Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The happiness arbitrage

At the start of the NFL season I jokingly promised Mrs AC a trip to the Super Bowl if the Giants made it - knowing full well that there was more chance of me giving up beer than actually having to deliver on my promise. She reciprocated, thinking that the 49ers were just as unlikely to even make the playoffs, let alone make it all the way. She's been sweating since mid season as apart from 3 narrow losses they've managed to win every game - even the game after Christmas against the seahawks was a nail biter as it effectively turned into a winner takes all game for the number 1 seed, a bye and home field advantage versus the wild card route. My own record when watching them during the regular season has only been 4-3 so I was starting to think I'm a bit of an unlucky omen. We only get 5 NFL games on TV during a normal week so it's virtually impossible to watch every game which is why I didn't see them much at the start of the season.

But now they've only gone and done it - for only the second time in my adult life they have made the big game. And I can't wait. But unfortunately they are going to have to do it without me in the crowd - the tickets were just ridiculously expensive, as were hotels in Miami who seemed to have taken a leaf out of Vegas's books and ramped up their prices to gouge anyone who wants to visit - tickets alone were going for 5 figures a pair. 

But we're going to be watching the big game in the next best place - Vegas. It's actually going to be cheaper to fly, stay, eat and drink for the entire weekend than just a game ticket would have cost so it's really a no brainer to spend the weekend where public drunkenness is encouraged (in my mind it's actually illegal not to be carrying an open drink down the strip). Not that Vegas isn't gouging the public to watch the game - Caesars' sports book was charging close to $1,000 for prime seats plus all you can drink (even I can't drink that much to make it financially viable).

Mrs AC is taking care of the details so I don't know where we'll be watching the game but she knows my one stipulation is that there must be alcohol involved and she's told me that she's not going to disappoint me on that front. I'm flying in from London on Wednesday and staying on for another week as I have to see a client in LA, whilst Mrs AC is flying from NY on Thursday and leaving on Monday.

I've already bet on the game - but not for the 49ers to win. I want to lose my money. Mrs AC thinks I'm an idiot - why on earth would you bet on your own team to lose? Now I'm not really much of a sports bettor - I think the most I've ever wagered on a sporting event is £50 ($65) and I don't think I've actually ever bet on an NFL game before (I place the occasional parlay on a few Saturday soccer games to make the afternoon a bit more interesting if I'm watching the games) but when I do bet I rarely bet on my own team to win - not only for the fact that they don't win very often but it's that I'm doubly invested in the result - financially and emotionally. If my team loses then I'm pissed off and I've lost money whereas if they lose and I've bet against them at least the emotional loss is off set by the financial gain - it's what I call the happiness arbitrage. So I've placed £50 on the Chiefs to win at -125 on the moneyline. I did think about betting the spread giving up 1.5 points but that could have lead to a worst case scenario if KC won by a point whereby I would lose the game and the bet.

So in just over a week I'll be spending a weekend doing things that I love - beer, Vegas and spending some time with Mrs AC (if Mrs AC asks that order is reversed) plus the added bonus of cheering the 49ers on. And for once I'll be more than happy about losing money on my bet.

Oh - I ballsed up my drinking challenge the other night. I was watching the NFC championship game at home and had already drunk 4 beers when I opened one of my fancy Belgian beers, as soon as I'd opened it I realised I'd taken a few down to my friends who we spent New Years with and we'd had one on New Year's Day - I just couldn't bring myself to waste such a good beer so I drank it. I made it for 19 days which included 4 transatlantic flights - the highlight being a very good English sparkling wine which I'd never have had if I'd not been doing this. Final tally - 38 different beers, 1 champagne, 16 wines, 2 gins, 4 vodkas & 3 whiskies. Even though some of the wines and spirits were generous pours I'm actually amazed at how little I've drunk so far this month - it's my equivalent of a "dry January". I'm sure I'll manage to boost a few booze makers' share prices next week when I'm in Vegas!!


  1. Congrats on the 49ers. My boss is also a fan. After the win, I told him he should go to Miami for the game, enjoy the warm weather, and get away from the freezing temperatures in DC. When he told me it was $5K per ticket, I told him to stay in DC and that it's not THAT cold.

    1. Thanks - always a good suggestion to get the boss away for a few days though

      The tickets weren’t even scalped with a huge markup - that’s the going rate if you buy through the NFL. Is there a way of buying them earlier in the season for a better price then just crossing your fingers and hoping your team makes it to the game?

  2. This link gives some details:

    1. Cool - thanks for that

      Looks like there are 2 chances and slim just left town!

      Soccer fans would go nuts if prices were that high - anything over $150 or so seems ridiculous although FIFA have worked out that they can gouge fans at major events as well

      I’m guessing Roger Goodell lives in a bigger house than me!!

    2. Yeap, the bigger the match/game the more casual fans with money want to go to. 64 different drinks in 2/3 of a month, you crushed the challenge again!

    3. This is a good watch

      Although anyone who spends that sort of money to watch the Dolphins probably needs their head examined!

    4. Brutal ending to the game, good thing you saved your money. I chuckled at the 4:51 mark of the video after you told the same story.

    5. Yeah I laughed at that bit as well

      Certainly was a brutal ending but I’m pretty sanguine about it - considering they were 4-12 last season if someone had said we’d even make the superbowl at the start of the season I’d have snap called!