A friend of mine mentioned over dinner on Saturday night that the tone of this blog had recently turned rather negative. He reads the blog every couple of weeks in chunks, so any change in character is probably more obvious than to someone reading, or writing, on a daily (or close to) basis.
While I try to rise above negativity, it is all too easy to get sucked down at times, and in an effort to avoid this in future, my policy will be to ignore ALL negative, insulting, or repetitive comments. The nature of gambling means that there are a lot of bitter people trolling around wondering why it is always them or thinking that the rules of cricket should change because they have bet on a game, but while they are free to visit the blog (I can block IP addresses, but haven't needed to in several years) there's no need for me to sink to their level.
So, in this new spirit, here are some positive, and quite generous if I do say so myself, thoughts on my favourite trading sport, basketball and the NBA.
I was writing an article earlier this week on the subject of statistics, specifically how some are worse than useless while others are invaluable, and was looking at fast-break points in basketball. I've written before how I like to trade on teams that can score a lot of points, or can give up a lot of points in a hurry, and the best team for scoring fast-break points so far this season is the Denver Nuggets. They were also top last season, and in fact since 2004, either the Denver Nuggets or the Golden State Warriors have topped this statistic, which is quite remarkable. Denver have had the same coach since the 2004-05 season (George Karl) and coaches tend not to change their playing style. Between 2004 and 2006 Denver led, then for five season 2006-11 Golden State Warriors were on top, (Don Nelson took over at the start of the 2005-06 season) and now the 'honours' have returned back to Detroit. As I wrote on the eve of last season:
One thing to be aware of is that the Warriors have a new coach this season, Mark Jackson, and the style of play may change slightly. Certainly in the days of Don Nelson, they were one of the best teams to trade, with their propensity for both giving up and scoring points in bunches.For once, I was right. (The modesty is unlikely to last as long as the positivity). Golden State worked on tightening up their defence, traded Monta Ellis, and dropped to tenth place in this category. What made the Warriors the perfect team for trading was that from 2005 to 2011, not only were they top for fast-break scoring, but they were also near top (or worst) at giving up most fast-break points. In 2006 they were 28th (of 30 teams), in 2007 26th, in 2008 27th, and for three seasons from 2009 to 2011 were dead last.
They improved hugely last season to 23rd, and this season are even better at 20th and well positioned for a play-off spot. For now, the fun on trading Warriors games has calmed a little, but this strategy still offers opportunities. Back to this season, and I mentioned Denver were the top fast-break scoring team. Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are the team conceding most fast-break points, and the two met on Monday night. The line was set fairly high at 217.5, but at 2.12 the Overs was worth a bet in my opinion. The logic is that the line is set by people who are usually not too far off, but the general public simply see a line that looks too high without necessarily looking at relevant statistics and push the Unders price too low. Anyway, take it or leave it, but over the last few years, this is a useful statistic.
With the Bologna v Fiorentina completed last night after a two day delay due to snow, the weekend's results are all in. Significant movers were Talkbet (+5 places), while Premier Betting and Football Elite both went up 4 spots. For the XX Draws, the Classic selections had just one winner from eight selections (although the much discussed Norwich City v Everton game was very unlucky, and a couple of other games were drawn as late as the 80th minute). The Extended selections fared better, with four winning draws from eight selections and the Bundesliga had one draw from two selections.