BRACKET BUSTIN' WBC STYLE: Got March Madness withdrawal? Can't wait for the NFL season? Make your brackets for the WBC Team Tournament. Send your Top Ten picks for the WBC Team Tournament listed in order from 1st to 10th to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 31 for a chance to win free admission to WBC 2012. One entry per person.
In 2010, contestants correctly picked only 2.62 teams in ten guesses as making the Top Ten. Mark Love's winning score of six correct guesses in our initial contest in 2009 proved to be setting the bar too high as last year's high score was a paltry four teams selected by six contestants—Mark Love, Bob Hamel, Andy Lewis, Ben Knight, Dave Meyaard and Terry Coleman—who all finished in a tie for first. It was decided on the fifth tie breaker and went to Ben Knight. Can you do better this year? The Happy Handicapper is daring you.
If you are one of our hundreds of jockeys, remember to post your own score on the self-scoring Team Tournament display in the Ballroom Foyer.
The usual word of warning to those teams whose members
are listed in red below: if you're
not pre-registered by July 25th, you're outa the running. There's
no walk-ons in the Team Tournament.
Self-Service Scoring: To improve the speed with which the standings are updated, Team Member, whether they score a point or not, should post their point totals on the Team Tournament kiosk Standings Board as soon as they are known. The Point Schedule is listed in the printed program. Those who score points in an event they have never won will receive one bonus point. While the self-service scoring is unofficial and subject to verification, it allows attendees to gain a current sense of where they are in the standings as the week unfolds. Since the results of some events are not known until the very end (and later) of the convention, the official scoring will be done the following week and posted here. The winning team will receive a plaque at the 2012 convention.
Post Time [7/26/2011]
by Stuart "Happy Handicapper" Tucker
With 82 teams reporting, the first thing to bet, is on whether registration has really closed. Do we really want a down year? Every year teams wait until the last second to register. Many get in after the deadline, out of the goodness of the convention director’s heart. Well, here’s a first. The Happy Handicapper is going to handicap the field with some of those teams that haven’t yet entered--as it’s a good bet they will try to enter in the next minutes, hours, or days. For example, can we deny a late entry of the defending champion? Don’t bet against that. Will a late Boarding Party be shafted? I don’t think so. I’m tired of my odds oscillating at the last minute. I’m including these perennial delinquents in my odds calculations as I lay them to rest. Others may slip in at the end, but those listed herebelow include some powerful teams that typically keep the same name each year, so in my mind they are a factor in the team competition still. Five of them would be in the top 25 teams. And if they don’t enter as a team, their individual players are still stumbling blocks to other teams trying to earn points. So, if you want to bet the latecomers, here are their odds:
I Beat Bill Crenshaw, 42-1
Return of the Empire, 49-1
Reservoir Dogs, 57-1
Boarding Party, 90-1
Batty Bohemians, 167-1
Happy’s Betting Tips [7/19/2011]
by Stuart "Happy Handicapper" Tucker
I admit that it didn ’t actually occur to me that anybody reads this drivel. Then, I get this note today asking about a statistical oddity. Oh wait, Paul, you still aren’t reading this; you only care about your own odds!!! Well, let me explain it to you in simple terms any bookie would understand. When a team called Lady Luck has a power rating of 31, you bet them. They have long odds—something like 370-1. They make you money if you win. They have kharma in their name. And, shucks, when you inevitably loose (as all my suckers do) you can still feel good about backing the ladies. You are a good samaritan.
But, NOOOOO, this isn’t obvious to a team that chose the semi-humorous name (because they aren’t tall) Giants of Gaming. Their team captain (the only member likely to get close to wood this year) asks, "hey, we’ve got a power rating of 31; how come the odds for us are 400-1?" Now, if you are still with me, concentrate on this closely: NEITHER team has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the team tournament. However, if perchance people are going to start rigging the race, it’ll be for a team with a name like Lucky Lady. So, if the bookie leans on the odds a little, it should be obvious why two such teams with identical power ratings don’t have identical odds. Always expect the unexpected where women are concerned.
Now that only Paul and Kaarin are now reading this drivel, I can admit that it really was a simple rounding error, with one team’s odds being rounded to the nearest 100 (because YOU have no chance), while the other was rounded to the nearest 10. By the way, while I’m talking, the odds just lengthened again tonight for both teams, to 380-1. Would it make you happier if we called it 761-2? I’m sorry, I still have to say Lady Luck has a better chance.
A better bet would be Amish Chicks Dig Wood (inheriting most members of Nick Tahou’s Revenge) at fairly close to even odds of 92-1. Or how about Central FL Gamers, who upgraded their personnel a bit to move into a top five ranking at 43-1. Put them on your betting card!
There are about eight teams not yet registered that would make the top 25 in the odds rankings. Get your act together, people; other people want to ride you to victory!
By the way, here’s a betting tip: Giants of Gaming have no chance. Take that to the bank.
Horse Talk 2011 [7/12/2011]
by Stuart "Happy Handicapper" Tucker
This column has become the easiest job on earth. Bet Nest of Spies. End of story. Oh wait, that’s how the column began a few years ago. And if you bet the house, my apologies. ‘Cuz in this business, second place is a LOSER (or so goes the dominant philosophy of most of my competitors). So, Nest of Spies fell a point short last year? At least they are always an easy bet for your "Pick the Top Ten" list. Stick with them. They are still the dynasty to beat. So much so, that their chief rival, the Champagne Room Gamers have moved around the personnel and changed names to fit their new mantra: Win or you’re grounded. It’s nice to have a brood of winners living under your roof to bolster your cause.
Both Shockers! and Sweep the Leg have upgraded themselves with personnel changes. The Polish Lancers have justly deserved their climb up the ranks. The Rebel & Redcoats have split up, with some members forming Three men & a Lady.
The quiz of the day: What happens when the Fellowship is broken? Spontaneous Combustion. The Federation of Gamers has been replaced by Team Looking-Glass. And the Next Gen of last year has split up, while a new Next Gen has been fielded, appropriately at the lower end of the ranks. Welcome to True North Pioneers, the first team to register and currently our lowest ranked team. It’s not all about winning, it’s just fun to play (and beat teams like yours).
With only 42 teams reporting as of now, there are still a dozen or so Top 25-worthy teams out there that need to register, so don’t pick your top ten yet. Last year’s team champion, I Beat Bill Crenshaw, assuming they stay together, will be ranked at about sixth once the full field registers. St. Paul’s Rejects and The Defectors would garner fourth and fifth.
Sign up your team soon; time is running out. Without further ado, it is time to unveil the prelimary odds. While only showing 42 teams, these odds anticipate the full field filling out.