I was born with a caul,
And they told me: "You
Will have second sight"
But that wasn't true.
I can never guess
What tomorrow brings,
I don't hear the song
That the mermaid sings --
I don't care. For I find
It's enough for me
Just once in awhile
To believe I see
Past the dealer's guard...
Card - Nicholas Andrea Dandolos (The Greek)
The Hawk and the Correspondent knock back the pivo after making it through the lines one more time in the former Yugoslavia, nineteen-ninety something: Above. Click image to enlarge.
When Da Bears defensive lineman William (The Refrigerator) Perry lined up on offence at fullback and crashed into the end zone for a touchdown, the first Super Bowl proposition bet ever posted hit with gusto, and a new American mania was born. The former Clemson star playing offense was a bit of a novelty; the idea he might score in a goal-line situation was so appealing to a nation fallen in love with Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan and the Super Bowl Shuffle, that the opening price of 20-1 was monkey-hammered by the Vegas sharps; by game time the late arriving public had knocked the price down to 4-1.
The whole world was on The Refrigerator and The Man thought he had a sure thing early in game week. By kickoff he was some kind of lop-sided long on the No side of the equation and, as Da Bears started to roll over the hapless New England Patriots, he began to sweat the action known as The Missouri Boat Ride.
The third quarter found the Bears knocking on the Patriots door again in what would be a historic blowout. Future Hall of Fame member Walter Payton was bypassed, and the ball handed off to Perry who plunged through the paper thin New England defence for an epic payoff. Perry had become something of a celebrity by scoring both a rushing and receiving TD from the fullback slot as a rookie during the regular season; in the pre-Internet era fame came slower but lasted much longer, and by kickoff every casual punter in the States was on the novelty wager.
Fast forward thirty-seven (alpha) years later and hundreds of proposition wagers are offered on the Super Bowl -- from the frivolous length of the national anthem wager to more sophisticated plays on yardage total over/unders and various scoring parlays. The Yes there will be a safety price has opened +1000 which is large from a historical perspective and is unlikely to go higher. This means that every unit wagered will win ten units if there is a safety notched in the game.
Then there are specialised props that often serve as derivative-style moves for high end plungers. Hundreds of billions of dollars/euros/pounds/yuan and roubles wagered around the globe on this contest, and the outcome of even the most obscure plays can have significant effect on the bankroll; it is within this milieu that a certain breed of gambling degenerate prowls about seeking the epic lifetime score.
Colvin, reporting from St Petersburg where he has established his next consultancy, advises that a couple Chinese shoppes in Macau have posted Yes, there will be a safety by penalty at +4300 (43-1). Colvin can be reached North of the Neva through the Russian Artillery Museum attendant, Park Aleksandrovskiy 7. He advises his retirement imminent if the safety by penalty hits.
Super Bowl LVII CHIEFS vs EAGLES (-1) Sunday 6.30 pm EST FOX
The uniquely American spectacle known as the Super Bowl approaches and with it the eyes of the world turn toward the Arizona desert. Meanwhile the wallets of the entire globe prepare for massive adjustment; it is a proposition wagering contest where the hundred dollar player can score ten grand if things fall right and a million dollar whale can scoop up a hundred grand if things don't go wrong.
Then there is the game side -- which team will win against The Man's handicapped-adjusted number -- or line, if you will. The game price has been all over the ones and two since opening but reflects a contest where The Man feels each team will get close to equal support -- and the price becomes more of an inefficient hedging tool for those with no strong opinions on the game.
Having been somewhat humbled in eschewing Farnell's numbers of late, we are determined to follow his power rating vectors regardless of their direction. Our gut tells us Philly will let you down every time you need them in the big game. We still recall Plunkett hitting Kenny King on that eighty yard swing pass that crushed us when Vermeil went against Al Davis.
Our gut also tells us Andy Reid is not the same choke artist he was early on in his big-game career, Mahomes is the Red Baron and Captain Brown wasn't from Philly. Further, it advises, each team has a heck of a pass rush and no matter what side we are on for the game, nothing out there matches the value of the safety at this price with these two high end defences and one QB running on a battered rim.
It is not lost here that Farnell's first round playoff Power Ratings listed every team but the Eagles and Chiefs. Ostensibly this because they had the bye that weekend and were not playing but in viewing them perhaps for another reason: The Chiefs and Eagles are both 200+ while the next highest rated teams were Buffalo at 197 and San Fran at 191.
Farnell's numbers have the Chiefs 210 and the Eagles 201. That makes it simple and it next becomes a question of how to weight our moves as post-season Unlucky Dragons have left us sitting minus 7.2 units. However, most of the world is not interested in Super Bowl safeties but instead who will win the big game. With that in mind, we listen in as Hughes finally manages to reach Farnell on the telephone and, over the Luke Combs' lyrics blasting from a fifty dollar down-east speaker, these mutterings emanate:
"You know, Man, a Super Bowl with the top two teams has to be handicapped like a college game because the Quarterback play going to be about equal in terms of production with the most critical variable being turnovers. The Chiefs reduced their regular season turnovers from 25 to 23 this season while Philly showed an increase from 16 to 19 over last year, perhaps indicating Philly became more aggressive on offense this season while Mahomes has become more efficient in protecting the pigskin."
"For real, Man, the sharpest move, if you go to the effort to get it, is the Yes there will be a safety paying anywhere from +750 to +1000. Sure, the play will probably lose but the payoff far exceeds the risk in terms of mathematical overlay if it lands. In terms of the game, the public likely to be all over the Chiefs and it is conceivable they become a slight favourite by kickoff. Unless you happen to love Philly, the side for you is Kansas City as, historically, Mahomes does Apollo Creed even better than he does the Red Baron."
The Super Bowl the biggest thing going until the pre-dawn artillery barrage presaging the Russian counter-offensive -- and the roar of three thousand rounds a minute detonating across the entire front. Happily, Colvin advises, this attack does not go before the Super Bowl but should be considered imminent anytime after kickoff, and that is good enough for this programme.
Our calls here are the CHIEFS (+1) for two units and YES, there will be a SAFETY (+1000) for four units. Farnell's numbers tell us the CHIEFS are the side and the math tells us the Yes, Safety is the sharp value of the game. We will also take a flyer on YES, there will be a SAFETY by PENALTY (+4300) for a half unit because Colvin, whether infiltrating the Yugoslav embassy in Washington, D.C. or the no-limit dice tables at Binion's downtown, was the craziest gambler we ever saw -- and, from the looks of things, still is. He was fond of saying, with the bones rattling in his remaining good hand -- and every chip he owned on the table, pressed up hard and riding the next roll:
"The greatest risk in life is taking no risk at all."
We have a total of 6.7 units at risk here which, when combined with our beginning negative balance, means losing all three plays would drop us within spitting distance of wiping out the entire fifteen units we won on March Madness. Should there be a safety we will win 39.5 units if it is not by penalty, if there is a safety by penalty we will land 61.5 units -- adjusted north or south depending on the Chiefs making it or not, but they will:
RED BARON MAHOMES 23 PHILLY 19
The emerging global mosaic screams for justice in this country but demonstrates a will toward the polar opposite; The Man paints the same false narrative with his razor-sharp NFL numbers as he empties your wallet each week like the evil carpetbagger he is. Now he has us behind, and down to our last cartridge, with that Yank cavalry nipping at our heels.
Once more we turn to Mr Josey Wales for inspiration -- as we prepare to stun The Man with the Sharps ten-bagger safety coup of the ages. His words ring as true today as they did back in '65:
"Well, Mister Carpetbagger. We got somethin' in this territory called the Missouri boat ride."