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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Vegas odds are like Vegas point spreads-- neither has much to do with the actual strengths and weaknesses of a team, they just track where the money is going. I suppose there is some validity to the notion of the wisdom of crowds in this, but by the same token we are talking about people who are betting against the house on sporting events. The technical term for such folk is "chumps", or sometimes "marks". Even so, heading into this weekend's exciting NFL action it is interesting to note that the Vegas lines on who will win the Super Bowl have shifted substantially since the season opened. For example, the Bills opened at 200-1 and are currently 40-1. (The longest odds paid out on Super Bowl winners were the 1999 St. Louis Rams, who were 300-1 to open the season, and the 2001 New England Patriots, who were 450-1 entering Week 5 with a 1-3 record.) The Philadelphia Eagles opened at 6-1 and are currently 35-1. What does this mean? Probably nothing. Still, Sunday's game is an interesting matter to contemplate. The Eagles have under-achieved, and are at the point where a win could salvage the season. The Bills have over-achieved like crazy, and a win would validate them as serious contenders. It has been quite some time since I've gone into a weekend planing to devote a slice of my Sunday to watching a Bills game, but that's my intention this week.

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And you were rewarded with a warmer, sunnier Monday.
 

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