NFL 2018 Season Prop Bets from William Hill

Shout out to the folks at Covers for tweeting out the William Hill US  prop bets for the 2018 NFL regular season.

In taking a look at this, first off I do not like the name-out-of-hat bets for season leaders. Tough to pick exactly who will have the most rushing yards. I am more attracted to the over/under lines that aggregate and often play on conventional wisdom.

William Hill US betting sheet with NFL 2018 props.

 

Take, for example, the prop bet on the number of 200 yard receiving games at over 5½ at +105, under 5½ at -125. Yes, that is a fair amount of juice. But a positive multiplier on the over (which people want to root for anyway) is enticing. Plus, this is a passing league, right? From fantasy I know DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown put up huge numbers.

The true tale though, is that 200 yard receiving games are rare even in a pass happy league.

 

NFL Season Number of 200 Yard Receiving Games
2008 3
2009 4
2010 7
2011 2
2012 9
2013 7
2014 8
2015 3
2016 4
2017 4

That is over 5½ 200 yard receiving games in 4 of 10 years, or 40%. Which actually makes the under look like a decent bet. (Full data here at Pro Football Reference).

A season with 15 rushing touchdowns has happened 6 of the last 10 years, but only in one year since 2012 (though three players managed it that year in 2016 – hello, clustering!). Seasons with 15 TD receptions are even rarer, though, happening in only 4 of the last ten years. But the perception that this is a passing league means the over there is -110.

Similarly, a 40 TD season is really quite rare, though it has happened in 5 of the last 10 years. But the price to take the over is -125! Taking the under there seems to have a bit of advantage at +105.

One prop bet where the bias may not hurt as much – will there be a 500 yard passing game at -300. That implies a probability of 75%. It has happened 8 of the last 10 years (12 times overall). Ben Roethlisberger is responsible for 3 of those games, and other names who have done it are Brees, Rivers, Brady. But there are 10 different names on that list, including Matt Schaub and Derek Carr.

This would seem to play into the same biased perception that this is a passing league. But it does take advantage of the long tail in the distribution. There will be 256 NFL games this year, and there are plenty of good (if not great) QB play in the league. The chances of someone needing to throw that much to compete in a game is clearly high, and probably worth laying the odds.

But that is a lot to lay.

A bet I like is total FG for the season under 37½ at -110. Only once in the last ten years has any kicker attempted more than 42 field goals (David Akers for the Niners in 2011 with a crazy 55 attempts on a team that was ranked highly on defensive DVOA, poorly on offensive DVOA and therefore relied on the kicking game quite a bit).

Yes, three players did this last year – Greg Zeurlein from the Rams (thanks to a lot of turnovers and great field position), Harrison Butker for KC, and Robbie Gould (again for the Niners). But that is recency bias, and I think it bucks a trend.

If teams learned anything from the Eagles last year, it should be to go for it on 4th down, and strive for TDs rather than FGs. No one should be kicking 42 times, and even at 90% success rate, 38 FGs made looks unlikely.

Book Review – Under the Neon Sky

A Roller Coaster Ride in the Desert

Jay Rankin had done social work in prison, hustled in real estate, studied martial arts, and earned a graduate degree in psychology.

All those skills came into play in his multi-year run as a doorman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when it opened in the 1990s.

We are along for the highs of pockets stuffed with tips after electric fight-nights, and lows of people ground under the relentless pressure of the allures of Sin City.

Longtime fans of Las Vegas will enjoy the trip down memory lane of an MGM Grand that has already transformed itself almost completely from the one Jay describes.

Anyone can appreciate both the direct and vicarious thrills of such a high profile position at a premier Las Vegas casino.

There is some true emotional carthasis as well, providing a surprising amount of vegetables to go with the cheeseburger one expects (and gets) from the premise.

And Jay is clear about how he feels the hedonism of Las Vegas can hurt its people. This is not a love note to the city, it is more of an intervention.

