Why You Should Never Bet On the Super Bowl

I’m intrigued by Nate Silver’s blog. I know that rarely are two blogs the same, but Silver’s blog is definitely one of a kind. The way he uses statistics to explain everything from politics to search engines is fascinating.

Being the huge sports guy that I am, naturally I had an immediate response to Silver’s blog post called A Close Super Bowl? Don’t Bet on It. Although I love sports, I’m not a gambling guy. The simple thought of losing money puts me in distress. That’s why I kept my money in my pocket (or rather my daughter’s pocket) when Super Bowl Sunday finally arrived. I’m a 49ers fan and I doubt they’ll make the Super Bowl any time soon.

Silver wrote in his piece that the Vegas lines had the Packers favored by a very narrow margin of 2.5-3 points, the first Super Bowl game with a point spread that close in nine years. According to Silver, “What’s interesting about those games is that while the point spread was close, the games themselves usually weren’t.” His advice? Offer a bet where you take both teams by at least seven points because you’ll have a 60 percent chance of winning.

Now, my numbers skills aren’t as sharp as Silver’s, but I’d say that those odds are pretty good. However, I have better advice. Save your money! Unless you have an overabundance of cash and have no problem losing some of it. At the end of the day, the point spread is only a tool used by bookkeepers to fatten their own pockets. Silver acknowledges how poor of a score predictor the point spread is. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

In another online piece written three days before game day by Michael Ferraro and Quenton Narcisse for UConn’s The Daily Campus, Quenton says that Roethlisberger’s 10-2 career playoff record would be enough to get the Steelers the win. What Quenton failed to recognize was the two losses in the quarterback’s record.Although the odds are in Roethlisberger’s favor, the two losses tell me that beating him is possible. An immediate red flag for me. A ‘keep-your-money-in-your-pocket’ indicator, if you will. By the end of the game we all saw how well the odds treated the Steelers.

The point I’m trying to make is that statistics can be biased. There are two sides to every statistic and Nate Silver is effective in pointing that out in his blog, regardless of the topic he decides to tackle.

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FoxboroughPatch vs. The Foxboro Reporter

The one thing that I noticed off the bat when comparing the two news sources was the contributors. Patch.com has their own writers and the same goes for The Foxboro Reporter. What I found to be very interesting is that the news writers for FoxboroughPatch are people who live in the area they are writing about. Not only do they live in the surrounding area, but many, if not all of the contributors for FoxboroughPatch have grown up in the Foxboro area as well. The website itself seems very clean and easily manageable.

The Foxboro Reporter, on the other hand, seems to have a small staff. Their print edition is not very big and doesn’t have much news from outside of the Foxboro area. Moreover, on their website the news pieces are either published by an anonymous author or by Frank Mortimer. Even a lot of the photography that is put up on the website is taken by Mr. Mortimer – another hint that it’s a small staff. Additionally, the website is difficult to maneuver and not very user-friendly.

The contributors that post on FoxboroughPatch write articles on a consistent basis. There are multiple posts per day and the pieces are published within hours of each other. The pieces are written for Foxboro residents but the topics range in subject – from opinion pieces to local news and even local government is covered.

The Foxboro Reporter, on the other hand, is published weekly. Therefore, the residents of Foxboro have to rely on the larger The Sun Chronicle to get their daily news. On The Foxboro Reporter’s website, news is posted pretty frequently but not as frequent as Patch. News posts come in only two or three times a day and every other section of the website seems hit or miss with reliability. The sports section, however, seems to be kept up to date with local high school game information.

Do I trust one news source more than the other? I’d have to say that the answer would definitely have to be an astounding YES. The fact that The Foxboro Reporter is a weekly publishing tells me that the contributors to both the print and online versions of the newspaper have more time to put together some very good stories. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. The stories are pretty basic news – nothing that would set them apart from other publications. Additionally, the website’s credibility is suspect because of what I would consider a lack of effort on behalf of the staff.

FoxboroughPatch does well with attributions and also has contact information and profiles of its contributors. You can get acquainted with contributors, who are all longtime residents as well as knowledgeable in the media field. Being longtime residents gives them an advantage over many other news sources because not only do they know the area, but they also know people in the area. All in all, I’d say that FoxboroughPatch is reasonably credible and trustworthy.

Hello world!

I’m new to all of this blogging stuff. I mean, not fresh-out-the-box-brand-new. I’ve started about a dozen blogs over the years. The problem is that that’s usually as far as I get with them. I start the blog, write an initial post and then it  immediately begins to plummet down on my list of priorities. Just check out how often I maintain my latest blog. Eventually I’ll get another bright idea some months down the road and start a new blog only to have it suffer the same fate as its predecessor.

That’s how I got here to wordpress. I’m not really surprised, though, that blogging, once again, made its way back into my life. Everyone blogs.