Wednesday, 17 September 2014

European Delay

It's quite remarkable that there are no less than four matches this week between EPL teams and Bundesliga teams. Borussia Dortmund beat Arsenal 2:0 last night, and this evening we have Chelsea v Schalke '04 and Bayern Munich v Manchester City - not sure when United play...

Tomorrow night, the Europa League sees Everton host Wolfsburg. With matches between Fiorentina and Guingamp plus Borussia Moenchengladbach and Villareal, it means that the ratings won't be updated until late Thursday or Friday morning, so for Cassini Service subscribers the newsletter will be a little later than usual.

A quick look at the big winners and losers from the midweek matches to date in the FTL. Mortimer is top dog, up 18 places into fourth on the back of a 7.56 point gain, with another 0.72 to add if Derby County can win at Blackburn Rovers tonight.

Paul Watson (-7.74) and TFA_Raz (-4.44) were the biggest losers so far this midweek. Paul's loss could be particularly catastrophic as @ValueBankFooty managed a profit (+2.77) even if his accumulator went down, and moved out of last place into an Erskine Cup spot. Paul needs a Fulham win (at Notts County) tonight and a decent return this weekend (or a dramatic loss from elsewhere of course).

A couple of entries are looking for the draw at Blackburn, and Fairfranco wants one at the Fleetwood Town v Barnsley game. Randolph wants a Fleetwood Town win, but even if they don't, it's been a good midweek for the Duke brothers currently 4th and 7th and looking at £445.

Marty left a comment asking:

A quick rules question: 25ish bets - would be feasible for 25 accas? Or should we treat as 25 selections (whether accas or singles)?
This could get tricky. With the exception of @ValueBankFooty, there has been no interest in accumulators, not even doubles or trebles, so it would be a shock to receive 25 10-folds this weekend, but then I have been shocked before. For now I'll say that one accumulator counts as one bet of the '25-ish' bets allowed.

Actually, one entry did have 30 selections this midweek, but all bets were backs and all a lot easier to manage, and in the '25-ish' range. Accas are easy to settle, in that when settling them, I simply stop at a loser.

It just occurred to me that having an "ish" rule is probably not a good idea. As I am in the competition myself, it may well be in my interest that others fare poorly, so it is clearly not good to be in a position where I can choose to accept or decline entries after matches have been played.

So the rule is that up to 25 bets is definitely acceptable, and slightly over that number is probably acceptable. The 25 rule will only be enforced if I reply to your selection email to this effect.

Thanks to Pedro who sent me a spreadsheet of team names for more than 40 leagues as used by Betexplorer and Oddsportal, and while I am not sure how much I can utilise it, the thought and effort is appreciated.

Rubicon took a break from working out how to get back into profit by sending me a link to an article about Betfair (Sportsbook) paying out early on a No vote in the Scotland Independence Referendum which of course isn't until tomorrow.

Betfair is so confident of a "No" vote in Thursday's Scottish independence referendum that it is already paying out to those who have staked money on it.
The online bookmaker says it is paying out a "six-figure sum".
Despite polls ahead of the vote continuing to be close, betting markets have been overwhelmingly in favour of the Better Together camp winning on Thursday.
Betfair said this morning that gambling patterns indicate a 79pc likelihood of a "No" vote.
Despite the odds on "Yes" shortening last week, they have lengthened significantly in the last few days.

Financial markets have appeared to mirror betting patterns in recent days, with both suggesting that the chances of a "Yes" vote are far slimmer than polls suggest.
Betfair's pay-out applies to its sportsbook operation, not the online exchange in which punters bet against each other.

Odds on a "Yes" vote have drifted from 4 (or 3/1) at the end of last week to 4.5 (or 7/2) on the exchange.
This would mean a £100 bet would return £450 if Scotland votes for independence. Backing "No" would return £127.

“Political bettors have often favoured the exchange as their choice of betting platform and it has historically provided an accurate prediction of political outcomes," said Betfair's Naomi Totten.

