Monday, February 04, 2013

Did You Win Your NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Futures Bet?

The PC newspapers have done a great job of helping gamblers make futures bets. Sports reporting is like the lower tier academic track at your high school. It's just sports entertainment, but every writer treats match ups and events like the Thriller in Manila. Dipped in PC ideology, casual fans notice the pushing of social narratives. These reporters aren't the brightest minds, so they tip their hands. In his awesome memoir "The Game", Ken Dryden explained that if a player wanted to be known as bookish, just do one interview and mention books you're reading; a good guy, mention charity work; a family man, bring up stuff you do with kids. Reporters catch onto one bit and build a story around it. The common folk of America can use these PC soldiers against the gambling lords of America. If you witnessed the first two weeks of the NFL season and read the papers, you probably put money on RG3 to win the offensive rookie of the year. Your odds look pretty good with the 5-1 payout. If you take the red pill, you knew this was coming.
Futures bets are bets placed on an event or item happening in the future, not a game related bet. A common one is betting in the pre-season on who will win the Super Bowl. Sports books leave these bets open over the course of a season, but change the odds as the season goes along. Last year, Cam Newton was one of the favorites to win Offensive ROY, and if you read the gushing reports after week 1 (as well as week 2), you knew there was no way any other rookie would catch up to him regardless of performance. The narrative was set: Cam was Camtastic! Cam actually struggled as the year went on and his team finished 6-10. It didn't matter that A.J. Green had one of the best rookie seasons ever for a wide receiver and was one of the most valuable receivers on a per play or cumlative basis for the entire NFL 2011 (per football outsiders here) with a rookie quarterback that few expected to play decent throwing to him. Quarterback is the glamour position. Finding the great black hope at QB is the dream of ESPN. Once Cam got off to that great start, there was no stopping him. His win paid out 7-1 at some books as late as week 3. Using Cam's experience with the media should've set up gamblers well for this season's offensive rookie of the year bets.
Walking into this season, sports books had Andrew Luck as the 3-1 favorite with Griffin at 5-1. With 5 games to go, Grantland had an article about why it should be RG3 over Luck, without ever mentioning Russell Wilson. That same writer later wrote how Wilson might be an elite QB already (writer declared not yet). Griffin had a hot start, Luck had a rough week one then got rolling, and Russell Wilson came out of the 3rd round to rock it for the Seahawks this year, but the media made their pick. RG3 baby! Who did you hear more about for the season? Griffin got more air time than Wilson and Luck despite Wilson and Luck airing it more, winning close games late more, and leading their teams to better records. Griffin's year was tremendous, and I hope he recovers from surgery because he is a great product for the game, a fun player to watch, a booster shot for a classic franchise (the Skins), and a charismatic leader for a sports city dying for one (D.C.). The most impressive number he has is his low low low 5 interceptions for a rookie who started 15 games. He threw much less than Wilson and Luck because he also had another awesome rookie in his backfield who ran for 1500 yards, Alfred Morris. He also has a coach that has won two super bowls, has a great system for quarterbacks, and is known as an offensive genius. RG3 actually had a better situation around him offensively. Why was he the shoe in for offensive rookie of the year per ESPN, the sports media, Grantland... wait those three things are the same company? The NFL's website ran an article mid-December on why RG3 deserves it. The steamroller was in action.
Wilson and Luck have defensive minded coaches. Luck's coach left the team for most of the year because of leukemia. Wilson has a great running game to help him and a stand out left tackle. Luck has no real running game, a porous line, but he does have Reggie Wayne (best WR of all 3 teams). Luck has orchestrated multiple game winning drives in the 4th quarter for wins in games that the Colts have had no business winning (Detroit + Green Bay). It got to the point in Indy that if they went down, everyone expected them to come back and win. No one doubted them. Luck and the boys would answer. One thing in RG3's favor is that while he won the Heisman, he definitely outperformed expectations. Had Matt Barkley come out last year, Washington and Cleveland would have been happy to get either QB, not jostling for position to draft RG3. Luck had built in expectations that made his great play look less spectacular.
RG3 benefits from East Coast bias, rejuvenating a franchise mired in crap, the glamour position bias and the great black hope at QB bias. This is from a sports media that forgets that Warren Moon was a very successful black, drop back QB 20 years ago and that many white QBs have had scrambling ability. To place your futures bets on offensive ROY for this season, all you had to read were the gushing columns after the first few games to know who would be awarded Offensive ROY by the media in February. The same people voting for the awards are the ones who are writing columns you see daily. Bookies don't drive bad cars. Vegas keeps building new skyscrapers. The house always wins. Futures bets are usually just another prop bet with an objectively derived result. An award futures bet is a subjective event. Like MIT students using advanced math + stereotypes about young Asians to win at blackjack, let's use the PC world of the media against the futures betting system.

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