You like to cover your top 3 teams - only 6 bucks, right?
Sure, it's an easy way to hit all the combos, and if you're picking your choice teams as well, how can you miss?
Enter (Stage left): Our old friend, the 'rotation'
Just for kicks, let's begin with a 1-2-4 box. In the Spring,
2002 season, it came in 126 times out of 3,110 games, and was
the most frequent box finish that year. And why not? It includes
the ultra-likely (and most frequent) combos, 1-4-2 and 2-4-1.
Yet the 1-2-4 box only returned $0.75 per dollar bet.
Now, that's not tragic. There are many that are worse (5-6-7 returned 13 cents per dollar), in fact it just about matches the takeout percentage. So, with such good numbers, where's the problem?
Finish #times Avg. return 1-2-4 13 0.60 1-4-2 32 0.75 2-1-4 10 0.42 2-4-1 25 0.72 4-1-2 18 0.65 4-2-1 28 1.04
(Note - these numbers are for a single season only, and aren't
guaranteed to always be the same, but the pattern is clear)
So, one real good combo, the other five are all below the average, led by the 2-1-4, which was a real dudbomb. In terms of pure (everything =) probabilities, you have the following:
Finish Prob. Expected/3,110 1-2-4 0.005 16.5 1-4-2 0.009 29 2-1-4 0.005 16.5 2-4-1 0.009 29 4-1-2 0.007 23 4-2-1 0.007 23
I'm happy to see people playing boxes 'cause it spreads the money more. So, who plays 'em?