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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Is One Bet Better Than Another?

This is a fascinating question that has been debated by many many gamblers including myself and my gambling buddies. There are two schools of thought here, I'll summarize each one and then give you my opinion.

First School of Thought: A bet is a bet is a bet...no one pick is better than the other. This reasoning is derived from another cliché "there is no such thing as a sure thing". We've all been there. We see a game and we think there is no way Little Sisters of the Poor beats Big State University. But sure enough Little Sisters pulls the upset or worse loses but covers since they were a big dog. If you bet 3 games that day but put a little more juice on this "sure thing" it ate into your profits a little more than you would have liked.

Second School of Thought: Each bet is different and each bet should be valued accordingly. Put the extra juice on the high values and enjoy the spoils. It’s kind of like getting all your money in with aces against a two outer. The odds are in your favor that the big favorite covers, and sure enough the game is over by halftime. And that extra juice you put on the heavy favorite might have turned a losing day into a winning one.

Both are compelling arguments but if you ask me.

It depends...

If you are comfortable with risk and looking to make quick profits then I would go with method 2; rank your picks and bet accordingly. Go all-in with aces. But let me emphasize...if you are comfortable with risk. You have to be willing to put up some pretty big numbers on your highly ranked bets to make a good profit. And every poker player has a story of their aces being cracked.

If however you are risk adverse and are just chasing wins then obviously method 1 is right for you. Method 1 has you put the same amount of dollars on each bet and as long as you are over 50% you are profitable.

If you have been reading this blog you know that I prefer method 1. Let’s look at last weekend’s NFL bets I made in a fantasy football gambling league where you are given $2,000 to bet with throughout the season and the one with the most bones at the end of the season wins.


Here are the bets:

7 point teaser:
Cards (+9.5) and the Cards/Bucs under at (47) for $100
Ravens (+4) and the Colts (-2.5) for $200
Bengals -4.5 for $250
Titians -3.5 for $100
Chargers +2 for $100
Skins/Raiders over (44) for $250

The Bengals were a sure thing. Arguably the best team in the division with a top defense against an overachieving Browns team with a 3rd string quarterback and no Trent Richardson. Result Browns won I lost $250

The Skins/Raiders over was a lock! The Skins had the worst defense in the league however the 5th best passing offense and the Raiders had a good running game ranked 3rd in the league. This all should result in an abundance of points right? Well the 31st ranked defense shut on the Raiders in the second half. Why? The Raiders lost both of their RBs in the first half. The game went under and I lost $250

My two locks ended up both losing.

Now if I would have bet the same amount on each of these games going 4-2 I would have netted out $200. Instead I did better than 60% and have nothing to show for it.

In my opinion this is a pretty compelling argument to go with method 1. Risk vs reward is the same. Just pick winners and let the chips fall where they may.
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Documented Results as of May 11, 2015