Also I cannot help mentioning that there are some anachronisms that will bother the careful reader (a reference to the Year of the Ram, for instance, cannot possibly be correct). But these are forgivable. Less so may be Jay’s retrograde thoughts on women and sexual agency.

Overall though, the book is a sure winner for those that love Las Vegas, warts and all.

The Four Fragile Qualities that Keep Vegas Visitors Coming Back

People hate change, and they do not like to feel ripped off.

So when Las Vegas casino operators introduce changes that people feel are ripping them off (paid parking, resort fees, lower gambling payouts) it leads to claims on social media and elsewhere that the last straw has been reached and Las Vegas no longer holds an appeal.

Especially if they think they can get the good parts of Las Vegas closer to home anyway.

But Las Vegas still has its advantages, and they stand out in why visitors keep coming.

It’s why the Degenerate Social Club went out there in April. We may have to keep resort fees in mind, we may need to watch where we play blackjack, but we are still going. Here’s why.

1.Wide and Deep

Legalized gambling has spread all over the US. Especially as sports gambling liberalization looms on the horizon, it is easy to think that there is nothing in Las Vegas that you cannot get closer to home.

That is true for good cocktails, shows, dining, what have you. Your locale probably has an outlet for it.

The advantage in Las Vegas is how just how many of these options there are and how easy it is to get from one to another.

You may have more than one casino in your city. It is highly unlikely they are next door to one another.

Bourbon street in New Orleans is lined with bars and entertainment. It is 13 blocks long. Downtown Fremont Street in Las Vegas is a smaller 10 blocks, but clearly comparable.

But downtown is the small part of Las Vegas. From Mandalay Bay to Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip is 3.2 miles.

The Atlantic City boardwalk stretches that length, but has long gaps with no action, especially now that venues like the Atlantic Club and Trump Plaza are shuttered.

The mood in the principal tourist corridors of Las Vegas do not end at the door because the next place is right outside, and the options extend as far as you can see.

We spent our April trip entirely downtown moving from one casino to the next as our whims and luck carried us. Nowhere else does that happen.

2. Continuous

Not only does the mood persist across space, it is continuous in time. There are definitely busier times of day, days of the week, and weeks of the year. But at any given time there are plenty of outlets. Dinner rolls into lounges and into nightclubs and into after hours clubs and from there to bloody marys at breakfast and then out to the pool parties.

When I think of where we can go and pack a lot into our time, Las Vegas still stands out.

New York is the city that doesn’t sleep. But it does put on work clothes in the morning. There are no work days in Las Vegas.

3.Expertly Hospitable

And what work there is revolves around the service industry and making visitors happy enough to leave their money behind.

The level of service is high because the service industry is the primary driver for the city and everyone knows it. Most everyone works in the service industry or has in the past or has a connection to it.

Even where the service may not warrant Michelin stars of AAA diamonds, the staff knows enough to be friendly. That is as much a part of the deep, wide, continuous mood as the density of venues.

4. Infectious

Which make the mood contagious.

It starts on the flight. Hell for me it starts in the boarding area. Just being at an airport gate and hearing a departure to Las Vegas gets me thinking about what I might be doing there right now.

This is a feeling the frequent Las Vegas visitor knows well. It means they are more likely to dress to kill, undress for thrills, and spend at will.

There is a whole attitude that infects the Las Vegas visitors and it reinforces it in one another. They buy each other drinks, they make bets, they laugh, they flirt, and they do not think twice about it.

Which shows the real danger of Jim Murren claiming Las Vegas is a big city like other big cities and therefore can act like it with charging for parking and so on. It is a mistake to claim “Parking fees will be moderate when compared to similar fees in other markets.”

People are not coming because Las Vegas is “moderate when compared”. They think it is not like other cities. It would be wise for MGM and other operators to keep that illusion going.

Because once the infectious atmosphere and level of service declines, and the crowds do diminish, it won’t be long for gaps in the Strip to appear like they have in Atlantic City. And then one by one all those advantages listed above could go away.

