Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

I just captured every piece and only gave up two pawns. Yes, it's the lowest difficult setting and a joke to play against. Still crushed it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Currently, according to ESPN, the Patriots are favored by 1.5 points. I'm not going to make my pick yet. I'll try and watch it over the next week and see if the spread changes.

Edit: As of the 24th, it's Pats by 1. As on the 25th, it's back up to 1.5. On the 26th, it's Pats by 1.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Rayvonte Rice Experiment

Sometimes through chance, life presents itself with natural experiments. This isn't a pure experiment as there's no actual control--the only control is the history of most other years and the expectation of this year's team.

The experiment is such: What if you take a team that is struggling, failing to live up to expectations, and remove their best player for most of the year, and then bring the best player back for the playoffs.

At the time of the injury, Illinois was 10-5. They lost two games, Oregon and Michigan, that they had no business losing. Win those two games and they would have been 12-3 on track for a solid NCAA seed. Lose those two and they're on the bubble. Again, this was all with Rice, by far their best player.

So what happens when you take away Rice for 5 weeks?

Common sense dictates that if you take away your best component of anything, the overall product gets worse. This viewpoint can be seen at the end of the Rice injury article on ESPN: "Rice's injury is a major blow to an Illinois team that is 10-5 and likely will struggle to get into the NCAA tournament."

But common sense may be wrong in this case. It's at least possible for another outcome. By giving more game experience to our young/struggling player, maybe they will improve. And then when it's time for the tournament, you add Rice back in to the fold to a bunch of improved players.

Again, there's no guarantee that this will help the team in the long run. But it is an interesting experiment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Holy shit, this is the second coming of John Madden and Bill Belicheck. Or...since he's going to be the Head Coach of the Broncos, maybe it only makes sense to give him credit for his head coaching record.

61-64 in 8 seasons with the Texans. 2-2 in the playoffs.

Everyone's super jazzed about him, but I don't get it. If Manning plays and is healthy, the Broncos will be good. If not, they'll still be okay, but I wouldn't pencil them in to the Super Bowl just yet.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Vig

Say you're in a Vegas sportsbook and someone named Ralph gives you two options: you could have 2 winning bets out of 3 games or you could have 5 winning bets out of 8 games...which would you take?

Say someone named Mike gives you two options: you could have 2 winning $100 bets out of 3 games or you could have 5 winning $100 bets out of 8 games...which would you take?

These are not the same question. And my head hurts.

- - -

To Ralph, I would rather have the winning bets. If I had $100 to wager on three games, you'd have 2 winning $33.33 tickets. After the vig, that's a profit of $60.66. With $100 to wager on eight games, you'd have 5 winning $12.50 tickets. After the vig, that's a profit of $56.88. Makes sense right? A 66% success rate is better than a 62.5% success rate.

But with Mike, it's not the same question. 2 winning $100 bets out of 3, nets you a profit of $82. 5 winning $100 bets out of 8, nets you a profit of $155. So you had a lower success rate, but you wagered $800 instead of $300.

- - -

Our playoff picks had me thinking. Mark went 5-5 and lost 45 fictional dollars. Because all Vegas bets are marked -110, meaning you have to bet 110 to win 100. In other words they only payout 91%.

Which means that just to break even, you need to have a success rate of 55%. This is the house edge. Or in the words of my father, how Vegas pays the electric bill for all those lights. Again, if you win 54% of your bets, you are losing money.

- - -

I wanted to break down, what's the ideal number of concurrent bets to have to turn a profit. So in each category I'll list the possible success rate outcomes. Rates that turn a profit (above 55%) will be in bold.

1 bet
0% 100%

2 bets
0% 50% 50% 100%

So this is pretty obvious stuff. On one bet you either have a win (complete success) or a loss (complete failure). On two bets, A and B, both could lose, both could win, or A could win and B lose, or B could win and A could lose. But what you're looking at is 3 out of 4 times you're not making money. This seems like the worst thing to do.

3 bets
0% 33% 33% 33% 66% 66% 66% 100%

With three concurrent bets, there are eight possible outcomes. In only one out of 8 do you lose all your money. In three out of eight, you lose a bit. In three out of eight you win a bit. And in one out of eight, you win it all. This is my favorite. Winning 2 out of 3 bets seems feasible.

4 bets
0 25 25 25 25 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 75 75 75 75 100

Now we're up to 16 outcomes. And in only 5 do you make money. Even numbered bets are the worst.

5 bets

0 20 20 20 20 20 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 80 80 80 80 80 100

32 outcomes. 16 turn a profit. So it's pretty clear to me, that either 3 or 5 is the perfect number to bet.

Let's do a quick comparison. Say you have $300 to bet.

If you divide it into 3 bets and win 2, that's a profit of $82.

If you divide it into 5 bets and win 3, that's a profit of $43.8.

