Thursday, 14 November 2013

Model Bettors

In my Bad Bettors post a few days ago, I wrote:

In other tipster updates, John Walsh had a quiet week in the NHL, but another profitable one. Interesting to note that after backing in Regulation all season, the last three selections have all been Moneyline bets. I am trying to ascertain why the change and will update you if I get an answer. After 30 bets, an ROI of 28% is very good.
John did indeed reply, and here are his words of wisdom on a few topics:
It's quite an honor to be in a post titled 'Bad Bettors'.
First I will address why the change from regulation betting to moneyline in my NHL bets. The simple answer is to get value. There are sections of the season in which certain teams play to overtime more frequently and of course the opposite is true. If I can get more value (from my model) then it only makes sense. My current feeling is that the implied probability from the odds haven't caught up to this in some cases. Last season was really different with the lockout shortening the NHL schedule.
I'm not defending NBA Tips methods. I don't know who it is or how he/she comes up with selections. This person may have an edge, there really is no way to tell with such a small sample size. That is one of the toughest things about sports betting, getting a large enough sample size to know if the system has an edge.

I think being a fan of the sport is necessary to be successful at betting on it. It's like the engine on a car, you need the motor for the car to work but you need the steering wheel, brakes, etc.
Betting on (American) football determining team weaknesses, changes in personnel, etc. are the other parts of the car. At the same time you can have a system that has worked in the past but if you don't know why it has, you could be in dangerous territory. You have to have the motor in the car for it to work. I've played football, coached football, watch every NFL game. The NFL network is on my television all summer. NBA Tips could be the same with a system that accounts for every factor.

Public knowledge is different now than even 5 years ago with so much information being accessible from a phone. My NFL model didn't suggest Tampa Bay was value in the game that just finished. I really thought the implied probability wasn't taking the whole Dolphin offensive linemen situation as enough of a factor. Miami had a patchwork line with a split dressing room and what sounded to me like very little leadership. Not to mention the distraction for the game. Although, the second half of this game is the most impressed I've been by the Dolphins all season considering the previous factors coupled with being down at the half on the road.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Miami Dolphins game was more than a little frustrating for me. I laid the Buccaneers after they went up by 7, and the Dolphins then played about as bad as I have seen a team play for most of the remainder of the half. Usually I would be looking to lay the leader at the half, but I couldn't see anything but a runaway Bucs win. Thus it was with mixed emotions (surprise, relief and also a little annoyance that I'd missed an opportunity), that I was able to trade out for a profit when the Dolphins played surprisingly well in the second half. In the end, the Buccaneers retook the lead and held on to win.

John's NHL model would appear to be working, although a new bet type for this season (totals) was a push on Tuesday night. He mentions NBA Tips, and 62 bets is indeed a small sample, so we'll revisit their results later in the season. The bet selection process isn't working so far, and it's a strange model that finds value in bets as diverse as "first to 20 points", " highest scoring quarter" and various individual player totals, but we'll see how it all settles down. I would certainly be most impressed if these selections proved to be profitable long term. Incidentally, they recorded a profit of  57.35 points last season, but I didn't follow them until the end of the season when they must have hit a bad run, because I posted a comment in June, and never received a reply:
I am not sure where these results were proofed, but they read this blog avidly now and will let us know I'm sure. The Heat Rebound post shows how an example of how an edge can sometimes be found pre-game, and while I would love to be proven wrong, I'm just not convinced that NBA Tips have a genuine long-term edge. More than a month ago, I wrote the following, and I haven't seen anything since to change my opinion:
Fortunately, I am not following NBA Tips with any money. The error in the total number of games in a season didn’t fill me with confidence, and without meaning to appear rude, they appear not to have any idea about the purpose of pre-season games. Theses games are not played anything like a regular season NBA game. Rare is the coach who gives a darn about the result. One notable exception last year was Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson who said he wanted to win, and they won all six I believe. This year, with a proven winning team, he has said that he doesn’t care about winning, and has joined pretty much every other coach in using the games for establish the playing roster, easing players with previous injuries gently back into action, and trying out a few new ideas and tactics. Play tends to be sloppy, especially the first couple of games with timing off and players just not game ready.
I did try to point out via Twitter to NBA Tips that their selection of Over 201.5 for Sunday night’s Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets game might be suspect with no relevant data, and their response was, let’s say, a little na├»ve and of course, no supporting data.
“With regards to tonight we feel like this will be rather open in style and Nuggets will certainly help this. Nash / Gasol also aid the open D we expect tonight. We feel if our followers can get around 1.8 at 201.5 this is value especially as Bet365 have pitched the line at 205.5.”
"We feel...". Based on what? Steve Nash and Pau Gasol were indeed back, but returning from injury they are most certainly not match fit, and are most certainly not going to play for too long in meaningless games. In the event, Gasol and Nash both played for less than 22 minutes, with Nash failing to score a single point. Both players had minus ratings, -14 and -5 respectively.
NBA Tips mentioned Denver’s scoring average last season of 207 – what they may not have realized is that Denver had a new head coach on the bench – former Lakers star Brian Shaw.
The style a team plays is that of its head coach, and last season’s average total in regular season games has absolutely nothing to do with a first pre-season game.
Pre-season games can offer value opportunities, but backing Overs pre-game at a recommended 1.8 (in fact only £6 was traded pre game on Betfair at a high of 1.75 so at least no one appears to have followed this poor advice) is not one of them. The game was apparently poorly played with the two teams combining for 50 turnovers, and the point total of 172 was well short of what was required.
Emp posted a comment on my Mugs and Shrewdies post, and I'll try and get to those in the next few days, and Jesse Livermore shared this joke with us:
Two economists are walking down the street. One says: "Hey, there's a dollar bill on the floor." The other says: "Impossible. If it were real, someone would have picked it up by now."

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