Guide to Gambling on the Super Bowl

Warning, this post will probably only appeal to degenerate gamblers, economists and nerds; i.e. family and friends. The bottom of the article has my advice on prop bets for the Super Bowl, like the length of the National Anthem and coin toss, for those that want to skip ahead.

I’ve read quite a few websites about the most popular gambling mechanism for the Super Bowl (squares) and I’m convinced that nobody has published a definitive article on the best squares or devised a system for valuing different squares. For those that aren’t familiar with the game, a 10 by 10 grid is made such as:

Each square (100 possible) is then purchased. The scoring is done according to the last digit of each team’s score at the end of each quarter. For example; the score at the end of the 1st quarter is Pittsburgh 0 and Arizona 7, the person with the corresponding box (bottom row, 7th column) would be paid the corresponding amount. For our example we will use a 10%, 25%, 10%, 55% payout model for the 1st-4th quarters, respectively, and assume a price of $2.00 per square. Additionally, Pittsburgh is always listed as the first number in this article as they are the favorite.

This game is popular due to the randomness of picking squares, anyone can win, and the large groups that can participate, i.e. offices.

The need for more thorough research on this topic comes from people wanting to sell or trade squares after they’ve been assigned. If you paid $2 and received the (7,0) square, how much would you sell it for, compared to the (8,8) square?

My complaints with the popular articles on this game are that they typically place the odds on combined squares, making (0,7) and (7,0) the same, and when they do separate the squares, they almost always do it according to home team vs. away team. Since each league switches being “home” each year, the randomness does not help predict the timing of each teams scoring and assign values to each box. I built my model according to favorite vs. underdog, which should provide more enlightening results, and weighted the expected value of each square according to the quarterly payout ((0,0) is more likely to pay in the 1st quarter rather than 4th quarter and should be weighted accordingly). I took the quarterly results of every Super Bowl to get the frequency that each square comes up. I admit that taking Super Bowl results is probably less statistically relevant than the last ten years of regular season play, but with 168 total results (42 games with four quarters) and the fact that teams typically play different in championships than regular season; I think the results are relevant.

Here is the “value” of each square according to my model:

So the A-hole who drew the (7,0) square should not sell his square for less than $11.00. FYI, I drew squares (2,5) and (9,6), which combined are worth about $2.19, not a great ROIC. Here are some little known facts: 49 of the 100 squares have never hit in a Super Bowl, 10 squares make up more than 48% of the potential payout in this example and 35 squares comprise more than 90% of the expected value (a pretty standard bell curve).

I have the Excel spreadsheet for anyone with an interest in checking my work or seeing how valuable your squares are. I accept PayPal, most credit cards and bacon for payment.

Prop Bets:

Over/Under - I think the best money this year is on the Under. Most sites have the Over/Under set at 47 points. Considering 70% of the last ten Super Bowls have had fewer points scored the 47, and the fact the Steelers only had one game all year that was more than 47 points scored, I think the Under is a relatively safe bet.

National Anthem - This year Jennifer Hudson is singing the National Anthem with the over under set at 114 seconds. This is slightly above the average Super Bowl time of 105 seconds (I have results from 18 Super Bowls), but I think further research needs to be done before taking the Under. I broke down National Anthem times in Super Bowls into a few different classifications, Male-Female and Black-White. Males average only 94 seconds (“that’s what she said”) while females average 112 seconds, but a bigger discrepancy comes from comparing race. Black artists average 114.5 seconds while white artists average 97 seconds. The longest was Natalie Cole in Super Bowl XXVIII at 153 seconds and the shortest was Neil Diamond in Super Bowl XXI at 61 seconds. Considering Ms. Hudson’s race, sex and flair for the dramatic, I would take the Over. Just listen to her sing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and you will realize you could be listening to her this weekend for well over two minutes.

Winner - I would go with Vegas on this one and pick Pittsburgh. The bookmakers have been right 69% of the time. The only downside to Pittsburgh winning is having to put up with their insufferable bandwagon fans for the next few months.

Coin Toss - Tails has come up 60% of the time, and 70% of the last ten. If you are dumb enough to take this bet than you deserve to lose your money. I’m going with Heads, but hoping for a repeat of the Pittsburgh/Lions Thanksgiving Day Coin Toss Debacle, http://tomferda.today.com/2008/11/27/the-infamous-thanksgiving-day-coin-toss/. The NFC team has won 11 straight coin tosses, so I predict Pittsburgh will call Tails, it will be Heads and Arizona will elect to receive.