But please not before our next trip.

Willkommen in Frankfurt

Had a long enough layover in Frankfurt that I had to get out of the airport.

Looks like I found the red light district right next to the main train station.

And they know how to market to the Degen. Las Vegas is truly a global brand.

I did not get to go in obviously as it was closed.

There was also a sportsbook across the street. I would have made a World Cup bet, but I might as well wait to do that in Croatia, where I could also actually collect if I hit, as I will be there more than 5 hours.

One more thing. The same building had this on the outside. Not sure Disney would approve of Spider-Man being used this way.

MGM National Harbor Pushes House Edge Against Players

MGM National Harbor is one of the many casinos, in Maryland and on the Las Vegas strip, that are paying 6:5 for blackjack as opposed to the traditional 3:2. This accounts for an instant gain of over 1 percentage point in house edge, hurting the advantage and casual player alike.

This past week, however, I noted a different payout structure on a different table game at MGM National Harbor that was outright savage.

The game is craps, and the payout in question is on a side bet licensed by Galaxy Gaming. The bets were introduced around 2012, and induce the player to wager on a shooter’s ability to roll a large number of outcomes before rolling a seven:

  • All Small – roll 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 before rolling a 7
  • All Tall – roll 8,  9, 10, 11, and 12 before rolling a 7
  • Make ‘Em All – roll all 10 possible outcomes other than 7 before rolling a seven

This is an intriguing bet because it offers a large payout and the thrill of riding a hot hand.

Back in the day I wrote an article for Marc Meltzer’s EDGe Vegas blog about a simulation I ran to determine the odds and house edge on these bets.

If you want the details, feel free to go take a look. But the upshot is that I calculated a house edge between 7 and 8% for these bets, based on a payout of 34-to-1 for the All Small and All Tall, and 175-to-1 for the Make ‘Em All bet.

The Galaxy Gaming Web site still shows a table layout that lists the bets with those payouts.

But that is not enough of an edge for the bosses at MGM National Harbor. So instead they offer 30-to-1 for the All Small and All Tall bets, and 150-to-1 for the Make’ Em All bet.

What does that do to house edge? By my calculation, it give the All Small and All Tall an 18% house edge, while increasing Make ‘Em All to a house edge just over 20%.

That is approaching lottery territory. MGM National Harbor should be ashamed.

 

Attempt at Record for Largest Recorded Orgy in History

People like to convene among like minded folks. There is also a tendency, among promoters at least,  to measure the size of events and achieve notoriety.

So it really should come as no surprise that there exists convention events for swingers. Nor should it surprise anyone that an organizer of one of these events wants to set a mark for hosting the largest recorded orgy in history.

Regardless of surprise, it may pique your interest, curiosity, modesty, or revulsion.

But it is happening all the same. The group Menage Life is putting together Sin City 8 in Las Vegas, and a feature event is the attempt at breaking the world record for largest orgy (250 couples, set in Japan in 2006).

It would seem they are well on their way.  Vital Vegas has reported that they had to move the venue for the orgy from the Embassy Suites (“Have the happiest hours ever”) to a larger space:

I have to say this has to be a pretty well established group already. After all, this is not just wading into the shallow water of swinging. This is wall-to-wall.

Worse yet, one has to assume there will be auditors present. One thing to cavort with (or at least among) like minded people. Another for doing it with Ernst & Young looking over your shoulder with an attendance clicker.

And it is not cheap. Tickets are $225 per couple. With a service fee. (Make service joke here).

You need to be a couple, too. Single males are prohibited.

Here is the full FAQ if you are interested.

I’ll post more, but from a distance.

 

Photos from Leo Sheingate Documentary Premiere

 

Here are some photos from the public exhibition of Carver students’ films, including “Krampuslauf” and “Degenerates” by Leo Sheingate.

Leo also has paintings on display, including these two degenerates.
Before the showing.
After the showing, our numbers had grown.
Looking forward to future Academy Awards ceremonies.