"Paying out early on our Sportsbook is testament to the esteem in which we hold the illustrious track record of our Exchange.
A six figure sum. A cheap publicity stunt, and the price of a No victory is even shorter as I write this, in the 1.23 / 1.24 range. The media loves to make out such contests are close (think US Presidential Elections) but they are usually anything but, and money talks. The exchange has indeed "historically provided an accurate prediction of political outcomes", and the results of quality opinion polls shouldn't be ignored.

On this subject (quality polling, not Scotland), 538 published this article which I found interesting.

I was troubled by a survey released Monday by Mitchell Research in Michigan. It wasn’t that the results — which showed Democratic Rep. Gary Peters leading Republican Terri Lynn Land by 2 percentage points in the U.S. Senate race and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder leading Democrat Mark Schauer by 5 points in the governor’s race — were necessarily wrong. It was how Mitchell said it arrived at them that bothered me.
From the Mitchell release:
Mitchell Research had intended to release a survey today that we conducted on Wednesday, Sept. 10th, prior to President Obama’s speech to the nation regarding the conflict in the Mid-East. That poll showed Snyder leading by only 1 point, and Peters up by 8 points. However, because of changing poll data nationally, we decided to conduct a survey last night (September 14) to see if those events coupled with the increased television advertising by Snyder and Land might have changed the races in Michigan.

Here’s one way to read this: Mitchell Research conducted a poll, thought the results looked wrong and decided to conduct another survey to get results it thought made more sense.

That would be fine if Mitchell released the full data from the first poll. But it didn’t.

A pollster should release its work regardless of whether it thinks the results are right. Outliers happen even to the best pollsters. They are supposed to happen.

And, of course, a pollster has no way of knowing whether a result is an outlier.

Sometimes when a poll appears to be an outlier, it’s the first survey to pick up real movement in a race. And sometimes when a poll fits neatly into previous surveys, all the surveys end up being wrong.

Squashing results, however, suggests a pollster is looking at other pollsters’ work (beyond its weighting mechanism) to determine whether data is worthy of publication. Such decisions can lead us down a bad path.

When a pollster holds back some data, we can’t be sure what other results it might be holding back or changing. What might have happened if Mitchell Research’s second poll didn’t seem to match what it thought it should be? Would it have conducted a third poll?
What happens when there are other results Mitchell Research doesn’t like?

And though it’s beside the point, I should note that Mitchell’s explanation for the change in results has no backing from the majority of other polls. President Obama’s approval rating is the same as it was a week ago, according to the aggregate of polling information. There hasn’t been a big swing to Republicans in the majority of other Senate races. The FiveThirtyEight estimate actually gives Democrats a better shot at holding on to the Senate than they had a week ago.

But not releasing all results that were meant for public consumption is sketchy, even if it’s thought that those results might be wrong.
As readers of the Cassini Newsletter will know, my numbers are often quite out of line with the market, which could mean great value has been identified, or more likely that I am missing something. It is with some hesitation that I mention some of these, because no one wants to look stupid, but I often do.

For example, last week, I suggested that Reims at 2.97 appeared to be value versus Toulouse, with the market at 2.45, and also Bordeaux at Guingamp (3.17 / 2.45). In Germany I had Paderborn at 2.21 v Koln, with Pinnacle offering 3.21 on them.

The results? Reims won 2:0, Bordeaux lost 1:2, and Paderborn drew 0:0. On this subject, one member asked me why I don't include higher priced selections in my Cassini Value Selections. The answer is that my concern with odds being much over the 10% threshold, it's usually because I am missing something, and the prices on offer are literally too good to be true. At higher odds, i.e. lower probability of winning, a small error can mean a supposed edge is triggered more easily, and confidence in long-shots is weaker. It's something to keep an eye on though, because the pricing model (aka Excel spreadsheet) 'should' improve as more results are entered in, and longer prices may become more appealing.

If I calculate the true probability of an event as 0.125 the market need only have it at 0.114 for it to be 10% value. At evens, my estimate of a 0.5 probability only has a 10% edge if the market's is at 0.445.

Finally, and its not quite the same thing, but I'm sure most of you have noticed how certain people are very quick to announce their results after a good weekend, and yet go very quiet when it is the reverse. I suppose some people are stupid, and don't see through this, but I personally find it annoying.

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