Celebrity Redefined

Merriam-Webster.com defines celebrity as:
  • 1 : the state of being celebrated : fame
  • 2 : a famous or celebrated person
Dictionary.com defines it as:
  • 1. a widely known person; "he was a baseball celebrity"
  • 2. the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed
NBC.com defines it as:
  • Khloe Kardashian:Who? Oh, the girl who is sisters with the girl who made a sex tape. Thanks Soup for keeping me in the celeb know-who.
  • Brande Roderick: Who? Apparently some sort of "model."
  • Joan Rivers: Is she still alive? Apparently. I guess now that she got the red carpet boot, she has a lot of free time on her hands.
  • Melissa Rivers: Gotta love being famous because of your Mommy.
  • Herschel Walker: I know he's a sports guy, but I couldn't tell you the specifics.
  • Brian McKnight: Singer. Right? When was his last hit?
  • Scott Hamilton: Figure skater. When did he skate last?
  • Natalie Gulbis: Who? No idea. Oh, some sort of golfer.
  • Annie Duke: Poker player - this I know. Thanks to obscene amounts of channels devoted to airing poker tournaments.
  • Dennis Rodman: Hasn't his home planet recalled him yet?
  • Andrew Dice Clay: Seriously?
  • Tom Green: Come on, Seriously??
  • Jesse James: Isn't he dead? Oh, Sandra Bullock's husband. What does he do anyway?
  • Clint Black: Country singer...couldn't name a single song he sings.
  • Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins: From the group TLC - are they still together?
  • Claudia Jordan: Who?? Ah, a game show model.
A special thanks to Google, Wikipedia and The Soup in helping discover who these people are. With this knowledge in hand, I still won't be watching the newest installment of Celebrity Apprentice. Donald probably thinks he's a celebrity too, right?
Does anyone think any of the above listed people are "celebrities"? What is a celebrity today? Do you just need 15 minutes in the spotlight? How come it's not cool to just gracefully exit the spotlight and have a fulfilling life instead of whoring yourself out in any way possible? While I may not agree that the above folks are all celebrities, most of them have had some contribution (level of importance is debatable), but the most glaring issue I have is with Ms. Kardashian. What in the world makes you, and NBC for that matter, think you're a celebrity?
Will anyone even be watching this show? Will you admit it??


Brain Swirls

Here are a few of today's ponderances:
  • why does chocolate pudding get watery? No other kind of pudding seems to do that.
  • how annoying is this commercial? Extremely - I turn the channel every time it comes on.
  • why is it so hard to wait a week for new Lost episodes?
  • why is my babe so intoxicated by the sound of Whoopi Goldberg's voice?
  • Seriously?
  • How did they find out about my secret life?
  • think these will go on sale anytime soon?
  • is there anything better than free shipping AND a $20 off coupon for DSW? I'm thinking no.
  • why are Charmin commercials SO annoying? I turn the channel when these come on too. And really, does anyone ever get TP chunks stuck all over their butt cheeks? If they do, maybe they need a reminder of what exactly needs to be wiped... and why do we need to have extra strong TP - what are these bears wiping??
  • how exciting is this? I've got my DVR ready to go!!
  • maybe Mondays aren't really that bad after all!


Is There An Interpreter In The House?

In an attempt to lighten up the blog and resume my duties of celeb craptainment blogger, I found this pretty amusing piece, courtesy of www.abcnews.com. It's pretty hard-hitting, journalist award worthy stuff here...okay, not in the least, but it definitely made me laugh out loud a couple times!! Oh celebs...why some people try to emulate you, I'll never know.

"Every time I'm not wearing my ring, people think I'm getting divorced. That's crazy! It just didn't go with the dress. Divorce is not -- and was never -- an option." -- Actress Jennifer Lopez to In Touch magazine, Jan. 11, 2009, on her marriage to singer Marc Anthony. This is her third marriage. She has been divorced twice-- to Ojani Noa and dancer Cris Judd.

