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Optimal strategies in sports betting pools. Part I

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Bryan Clair, SLU

  • Topology Seminar
When Thu, Sep 15, 2005
from 03:45 PM to 04:45 PM
Where RH 316
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Abstract: Every fall, millions of Americans enter betting pools to pick winners of the weekly NFL football games. In the spring, NCAA tournament basketball pools are even more popular. In both cases, teams which are popularly perceived as “favorites” gain a disproportionate share of entries. In large pools there can be a significant advantage to picking upsets that differentiate your picks from the crowd. In this talk I will present a probability model of betting pools that incorporates pool participant behavior. From the model, one can derive strategies that maximize the expected return on a bet in both football and tournament style pools. This talk will focus on football pools, which involve a collection of independent outcomes.

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