Month: February 2010

NBA Line

There is a chnace I read the line wrong last night but I am pretty sure the opening line on Cavs/Celtics was Celts -1.  The latest line is Cavs -2.5, meaning the line has moved 3.5 points in twelve hours.  Let’s see what happens.

Olympic Links

All Olympics, all the time.

First, a fascinating look at scalping tickets at the winter games.

Olympic ticketing has its set process. Organizers generally sell seats as far ahead of the Games as they can, slowly releasing batches for the premier events first — in order to maximize cash flow in the years leading up to the festival. Pools of seats are then made available to citizens of the host nation, and anything that’s left goes to general sale nine to 12 months before the Opening Ceremony. So the Games are usually either “sold out” or “95 percent booked.” It only takes one visit to the Olympics to know that this type of news is all useless misnomer that should be completely ignored.

Apolo Ohno – Old Person?

Why Scandanavian countries aren’t any good at figure skating.

A majority of Canada’s hockey players are left handed. I don’t know hockey well enough to say, but maybe there’s a strategic advantage in being left handed, like in baseball, creating a self selection bias toward those players.

Roughly 60 percent of the Easton hockey sticks sold in Canada are for left-handed shots, Mountain said. In the United States, he said, about 60 percent of sticks sold are for right-handed shots. Figures over the years from other manufacturers have put the ratio discrepancy between the two countries as high as 70 to 30.

The difference even trickles over into golf, where the swing is not unlike that of a slap shot. According to the Professional Golfers Association, 7 percent of Canadian golfers play left-handed, which is proportionally more than any other nationality. The reason is probably that Canadians pick up a hockey stick first and are therefore imprinted by the time they take up golf. Especially if they are from Quebec, where hockey players are even more left-handed than players in the rest of Canada.

Oddly, British Columbia — sometimes said to be the most American-like of the Canadian provinces — skews the other way. “The rest of the country goes 2 to 1 in favor of left sticks, but it’s reversed in B.C.,” said Marc Poirier, a customer service representative who handles Canadian orders for Warrior Sticks.

Europeans also tend to be left-handed shooters. The International Ice Hockey Federation does not keep figures by European nationality, the communications director Szymon Szemberg said. But, he said, lefty shooters have predominated. “For long spells, the great Soviet teams of the ’80s never had a player who shot right,” Szemberg said. has a kickass photo blog for the Olympics so far.

As if curling wasn’t cool enough, the US curling team has it’s own condom.

Lastly, what’s better than a women’s hockey brawl in an Olympic qualifier? Don’t miss the score.

Gambling Thoughts

I’ll preface this by saying I’m not really breaking new ground here. 

Other day Louis was talking to me about the idea of creating a gambling program where someone could be exposed to an extrememly high number of past games with spread knowledge in a short amount of time to make them a better sport gambler.  Something akin to the idea that you become a better poker player by playing lots of hands, so internet people have an advantage because they play so many in so rapid an amount of time. 

I think there is a little bit of merit in this, but limited.  First of all we will throw out the idea for the moment that such a program could be created in the foreseeable future.  You would need some Matrix-like thing going on where the person uploads game data into their brains at a rapid rate.  But if such a program existed, the question arises, would it have the results Lou thinks it would.  And to an extent I think the answer is yes.

The main problem is that Vegas essentially already has something like Lou’s hypothetical idea with those simulations they run in computers.  That, after all, is often how the spread is figured, they are running advanced machines to find out what the difference in a game is likely to be.  I cannot decide if Louis’ idea should be described as being (A) different from or (B) being more finely tuned than these simulations.  The idea is different from the simulations in that he wants to figure out future score totals in relation to the spread instead of creating a spread itself, but at the same time, is that not just saying that he wants an outrageously accurate score indicator?  In either case, the task is tough.