For me, it seems about as easy to come out 1 game over .500 whether you bet 3 or 5, and it's almost twice as profitable to go 2-1 than 3-2.

- - -

If you have $300 to bet and put it in 1 bet, and get it right you profit $273.

If you have $300 to be and put it in 3 bets, and go 3-0, you profit $273.

Clearly it's harder to go 3-0 than it is 1-0. So if you're trying to make the best profit, it's best to just put it all on one game. It has the most reward, but also the most risk. 0-1 is the easiest way to lose $300. It's much more likely to go 0-1 than it is 0-3.

- - -

To conclude, don't ever bet on an even number of games. If you're trying for the best risk-reward, bet on 1 game. If you're trying to protect yourself and have the best chances of making money, bet on 3 games.

I figured out Super Bowl 49

The answer to who will win lies not in the players or coaches. The answer doesn't begin with these teams at all. It begins on January 4th. The Dallas Cowboys were hosting the Detroit Lions. But you might remember it as...

Whenever any decision or action is made, it creates multiple timelines. Throughout a single football game, this happens thousands of times. Over the course of a season, a million different timelines are created and only one is lived out as reality.

When the officials threw the flag for pass interference late in the Cowboys-Lions game, two timelines were available. One was to be expected. They would announce pass interference and the Lions would be in an excellent position to win the game. But that is not the timeline that became reality. In the timeline that we know, the officials picked up the flag without explanation. The Lions punted. The Cowboys had the ball, scored and won the game.

This moment was the catalyst for everything that has followed since. Picking up the flag cause a karmic chain reaction. The Cowboys beat the Lions, but they really shouldn't have.

A week later, the Cowboys played the Packers. Tony Romo threw a deep pass on 4th and 2 that was caught by Dez Bryant. He took three steps and reached the ball out for the goal line. The ball never moved or wobbled until he was down by contact. It was ruled a catch. Upon further video review, they officials reversed the call. This was karmic payback. The Packers beat the Cowboys, but they really shouldn't have.

A week later, the Packers played the Seahawks. Green Bay dominated the entire game. Russell Wilson played terribly. And then one of the strangest, most I can't believe what I'm seeing sequences of all times happened. The Seahawks beat the Packers, but they really shouldn't have.

Which brings us to Super Bowl 49.

I expect the Seahawks to have a double-digit lead in the 2nd or 3rd quarter. But either throw a combination of a questionable call, fluke turnover, or trick play, the Patriots will end the season as Champions. The chain reaction will be complete.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Why I'm Getting a Vasectomy

I am fortunate enough to have two healthy, amazing children.

It's true what they say, that love is an infinite resource. It would be possible to have more children and love them completely.

But there are other finite resources that it takes to be a parent.

The time we get to share with the people in our lives is precious. Being a father to these two boys is not a title. It means going camping, taking them to movies and ball games, building arts & crafts, helping them with homework. They deserve my undivided time and energy.

They also deserve my money. I work hard to give them experiences that provide fulfillment. Down the road, I want to do whatever I can to help them with a car and college. I don't know if I'll be able to provide everything that even I was provided, but I'm going to do my best.

When my boys are 6 and 8 (7 and 8 in the summer) I want to take them to Disneyland, not be stuck at home because I'm taking care of an infant. When they're 12 and 13, maybe we could be going to London, maybe we'll be camping in the mountains all the time, not limited by anyone else. They deserve that.

I don't know what the future holds in terms of relationships for me. It's entirely possible that I could have a fulfilling long-term romantic relationship. Maybe she will have kids of her own. And I recognize that by making this decision now, I'm taking away an opportunity for this mythical future woman to give birth with me.

But I don't want any more children. It's as simple as that.

This Friday, I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen.

Playoff Picks

Dave: 8-2
Mark: 5-5
Simmons: 5-5

If the three of us put $100 on every game...Mark and Simmons would be down $45. 

I would be up $528.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Russell Wilson is in his 3rd NFL season. He's 5-1 in the playoffs. With a playoff win in all three seasons, back to back Super Bowl appearances, 1 Super Bowl win and a chance at 2. 

I still think he's overrated and not that great of a quarterback. 

For the 2014-2015 season, I'd rather have had Rodgers, Brady, Manning, Luck, Romo, Brees, for sure. He's in the mix with Roethlisburger, Stafford, Flacco. By my count, Wilson is the 9th best QB in the league. 

Strange thing to say about a guy with the record he has. 
I was only casually rooting for the Packers, with no deep feelings for the team, and I'm sitting here 10 minutes later in shock. Gutted.

NFL Loopholes

AJ Hawk sacks Russell Wilson. The runner is down, ergo the play is over. A Seahawk lineman comes in and hits Hawk late. Draws a flag. But the Packers want to keep the result of the play, so they have to decline the penalty.

Very reminiscent of this loophole.

