Pretty soon, this great nation of ours will be stopped by a horse race. The office is pretty quiet (closed, actually), and call volumes for the day will be down an average of 30%. I’m not one for the whole horse thing. The allure of betting on smelly, four-legged creatures really has not captured me.
When I bet, I prefer to do so on team sports played by two-legged creatures capable of cognitive thought, and where I might be something of a SME (Subject Matter Expert), and therefore can actually make some informed decisions. As a mathematician and statistician, I don’t see why someone would rather place a bet with a price of $5 and barely a chance of winning as opposed to $1.20 with a really good chance of winning. Guess I’m not your average punter. The big question is: can one use this to an advantage when betting?
The punters I really enjoy are those blokes who play NFL (American Football). They are paid around half a million dollars per year to front up each week, and kick the ball 5-10 times per game. Ben Graham (former Geelong AFL player) has quickly risen in the ranks of NFL punters, and added both to the longevity of his sporting career and his bank balance in meaningful ways.
But the good NFL punters and kickers don’t just have a powerful and accurate leg. They have the presence of mind to do their job while 11 very large guys each weiging close to 300lb (135kg) each are headed straight at them, and knowing that they may easily be hurt if someone doesn’t do their job blocking. NFL, more than any other game, depends on players working together as a team.
Another great “punter”, Ricky Ponting, displayed great presence of mind at the ICC Champions Trophy when his bowlers were getting hammered by the West Indies openers. Putting his trust in Bracken, who bowled superbly with excellent variation (surely the best weapon of any fast bowler), his decision was paid off. Once the danger top-order batsmen were out of the way, it remained to keep things steady through the remainder of the innings, which he did well.
The statistics used in one-day matches really didn’t do the job in describing the way the run-rate so quickly fell away. The moving average (which has been adopted by CricInfo in their live score screen) would have told the story far more effectively.
So more silverware to the Aussies. I can only hope that the forthcoming Ashes series is still live by Boxing Day. A competitive struggle (no matter what the result) is far more entertaining than some of the one-sided stuff we have seen lately.