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Big Game Gambling

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On Bet The Process, Rufus Peabody, Jeff Ma, and John Murray of the Westgate Casino talk honestly about betting. The podcast reminds me of Econtalk. Rather than simple narrative answers, the true answer is some version of, well, it depends. The Big Football Game offers a chance to think about decision making and our bias to thinking that something specific will happen.

People are pretty terrible at weighing opportunity cost. Deciding on this or that is much easier than coming up with a list of options. Walk into any high school and you’ll hear students protest a fill-in-the-blank test when they expected a multiple choice version.

With the upcoming Big Football Game, recreational bettors in Las Vegas and other states will start to make prop-bets. Props, Murray said, were invented to make blowouts interesting. The 2020 Big Game, for example, offers a chance to bet if a fumble is lost in the second half (No, -150).

Make it interesting and immediate thinking lead to a tendency of people to bet for something to happen. Murray said, “The public will bet yes, yes, yes on everything in the prop markets.”

Rufus Peabody, former-prop-bet-gambler-extraordinaire, said that the bet of ‘no safety’ always has positive value. It’s easy for people to remember a past safety, envision a future one, or construct a narrative about someone’s defense chasing down someone else’s quarterback.

We remember the somethings that did happen rather than the one thing that didn’t.

With that in mind, let me give you a sure thing. The best over bet, will be to bet on overeating.