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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 11:43 AM (#2572637)
The facial hair gap could make a big difference, especially if the rules of baseball are changed so that having really stupid facial hair helps you win.

-Pedroia's beard looks glued on, like a 9-year-old's halloween costume
-Beckett's horrible soul patch, the douchiest piece of facial hair in the universe
-Youkilis' Nascar serial killer goatee

Casey Blake looks pretty silly with the beard, but he's almost got it to a indie-ish level of scruffiness, which isn't so bad.

ADVANTAGE: Red Sox
   2. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 12, 2007 at 12:34 PM (#2572646)
Okajima's stupid facial hair reminds me of the people they get to play Japanese pilots in WWII movies.
   3. Joel W Posted: October 12, 2007 at 02:22 PM (#2572732)
I think Youkilis looks like Wooly Willy.
   4. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 12, 2007 at 02:32 PM (#2572744)
Youks goatee is unique. Most of them that I've seen are relatively short. He's like Billy Gibons in comparison.

the Indians make up for that by having the most bizarre and frightening name on their roster--Fausto “deal with the devil” Carmona.

Asdrubal should be up there. There's TWO Carthaginian generals with that name.
   5. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2572772)
Pretty evenly matched overall, but I’ll give Boston a slight edge.


Vegas has the Sox 2-1 overdogs. tfbg9 has the Sox at 6-5, mostly due to home field. A guy in my office just yesterday bet the Sox at 8-1 to sweep. Kiss of death...

Good luck Tribe, I can't get too worked-up over a possible loss to you guys, since you were decent enough to have bumped off the MFY's.

The weather will be just fine tonight, right?
   6. aleskel Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2572783)
The weather will be just fine tonight, right?

I was actually thinking about this, since there was just a cold snap through the northeast (here in NY, I'm sure it was the same in Boston) - will Okajima and Dice-K adjust? I know in Japan its mostly indoor stadiums, is this the first time they've played in colder weather?
   7. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:17 PM (#2572788)
A guy in my office just yesterday bet the Sox at 8-1 to sweep.

God, those are terrible odds.
   8. Answer Guy Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2572795)
Vegas has the Sox 2-1 overdogs.

Too much. If I were a professional gambler, I'd probably have laid some small sum down on Cleveland on these odds. They'd have made me a mint by beating the Yankees.

Not that I think Cleveland is going to win the series, mind you...I just think they have a better shot than 1/3.
   9. The Marksist Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2572796)
Looks like it'll be chilly tonight, but the chance of rain is low so the show will probably go on.

I'm starting to be a little terrified of CC and Carmona. Especially Carmona. I know the sox can hit, but I expect Carmona to through a good game and I think Schilling might throw a good game. All in all, I'd rather it were the other way around.
   10. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2572798)
Online bookies are tough that way, Biffer.
   11. Dizzypaco Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2572802)
Vegas has the Sox 2-1 overdogs.

Too much. If I were a professional gambler, I'd probably have laid some small sum down on Cleveland on these odds. They'd have made me a mint by beating the Yankees.


Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm no expert on professional gambling, but doesn't Vegas base the lines on how people will bet, rather than what they think are the actual odds that a team is going to win? That is, they want about half the people to bet for one team, and the other half to bet the other, and Vegas is guaranteed to make money. Given a truly realistic line, more people would bet on the Red Sox than the Indians, so if the Red Sox win, Vegas would lose a lot of money.
   12. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2572812)
Given a truly realistic line, more people would bet on the Red Sox than the Indians, so if the Red Sox win, Vegas would lose a lot of money.


This is a common misconception--trust me, 99% of the time, the line reflects their guess at the real chances of either outcome. You can't grind out a profit betting against all the NY teams, for instance.
   13. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2572813)
Wind will be from the west, 10-20, which is gusty. I believe a westerly wind blows from left to right, slightly in.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2572828)
The Red Sox really obviously aren't 2-to-1 favorites, though. The day-to-day Vegas lines are usually quite good. The playoff lines are usually pretty crazy - I think that the lines that are likely to get huge action are set with betting in mind, as a partial concern.

Vegas isn't stupid enough to think that the Yankees were 2-to-1 favorites without home field in a short series, and the linesmakers aren't stupid enough to see this series that way, either. The explanation has to come from factors external to the likely outcome.

