Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sports Gambling

I follow a few people on Twitter, and read a few blogs, written by compulsive sports gamblers. (I don't mean "compulsive" in a bad way, by the way. It's just...the words "compulsive" and "gambler" go really well together.) I think the math behind it is interesting, and that's why I read this stuff, not so much because I have an actual interest in gambling myself. There are a lot of bad sports gamblers out there who think they know what they're doing - or perhaps are just good at convincing others that they know what they're doing - but the good ones all seem to have one thing in common: they're good at math and probability.

Hey, I'm good at math and probability. And, I watch a lot of sports. So why don't I take up sports gambling? If I do my homework, I might even be able to make a little money off of it. And besides, it can be a great form of entertainment, and make a game that you otherwise wouldn't care about a lot more exciting.

Well...here's the thing. The key words in that last paragraph are: "if I do my homework". Even though I do watch a lot of sports, in my experience I've done a really bad job picking "against the spread". I know there are other potential bets out there - over/unders, who the Super Bowl MVP will thank first in his post-game interview (if anyone), etc - but in general, I don't know enough about this sort of thing to be able to recognize which potential bets have "value", and which don't. And, I think the amount of money I would get from it, if anything, would not outweigh the amount of time I would have to invest into it, despite the added entertainment value I might get from it. (I know this blog makes it seem like I have a lot of spare time on my hands, but really, I don't have that much spare time.)

So, there you go. Basically, to summarize the last paragraph, being good at sports gambling takes more effort than I'm willing to put into it. Same goes for the stock market. In general, I'm guess I'm pretty "low risk" with my finances.

If I did feel the need to apply my math skills for financial gain within the gambling universe, I'd opt for internet poker over sports gambling. Even though internet poker is far less interesting of an activity than, say, dropping $20 on the Ravens, I think the margins for someone with my skill set would be much higher over there. That is, if internet poker even exists anymore.

1 comment:

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