Monday, September 27, 2004
Seeing B.P.'s predictions prompted me to look at some online gambling odds to see if Vegas could be exploited by picking pennant or World Series winners. Using B.P.'s data, my own personal ranking of teams, and by exhaustively analyzing each potential playoff scenario, here are my Vegas-busting picks:
1) Atlanta to win the World Series (value = 1.36*)
The Braves pay 12 to 1 if they win it all thus year. I have them as the fourth-best team in the National League, behind St. Louis, Chicago, and Houston, in terms of ability (judged completely subjectively, but certainly well-researched) to win a post-season series. My own calculated odds for the Braves are 8.8 to 1.
2) Chicago Cubs to win the World Series (value = 1.19*)
At a price of 10 to 1, the Cubs look to me like a great Series pick. With their strong starting staff, the Northsiders could take out any of the other N.L. playoff contenders. I may even be underestimating their value a little; if you believe that they are better than the Cardinals, the Cubs are a better value than Atlanta. I say it's about 8.4 to 1 that the Curse of the Billy Goat ends in 2004.
3) Atlanta to win the National League (value = 1.15*)
For the aforementioned reasons, the Braves are also a good value as N.L. pennant winners. Vegas pays 9 to 2, I have them at about 4 to 1.
4) Chicago Cubs to win the N.L. (value = 1.08*)
See number three above. Again, if you believe that the Cubs are a better shot to win than the Cardinals, this pick moves up to number two, at a value around 1.3. Vegas pays this pick at 4 to 1, and I have it at 3.7 to 1.
Now for some tempting bets that don't pay in my system:
1) St. Louis to win the N.L. (value = 0.69*)
Paying only 11 to 10, this bet simply doesn't make sense to me. If you can get 8 to 5 or better, though, you have my blessing.
2) Oakland to win the A.L. (value = 0.54*)
Paying 9 to 2, Oakland looked at first to me like a decent sleeper bet here. The bet's downfall is that Oakland is only projected to even make the playoffs about 75 percent of the time. These would be decent odds, however, if Oakland is able to secure a playoff spot.
There you go. If I was the gambling type, I am on the record with where my money would be going.
A note on the Cubs: As a fringe Cubs fan, my placement of the Cubs on the "good value" list may be biased, although not how you'd expect. As I said, I have the Cardinals ahead of the Cubs in my National League rankings. It would be easy for not only a die-hard Northsider, but any logical mind, to formulate an argument that the Cubs are the team to beat in the N.L. If you assumed that Prior or Wood will catch fire in the post-season, and that Carlos Zambrano will remain nearly untouchable, the case is an easy one. It is possible that in an attempt to remain unbiased, I have underestimated the Cubs starting pitching staff and thereby undervalued them. Be forewarned.
* Value = Vegas Payoff ÷ My Calculated Payoff