"So, where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?" -Christina Aguilera, 2000, to the cast of "Saturday Night Live" backstage

"I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman." - Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2003, in an interview with radio host Sean Hannerty during the California gubernatorial campaign

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century." - Dan Quayle, Sept. 15, 1988 during a press conference in Moore, Okla., in answer to a question on the Holocaust

"I can see Russia from my house!" -- Comedian Tina Fey impersonating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live," broadcast Sept. 13, 2008

"When I pictured heroin, I pictured some crazy crackhead with no shoes under a bridge. You never think that is going to be you. And it never was me. I was never under a bridge, and I always had shoes." - Nicole Richie, 2007, Nylon magazine

"I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to." -- Shaquille O'Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece in 1994 to Sports Illustrated

"What's Wal-Mart? Do they like make walls there?" -Paris Hilton, 2003, on show "The Simple Life"

"I think the 'Clueless' movie was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness." -Alicia Silverstone, 2000 to the Sunday Telegraph. She was nominated for Britain's annual Foot in Mouth award, honoring the celebrity who makes the most baffling verbal statement.

"It's really hard to maintain a one-on-one relationship if the other person is not going to allow me to be with other people." -Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses, 1989, Rolling Stone

"Too many ob-gyns aren't able to practice their love with women across this country." -President George W. Bush, Sept. 6, 2004, while discussing malpractice lawsuit reforms

"All of a sudden you're like the Bin Laden of America. Osama bin Laden is the only one who knows what I'm going through." -R. Kelly, 2003, after a court hearing on charges of child pornography

"Smoking kills. And if you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." -Brooke Shields, 1982, during interview to become spokeswoman for a federal anti-smoking campaign

"I love religion. I remember whenever the book "The Da Vinci Code" came out, the Discovery Channel did this three-night piece on it that I TiVoed and then watched eight times." - Jessica Simpson in 2009, Marie Claire magazine

"Maybe 100." -- Sen. John McCain, in a January 2008 town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., discussing how many years U.S. troops could remain in Iraq.

"All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years." -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, responding to a request by CBS anchor Katie Couric to name the newspapers or magazines she reads, broadcast Oct. 1, 2008.

"I get to go overseas places, like Canada."' -Britney Spears in 1999, to the Toronto Star, when asked about the perks of fame.

I think Dan Quayle's quote is my favourite, but Axl, R.Kelly and Brit-Brit...you all made me chuckle and shake my head a little too. Thanks for the fodder!


I Don't Like Mondays

While I am not one to wax philosophical on politics, I have had this nagging feeling that I should step into Mark's territory for a change and share a thought or two.
This past election season found me annoyed, frustrated and tired of all things politics. I am not a fan of the U.S. system and the format for picking a candidate. While it might not make any sense to say this, politics have become too political for my tastes. That's not to say I don't have any opinions, because I do; they may not be the same as Mark's, or many others, or they may not always be decided based on 100% of the facts. I try to stay informed, and when I am asked an opinion on a topic that I don't feel fully knowledgeable on, I am more than happy to admit it. I'll still give you my opinion, but I'll let you know that it's based on limited information or on pure emotion. Mark and I have had many a political discussion, and sometimes we do agree...or at least somewhat agree, but there are many topics that we stand on opposite sides of the fence.
Being a Canadian, and only a permanent resident of the U.S., I do not vote in elections here (I wish that could excuse political ads from my TV set!!). That being said, I do not belong to any specific political party....I tend to find myself in the middle of the road. There are issues from both sides that have my support. I suppose if I were to find myself a voting person I would be a little torn on which path to follow. Thankfully I don't have that problem!
Having that said, here's my opinion for today. Given that a new President is being sworn in, I felt I should say something that's been on my mind for some months now, about the outgoing President. And shock of shocks, it has nothing to do with Iraq, terrorism or Bin Laden. I think enough has been said about that and there will never be an explanation that will please everyone.
Moving on. While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time in the Doctor's office, so I made use of the magazines in the rooms. I came across an article in Time magazine. It was about Bush, and it was written by Bob Geldof (click on his name if you don't know anything about him). It's no surprise that Geldof is not an overly supportive fan of Bush, in fact I would guess 90% of what Bush stands for, Geldof doesn't, and vice versa. So I was quite surprised when I read his article. He was actually writing in support of Bush! I was intrigued, so I read on.
His article spotlighted Bush's work in Africa. I had no idea Bush had done work in Africa! But he had, and he had done some amazing work there!!
"It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration."
Geldof continues to discuss the work that has been done in Africa while Bush has been in office, and it is quite impressive. It just seems strange that in times when everything the public hears about is economic turmoil, job loss, war casualties and other atrocities, it would be pleasant to hear a news piece or two about some of the good that goes on in the world.
The article's next paragraph sums up the entire point to my long winded blog:
"So why doesn't America know about this? "I tried to tell them. But the press weren't much interested," says Bush. It's half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn't interested. For them, like America itself, Africa is a continent of which little is known save the odd horror"
The article is very enlightening, at least to me it was. I learned a lot about the work President Bush has done while in office, much of which is never reported to the public, unless you go looking for it, yourself.
So why is it that the media only reports on the negative, or the argument inducing issues? If you don't agree with the man and his actions, that's fine, but if good deeds have been done, why is the media and the public so slow to recognize them? I am sure during Obama's term(s) there will be good decisions made and poor decisions. No one leader can make the public happy 100% of the time, it's not possible.
What I like most about this article is Geldof's honesty. He doesn't tip toe around the fact that they are at odds with each other on the issue of Iraq, but Geldof is professional and human all at the same time:
"I don't want to go there. I have my views and they're at odds with his, and I don't want to spoil the interview or be rude in the face of his hospitality. "Ah, look Mr. President. I don't want to do this really. We'll get distracted and I'm here to do Africa with you...This is the person who has quadrupled aid to the poorest people on the planet. I was more comfortable with that. But his expression asked for agreement and sympathy, and I couldn't provide either. "Mr. President, please. There are things you've done I could never possibly agree with and there are things I've done in my life that you would disapprove of, too. And that would make your hospitality awkward. The cost has been too much. History will play itself out."
With the media's unabashed love-fest going on right now for all things Obama (he wears boxers!! Read all about it on the 10:00 news! He had ranch dressing on his salad - breaking news! What on earth would happen if a media pundit came out with a semi-negative remark about Obama and his politics??), I just wanted to give some credit where credit is due on this last day of Bush's term. You may not agree with all of his decisions, but we can all agree that there has been some good that has come out of his two terms as President.
Here is the article from Time, I would urge you all to read it.


