Monday, March 23, 2009

Degree of Difficulty

The startling ability of Las Vegas pundits to establish an accurate point spread was exemplified yesterday and accounted, no doubt, for agonizing at sports books all along the strip.

Michigan State defeated Southern California 74-69. The Las Vegas spread: four points.

Missouri defeated Marquette 83-79. The Las Vegas spread: three and a half points.

Pittsburgh defeated Oklahoma State 84-76. The Las Vegas spread: eight points.

For those not betting too much, the last seconds even in a loss can be a wild ride when the spread is so on target. In each of the referred to games yesterday a last shot make or miss would be meaningless to the game's outcomes, but would result in a winner or a loser in a casino. There is always a game within a game.

When Memphis obliterated Maryland on Saturday, they led by twenty points at half time. No game, right? Not to a bettor who decided to wager on the second half when the second half spread was Maryland + 1/2. The last second Maryland basket in that game meant the final deficit was the same as the halftime deficit rendering the bettor a delirious winner in a game that had a twenty point overall differential.The wager was for 5 dollars and so the victor won less than the cost of a subway sandwich. It did not make or break the bettor. It just made for a fun ride.

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