Avoid The Sucker’s Bet

April 21, 2022

Avoid The Sucker's Bet

Avoid The Sucker’s Bet. Always.

This is probably one of those things you’d expect Dad to tell you. You might even have had those words thrown at you by your IRL Dad.

You might be wondering when Dad started using terms like IRL, by the way, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic. This is about not being a sucker when you place bets, either literal or metaphorical. And looking at the sucker’s bet illustrated here, it’s literal.

But did you know that?

Avoid The Sucker’s Bet

The bet in question is problematic for a few reasons.

At the simplest level, that “-200” thing is something you might think about twice when placing any wager; it means that you’re “laying odds”. You’re saying that you’ll take half the payoff you’d get in a situation where you win what you risk—if you win, of course. And there are times when that would be ok; put a bunch of Little Leaguers against a team of professionals and you should expect odds if you place your money on the kids rather than the pros—and demand it if it isn’t offered.

Then, there’s specific context, rather than the general kind. Entering the game in which the 1-to-2 odds here were offered, Jeff McNeil had a .293 batting average. If you don’t understand baseball, that means that McNeil gets a hit in 29.3% of his countable at-bats. Which, again, if you don’t understand baseball is actually better than it sounds. But even at even money (1 to 1), the odds in any given game favor a .293 hitter NOT getting a hit. Not by much, but still.

The avoid the sucker’s bet, this is the kind of information you need to understand. And it applies in a whole lot of situations, not just sports betting.

But while we’re on it (and sounding like the old Rent-a-Dad that I am) … when did sports betting odds and sponsorships of sports teams and leagues become so commonplace?

Oh, and by the way: Jeff McNeil got a hit.


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