Setting the Betting Line: Election 2016 (originally posted a year ago–I told you so edition)

Yesterday, the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball tourney brackets were announced. Office pools will have bracket fanatics prognosticating on game results. There’s no “betting line” involved in bracket guessing. It’s instinct and dumb luck that will have someone, somewhere pick as many winners as possible, including the ultimate winner of the trophy.

There will be a betting “line” on each game, and if one team is a “prohibitive favorite”, the Vegas sport “books” likely will have that favorite go off, before the game even starts, as  “laying” 25-30 pts. That means the underdog is winning 25 or 30 to nothing even before the refs starts the game. In games featuring more evenly matched teams, the “dog” might get 2, 3 points. Get it (those not hip to the gaming jargon)? Oh, and the House always gets some “vig” even if the bet is a winner. The vig is the price of merely doing business with the casino or even your local, charming juice loan operator.

These terms will ALL be on the test!

Sports generate lots of betting revenue. College and pro football and basketball lead the way in getting the casual or committed gambler to examine the odds and plunk down some moolah. The House usually wins (and the bettor loses $$, plus that “vig”). All those mega casino/resorts in Sin City are brick and mortar proof of it. It’s hard to “handicap” that betting line with any certainty. There’s never, ever really  “a mortal lock” or “lead-pipe cinch” as far as an outcome. It’s called gambling!  Hey, life is a gamble, right? From the moment we stagger out of bed it’s all akin to a roll of the dice. Could be winning 7’s. Or  instant  “snake eyes” to reckon with. So, no matter how confident one may be about a bet, we can just never know for sure. Not until that fat lady sings…

Taking notes? Betting jargon 101. That test will be unannounced…

But wait. Ever heard of another bit of jargon mostly related to gambling on just about anything?: the fix is IN. What that means is that someone or two or who knows how many nefarious types have tampered with things. The endgame isn’t going to reflect a natural, honest, outcome in which the winners and losers are determined. These things have happened over and over through the decades. Players, coaches, and those who influence the fix usually get busted, sooner or later. Loose lips sink…ya know? The cards might be stacked. The dice have been loaded.

Which leads me to our election process. You can even bet on elections! Really! Right now, Oddschecker has Hillary favored to become President at 8/15 odds (you bet $15 on Hillary in order to win $8). Sanders is at 12/1. Hey, bet a buck, maybe win twelve. Or add some zeros to the initial number and increase that payoff. If you pick the winner. A certain candidate with an odd orange hue is listed at 16/5. Do the math…

Whatever other cites have as their betting lines on the candidates, I  must assert that there is one “line” not being publicized: the vote suppression/theft line. Seriously. If you may recall, the 2000 election for President had the notorious “hanging chads” in Florida, with the Supreme Court ultimately (by a 5-4 vote) appointing George Bush as winner when they told the Florida election officials to stop verifying voting ballots. Ensuing analysis of the Florida fiasco was that Al Gore legitimately won Florida and its electoral votes that would have given him the White House. This has been documented (if skeptical, use some critical thinking and do some research on it. It’s out there.) Along with what happened in Ohio in 2004, when John Kerry’s announced 4% lead in that state late in the evening somehow disappeared in what has been called a “statistical improbability” Some statisticians even say it was an impossibility.  By 2 A.M.Bush that night, had a 2% lead and, like with Florida in 2000, those electoral votes meant he, not Kerry would be the winner. Again, the facts are out there, though not disseminated by the mainstream media. Hell, bizarrely neither AL Gore or John Kerry even bitched about the stink of seeming election fraud, a fact that begs a certain cynical, disturbing question about our so-called two-party system of government. Isn’t there suppose to be at least some token opposition or dispute in those two cases of the fix is IN?

The clear lesson of 2000 and 2004 is that if the election is close, then it’s ripe for tampering and tinkering with the outcome. Recall that President Obama won both his elections by healthy margins. Don’t think some votes weren’t tinkered with though. Hanging chads are one thing. Electronic voting machines are another. Harvey Wasserman has a book coming out entitled The Strip and Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows and Electronic Election Theft. Wasserman is a bona fide journalist. He pinpoints the type of electronic machines that have been proven “hackable” using the terms “strip and flip” to explain how Kerry’s late night Ohio advantage was systematically wiped out. Strip the original voter’s choice and flip it to the opponent. In 2000 and 2004 Florida and Ohio, respectively, had Republican governors and, perhaps more importantly, Republican Secretaries of State, who command election day machinations. These are facts, not “sour grapes”. If you are a fan of conservative politics, you’re welcome to say stop living in the past and get over it, which has been the mantra for the last 16 years. Well, in the immortal words of Bartleby the Scrivener, I’d prefer not to…get…over…it.

Beyond the hanging chads, and strip and flip scenarios, there’s Republican controlled states right now that have passed blatant voter suppression laws. There’s several, including North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Ohio and Wisconsin that now require special ID’s, elimination of same-day registration, dual registration systems and other laws that appear to target college-age people, seniors and the poor, most of whom historically vote more Democratic than Republican.

Okay, I’m not a professional odds maker, but based on my knowledge of those recent dubious voting outcomes for President and the current crop  of “red states” that have enacted those sinister voting laws, along with those infernal electronic voting machines, (no paper trail!) I hereby assert that, before the Tuesday in November later this year welcoming citizens to the polls to decide many offices, none more prized than President, the Democratic candidates are at a disadvantage (whether they care or not, and I really do wonder in some cases given our current Democratic appointed U.S.Attorney General’s seeming lack of challenging and prosecuting red state, anti-democratic voting restrictions). I’d say the Democrats are about three to four millions votes in the hole RIGHT NOW.

So, if you are hoping for Hillary or Bernie to prevail, then vote and ask for a paper ballot, and maybe they can win by at least 5%. If not, get ready for Agent Orange, or The Messiah or the little robo-candidate to prevail.

Wanna bet? I’ll give you 9/5 odds.























About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to Setting the Betting Line: Election 2016 (originally posted a year ago–I told you so edition)

  1. catt23 says:

    And yet despite the fix being in, the conscientious citizen soldiers on and rolls the dice by casting their ballot, not knowing whether it will be counted or gamed by strip and flip or other nefarious means…


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