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CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: TO BET OR NOT TO BET

The Big Game

We've all felt compelled at some point to bet on a game because of its magnitude, or because it's the last game of the year or to hedge against a rooting interest, etc. etc. But if you are serious about betting, we can tell you this is the wrong approach. We get asked often from our subscribers, "Wait, you mean to tell me you're not betting on the championship?" and more often than not, the answer is no. The reason for this is very simple and it's that we treat the championship game as just another bet because in reality that's exactly what it is!

Just another bet

There are no bonuses for picking the championship correctly. Bookmakers will not pay you extra. You will win or lose the same amount as if you bet on a meaningless midseason game between two middling teams. The key, as always, is identifying value. If you can't identify any value, then there is no reason to risk your hard earned money at 11/10 in what amounts to a 50/50 proposition. Believe us, bookmakers salivate at the thought of droves and droves of bettors plunking down money on a game in which they have no discernible edge.

Does that mean all championship games are unbettable?

Obviously not. But it helps to understand how markets work to see why it's often a losing proposition for an average bettor. Take the Super Bowl that will take place tomorrow. It's the culmination of the NFL season that started with 32 teams of which there are just 2 left. The entire world is focused on just 2 teams. Every single player, coach, owner, referee involved is under the heaviest scrutiny by the bookmakers, professionals, the media and the general public. Information is the name of the game and it's not hard to see that any information that makes its way down to the masses has already become worthless in that it is already reflected in the line. At this point, any bettor that sees an edge must ask themselves, "Do I know more than the market?"

The market is efficient but not perfect

Make no mistake about it, we do bet on championship games but we also have access to information that most do not. And keep in mind that even for us, useful information becomes scarcer and scarcer as a season or tournament reaches its capitulation. There is also the matter of understanding the bookmaker's intentions when booking a championship game. Are they trying to balance the action or are they deliberately increasing liability to take a position? This is all information that we have made available to us from years of experience on both sides of the counter.

Why we bet

For the casual bettor, there is nothing wrong with a bet for some action as the purpose of the bet is for the derived entertainment value. But hopefully, this can shed some light onto how professionals view the "Big Game" and really, it's no different than their approach to any other betting opportunity!