I'm Your Man

While I have yet to see Slumdog Millionaire (and I would like to see it), the more I see clips of them on the set of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the more I want to go to the theatre now!! Maybe it's just me, but doesn't Anil Kapoor look just like the George Michael of India? Maybe George has left the music biz to pursue a career in Bollywood??

Has anyone seen Slumdog Millionaire yet? Let me know what you thought if you have!


Excuse Me, Did You Step on a Cat?

It's been a devilishly cold start to January here in tropical Minnesota (still warmer than the old hometown though), so it's nice to know that with the cold a little bit of warmth has arrived.Yes, Idol is back on the tube in our household. And while I am sure I will get frustrated with it, like always, I will watch it to the bitter end. It's like a train wreck, you just can't pull your eyes away from it, it sucks you in with no apologies and spits you out sometime in May, demanding your return for the next season.
There will be quality, hilarity, head shaking and Paula... could you really ask for anything more from Fox?


For the Love of Money!

Anyone else tired of having celebs share their sympathies/condolences with us about what hard economic times we are going through?
Makes it just a wee bit hard to swallow knowing you're pulling in millions upon millions Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera, Oprah, Rachel, etc., ...thanks for the concern though.


What Brings You By?

When randomly checking the blog, I usually peruse the little counter at the bottom to see if I have made it to the celeb blogosphere level yet (I haven't) and also to see where traffic is coming from. Sometimes I recognize the traffic, most of the time I don't. Since the blog is listed on our facebook accounts, I realize any number of people can pop in and see what we're complaining about, but I wonder just what brings people by? With the exception of known blog readers (which seems to be dwindling... ahem!) who are probably checking in to see if we've relented and posted pics of T on here so they don't have to log in to the private blog, what brings someone from Vught, Noord-Brabant to our blog? (Where is Vught, Noord-Brabant anyway??)
I looked a little deeper, and it seems certain blog entries get much more google search results than others and it just makes me curious as to what these folks searching for and why my blog comes up as a result?
Here are a few that seem to get the most traffic:
  • is it the bow? (this seems to get THE most traffic)
  • such awesome times of the year?
  • the logo? (this gets rank #2)
  • their faces?
And here are a few of the places people are dropping in from:
  • Miami
  • Alberta
  • California
  • Alabama
  • Tokyo
  • Bethlehem
  • Vinkovci, Vukovarsko-Srijemska
  • Anoual, Nador
  • Petaling Jaya, Wilayah Persekutuan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Oregon
  • Portici, Campania
  • Montesilvano, Abruzzi
...and a myriad of other places. What's interesting to me is that a lot of these very foreign (Bethlehem!!) searchers seem to be drawn to our blog all because of that blasted baby in a headband! Perhaps baby headbands are even more rampant outside North America!
I guess long after I'm gone I'll be remembered for my hatred of baby headbands, especially those larger than the baby itself, and for breaking crock pots.


