Having been gently prodded from my post-FA Cup Final emotional hangover, a few more (unrelated) observations from the past few days.
Not betting, but football related, and this charming individual (allegedly a Paul Grange from Worcester) is in trouble for going to the Brewers Arms in Worcester wearing this shirt:
The NBA Finals are finally set, after the Golden State Warriors covered against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game 7 last night, and we have a re-match of the 2015 final in which the Warriors came back from 1-2 down to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2.
ESPN touches upon the need for number /data-based models to be placed into context. Bill Barnwell writes:
By any measure, the Thunder will need to overcome the odds. FiveThirtyEight's model pegs the Thunder's chances of winning Game 7 at 32 percent, while ESPN's Basketball Power Index has them at 30 percent.
The consensus Vegas odds, meanwhile, are even less charitable to Oklahoma City, for understandable reasons: They involve humans. After adjusting for the vig, the initial Thunder moneyline implied that they had just a 19 percent chance of pulling out a series-decider in Oakland. That number continues to rise, and it's hit 26 percent, but it's still below the expectations of empirically derived models.Betfair had the Thunder at around 25%, but as Bill Barnwell goes on to discuss in some detail, it was the nature of the Thunder's game 6 defeat that suggested to me that 25% might be too high:
One reason why that might be the case is that the models don't have eyes to see what happened to the Thunder in Game 6. The box score says the Thunder lost by seven at home on Saturday, but that fails to tell the story we all saw: Oklahoma City collapsed during the final few minutes of the game, with its offense crumbling into a writhing mass of hero-ball and turnovers. The Thunder led for the vast majority of the contest and had a 90 percent win expectancy with five minutes to go, only to fall to pieces during what might end up being Kevin Durant's final home game in Oklahoma City.Road teams in NBA game 7s had an 18.5% winning record, and the Warriors don't lose much at home - 3 of 50 to be precise. As for the Unders bet, these have a strong record in game 7s with 50 of the last 84 going under.
Data is great, but it has to be applied in context. Similar to how a draw in football is viewed either as a point won or as two points dropped, there is more than one way of losing a basketball game. Losing by 7 points after leading by 7 points with about 5 minutes left is far more painful than losing by 7 points after coming back from 30 points down and running out of time.