Thus my theory that you can make a little bit of money gambling on the postseason, but because there are far too few postseason series, it's not a sustainable plan because you can't both bet significant amounts and survive the inevitable swings.
   15. Dizzypaco Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2572830)
This is a common misconception--trust me, 99% of the time, the line reflects their guess at the real chances of either outcome. You can't grind out a profit betting against all the NY teams, for instance.

I don't doubt this is true for most games (the 99%) you refer to, such as regular season games, or games in which neither team has a much greater fan base, or football in general, etc. But for high profile baseball post-season series, which might attract a lot of casual gamblers just looking to bet on their favorite team, isn't balancing things out at least a factor?
   16. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:54 PM (#2572836)
Vegas isn't stupid enough to think that the Yankees were 2-to-1 favorites without home field in a short series, and the linesmakers aren't stupid enough to see this series that way, either. The explanation has to come from factors external to the likely outcome.


Trust me, you are not the first guy to think of this. And the Yankee line got bigger as the series opener approached. I work with pro gambler types, that's why I know these things.

You guys can try out your theories if you like...bet the smaller market teams over and over in big games and see if it will pay off. It won't, certainly not to a point where it overcomes the vig.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2572845)
It's not the small market teams, exactly - it's the big underdogs. The issue is that there are only 2-3 postseason series per season that I would bet. I could pocket a few bucks on average, I think. I could never hurt the house in any way, because there are too few series to bet.

There is no "over and over" bet possible. Professional gamblers, to succeed, need to bet "over and over" because otherwise they could get killed by variance.
   18. Answer Guy Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:01 PM (#2572848)
There is no "over and over" bet possible. Professional gamblers, to succeed, need to bet "over and over" because otherwise they could get killed by variance.

I have long pondered the notion of betting the "under" on wins for all teams. I would think that a disproportionate number of "over-under" bets on the season would involve "over" bets by fanboys, no matter what team you were talking about (but particularly teams with big fanbases.) Of course you could get screwed if the distribution of wins is unusual - if the level of parity is significantly above or below what you expect.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:01 PM (#2572849)
Are you arguing that the -200ish lines on the Yankees and Red Sox have, in fact, only been incorrect by less than the vig?
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:04 PM (#2572854)
I have long pondered the notion of betting the "under" on wins for all teams.
I'm pretty sure you couldn't do it for every team. Back when I had a boring job and disposable income, I played around with this stuff - while the preseason "over" bets center way too high, the vig is large enough that the "unders" still center under 81 wins, and so you'd lose.

I do think that if you're going to bet the over/under on wins, you should always bet the under, because the centers are asymmetric.
   21. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:11 PM (#2572858)
I bet the Yankess at 8.25-5, then the line moved to 9-5, IIRC. I lost. I'm happy.

MCoA, try your theory out, good luck.

I'm saying the fact that you have to pay 5-10% just to bet will wipe out any profits you might get by chasing big underdogs.

And obviously, nobody else has ever thought of your idea. Get rich! :)
   22. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2572860)
I worked with a guy who used to bet over/unders on individual ballgames based on the HP ump's "ERA." Didn't work out after a while, IIRC.
   23. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2572872)
At least nobody here bet their own virginities
   24. Answer Guy Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2572873)
Usually when I think up something like this (e.g. the "bet the under on wins across the entire league" idea), my next thought is "Yeah, right, Answer Guy. If it were something like that, someone who gambles for living would have thought of it already."

If I were a gambling regular, tfbg9, I'd probably put down some money on the Tribe. If I won I'd buy myself something nice with the proceeds. I just couldn't get myself to bet on the Yankees.
   25. Answer Guy Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:28 PM (#2572880)
At least nobody here bet their own virginities

I might have gotten laid earlier if I had. My odds would have been better.
   26. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2572882)
I hold my nose, AG, I hold my nose.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:31 PM (#2572885)
And obviously, nobody else has ever thought of your idea. Get rich! :)
Haven't I said eight or nine times that I can't get rich? I think there are a few bucks to be made here, but it's a very peculiar situation, not a "strategy".

A gambling strategy is only as good as its repeatability. Otherwise, you get killed by variance. If there are only two good bets every year, you can't bet enough on them to "get rich" without putting your entire financial situation at the mercy of variation. I'm just saying that I think there is usually a good bet in the Divisional Series every year. I made a little bit of money doing this a few years ago when I had disposable income. It's just a fun thing to do, not a "strategy" or a way to "get rich".
   28. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2572886)
tfbg9, does anyone use form cycle analysis on pitchers like they do for horses? I Started to collect some info on Sox pitchers earlier this year but I got away from that pretty quick and forgot about the project.
   29. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2572901)
I made a little bit of money doing this a few years ago when I had disposable income. It's just a fun thing to do, not a "strategy" or a way to "get rich".


