Sunday, 7 July 2013

Behind The Numbers In Baseball

Fizzer555 left this quality comment on my post concerning the price reportedly offered for a no-hitter in baseball. The relevant part of the original post was this:
With close to a full slate of baseball games played pretty much every day for six months from early April to late September, the chances that any one day will see a no-hitter are pretty slim - let's say 1.7% of days, 57-1 at the least.
The odds offered by William Hill (US) (no affiliation)? 40-1, and apparently one Las Vegas bettor had $400 on such an outcome yesterday.
Fizzer's comment on this was:
That punter who bet on a no-hitter may actually have felt 40/1 was good odds last night, but lucked in by getting Homer Bailey's no-no.
Some great match ups last night with ace pitchers facing weak teams: -
Medlen against Miami
Price against Houston
Strasburg vs Milwaukee
Lackey vs San Diego
Then add in Kershaw was starting against the Rockies and in the LAA/STL game either Lynn could have a great night against an LAA team that can really suck some nights, or Weaver can have some big nights and STL are in the doldrums.
So personally I think 40/1 last night was probably value.
An interesting point - not all nights in the MLB are equal. What is also interesting is whether the recent glut of  no-hitters is a blip or has the underlying probability changed for some reason.

In the three years 2010 to 2012, there have been 16 no-hitters, in the ten years preceding, there were a total of 15.

Speaking of LAA - which is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - some of you may have caught the end of their game versus the Boston Red Sox this morning. With the Red Sox up 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and a man on first, some £67k traded at 1.01 on the Red Sox to win. Arguably a value bet as 'The Book' has the true probability given this game-state at 0.005 (200-1). Unfortunately for the 1.01 backers, the Angels came back to tie the game up with the help of a hit batter, and a costly error, before winning in extra innings. Sometimes it may not be much comfort to know that you had value on your side.

And the answer to my "Only one MLB team has never thrown a no-hitter" is the San Diego Padres. The team with the most? 

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