Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Crimea River

Gundulf left a comment on yesterday's post, which was:
Cassini, I'm sorry but I've read and re-read my post and I'm blowed if I can see any derision aimed at England's result against the French!
The point that I was trying to get across is that in many ways Ukraine beating Sweden was the worst result for England in the context of the four remaining group stage matches.
I actually agree with you that the result against the French was more than acceptable!
I guess what wasn't too clear in Gundulf's post about England's supposed uphill struggle following Monday's results, or what I misinterpreted, was that the premise for his opinion was not so much the England - France draw, but rather that result combined with the subsequent win of Ukraine over Sweden.

Even so, I'm still of the opinion England's task is no tougher after the opening matches than it was before them. In fact, I would say it was slightly easier. England don't even have to beat Sweden, since a draw, and a win versus Ukraine, will see England with 5 points and enough to go through. Ukraine are the weakest team in the group, so as I see it, for them to take points off Sweden is a plus. Non-contending host nations perform better in opening games than in subsequent games, and it's an advantage that England play them last, and with a certain Wayne Rooney chomping at the bit to get involved. Ukraine's win over Sweden reminds me of the last time a non-contending host won their opening Euro game. In 2000, co-host Belgium beat Sweden (also 2-1), and in their second match, lost 0-2 to Italy, before losing their third game 0-2 also (to Turkey).

Top tipping yesterday, with the Poland - Russia draw and Under 2.5 goals bets both winners, and as a bonus, I correctly predicted the pre-game off-field problems, although I was struggling to find a market where I could fully capitalise on this amazing insight.

Baseball. One advantage of looking at the relationship between the Match Odds and the +1.5 / -1.5 handicap markets is that an anomaly immediately jumps out. For example, it might be that when a team is at 2.02 on the Match Odds market, then typically the -1.5 handicap market will be at 3.1 or so, and ~1.6 on the +1.5 handicap market. If there is money to lay at 1.53 on the +1.5 market, that is value. This was the case yesterday when the Los Angeles Dodgers +1.5 were layable at 1.53. I took the full amount, and was able to green up several hours before the first pitch. The correlation between related markets is an interesting one, across a number of sports, but I like baseball because there are so few markets that it doesn't take too much time to run through the matches - 15 a day at most.

Last night's first selection of the Atlanta Braves went down 4-6 after taking a 4-0 lead into the eighth innings. Two home runs, including an Alex Rodriguez Grand Slam, soon turned that one around! But things got a lot better in the second game, where the Dodgers trailed 1-2 in the bottom of the ninth, before scoring four runs and winning 5-2. We don't believe in luck of course, but perhaps the unfortunate run of 'random fluctuations of probability' is over for the time being. The selection today is again the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The opening game of the NBA Finals is in the books, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held serve, winning again on their home court by 11, 105-94. 1.5 at tip-off, they drifted to 2.6 at one time, before gaining confidence in the third quarter. Durant and Westbrook combined for 63, while the Heat's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 49. It's usually said that defence wins championships, but this year could prove to be an exception. Both teams were close to their regular season scoring averages, the Thunder average 103.1 and the Heat 98.5. Thunder remain unbeaten at home in the play-offs, and are 1.5 or so again for Game 2 on Thursday.

XX Draws, and I think I've found out why the option of backing the Under 2.5 goals was more lucrative than backing the draw, and it's all down to France. Last season, there were 212 Unders in Ligue 1 compared with 222 the season before, but in 2010-11, 48% of those unders finished as draws, whereas a surfeit of 1-0 home wins last season (60 compared with 34), saw the percentage of draws drop to 35%. 

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