Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bob Dunning: You can make stats tell lots of stories


From page A2 | February 04, 2014 |

WINNERS AND LOSERS … if you turned to the sports section on Super Bowl Sunday, you may have noted that six talented Enterprise journalists, including the Above-Pictured Columnist, were featured prominently on the back page offering their predictions for the big game … three picked the Broncos and three picked the Seahawks, but as I have pointed out many times in this space, gambling is the only reason the NFL exists in the first place …

So, as Sports Editor Chris Saur continues to strut righteously around the office after picking the Seahawks, 23-20, I’d like to point out a few salient points about my forecast of a 34-24 Denver victory … as anyone who follows professional football knows, the “over/under” is the most popular bet around, far exceeding who actually wins the game … the over/under for this Super Bowl was 47½ points … Saur forecast the under (43 total points for both teams), while I accurately took the over (58 points for both teams) … Seattle won, 43-8 (51 points total), which means the “over” bettors won … (The Enterprise’s Thomas Oide actually hit the over/under on the nose with his 27-24 Seahawks forecast, but I figure he must have somehow seen a tape of the game beforehand and thus his prediction was disqualified) …

Another important and popular Super Bowl proposition asks “How many points will the winning team score?” … Saur said Seattle would score 23, while I said 24 … another win in my column … and finally, the all-important “What will be the final margin of victory?” … Saur saw a razor-thin three-point game, perhaps coming down to the final seconds … I saw a much more realistic 10-point spread, with the game pretty much over before the Clydesdale ad … Seattle won by 35 points …

I was also the only one of the six prognosticators to boldly predict that Seattle would intercept a Peyton Manning pass and return it for a touchdown … at this point I’m 4-0, resting on my laurels and getting ready to cash in my chips … better luck next year, Chris … ESPN is waiting on the phone for you …

SOLVING OUR CITY’S FINANCES … you know, if you were willing to bet that the Denver Broncos would score exactly 8 points total in last Sunday’s Super Bowl, the nearby Reno casinos would have paid you 250 to 1 on your wager … just imagine if the city of Davis had hired a professional gambling consultant and handed him the $1 million we’re spending on the PG&E study and told him to “invest” the money instead, we’d be $250 million to the good and wouldn’t have to worry about dipping into our rainy-day fund ever again …

ALL IS NOT LOST … buck up, Denver fans … the good news is that the Broncos’ application for football-only membership in the Big Sky Conference has been accepted by the league commissioner … Denver will open the 2014 season on Aug. 30 against new arch-rival Northern Colorado and will visit UC Davis and Sacramento State on a two-week Northern California swing in early September …

WATER-WISE, POUND-FOOLISH … my friend Bill, taking note of all the water-saving tips coming our way these days, scoffs at the notion that you should run the dishwasher only when it’s full … “You shouldn’t be running the dishwasher at all,” Bill claims … instead, he has gone to the Finger Food Diet, which produces no dirty dishes whatsoever …

“Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Guys and the like do not involve using the dishwasher,” Bill notes … then again, you are more likely to wipe your fingers on your shirt on this diet, so you may end up using the washing machine more even as you save on running the dishwasher …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery



    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11



    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10







    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery





    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8