Monday, January 12, 2009

Things I Learned From Bookies This Week

1. I should have bet more on the Steelers to win the Super Bowl.

Well, obviously. After all, they advanced to the semifinals and the Panthers--my big futures play this season--didn't. But even from a results-disoriented approach, it appears that Steelers futures were even more underpriced than I thought.

I'm not a football handicapper, so I wasn't sure how much the Steelers would be favored by in the AFC Championship game. I did have clues: The Greek posted an early line of Baltimore+3.5 on Sunday morning, and the market price for Pittsburgh futures seemed consistent with the +3.5 line.

Pittsburgh is actually favored by 6--a huge difference. I stopped buying Steelers futures when their odds to win the Super Bowl dropped below +500 (at the start of the playoffs) but that was actually much too conservative. I also thought +300 was a fair line on Sunday morning, when it turns out that would have been a great bet. Oh well.

2. Betting futures on low-seeded teams is rarely a good idea.

The Cardinals have taken the path of least resistance to the Super Bowl--they've now drawn their easiest potential opponent twice in a row. Still, if you bet the Arizona money line in the first round of the playoffs and let it ride in rounds 2 and 3, you'd now be getting +2700 on your initial investment, and that's better than any line you could have found on them to win the NFC at the playoffs' outset. Remember, the Cardinals were almost 2-1 favorites to face the Giants this week instead of the Eagles, which would leave them as considerably bigger underdogs.

I noted a similar but more profound effect in last year's playoffs.

3. The Cavaliers have made some serious headway.

I don't follow basketball, but I'm still a bit nonplussed at seeing a non-Celtics team as the new favorites to win the Eastern Conference.

Apparently I've also forgotten how uncompetitive the NBA East is. Right now, The Greek has posted odds on Eastern Conference Divisions--but really, you can bet on which team will finish second in the Atlantic or which team will finish last in the Central. Nice.

1 comment:

Greg said...

I think some people looked too much into the Pittsburgh loss in Tennessee.