Thursday, February 02, 2012

Vegas odds Superbowl

Kind of off topic, but not really. The line on the Superbowl is Patriots favored by 3 (or 2 1/2) depending on the casino. Most talking heads on TV are leaning Giants. They built all those big casinos because they are smart people that set good lines. A lot of betters, bet with their heart, on emotion.

To bring this back to the option market, option prices are similar to the betting lines. The market maker is trying to line up an equal number of bets on both sides and take the spread in between. There is a reason why certain options are priced the way they are. If the public comes in strong on a certain play, the public is more often than not, going to be wrong.

So much as I dislike the Patriots, given the betting pattern, the logical play would be to bet on them, because the public, the talking heads are mostly picking the Giants. Yes, sometimes the bookies do get it wrong, but the odds tend to favor betting with the bookie, not against them.

The stock market equivalent might be if the talking heads are all talking about how a certain play is a sure thing. It might be long or short a stock, or an asset class. I got into AMZN because of an article on Marketwatch saying it was the next Netflix, another crash and burn story. Even though the latest earnings report from Amazon may bring that to pass, given the chart, and the sentiment towards AMZN, the play I made (shorting a way out of the money vertical put spread) was a very high percentage move. Again, it doesn't always work, the crowd, the talking heads sometimes get it right, but I find it worth watching.

The opposite, someone aggressively buying options because of an article or a segment on TV tends to lead to losses. Someone is on the other side of those trades and winning most of the time. Like I opened with, they built those casinos by winning the majority of the bets.

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