If you only did it a few times, how do you know they were true overlays, and not just a situation where you lucked out? Answer: you don't know.

EWK-I've heard of stuff like that. Maybe you ought to do it with Wake? Heh heh.
   30. johan Posted: October 12, 2007 at 04:49 PM (#2572919)
I bet on the Indians against the Yankees because the odds were just ridiculous. I think when I did the math the Indians only had to win something like 37% of the time for me to make money. I don't see any way at all that this was a reflection on the odds that a baseball expert would put on the series. To me that line was a pure gift and I made a very nice profit on it. I also made a nice profit betting against Wang on 3 days rest. There is no question that the lines in both situations were more advantageous for me simply because people were betting on the Yankees because they were the Yankees.

If I were betting on this series I would certainly take the Indians. Matsusaka and Schilling are big names that are keeping the line higher than it ought to be. I just want the redsox to win and I care about that more than I do about making a little extra money.
   31. Sexy Lizard Posted: October 12, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2572932)
the Indians make up for that by having the most bizarre and frightening name on their roster--Fausto “deal with the devil” Carmona.

Asdrubal should be up there. There's TWO Carthaginian generals with that name.


And the root-name "Hasdrubal" in Punic meant something like "aided by Ba'al". And Ba'al, we will recall, appears in Judges (and elsewhere) as Yahweh's nemesis (and in Paradise Lost as a general in Satan's army). He's pretty much another devil figure, meaning that if Asdrubal really is helped by him then Indians would seem have the forces of Satan on their side. The signs point to an Indians-Rockies World Series, with the Apocalypse following soon thereafter.
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2572936)
If you only did it a few times, how do you know they were true overlays, and not just a situation where you lucked out? Answer: you don't know.
The opportunity exists once or twice a year. In order to build a useful database, you'd need several decades of betting history, which, of course, don't exist yet.

I've said, over and over, that this is not a sustainable gambling "strategy" becuase the opportunities are so few. You're treating me like someone who thinks he can beat the house and get rich, when I've said in every single post that all I want is a good chance at a small win once a year. These are categorically different things.

Are you really arguing that the lines for the ALDS and ALCS were off by less than the vig? If so, why did you say differently in post #5? If not, why are you so dismissive of what I'm saying?
   33. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2572954)
Post #5 is my OTTOMH guess, its emotional. I'd guess that the real odds are probably close to 66% Sox win the 2007 ALCS. These guys don't go broke making these lines.

You said they were good bets, not me...

I'm just saying that I think there is usually a good bet in the Divisional Series every year. I made a little bit of money doing this a few years ago when I had disposable income.
   34. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2572968)
Actually, I see today the odds are 8-5 BOS, or 61.5%.
   35. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 12, 2007 at 05:33 PM (#2572978)
I'm saying the fact that you have to pay 5-10% just to bet will wipe out any profits you might get by chasing big underdogs.

Betting on a series, maybe, but betting individual games, no.

Remind me next year, and I will show you how it's possible to win money betting one underdog a day.

Never mind, I'll tell you how I would do it now: Choose what you consider to be the strongest underdog of the day. Consider the starting pitcher, the team, and home or away. You can usually get a 100 to win 160 underdog that is a pretty good value.
   36. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2007 at 05:53 PM (#2573017)
You can usually get a 100 to win 160 underdog that is a pretty good value


Lets quit our jobs!
   37. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 12, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2573029)
I'm willing to make a deal with you. Your money, my method.
   38. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: October 12, 2007 at 06:15 PM (#2573047)
Eli, eli, lama Sabathia?
   39. Joel W Posted: October 13, 2007 at 04:52 PM (#2574556)
Steven Levitt (freakonomics) had a paper showing that in the NFL they don't line up the lines during the regular season to balance the money, but instead, Vegas will take a line that's really unbalanced if they think most of the money will go down on a team that they don't think will beat the spread often enough. The biggest place you'll see this is with home underdogs, who you could literally bang out win after win on, but they don't change the line. I think home dogs cover something like 60% of the time in the NFL. In the superbowl however, they just balance, because there's too much money involved, and too much variance.

Anyway, I'm sure they do the same in baseball, and probably for all events, because there's not that much money in baseball.

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