But Lou does have one obvious advantage, and that is that Vegas has a set of handcuffs on it, namely, the betting public.  If the public thinks one way strong enough, Vegas is going to often yield to that in making a line.  This is evident in setting the line itself, and in subsequent adjustments.  Teams like the Lakers and Cowboys will routinely get more respect in regards to the line simply because the bookies know where the action is going to go.  I was on a site the other day that noted that the Lakers over the last 10 years weren’t even close to breaking even against the spread, even though, they’ve obviously been very successful.  As mentioned, the public’s influence will also transfer to line adjustments.  A recent example of this was the Packers/Cards Wild Card game this year where the line opened at Cards -2.5.  By kickoff of that game 80% of the betting public (Allen “three Benjamins” Gowin) was on the Packers, and the line had to be moved to Packers -2.5. 

And it is here where Louis’ slim hopes lie at getting rich off his Matrix program.  If Vegas strictly set spreads without the betting public in mind, Louis’ plan could not work for him, as they would be using the most in-tuned sports minds and up-to-the-minute programs and data to set the spreads.  It is in Vegas’ act of covering its own ass that salvation lies for the merit in Louis’ idea, when the sports public forces Vegas to at times make a road team a favorite against a defending conference champion. 

As a brief note at the end, this could encourage a group to take a game, throw a ton of money on one side to pop the line in a certain direction, and then once the line moves a decent amount, throw an absolute shit ton of money on the other side.

Friday Links

Michael Vick is back in the news this week. From Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

I was encouraged to hear that Michael Vick, in advance of his reality show that debuts Tuesday on BET , is saying he led “a double life,” and I use the word “encouraged” advisedly. Because you don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself and asked people who worked inside the building at 4400 Falcon Parkway if I/they had any hint — any hint — of what was to come.

And I did not. Which might make me the world’s worst reporter, except that I’ve not yet found anyone within the compound who saw it coming, either.

I know, I know. People on the outside will harrumph and say they knew it all along because he wore his hair in corn rows and dressed in a manner different from, say, Peyton Manning. But I grew up in the ’60s and have had some fairly extravagant hairdos myself, and I attended my high school graduation wearing platform shoes with four-inch heels. Me, I stopped judging on appearances long ago.

And even if you believed Vick mightn’t have been a model citizen, you knew this … how? Before the Ron Mexico civil action was filed in 2005, there wasn’t a hint of misdoings, and he’d been a Falcon since April 2001. In hindsight, the weird part wasn’t that we “knew all about” the most famous person in Atlanta but that we knew, as in really knowing, hardly anything.

That’s why I’m intrigued by “The Michael Vick Project”, and what it might reveal. I thought I knew him. Turns out I only knew what I was allowed to see. I’m intrigued to see how he kept his lives compartmentalized. I’m intrigued, as the spies in John le Carre’s fictional Circus would say, by the tradecraft.

Vick in an Atlanta radio interview this week said the following:

On whether or not people ever saw the best that he could’ve been:

“No. Not at all. I think if I woulda applied myself, there was a lot more I could have done off the field and also in the film room that could have elevated my game to a totally different level. I was complacent at the time, somewhat lazy, and I kinda settled for mediocrity. I thought what I was doing was enough. I thought that would suffice and I didn’t have to do anything else. I thought as my career went on I would continue to play at a high level. Everything that I was doing off the field, in regards to the marijuana and everything else, it didn’t slow me down, but it definitely slowed my developmental process because it made me lazy in a sense and I wasn’t really focused and didn’t take things seriously. Now, I want to make the most out of the next couple of years out of my career. I want to play my best football up until the age of 34 or 35, so that’s my plan. I’m gonna put everything into it. Put my all into it.”

On the fact that he still had success even when he didn’t dedicate himself completely:

“Just imagine what I could’ve been doing if I really would have been applying myself. That’s a regret that I have. I’m just glad that I have an opportunity to make amends for what I didn’t do and try to recap that. That’s what I wanted to show in my documentary because people didn’t know that. I wanted a clean slate, I wanted to put all of that out there so that once this documentary aired and the series is over, then I can move on with my life and I don’t have to answer a lot of questions. I can just answer them through my actions.”

Judging by the above paragraphs only, it sounds like he’s growing up.

Why Germany will win the upcoming World Cup.

Did Avatar mercilessly steal from Pocahontas?

Lastly, Lamar Odom entertainingly pimping Powerbars. Or something.

2011 Super Bowl Odds

These were posted by Bodog this morning. Make of that what you will.

