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Points 18/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Points 10/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 25 Points 60/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 26 Points 40/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Points 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 28 Points 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 29 Points 50/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 30 Points 25/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 31 Points 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 32 Points 60/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 33 Points 30/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 34 Points 15/1

I'm going to eliminate those that would likely require some odd type of score (a safety, a two-point conversion, or a missed extra point.) I expect Pittsburgh to score at least one field goal, also, so let's eliminate totals resulting strictly from 7-point touchdowns only. This is what is left:

Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Points 18/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Points 10/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Points 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 31 Points 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 34 Points 15/1

I'll take a flier on each of these for $100.

By the same token, I see the Packers scoring 20 - 27. Let's eliminate the same sorts of totals (touchdowns only, and those including a safety, etc.) and here are the remaining props:

Green Bay Packers 20 Points 12/1
Green Bay Packers 23 Points 15/1
Green Bay Packers 24 Points 8/1
Green Bay Packers 27 Points 12/1

Give me $100 on each of these, also. If any one of these Pittsburgh or Green Bay totals is correct, we will win money overall on this proposition (well, one total will just break us even, but I think we need to cover that one, so...) If none hit, we drop $900.

Will B. J. Raji be on the field for at least one offensive play?

Yes -185
No +145

Raji is a defensive player, and is almost exclusively used in that way. However, he has been used in Green Bay's goal line rushing formations for much of the year, as a fullback. I say they'll use him that way, at least, and possibly as a ball carrier. Lay $370 to make $200.

Finally, let's get some action on the game itself.

Pittsburgh, + 3, $550 to make $500.

And let's have a wager on the "Over/Under" of 44 1/2.

Over 44 1/2, $880 to make $800.

(If you live in Las Vegas, or bet sizable amounts, you may have to lay less than the 10% I've shown here.)

So, now, let's sum up.

My Total Amount Bet = $3,750

Best Possible Win = $4,500

Remember, if you follow this exact course of action, I'll be expecting a check for 10% of your winnings. Send it to:

Suldog The Tout
93 Winsor Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472

[DISCLAIMER: I am one hell of a good handicapper. Having said that, I am also notorious for pitiful performance results whenever I shout my selections from the rooftop. I think God truly loves to humble me. However, that usually involves some team or another that I care about, and I don't give a fat rat's ass which team wins this Super Bowl. So, um, there. Also, if you lose? I'm not covering your losses in any way, shape, or form, unless maybe you're a publicity-seeking bimbo (or woodchuck) and we work out some deal beforehand.]

Soon, with more bettor stuff.


Craig said...

Interesting. . .

These 'prop bets' have always sort of fascinated me, as they seem aimed at the most pathetic, degenerate, Art-Schlichter-types available.

Other than a short stint playing high-stakes poker (well, the stakes were high as far as I was concerned, and certainly more than I had any business playing for at the time; altho, over time, I was a net winner), and the annual NCAA pool ($3/entry; I know - I can just feel the adrenaline surging), I've never been much of a gambler. I have a friend who thinks it's just boring to watch any sporting event without some 'action' riding on the outcome (don't know what he thinks of 'fantasy leagues'). Me, I just like to watch the games. . .

Anonymous said...

There's a football game this weekend?

- Jazz

Maggie May said...

I'm afraid I'm lost with this one. Never did understand the figures connected to gambling.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Daryl said...

Toonman wants GreenBay to crush The Steelers .. I dont like the color of GreenBay's uniform and I dont like their Cheeseheah foam hats .. BUT I hate the whole game .. so I dont care who wins

Chris said...

I put down $100. I have the Jets +17 1/2 points.

I know it's a long shot, but you can't turn down those points.

Chris said...

Hey wait. Now that I think about this, if the final score of the Super Bowl is 14-10, I'd win, wouldn't I?

Rachel Hoyt said...

So, I've been playing poker since I was a toddler and enjoy a bit of roulette here and there, but have never been tempted by sports betting. However, throw in the "Will Ben Roethlisberger be accused of a crime before the game this Sunday?" type bets and you spark my interest! It is probably a good thing I didn't know about that until now. And, I apologize for stopping reading your post right around there to put a cap on my curiosity. :)

Clare Dunn said...

You lost me at "hip"...

Guess I would not make it in the Gambling World.

Jeni said...

