Tuesday, February 09, 2010

AC-33: What are the odds?

I am not a betting man as you only have to look at the profits from casinos and betting companies to see that the statistics are on their side.

But I am interesting in how to go about calculating odds and to make prediction a bit better than palm reading or crystal ball gazing.

So how to approach this America's Cup? It is particularly difficult as neither of the two boats have raced anyone, let alone each other, and each boat is unique.

If you look at the UK betting company William Hills site they give the odds to win (using the fractional format) as follows:

BMW Oracle: 1.80
Alinghi: 1.91

So in other words there's not much in it but a slight preference for BMW Oracle.

It's anyone's guess what the reality is but if forced to plump for some numbers I'd probably be close to these, given:
  • that wing contraption (which you can see how it's made up in the pic above) is generally credited to be more efficient and can point higher
  • the stresses on Alinghi are higher, which one can guess means closer to design limits, making a fatal breakage slightly more likely
  • the first race was cancelled due to lack of wind, which means that there is a minimum wind speed and hence less room for the theoretical advantage that Alinghi has in those cases.
Of course putting a tenner on the trimaran is nothing to the biggest punt of the competition which is what those two billionaires and their industrial teams are doing, for they do not know who will win either.

Update: William Hills has stopped quoting odds but over at Ladbrokes the fractions are tending even further towards BMW Oracle. Clearly someone has an idea what James Spithill has written on his hand!


tillerman said...

What does James Spithill have written on his hand?

What brand of coffee will Ernesto Bertarelli be drinking during the race?

Has anyone come up for a strategy for exploiting the deletion of Rule 13.2?

What kind of sausage does Larry eat for breakfast?

Once I know the answers to these questions, I will tell you who to bet on.

Pat said...

The results are in...

and it's another big win for the attorneys.