Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Crazy odds. Lottery and the NBA

You've probably heard about the state-sponsored poker gambit. Maybe even played it. You know, pick five cards and if they all match the five that are supposedly randomly drawn, you win a hundred grand.

Thing is, matching any five cards, both in numerical value and suit, has the exact same odds of happening as being dealt a royal flush in, say, spades. Those odds? A little over two and a half million to one. So you're going up against 2.5 million odds with a chance to win a hundred K with whatever five cards you pick. In other words, on average, they're paying out one buck for every 25 wagered. And even if you do happen to get incredibly lucky, the state will tax you on your winnings. Make that more like 70K. Long time Detroit Lions season ticket holders notwithstanding, who in their right mind would be dumb enough to participate in such an obvious rip-off? Any casino trying to run such a scam would rightly be exposed and busted by their overseers. Not the state. This is all (not so) perfectly legal. But it's outrageous all the same.

Question. Who will be the first to have their streak come to an end? The worse than woeful Philly 76ers at 0-12, or the high-flying Golden State Warriors at 12-0 in the NBA? Will Philly win a game before GS loses one?

Percentage-wise, the worst NBA season of all-time belongs to the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2011-12. They went 7-59 in a shortened season. Nice ownership job Mike. That ranked right up there with Barkley's golf swing.

The second worst belongs to the above-mentioned 76ers. Back in 72-73, they went 9-73. Turrible, just turrible.

The best record came courtesy of the 95-96 Chicago Bulls. This was the year the same Mike came back to hoops after his ill-advised venture in professional baseball. He had discovered "those guys are good" when it came to pitchers. MJ couldn't hit a lick and was a defensive liability to boot. At any rate, those Bulls posted a 72-10 record, which remains the gold standard to this day. Doing the math, that equaled a winning percentage of .878. Just a tad shy of winning 9 out of every 10. It was an amazing feat indeed.

Yet now we have the Golden State Warriors. Do they have a shot at the Bulls' all-time regular season mark? Sure. It's doubtful, but they have a shot. They would have to go 73-9 to eclipse the Bulls. At the beginning of the season that equated to an .890 winning percentage. In this day and age of salary caps, draft picks, and free agency -- hence parity -- it seems preposterous that any team in the NBA could approach such a mark.

But the Warriors have started off 12-0. It's almost like they're toying with their competition at times. Do the math again. In order to reach the magic mark, they need to go 61-9 over their remaining 70 games (.871). Still a formidable task. And that's assuming they stay relatively injury free and motivated -- neither a given.

So what would happen if Steph Curry and Company rattled off another 15 or 20 wins in a row? It's possible. These guys are that good.

Here's a weird scenario. The Warriors are still unbeaten when the major college football bowls kick off to ring in the new year. Could it happen? Probably not. Starting Nov. 30, they play seven games in a row on the road in thirteen days, including an east coast swing. Play, hop on a jet. Play, hop on a jet. Repeat above. And then some more. That's quite the gauntlet, especially considering every team -- with their rabid fans rooting them on --  will definitely bring their A game trying to knock off the Warriors. Especially as long as they remain undefeated. But all those games are winnable. There's really not a formidable opponent in the bunch.

If they're still clean, the Warriors go back home for a long home stand. Good luck beating these guys in their own building.

And wouldn't it be something if it played out that way? Sure, the college bowls would be in full swing, their Final Four beginning to duke it out, and the NFL gearing up for their playoffs. A regular football bonanza.

But tell me a real sports fan wouldn't be clicking over to check on a Warrior game -- especially if they remain undefeated at the time -- and I'll tell you I don't believe it.

Their odds of beating the Bulls' all-time mark? Hard to say, but probably long.

But no matter what, betting on such a thing surely beats the hell out of that poker scam. That's just ridiculous. Did I mention Lion's fans occasionally mentioning their team being a Super Bowl contender? Yeah, sorta like that. P.T. Barnum was right. There's one born every minute, and some towns are a regular breeding ground for them. And nobody knows it better, and has profited more from the idiots, than the Ford family and the state of Michigan.


No comments:

Post a Comment