Buddy, you really have me confused now! I always thought the purpose of gambling was to risk say $50 with the possibility being if you won, you won more than that single bet. I don't really care who wins on Sunday as I happen to like both teams involved but guess, since where I live is considered by the local TV station to be "Steeler Nation" I'll be leaning towards cheering for the Steelers. Our pastor is coming for dinner and to watch the game with us and a few other friends/family and she -being from Wisconsin -is a huge Packer fan so that should make for some interesting scenarios during the game, don't 'cha think?

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

I could have actually gone to Las Vegas this weekend with some justification. There's a convention. Well, actually it's in Primm (on I-15 at the state line). But, in balance, there weren't enough Good reasons, even if I was a betting man. Besides, I checked. You still can't get there from here. You have to go somewhere else first.

Anonymous said...

Ay, yi, yi.

Can't we just watch it for the commercials?

hee hee

Pat - Arkansas said...

I am amazed! I actually understood some of this stuff. I don't gamble (with money, anyway) so all your explanations are, in my situation, purely academic. I regret to say that 10% of nothing is still nothing, so don't be looking in your mailbox for a check from me.

Hilary said...

It is too so about sports. AND math.

Buck said...

You know too much about gambling and I know far too little.

Sorry, Jim... but I tuned out right after I read "Pittsburgh Penguins." AIIIEEE!

(explanation: those two words, closely coupled, are sorta like the effect garlic or a crucifix has on a vampire. I don't have problems with either when they stand alone... beautiful city, interesting bird.)

lime said...

i loathe football entirely and have never been known as a gambler...with money that is....with my physical self, sure, i mean i hurled myself off a zipline but i didn't make any money doing that...well, except for the paramedics, helicopter pilot, surgeon, nurses, hospital and therapist, but for myself...yeah, not so much.

so hey, thanks for the props but i'll be avoiding the whole mess on sunday. maybe i'll just rent a bunch of hugh jackman flicks and fire up the fondue pot. say, what sort of chances do you give to he and i spending a birthday together conquering the ziplines that have injured us?

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

About the only wagering I've done on any bowl games has been purchasing blind squares in a pool.

Matt Conlon said...

I am a terrible loser... That is to say, when I lose, I get very angry... And I don't enjoy it. I don't like me when I'm angry.

I also don't have very good luck when it comes to games or betting.

This is a bad combination. I tend to keep my money in my pocket.

...or spend it on woodchucks.

Lisa Johnson said...

Never heard about prop bets before. I wonder if there are any involving food...

Anonymous said...

I watch the Super Bowl strictly for the commercials.

I'm clueless about gambling, and I would be sad if I won money gambling and made you so rich that you never blogged again. You probably wouldn't be as sad as me, though.

messymimi said...

Thus i don't bet unless i know for sure i can win.

Sarah said...

Finally! Someone else who is pretty sure Big Ben has something for woodchucks!

muhammadrazzaq said...

Yet another award from some misguided soul. Million Dollar Friend? Me? Maybe in Guyanese Dollars...

i beati said...

my husband had a pack is back sticker all his life.He passed on in 2003

Ananda girl said...

Yikes! No wonder I'm no good at betting.

I certainly do hope that no under aged woodchucks are molested... and it would be shameful of someone to profit from that wager!

Rebecca said...

I'm so boring - I never bet on anything with the Superbowl. And this year - you can even bet on how long Miss Christina Aguilera will hold her long notes for during the National Anthem. ;) Actually - I'm surprised there's no over/under as to whether there will be a "clothing malfunction" of some sort. ;)

Carolina said...

What Pat (from Arkansas) said :-)

Annah said...

I don't know anything about football *or* gambling so betting would be like walking blindly through a forest with vampires from that Twilight movie chasing me.

I have to go for the Packers though, because my lover likes them a lot. What can I say? I'm a pushover sometimes.

I'm going to the Superbowl this Sunday so I'll get to see the action live even if I don't understand *anything* that is going on.

Anonymous said...

Whew, that made me dizzy. I'll just put my dollar on a square at the SB party and cross my fingers.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...sounds like something that involves too much math, so no thank you. I'll stick with just plain writing and stuff.

Jackie said...

OK....I'm reading your posts in 'reverse'....latest back to the ones that I've missed (I've been sick...sigh)....and I'm with Clare Dunn...You lost me after the first line.
Your math is amazing!!! Your wit is even more amazing....and you KNOW that you can write! I wish I had the love of sports that you do. Maybe I could understand the betting aspect of it....but probably not. It's just over my head (which isn't very hard to be because I'm only 5 ft. 2 in. tall.)I love coming here, Jim. Yes, I do....