Hearing Aids

My new fave of the week... adjustable volume on kids toys.
Can we please give the person who finally decided that the whole world does not need to hear the musical insanity that goes hand in hand with kids toys, a prize? Seriously.
I love how T does not know that there are 2 levels to the music yet...we can still have some, limited, peace and quiet for awhile!


In Another Life, Brother

The anticipation is palpable, the excitement immeasurable... the waiting is killing me!!!

This time in two weeks I will be basking in the glory that is LOST, while my brain swirls with all the new nuggets of information, the answers, the questions, Desmond, even more of the questions. I am not sure my brain will make it through the 3 hours that will usher in a new season, but I am sure going to try. If on January 22nd, you don't hear from me, it may be because my brain has exploded from an overload of awesomeness. Stay tuned, I will let you know how I fare.

Quite Puzzling Indeed

Is there anything quite as good as fitting that last piece of the 2000 piece puzzle into the final spot?

Now what do I do??


Sounds of the Season

So I guess it's time for the obligatory post-Christmas post.
Why does it seem like Christmas was 6 months ago already? There is so much lead up time and then it is over just like that! We were able to drag it out a little with Christmas in Idaho, a mini-Christmas in Fargo and then Christmas here in Minnesota.
This year we decided our Christmas would have a theme; the winning theme was Sharing. We thought it would be best to extend this theme to Mark's entire family, not just with the three of us. So we began on Christmas...with a niece and nephew. By that evening Mark and a few others had taken part. I was the lucky recipient the day after Christmas. We were all more than happy to share with others, but those on the receiving end were not too happy about the sharing. Isn't Christmas all about sharing and giving?? I guess when you're passing around some form of the flu, people would prefer that you kept it to yourself.
Mark asked me a good question after this hit me...he asked if I was more upset that I had become sick or that I had put an end to my 18 year streak without throwing up (not even while pregnant did I vomit. Yay me!). I was obviously more bothered that I had to reset the streak. So I am now happy to say it's been almost 2 weeks since the last incident!!
Other than our bonding over flu bugs, Christmas was a lovely time. Idaho was continually dumped with snow while we were there, we lost a day to travel (thanks a lot low visibility at Idaho Falls airport and thanks Alamo for ridiculously high one way car rental prices), but we enjoyed hanging out with family and friends. We weren't able to get down to Utah to visit with everyone we wanted to due to the pesky snow, winds and difficult driving conditions that plague Idaho in the winter months, hopefully we can get out to visit this summer!
We were even able to visit with some of my family when we returned home; We jumped back in the car for a 3.5 hour drive to Fargo for New Years. I have to say, Fargo might be the rocking-est town to be in on New Years Eve. Spectacular. Ok, not really. Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve is lame no matter where you watch it, even if it is in a hotel room in North Dakota. But when you have a very over tired, stuffy nosed 6 month old, what else can you do?
I guess all that is left to do it to look forward to next Christmas and hope and pray that you're spared by the gift of sharing!
Here are a couple of Christmas pics. Out of all of T's gifts, the tissue paper was her favourite by far!


The Song that Never Ends

It's time to put this argument to bed, even though I know it will continue just like the Shari Lewis and Lambchop song...forever.
We all know I love shoes, and for the updated record, I now have 51 pairs of shoes. That includes everything that goes on my feet and is worn outside. Yes, that's quite a few pairs, but if I wear them all (at some point in the year, not all at once), they're not being wasted. Last June I had 37 pairs...that's a good increase in my book.
But here's a question; if someone continually pesters you about the number of shoes you own, should that person buy you two new pairs for Christmas? He's the one who photo-catalogued my shoes, printed out copies, glued them to their boxes and organized them in my closet, not me. He, who shall remain nameless, has 20 pairs of his own shoes AND about 45 dress shirts.
So yes, 51 pairs of shoes, and counting. I am sure that number will grow as the year has just begun and DSW will surely send more coupons, have more clearance items and have new shoes arriving weekly. Although I doubt they will have any chocolate shoes like the ones pictured above - how awesome are those?? So the only question that remains is WHEN will 51 turn to 52? My guess is sometime this month if we look at my track record over the last year and a half!!