February 02, 2007

Playing the Super Bowl Like a Betting Fool

It's often said that watching the Big Game is much better if you have a few bucks on the line. Putting money down on the Super Bowl is big business, not just in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but across the country, as many people make side bets at work or with friends, whether it be simple wagers over who will win the game, or on specific statistics.

For the last three years, my father-in-law and I have had a friendly tradition to bet one against another on a series of more than 100 questions, alternating picks. While in theory, the loser could be out more than $500, the law of averages tends to bring the final total to the mean, making the eventual margin of victory or loss in the much more manageable range of $5 to $50. As I always tend to come close to winning, but never do, the first question he always tends to ask me, before we get started, is "When can I expect the check?" Today, we laughingly decided I can pay him in monthly installments, with a low-low interest rate of about 17%, if I can't come up with the needed cash.

It's a fun tradition, so long as I don't get too wrapped up in who wins the game's opening coin toss, who makes the first first down, whether there will be an onside kick, or if the winning team's kicker will score more than 9 1/2 points. But it definitely puts some new wrinkles in the game. If I go over my answers, I think I should be rooting for Chicago more than Indianapolis, but it's fairly convoluted. Nobody's getting rich off this.

I mentioned our Super Bowl tradition a year ago, last February 4th, in "Miss a Week, Miss a Lot". Regardless of what the final outcome is, we're looking forward to the game.