At first I had the title of this post begin with "A real man..."
But I don't want to insult a friend (who would go nameless, if I didn't reveal that it is Hans) who demanded that our $10 bet on the giant University of Oregon - Oregon State football game tonight include a point spread.
I'm betting on the Ducks. Hans, on the Beavers.
Last Sunday, when we got together at the Beanery coffeehouse to negotiate the deal, I argued eloquently that a real fan has so much confidence in his team, he doesn't need the crutch of a point spread when putting down some money on a friendly bet.
As happens all too frequently with my utterly convincing arguments, I didn't convince Hans.
So today I gave it another try in an email.
Hans, it looks to me like the point spread consensus is 10 points. Newspaper articles say it's the Ducks who are favored. I'm pretty sure that's a misprint, since the liberal mass media can't be trusted. Probably they meant the Beavers are favored.
Regardless, I'm willing to accept the 10 point spread.
Before you agree, you might want to consider this quote that I read recently in a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Personality Disorders:
"It's well known that people who demand a point spread when they bet on their favorite sports team, if that team isn't favored by so-called experts, suffer from a lack of self-esteem and confidence in their own view of the world. This holds them back from succeeding in their chosen field. Therapy usually consists in having the patient bet on their team straight up, without a point spread, so he learns to act on the courage of his convictions."
I figured this would do the trick, so long as Hans didn't check to see that the Journal of Personality Disorders actually exists. But wait... Oh, my God! I just fired up Google, and it does! I'm a freaking genius at believable deception!
Except, Hans wrote back:
I am more that happy to bet straight up on the Beavers, as far as my confidence in them goes. But when it comes to the bigger picture, our relationship, I am most focused on the satisfaction of your handing me $10.
As such the statistical probability of that happening is higher with the spread. So if my goal "conviction" is that I want your $10 and that squeamish look you have when you hand over your money, then not going for the point spread would be violating the confidence I have in my world view.
And so while I was happy to bet straight up I appreciate your support in validating the appropriateness of the point spread. So therefore I accept your 10 points.
Well, that's what I get for betting with a German logician. Not that I accept Hans' logic.
It sure seems like Hans would get vastly more satisfaction from winning the bet fairly, without a point spread, and the expected value from this option is greater than the probability of Oregon winning by 1 to 10 points.
I note, by the way, that the actual consensus point spread is 9.5 points, not 10. Guess I should have done more research before emailing Hans. Not being much of a betting man, I don't know what happens if the Ducks win by 10.
Somehow I have the feeling that Hans will feel he won. Ah, it'll be nice to have something else to argue about.