EppsNet Archive: Gambling

No One Seems to Understand Point Spreads

24 Oct 2015 /

I lost track of the number of headlines I saw this week regarding how USC (3-3) could possibly be a 3.5-point favorite over undefeated and third-ranked Utah (6-0).

USC logo

It’s weird that no one in sports journalism seems to understand what a point spread really is.

It’s not a prediction. It’s not a scientific analysis. It’s a gambling mechanism. The only purpose of a point spread is to distribute the betting equally on both teams so the bookmaker can pay the winners with the losers’ money.

USC is a 3.5-point favorite for one reason and one reason only and that is because there are more people willing to bet on USC than there are people willing to bet on Utah, so a carrot is offered in the form of 3.5 points to induce more bettors to put their money on the Utes.

Substitute any other team . . . Team X is a betting favorite because more people want to bet on Team X than on Team X’s opponent.

“Team X is a betting favorite” is not the same thing as “Vegas thinks X is the better team.” Vegas has no opinion on who has the better team. That’s why point spreads fluctuate, sometimes by a lot. If too much money comes in on Team X, the point spreads changes to be more favorable to X’s opponent.

FIGHT ON!


People Who Don’t Want Me to Know Things

12 Jul 2014 /

What I want to know is why there are so many people who don’t want me to know things . . .

Trudeau's book Natural Cures Updated Edition

And that doesn’t even include all the things that people “won’t tell me.”


A Mega Millions Lottery Ticket is a Good Investment

12 Mar 2014 /

Mega Millions uses 75 numbers for the first five selections and 15 numbers for the Mega ball.

The number of unique combinations of five numbers selected from a pool of 75 is

\frac{75!}{5!(75-5)!} = 17,259,390

Multiply that times 15 possibilities for the Mega ball and the odds of winning come out to 1 in 258,890,850.

BUT THE CURRENT MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT IS OVER $350 MILLION!

Any time you can get 350 million to one odds on a 258 million to one bet, you’ve got to take it.


Great Wealth Will Not Change Who I Am

6 May 2013 /
Mega Millions

I never actually noticed it before, but the gas station where I buy sodas every morning has a sign out front showing the current jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions.

Both of the jackpots were three digits this morning (nine digits if you add six zeros for the millions) — one a little more than 200 and one a little less. Maybe that’s why I noticed them today, because there were so many digits. Or maybe it’s my destiny to win the lottery and the hand of fate turned my eyeballs to the jackpots.

“I noticed the numbers out front,” I said to the clerk. “Give me a ticket for Powerball and Mega Millions.”

“That’s a lot of millions,” he said.

“It sure is. I’ll still stop by in the morning for sodas though.”


Christmas in Las Vegas

28 Dec 2010 /
Bellagio (hotel and casino)

My son makes the observation that there are no balconies in Las Vegas hotels. We’ve got a room on the 24th floor of Bellagio, overlooking the fountains, which allows me to visually scan other hotels up and down the strip, and by god I think the boy is right.

Am I the only person who didn’t know that?

Of course it makes perfect sense once someone points it out.

The Vegas mindset requires that a disproportionate amount of attention be directed to winners . . . lights flashing, bells ringing, people screaming with glee . . . meanwhile, 99 other people are silently losing their ass.

Clearly it’s going to put a damper on things to have the losers flinging themselves off the balconies of high-rise hotels.