Tuesday 9 July 2013

Baseball Division v Overall

I mentioned the torrid run that Peter Nordsted was experiencing in baseball a few days ago, and Peter has replied with his usual attention to detail. I'll have more to say on this tomorrow, but for now I'll just reproduce his comment in full:

Yes we are enduring only what can be described as a horrible run in the baseball. At one stage during late May we were +15 pts Level staking and +22 points Fixed profit staking only to be now -30 pts Level and -22 pts Fixed.
I am away for a few days now so do not have the exact figures to hand on the Win / Loss ratio but it is freakish and I have never experienced anything like this during my time at looking on the baseball.
The idea of my basic strategy started around 4 years ago when I basically opposed the home favourite that I perceived did not offer value and this has worked very well over the past couple of seasons. Indeed the idea started whilst reading this blog and you highlighted that in baseball on any day any team can beat any other.
Obviously the system has grown and become a little more sophisticated. However the key point is that you have to be consistent and disciplined in how you compile and make your selections when comparing the ratings to the bookmakers lines. This consistency should hopefully lead to finding profitable trends and my next task will be to break this down into home and away selections and possibly concentrate exclusively on one or the other.
My mind-set is that I have to get this right as I look on this strategy as part of my future pension plan and through patience and discipline I will get it right.
Unfortunately when building anything it takes time what worked last season may not work this season and it is a case of looking for the consistencies.
Another thing I tend to do is not put all my eggs in one basket I have a set bank for each sport and are then spreading my risk. I also invest in the stock market and I have been derided for this before but whenever I make any financial commitment I always discuss it first with my wife.
Although we sometimes have disagreements in what shares to place our money, sports wise she just lets me get on with it however we first agree to how much we are willing to place into the venture and she periodically likes to know how the investment is going.
Now this means that for me personally my mind is free to follow the system as it should be without concern knowing that we have agreed to risk a certain amount of money on this venture and we may lose all of our capital.
I believe this is so important in order to follow a system through you should always be correctly capitalised with money that is used for no other purpose and if more people followed this simple rule then more would be successful long term.
This is a great blog Cassini and I look forward to profiting from your excellent XXX draw system this season.
Thanks to Peter for his kind words at the end there. Peter received the XX Draws last season, so he should know what they are called, so where the extra X came from I am not sure. For some reason that third X makes them sound a little porny. 

Something for Peter to ponder as he enjoys his few days away. If you haven't already, take a look at the results when backing divisional road 'dogs. With teams in the same division playing each other so often, it is likely that familiarity levels the playing field, because players are much more familiar with the opposing pitcher. Avoid 'dogs on a losing streak. They are not due a win!

There are six divisions in baseball, and if you exclude teams that are 10 or more games back, the weakest team's record in each intra-division game is (by division and overall):
Four of the six teams have a winning record versus divisional opponents, and only the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a worse intra-division record than overall record - nothing to get too excited about, but a look behind the numbers can often reveal small edges. 

Not to rub it in for Peter, but baseball has been quite good for me personally so far this season, with my profits already at 77% (there's those sevens again) of last season's total, and we're not yet at the All-Star break, with about 56% of the regular season gone.  I certainly have no plans for baseball betting to supplement my pension, but torrid runs aside, (they happen) a sensible strategy with a disciplined approach can generate a little extra money.

As Peter said, "on any day any team can beat any other". In the past five full seasons, even the best team (New York Yankees in 2009) lost 32.4% of their regular season games. 


Unknown said...

"On any day any team can beat any other".

Yes but so what? You can say the same about any sport, infact that's whay we watch it. It really is the most ridiculous platitude.

The question is not can team A beat team B but are the odds for doing so better than the bookmaker's assessment.

Looking at Pete's post to me he seems in grave danger of falling into the data mining/backfitting trap.

It would be interesting to compare Pete's results to the PECOTA 2013 season forecasts, it might give some guidance through the fog.

Pete - do you know a lot about Baseball or did you get interested thinking you could make money from betting on the games?

I have an explanation for the triple XXX - Pete must have been using Bingo and Adster's 'draw inflation tool'.

fizzer555 said...

Ed Smith in his new book "Luck' (well worth a read) describes how some sports are similar to Chess (like Tennis) where the better player/team usually wins whilst other are more like Backgammon (especially Baseball) where there is a much higher level of chance involved but where skill wins through over time.

I know from my own betting I am much better at baseball than sports such as tennis. First of all, I enjoy baseball more, I get into the detail of it more, and I like the mix of skill and luck involved and accept it in my betting patterns.

Re divisional away dogs, I think there is a slight benefit vs non-divisional away dogs but, as you suggest, it needs other filters before it is profitable.

Running the numbers from 1999 onwards (not a best fit start point, just when I have data from) the win-loss results are:-

All div away dogs (W-L) 4059-5609 42.0%
All non div away dogs 5198-7752 40.1%

A lot of that difference, however, disappears when you look by price band

Price band +100 to+125

Div away dogs 2059-2466 45.5%
Non-div away dogs 1380-1682 45.1%

Price band +126 or more

Div away dogs 2000-3413 38.9%
Non-div away dogs 3818-6070 38.6%

Pete Nordsted said...


Thank you for your input it is very much appreciated.

It would be fair to say that I am no baseball expert. My interest in the sport came about a few years ago when I read on this blog that any team could beat any other team.

As I enjoy building and testing systems I then went about compiling my own simple rating system and I came to the conclusion that there was simply no real value to be had backing the short priced home favourites.

Over the coming years this then became more sophisticated to the point where I now use a reliable rating system against various US bookmakers odds. Over the past few seasons simply opposing the home favourite that showed a negative rating has yielded some very good profits.

However even this is now showing a loss of around 20 pts to level stakes.

During last season various rules were developed and I am very wary of your comment regarding Data mining / Back fitting trap and I am just wondering whether some of the rules I have been utilising may have fallen into this trap.

Incidently where we have backed the strong odds on favourite who is negatively rated away from home this has shown a good profit and I believe the reason for the disparity will be the superior quality pitcher employed.

I need to take a step back over the break next week and look at this all logically because I still believe with a disciplined common sense approach there is good money to be made from this sport. I am just confused by this run which in truth is freakish.

Regarding the XX Draws for some reason I have in my mind the xXx logo of the Vin Diesel, Ice Cube Films.

Unknown said...


Good to see you playing at the US facing bookies at least, maybe one will give you a nice reload bonus if you have lost a few dollars there :).

I just wonder if it is a case of thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the pond? Put it this way would you have confidence in a system for the Championship written by a US guy with little interest in soccer? If it was anyone other than Nate Silver I would not be too enthusiastic.

The way I see it, if you don't have a lot of enthusiasm for the sport then it's too easy to miss things. Can you do well from a sport you don't know that well? It would be goot to hear Cassini's thoughts on that.

I took Mastering Betfair down to the beach yesterday, not hard to see where Cassini got all his good ideas from :).

Theda said...