@xmaslightguy some really good questions and even better responses from @themicon and @daenris, they're spot on.
A consideration for me, in relation to your
is to remember the staking payouts are based on an auction system. So even if you are better than random logloss (assuming you've also passed the other criteria), although you will not lose your NMR, you may not get a payout because the payout is exhausted before it gets to you. And even if you are confident you will do better than random, there is a real chance you won't and you will lose your NMR.
So you could find yourself in a situation where you have no possibility of winning any $$, but you can lose your staked NMR. Someone could stake 2000 NMR at a confidence level that would put them at the top of the auction and sweep the $3000 pool for themselves, leaving all other stakers with nothing even if they did better than just random. I think (these are just my own thoughts) there is currently not much staking happening (less than 150 NMR currently and less than 2000 NMR previous tournament) because we are at a stale mate. The price of NMR is too high compared to payouts of the staking tournament / the payouts of the tournament are too low compared to the price of NMR etc.
When there are a couple of thousand NMR being staked, but ten's of thousands up for sale on Bittrex, to me shows that people are more willing to cash in, rather than use their NMR for staking (at current price). I for one wouldn't stake until the last day of the tournament to see what amounts and at what confidence levels others have staked, and assessed whether i'd even be in the running for a staking payout at my intended stake level. No point risking losing NMR if i can't win a payout.