Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bob Dunning: Making book is all about making bucks


From page A2 | February 02, 2014 |

This just in as we arrive at yet another Super Bowl Sunday, this one with little or no local interest.
Turns out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “upon further review,” has ruled that loud-mouthed Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman should have been flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for directing his hands-to-the-throat “choke” gesture toward 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Sherman is the one who tipped Kaepernick’s potentially game-winning pass attempt into the arms of a Seattle teammate during the final seconds of the NFC championship game two weeks ago in Seattle.
As a result of Goodell’s ex-post-facto ruling, the 49ers have been awarded the ball with a first-and-goal at the Seattle 9-yard line (half the distance from where the play started), with 22 seconds left on the clock and Seattle leading, 23-17.
Super Bowl kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PST Sunday afternoon. Thus, Goodell has ruled that the final 22 seconds of the 49er-Seattle game will be played beginning at 2 p.m., with the winner advancing to the 3:30 p.m. kickoff against the Denver Broncos.
Two voices vociferously opposed Goodell’s unprecedented plan. The first was that of Seattle coach Pete Carroll, for obvious reasons. The second was the collective voice of Nevada sports book operators who have already paid off bettors who took Seattle two weeks ago and are now looking at having to pay off the other side as well should the 49ers manage to pull this one out of the fire.
It’s surprising, really, that the commissioner didn’t at least listen to the folks from Nevada, since gambling is what makes the NFL such a hit with the American public.
Don’t care who wins a regular-season yawner between Buffalo and Tampa Bay? Put a hundred bucks on it and you’ll suddenly watch every last second on TV, screaming madly as you do.
There are two parts to this gambling craze. The first is financial. You want to win not only so you don’t part with your hard-earned cash, but also so you can gleefully put the other guy’s money in your pocket.
The second is the male ego. And yes, sports gambling is almost exclusively a male event. There’s something about “outsmarting” the oddsmakers at the sports books that’s even more valuable to the psyche than the financial gain.
Hey, it’s the oddsmaker’s job to study all the information — weather, records, injuries, past history — and come up with an accurate “line.” And little old you, who works 40 hours a week to put bread on the table, can undo all that research simply by placing a bet on the right team.
The odd thing here is that the “line” is almost always wrong. In fact, given that Denver is a 2 ½-point favorite over Seattle, it’s guaranteed to be wrong this time around.
The same for the popular “over/under,” which sits at 47½ as game time approaches.
And when some clueless individual at your Super Bowl party asks “how can you score half a point?” you patiently explain that on a PAT kick, if the ball hits the crossbar and then bounces through the goal posts, it counts for only half a point.
The great thing about betting on a football game is that the house doesn’t have control over the outcome, as it does with slot machines and every other game of chance it offers.
If 100 people play a slot machine for three hours, at least 95 of them are going home losers.
But, if 100 people bet on the Super Bowl, 50 of them — more or less — will win and 50 of them will lose. The house makes its money by balancing bets and charging losing bettors 10 percent of their bet.
So how does the house know ahead of time which bet is a losing bet and which one a winner? It doesn’t, so it charges both sides 10 percent, but refunds the 10 percent to the winner.
In other words, it’ll cost you 11 dollars to win 10 if you bet on Denver, and 11 dollars to win 10 if you bet on Seattle.
If your team wins you get your 11 back, plus 10 from the house. The loser is out 11 bucks, period.
So the house took in 22 dollars and paid out 21, and constantly makes slight adjustments to the line as game time approaches to attract equal numbers of bettors to each side. It’s a guaranteed winning formula. “Making book” is strictly about making bucks.
As for Sunday’s two games, Kaepernick will be intercepted again and the 49ers will still lose, 23-17, sending Seattle into the championship game against Denver.
Denver will roll Seattle, 12th Man and all, 34-24.
You read it here first.

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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