In essence, any time you give up a bad play on offense (turnover or big sack) you're completely free to kick other players in the balls and poke their eyes out because the defense will decline any unsporstmanlike penalty.

Game of Runs

Illinois opened the game with a 9-0 run.

Illinois had another 11-0 run in the first half.

Illinois had a 21-2 run in the second half.

Illinois led 61-52 with 11 minutes to go.

Illinois led 72-67 with 3 minutes to go.

Today this team played some of its best basketball all year, but don't have anything to show for it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Playoff Bowls Matter, Non-Playoff Bowls Don't

Here are the television audiences for all the bowl games. 

My first takeaway was that over 2 million people saw Illinois lose.

The bigger point is that people tune into the playoff bowls FAR more than the others.

The best non-playoff bowl rating was the Cotton with 9.09M, 8 million more viewers than the worst.

The lowest playoff bowl rating was the Rose at 28M, 19 million more than the Cotton.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chiefs should be ranked #1

Here's the Seahawks' schedule:

Here's the Patriots' schedule:

None of this is surprising to those that read Hoagie Central.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

You know, in a sport where only 1 out of 32 teams can win it all, it makes a lot more sense to root against a team than for one.

Bad News: Illinois is playing like absolute shit against Nebraska.
Good News: Illinois is only down 18-23. 

So if they start playing "average" they should be able to take the lead.
Today, I thought that once Peyton retires, it might actually be fun to go in person to see Chiefs @ Broncos.
Broncos are the only home team, only team with a bye, to lose this weekend.

Against The Spread

Dave: 6-2
Mark: 5-3
Simmons: 4-4
Thank you, Colts
Denver fans are dramatically booing their own players. May that be their last memory of this season.

(I don't believe or see the benefit of booing your own team.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015


In the following screenshot, I have not deleted anything. 

It makes a bit more sense if you see the entire context.

Nick Young's Heat Check

First, a brief primer. A heat check is what happens after a basketball player has made a couple shots so he takes a difficult shot to check if he's hot and can drain anything.

In Shea Serrano's guide to trash talking he wrote that it's one option to say after you make a shot:

Which brings me to this sequence from January 5th:

Young enters the game at the 5:16 mark of the first quarter. On his team's first possession with him in the game, he launches a 39-footer. And makes it.

In the corners, the 3-point line is 22 feet. It's almost a double three-pointer.

- - -

The reality of the play is slightly less amazing than the transcript. In the video you can see that the shot clock was expiring so he basically had to take shot.

Still, it's quite the heat check.

Not the Broncos

Every year, once the Chiefs are eliminated I adopt a new team in the playoffs. That team is Not the Broncos. My hope is to ride out the Peyton era without them winning a Super Bowl.

This week there were 8 teams still alive, so it might seem like I have 7 teams to root for...but not really. I've got three teams.

Indy on the road.
Pats at home.
And the NFC Champ in Arizona.

The good news is I only need one team to win. For the Broncos to win three in a row, if you assume 50-50 chances in each games, that's a 12.5% chance of winning a Super Bowl. Or for my team, Not the Broncos, an 87.5% chance of winning.

The Colts knocked out the Chiefs last year in the playoffs. Now I'm hoping they can do the same to the Broncos.

Friday, January 09, 2015

I forgot to toot my own horn

That was me on January 3rd before any of the games started. Timestamped in comments that can't be edited. A day later, I went 4-0 and most amazingly of all...the Cowboys beat the Lions by 4 points.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Divisional Picks

Patriots -7
Panthers +11
Colts +7
Cowboys +6

Monday, January 05, 2015

Deeper End Zones

What if the NFL expanded the end zones from 10 yards deep to 15 yards deep? That would help the passing game when teams get inside the 5. The league likes passing and scoring so it would seem in their interest.

The downside is that not every stadium may be able to safely accommodate another 10 yards of live field...

For the record, CFL end zones are 20 yards deep.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Playoff Picks against the spread

Dave: 4-0
Mark: 2-2
Simmons: 1-3
Both the Panthers and Bengals made the playoffs with a tie, where they might not have made it with a loss. So maybe teams should play for the tie more often?

Saturday, January 03, 2015


The Eagles were eliminated from playoff contention with a 9-6 record.
In the same conference, the Panthers were still alive with a 3-8-1 record.

On December 20, the Cardinals were 11-3 and the Panthers were 5-8-1.

Today, the Panthers crushed a Cardinals team that was 9-1 (their only loss at that point was against Denver).

Perhaps you think that a division winner deserves a playoff berth, but not a guaranteed home game or top 4-seed.

If it was sorted by records, the Panthers would have been the 6th seed on the road against the Cowboys.Arizona would move up to the 4th seed and host the Lions.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Wild-Card Picks

Panthers -6.5
Ravens +3.5
Colts -4
Lions +7