I don’t know about you, but I always thought of straight lines (or at least lines that are portrayed as being straight) when I think of betting. You know, the right way to bet, the way the professionals do it. The lines on the board, the guy sitting next to you at the bookmaker’s, the way the odds line up on the board… It always seemed that the fun and the excitement of betting came from bending the rules a little bit and playing with ambiguity. Now, after spending some time in Thailand, I’m not so sure. I had a look at the way things work around here and it all seems very suspiciously “straight” to me.
The Line Trend And The Spread
First things first, let’s deal with the lines. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I usually don’t like to focus on just one aspect of a game or a place, but I think it’s important to point out that, in this case, the lines seem to be the least suspicious part of this whole story. Every casino in the country seems to offer “free” sports betting, with the terms and conditions being incredibly favorable to the house. According to the laws of probability, this shouldn’t be possible. It means that the casinos are either manipulating the odds in their direction or there’s some kind of foul play afoot.
Now for the spread. As I mentioned above, I spend a lot of time in Thailand and, thus, was able to observe a lot of different types of bets being made. One thing that stood out was the way the people around me seemed to be relying solely on the spread to determine the winner of a game. There was definitely a trend emerging, with the spread always favoring the home team. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the home teams always seem to benefit from betting on sports in general (and football in particular) in Thailand. As a general rule, all sports books in the country have a massive margin of error, which favors the house. That could explain why the numbers always seem to go their way, but what about all those free bonuses and favorable odds?
The More You Bet, The More You Lose
It would be a brave soul that would put money on Atlanta or New York in the 2019 NFL draft. Sure, you might hit a huge jackpot, but you’ll also lose a large sum of money. This is where the theory of trying to get even (or, at least, evened up) comes in. The theory goes that, by putting more money on the table, you’re increasing your chances of winning back what you lost. In my experience, this is rarely the case. What usually happens is that people put money on the table and then, before they know it, the money is all gone and they’re forced to continue betting or risk losing what they’ve already wagered. In other words, the house always wins. As a general rule, the bigger and more prominent the bookmaker (in terms of volume of bets placed), the more the odds will favor the house. In fact, in most cases, the bigger the bookmaker, the more favorable the odds will be. This is how it works:
If you remember your elementary school mathematics, you’ll know that there’s a formula for solving this kind of problem. It’s called the “Law of Large Numbers.” Simply put, the law of large numbers states that the more you bet, the more you’ll lose in the long run.
Thais, as well as many other Asian nations, consider it bad luck to ask how much you’ve won or lost on a particular wager. It’s considered impolite to ask how much someone is betting on a particular event, partly because it’s considered bad luck to know how much someone is risking and also because it’s considered vulgar to ask how much someone is losing or winning. What you need to do instead is focus on “breaking the bank,” which means putting as much money on the table as possible. The more you bet, the more you’ll risk. That’s the way the game is played. The more you bet, the worse you’ll do. It’s as simple as that. As a general rule, the more you bet, the more you’ll lose. This is why it’s usually best to avoid betting on certain sports or games unless you’re prepared to lose a lot of money. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you won’t win occasionally, but, in general, you’re better off avoiding the risk.
The House Advantage
Many people think that, in addition to being able to manipulate the spread, casinos in general, and sports books in particular, can also manipulate the house advantage. It’s an idea that’s been around for a while, but it’s one that I find hard to believe, especially since I haven’t seen any evidence of this happening in real life. Let’s look at it this way: Imagine there’s a casino in New York and another in Los Angeles. Each casino is running a special promotion where they give away free food and drinks for opening up a sportsbook account with them. It’s not hard to imagine which one of these sportsbooks would be more popular, right?
In most cases, the answer is obvious. The fact that the food and drink are free makes it appealing. What would be the point of having a sportsbook, especially a popular one, if the house didn’t take note of this and didn’t offer the same incentives? In other words, it’s not very beneficial to open a sportsbook with a casino that doesn’t give you some kind of “house edge.” This edge, as it’s usually called, is the difference between what you win and lose on a given wager. For example, if you wager $100 and the team you’re betting on wins, you’ll win $100. If the team loses, you’ll lose $100. It’s as simple as that. In most cases, the house advantage is taken into consideration when laying odds and establishing the spread. This is one place where you can actually make a little bit of money by putting money on the table. However, in most cases, it’s better to avoid this and just go with what you feel is the right number rather than trying to play “havoc,” which is what most people do. Keep the lines low and the spread high, and you stand a chance of winning. It’s not like you’re going to lose anyway, so you might as well just go for it.
Ambiguity Is Key
As much as I love a good mystery, sometimes it’s best just to come out and say what happened. In the case of my suspicions regarding the “straight” lines at the casinos, I was able to witness a suspicious pattern develop over the course of several weeks. One day, I happened to be watching a game and witnessed the unfolding of this strange mystery. It started with a standard American football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the UCLA Bruins. As the game was progressing, I noticed that the lines at the sportsbook began to slowly but surely move in favor of the Volunteers. All of a sudden, the line moved a full yard in favor of the Volunteers and, at that point, I knew that something was up. It wasn’t just a fluke or something strange that happened during that game. As I mentioned earlier, most of the casinos and sportsbooks in Thailand seem to operate in a very suspicious manner and, in order to unravel this mystery, I had to track it back to its roots and discover who was responsible. When I pinpointed the source of the problem and discovered who was manipulating the lines, it was only fair that I told them my suspicions. Fortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, they denied any wrongdoing and, as a result, nothing ever came of it. They even apologized for having offended me. In the end, I think it’s important to remember that, in life, ambiguity is often the key to solving a problem. When you have multiple suspects, it’s usually best to just leave it open, as there’s probably more than one person to blame and, thus, it’s usually best to just let it go.