November 12, 2008
David Chalk of Bugs & Cranks weighs in with reasons you shouldn't fret over your team's World Series odds in '09.
Less than a week after the World Series ended, the fine folks at The 700 Level were already complaining about the new Vegas odds that were giving the Phillies the same chance of winning the '09 World Series as their bitter rivals, the New York Mets.
From my viewpoint, it's dumb to get worked up about such things and here's why: World Series odds are always set using the following formula.
Team's Real Odds + Number Of Idiot Fans Willing To Wager Money On Said Team.
OK, sometimes a few other factors come into play, but basically that's it. Vegas does not enjoy parting with any of its money and since it knows that plenty of money will come in from the largest fanbases, it seeks to limit those payouts with the smallest odds.
Let's look at some examples, so you can see what I'm talking about:
The three teams with the best Vegas odds to win the '09 World Series — at least according to Bodog via the Philadelphia Daily News — are, not coincidentally, the three most marketable teams in MLB.
• Boston Red Sox — 11/2
Despite only winning a wild card
and having most of their best players traded away or hobbled by
injuries, plenty of bets will come from Red Sox fans who are
notoriously large in numbers and small in brains.
• New York Yankees — 6/1
Who would bet on a team that has gotten progressively worse each of the last five years and plays in the same division as two of the three best teams in baseball? Not just a lot of idiot fans, but a lot of rich idiot fans.
• Chicago Cubs — 15/2
Taking money from Cubs fans is fun and ultimately very profitable, but Vegas always has to cover its ass just in case they're actually due. I mean, who doesn't have a friend who always puts $20 on the Cubs when he or she is out in Sin City? Even though the chances are slim, Vegas would never want to cash all those tickets from Wrigleyville.
Actually, the only teams that jump out at me
as having a much better chance at a title than their Vegas odds
indicate are the last two teams that were left standing in 2008:
• Philadelphia Phillies — 13/1
If this was one of the above teams, there'd be millions pouring in on a repeat. But one championship isn't going to cure the massive insecurity complex Philly fans have overnight.
• Tampa Bay Rays — 16/1
Devil Ray Town is growing and there's a lot of value in that line, we're much too busy trying to buy tickets to Tropicana Field than to buy gambling tickets.
The remaining 25 teams have odds that are scattered all over the place and no doubt they'll attract a relative share of drunken action. However, I hope you've all learned a valuable lesson or two from this post, namely:
• Gambling is stupid.
• Gambling eleven months before the World Series is really stupid.
• Complaining about your team's Vegas odds is really really stupid.
• Gambling on the Yankees winning the 2009 World Series is really, really, really stupid.