With the Super Bowl looming on February 4, some wine geeks may be wondering what to drink during the event — while others may be wondering how they can win some wine.
Betting and sports have a long (March Madness) but limited (Nevada) tradition in the US. But it is only thanks to Las Vegas we have an indication of what the odds are of one team winning over another. The most common indicator is the “spread” or number of point margin of victory of one team over another. In this year’s Super Bowl XLI the Indianapolis Colts are the favorite by seven points over the Chicago Bears.
Thus a fan of the Bears could take seven points, see her team lose 21-17 but still win on the bet. You win while the team loses. This suboptimal outcome means that your bet is not aligned with your enthusiasm for the team.
I put this puzzle to my friend who writes about sports on Gothamist and he advised me of the “moneyline,” which awards different values to bets while not offering any point spread. Thus if your team wins, you win the wager. The moneyline for the Superbowl is Indianapolis -240 and Chicago +200. That means that to place a $240 wager on the Colts in Las Vegas would win back your original wager plus $100. A $100 bet on the Bears would yield the original wager plus $200.
Thus wine geeks who are fans of the Bears could bet a $10 wine with a friend and Indianapolis supporter who would put up a $22 bottle of wine. Say, a Texier Cotes du Rhone 2004 (find this wine) for a Heinrich Mayr-Nusser 02 Lagrein Riserva (find this wine)? Or raise the stakes to double those price points if you are so inclined. But at the end of the day–or football season–the best way to celebrate friendship might just be if you had to drink the bottle together.
Assuming, of course, that you both are over 21 and live in Nevada.
The original version of this post appeared on January 27, 2006.