Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning: You can make stats tell lots of stories

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From page A2 | February 04, 2014 | Leave Comment

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 bdunning@davisenterprise.net

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