Saturday, February 6, 2016

Super Bowl bookie math

Bet you never really did the math when it comes to certain betting "lines" on sporting contests. Even though it only involves 10th grade algebra, most people don't want to bother.

That would be combining the point spread with the over/under and solving for the final predicted score of the game -- courtesy of those lovable bookies. Trust me, the "wise guys" know a lot about math.

At last look the Carolina Panthers were favored to win Super Bowl 50 by 5.5 points over the Denver Broncos. And the over/under number (total points scored by both teams) remained steady at 44.5.

Let's say Carolina's predicted point total is X. Denver's point total is Y. According to the above .....
X = Y + 5.5  and
X + Y = 44.5.

Combine the two equations and solve for X -- and one will come up with the number 25.
Therefore, if Y = X - 5.5, simple subtraction dictates Y must be 19.5.
Add them up and you get 44.5.

So what the bookies are saying is the final score will be Carolina 25 -- Denver 19.5.

Of course this score is impossible, because there's no such thing as a half point in football. And if the numbers you drew on your local office/bar betting grid were 5 and 9, your chances of winning were slim to none anyway. Those are the kind of numbers yours truly usually gets stuck with. Or maybe 2 and 2. That comes in about as often as 666 in the daily lottery. In other words -- it ain't gonna happen.

Curiously, the geniuses (and I use that term loosely) at Sports Illustrated predicted Carolina would prevail 22-19. That would seem to be an odd score. They must think a couple 2-point touchdown conversions will happen along with a safety here or there. How else could two teams arrive at a final score of 22-19? Has such a final result ever even happened before in the NFL? I'm too lazy to look that up, but let's just say the SI folks don't exactly have a sterling track record when it comes to picking winners. 22-19? Really? Couldn't they round it up to 23-20 or down to 21- 17?

Mercifully, they have replaced their former prognosticator Supreme, one Peter King, with another "expert". Thing is, PK couldn't pick his nose with a power auger over the years, but it was absolutely amazing how many scribes (hacks) came to think of him as some sort of guru to reference in their articles.

On a semi-related note, some think Peyton Manning might weep after this Super Bowl. They could well be right. If he and the Broncos win, Manning could shed tears of joy while riding off into the sunset on top as his boss John Elway once did for the Broncos almost two decades ago. If he loses, he'll always have to wonder how his even dopier younger brother Eli, who played on far less talented teams, managed to win one more Super Bowl than he did. It would be understandable if the Omaha man choked up a bit while pondering such a thing.

But no sympathy for such wimpy crying. After all, isn't Peyton Manning the same guy that made $20 million while playing only half a season this year, threw 8 TD passes compared to 17 interceptions, and raked in another $12 million in endorsements along the way? If you've seen some of his shameless commercials, they were enough to make the average viewer cry as well. Either that, or be grabbing for the remote and hitting the "mute" button, and/or clicking over to something else. Bring on the Ethiopian cooking channel, tell me why I should buy a few high-priced dolls in their frilly clothes, or even bombard me with partisan political-speak. Anything but Peyton shedding alligator tears.

Spare me. The seemingly never-ending rubish yee-haw commercials spots have been bad enough. If he wants to cry after this game -- fine. Just go away and do it in private -- OK?

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