Saturday 22 September 2012

Left Bank Under Train

An interesting couple of posts on the topic of luck, the original posted at High Class Equine with a follow up at Centre Court Trading. Both worth a read, but in summary, this is from the latter post:

'The Luck Factor' shows how people who thought they were either lucky or unlucky in life, were in fact, neither. The 'lucky' people were just more positive, open, friendly and pro-active, which in turn, presented them with greater opportunities to succeed in life - which they grabbed gratefully. The 'unlucky' people, believed they didn't have a great life because nothing seemed to go right for them and as such, had given up - a self fulfilling prophecy. 'Unlucky' people are just negative towards life, which in turn, means they shut themselves off from other people and opportunities - sometimes deliberately, sometimes subconsciously.
Very true. In my experience, many people find it very easy to find reasons why an idea won't work. The idea of change is unsettling to many, and having come out against something, they would rather stubbornly keep saying "It can't be done" than admit they were wrong, and make changes.

Someone I know quite well is an expert at this. I won't name and shame her since she gave birth to me, but the person in question is in a league of her own on this.

Thinking of leaving the security of NatWest bank for a career in computers? "Computers might not catch on! The bank is a job for life. You're taking a big risk".

Thinking of going to the beach? "It'll be ever so crowded" or "They said it might rain".

Thinking of driving home from North Devon via Exmoor? Forget it. "Poor Uncle Jack got caught in dreadful fog there in 1953". 

Thinking of taking a bus? "Be careful. Mrs Neighbour had a terrible fall on one". OK, then I'll take the car "Good luck parking. It's terrible now". Oh for crying out loud, I'll get the train then. "Not sure that's a good idea.. They cancelled one last month."

My poor old Mum The person in question actually does have a good reason not to be too keen on trains. She was on the train from Tattenham Corner that slammed into the back of the Haywards Heath to London Victoria train in thick fog almost 65 years ago near South Croydon, killing 32 and injuring 183. Just think, if she'd been sat in the front carriage, you'd all be reading a blank page! [In a state of shock, she actually walked down the tracks to South Croydon station, and caught the next train to London, worrying about being late for work. And didn't think to call her parents to tell them she was OK! Someone at her work told her it might be a good idea, and then sent her home. She would have gone to the beach, but she'd heard there might be rain.]

Thinking of having a bet? Don't even mention it. You name it, and this lady has a reason why nothing should ever be done and no one should ever do anything outside their daily routine.

I've tried explaining the art of trading to her, but while I can tell her of ten four figure wins, and one similar loss, she instantly focuses on the loss and says something like "Well don't you be silly and go and lose it all" rather than see the whole picture. I mean, do I look silly? On second thoughts, don't answer that.

It's good to challenge new ideas, but not to be totally resistant to them. When opportunity knocks, it's best to open the door and give them a chance than keep it closed.

For the most part, comments on this blog are generally positive in tone, hopefully a reflection of the tone of the blog, but there are inevitably the occasional negative comments, some from those who take me too seriously perhaps. I may not be perfect, although you are all free to beg to differ, but I am open to constructive criticism if anyone has a different opinion - even if I know I'm right :)

I mentioned earlier in the week that the NFLs use of replacement officials might be a possible reason for some unusual observations, for example the previously mentioned record of home teams in week two (14-2) and the increase in pass-interference calls. When the record of home teams is looked at against the spread (ATS) the record was 11-4-1, and while this is not statistically significant, "numbers that support logical theories carry more weight". 

As one Vegas expert says "Pro bettors have long believed inexperienced refs are more influenced by home crowds". There is also a theory that coaches are changing tactics to play to the inexperience of the referees. It seems a very reasonable suggestion to me. Football coaches play the odds - they seldom 'go for it' on 4th and short, (unless it's fourth down territory, as they say), but opt to punt instead. Coaches weigh the risk to reward ratio, and these are well known, but we now have a situation where the percentages may well have changed due to the presence of inexperienced officials. If the likelihood of a pass interference call is seen to have increased, then the risk to reward ratio has also changed. 

Of course, just as we think we might be gaining an edge, the flip side of the argument is that the referees and the league will be well aware of this perception, and have discussed it so that the pendulum swings the other way. After their chats with the league, and seeing in the media how they are being accused of favouring home teams and calling too many penalties, it wouldn't surprise me to see the opposite happen this week. The Vegas books are expecting a record high points total this week, but I'll be looking for games where the Under looks value. Houston @ Denver (46.5, 1.9) and Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (42.5, 2.02) look to be the best right now.

Rick Ford's Sports Betting and Trading Blog was recently added to the blog roll, and a little over a month ago, Rick started a 'challenge' with this post:
Another betting strategy I'm going to use for the season is back 1 in 20-25 selections (1.04-1.05) and compound the stakes from £100 until I acheive fair sum of money. I've attempted this on the blog before with moderate success so please refer to my posts earlier in the year to have a feel of what I'm trying to achieve.
What is certain with all these challenges is that sooner or later, it will end. While the probability of any single bet losing is small, it is not infinitesimally small, and so it is sooner, rather than later, that 'luck' runs out.

Assuming the 1.04 is a true price, the bet has a losing probability of 0.03846 - almost 4%. For 1.05 the chance of losing is 0.04762 , close to 5%, so there is a between 1 in 20 and 25. If we take a mid-point of 1.045 (0.043), the odds are against you getting to 17 wins. That Rick made it to 25 before losing on Bet 26 was actually quite good - as there was a 65% chance of failing at or before that point.

A bet at 1.04 might look a certainty, but it is far from it. Rick's opening post mentioned he has tried this strategy before "with moderate success". That's a very vague term, but I've yet to see any of these challenges have any real success. For that, you need to be finding value, and you need to have a sensible staking strategy. A strategy that doesn't allow for a losing run of one is fatally flawed.


Lay Away said...

Oh dear Rick appears to have taken hum bridge and deleted all of his blog posts

500-5000 said...

Yes, Rick appears have done a runner on his blog posts, and is only advertising his 'Total Betting Club' which I m sure is nonsense.

AL said...

I can't believe Rick has let me and the rest of his readers down by not continuing the blog and the compounding bank challenge...

It reminds me of the challenge to back the draw and doubling your bank each time until you get a winner...