Friday 10 July 2015

Studies Have Shown

Well Clayton Kershaw managed to get back to winning ways the other night as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 at the shortest starting price (-380 / 1.26) in MLB in almost 7 years (24.Aug.2008 Cubs v Nationals -400 / 1.25).

Only eight teams have started at a shorter price this century - and two of those lost, including the shortest of -360 / 1.22. Not many of us have the patience to wait 7 years though, and I think I got a bit lucky with the timing of noticing Kershaw heading into a mini-slump. 

Had I run the numbers for Kershaw starting at up to and including 1.50 for 2014, I would have seen that the Dodgers won 13 of those 14 games, the only loss being the final game. 

There's nothing magical about 1.5 of course, other than at this price or shorter, the team is reckoned to have at least twice the probability of winning than the underdog. 

In the nine games meeting this criteria in 2015, the Dodgers won the first five, before losing the next three. 

In 2013, he had six wins from eleven games and in 2012, five wins from eight.

Only ten teams (from 42 bets) have lost at  under 1.51 and Kershaw was the starting pitcher in three of those!

"Studies have shown" baseball to have reverse favourite-longshot bias has been written about here before, but backing at these prices since 2012 reveals this:
The 'studies' may be out of date. In the five years from 2007 to 2011, backing the favourite would have cost you 100.55 points (1267, 847, 420, 66.9%) and 48.15 points would have been lost from 2000 to 2006.

Something to keep an eye on as the 2015 season hits the half-way point and the all-star break. 

1 comment:

fizzer555 said...

Hi Cassini,

Joe Peta has done another of his always excellent write-ups of all the MLB teams and their performance YTD and his expectations for the rest of the season. The write-ups are in the pay for section of ESPN Insider so we can't repeat them here but, fortunately, he has used his LA Dodgers review on his Twitter feed as an example of the article and I thought, given your C_LAY-ton articles, useful to summarise it here.

The Dodgers were the best team in baseball over the first 81 games by a healthy margin even if 4 teams have a better W-L record as their results haven't fully reflected their underlying ability. They have similar offensive stats (OBP, SLG, ISO) to Tornto for example but actually scored 100 runs less. They have the 4th best ERA and their bullpen has the strikeout potential to be the best in the league, particularly with Grandal now in as catcher.

There is no value in backing the Dodgers on a day to day basis. The betting lines on their individual games up to the All Start break have them rated as a 98 win team. Their stats say they are up to doing that although their actual win rate is on pace for 92 wins. Difficult to see any upside value then for individual games.

Their World Series price, however, is about 7.5 and not even favourite. "For now, there's clearly not much value betting them on a daily basis, but the playoffs may be a different story."

It's hard to argue a strategy of laying Kershaw when the Dodgers get priced up at such short prices when he starts, but the Dodgers look value for the NL championship and the World Series at the moment.