Team Odds
Indianapolis 6.5
San Diego 8
New England 10
New Orleans 10
Pittsburgh 11
Dallas 12
Green Bay 12
Minnesota 12
Philadelphia 16
Baltimore 20
NY Giants 20
NY Jets 25
Tennessee 25
Atlanta 30
Cincinnati 30
Arizona 35
Chicago 35
Houston 35
Carolina 40
Miami 45
San Francisco 45
Seattle 45
Denver 50
Jacksonville 50
Washington 50
Buffalo 100
Cleveland 100
Detroit 100
Kansas City 100
Oakland 100
St. Louis 100
Tampa Bay 100

Defending champions at 10:1??? Atlanta at 30 is also appealing. It’s really tempting to take the top 8 NFC teams, banking on the fact that one of them should make the Super Bowl and then hedge the moneyline on an AFC team a year from now. Probably not worth the effort considering you’d have to tie up your money with Bodog of all places for a year, but it’s something to think about.

Saints at 10:1 still doesn’t feel right, though maybe I’m just biased based on the last few seasons.

Comment away, especially if I’m missing something.

EDIT: Lombardi makes an excellent point this morning I overlooked yesterday in that teams in the last 8 of the playoffs (IND, SD, NO, DAL, MIN, BAL, NYJ, ARI) cannot make significant free agent additions unless replacing a departing player.

If you leave out those 8 teams, the top plays would seem to be NE, PIT, GB & ATL. Still awfully hard to tie up any significant $ on something a year away without a good feel for an outcome.

Super Bowl Propping

Apologies for the lack of posting this week. Real life + being sick = light blogging. I’ll attempt to make up for it here by hopefully passing along some of the more appealing prop bets available from the literally hundreds available.

Other sites have much more detailed analysis here and here. If you are participating in a square and want/need to calculate your odds of winning, that link is here.

Dallas Clark over 68 yards receiving (-110)

This is a really high number for a tight end, but Dallas Clark is more of a hybrid slot receiver than even Antonio Gates or Jason Witten, so this number is probably very close to the true line. This is a high variance play, but I think Clark will see single coverage all day and will likely be the recipient of many checkdowns thanks to the Saints blitzing. Another similar play is Joseph Addai over 2.5 receptions or over 18.5 receiving yards.

Total Penalties

If anyone can find a prop bet on this, please let me know. The Colts and Saints are two of the least penalized teams in the league and referee Scott green, to my complete and total joy almost never calls roughing the passer. He’s thrown only seven flags for roughing the passer over the past three seasons, including zero during the entire 2008 season. Many of the roughing the passer penalties are simply things that happen in a game called “football” and it’s fantastic that a referee that subscribes to this belief will be in charge of the game.

Highest Rated Commercial Anheuser-Busch +200

These odds have been heavily slashed from the +900!!!! opening, but there’s still value here.

I think there is tremendous value in Anheuser-Busch and Doritos at Bookmaker here, and it goes beyond just comparing their odds to Bodog’s. Busch won ten years in a row before Doritos broke their impressive streak last year. Even in defeat, Busch showed very strong, with their ads placing both second and third. In 2008 Busch placed first, fifth, and sixth, with Doritos coming in fourth. And in 2007 the two companies dominated the standings, monopolizing the top seven spots. Even at +900, Busch actually has the shortest odds of any of Bookmaker’s 35 options; it’s like BM was aware that they should be the favorite, but had no idea just how dominant they’ve been.

As for this year’s game, the Clydesdales won’t be appearing, but Busch has purchased five minutes worth of ads, and their non-Clydesdale commercials have scored well in the past. Doritos is running a similar contest to the one that landed them the top spot last year; they’ll have three commercials during the game.

Likely more degeneracy to follow between now and kickoff.

Rick J

I have been trying to find gambling blogs kind of like this one but I am not having too much success.  With that said, I came across this guy.

He is by no means funny but he seems to have a pretty good record and know what the hell he’s talking about so check him out.  Rick seems to include some wall street stuff on a stock or two that he likes so watch out for that.  Please leave a comment if you find a blog about sports gambling that has some humor to it.  No poker blogs please.