November 29, 2012
Whom You Should Bet On if You're Going to Bet on Baseball (Which You Should Never, Ever Do)
A list of people who should never bet on baseball in descending order of importance that they never bet on baseball:
1. Allan H. (Bud) Selig
You should never bet on baseball. But if you are going to bet on baseball, a futures bet on baseball is about the worst bet in the world. The only problem is that right now, it’s the only baseball betting available, so if you need to get your fix, the numbers tell us a little bit about where to go and what neighborhoods of the futures betting board to avoid like poison.
For those lucky enough to be uninitiated, the futures bet falls outside the category of just one game, like “give me 20 on the Red Sox tonight.” It’s who will win the World Baseball Classic (the Dominican Republic is favored at 2-1, followed by Japan and the United States at 5-2). Or the biggest baseball bet going right now: who will win the 2013 World Series. The Tigers and Nationals are co-favorites right now at 17-2, and while odds fluctuate unlike in a pari-mutuel system like a horse race, once you bet in a futures pool, you’re locked in. So when the Blue Jays annexed the Marlins and went from 35-1 in the initial wagering to an 11-1 co-third choice as of Tuesday at Bovada.lv, your payoff if they win depends totally on when you jumped on that train.
As for the 2013 World Series winner, you have no idea, which is only part of what makes this a terrible play. It’s also one of the worst house edges you could possibly find. The house typically takes 4.5 percent of a standard team vs. team bet, meaning if you bet $100 on a game that’s deemed evenly matched, you won’t win $100. You have to bet $110 to win $100. A horse race, at least on the big-league tracks of New York, has a 16 percent takeout.