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.