Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sports: There are no absolutes

Many people are picking games these days who aren't in the business of handicapping or betting on games. These include: Journalists, TV analysts, radio talk show hosts, even other players.

One error or weakness that I see often is that too many people speak of sports in terms of absolutes. Stuff like: Texas has no chance against USC; New England will dominate and kill the Jaguars; the defenses are too good, no way this game goes over 70; etc. These people are clearly not gamblers. Texas was only a 7 point dog to USC, which usually translates to about a 25% chance of winning the game. 25% is not close to 0%. When a TV analyst says Texas has absolutely no chance, that should mean 0%. I understand that these guys are partially in the entertainment business, and need to be emphatic when choosing a winner. But the problem is that they speak in absolutes.

Sharp gamblers won't typically speak or write in absolutes. They know that even if they have an edge, it is small. Poker players know that 25% is still 10 outs of of 40 cards on the River. Poker players have gone through so many bad beats in their playing lifetimes that they almost expect the River card to spike them in the butt even if they are the 3-1 favorite. What's my point? I guess my point is that sharp gamblers (sports bettors and poker players) are head and shoulders above the media. Sharp gamblers doesn't mean all gamblers...there are a lot of idiot gamblers out there. The media sounds more like idiot gamblers than they do sound like sharp gamblers.

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