Saturday, 14 November 2015

Royals Killing, Car Pimping And Hairdressing

It has been a few days since I posted - unfortunately my 88 year old father was admitted to hospital a few days ago, and remains there in a precarious state of health, so I have been busy ferrying my Mum to and from the hospital and providing support as best I can, which is not my forte I have to admit. There can be few places as depressing as a hospital ward full of confused old people whose lives are all but over.

Since my last post, I had the pleasure of attending the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham and although at first sight it appeared that Steve M (currently in the midst of a massive winning run) and myself were sat on each others laps, on further review it appears we were actually diagonally opposite each other (Steve's view on top, my view below):

It seems a long time ago now, but a memorable day out.

Also rapidly fading into the past is the 2015 MLB season, which saw the Kansas City Royals win the World Series versus the New York Mets and single-handedly see the UMPO system return a handy profit. Here's baseball expert Tony's thoughts on the subject:
Enjoyed your October blogs, as always, and good to see the UMPO end up with another good year thanks largely to those Royals.

You will have the precise figures but it looks like UMPO made about 9.5% in the end, going 17-19. Within that the Royals went 9-4 with over 53% ROI.

Reminiscent of last year with UMPO going 18-14 and, within that, the Royals going 7-3 (+54.5% ROI).

The general public really doesn't seem to like the Royals, which has been great for UMPO followers. I think it's because the Royals are unspectacularly good. The general market jumping on board playoff games seems to go for the big name pitchers followed by power batters. The Royals really don't have either. What they do have is the ability not to strikeout, to run the bases well putting pressure on the other team, and to play great defence. None of these qualities drive the public imagination when it comes to betting.

This article in the Pinnacle betting articles archive touches on that from last year. In the example used, only 11% of bettors were on the Royals - but these were the heavy hitters.

There has been a lot of criticism on twitter/blogs etc today about Eric Hosmer making that game tying run in the 9th, saying he should never have attempted it and he just got lucky. What do the Royals have to do to get the praise due to them? Really pleased to see Joe Peta (12-2 in October by the way, +10.77 units) come out with this response today looking at the true value decision of running vs not running.

Finally, 2016 World Series odds came out today - still no love for the Royals, they are 11th Favourite at 18/1, the Mets are 2nd favourites at 10/1. Give me strength! All UMPO followers will be hoping for the Royals, and other underrated teams like them (Giants?) to be back in the playoffs next year.
I have to admit that with everything else going on, my interest this year was limited to putting on bets rather than watching the games. The actual 'official' figures (although in practice these were beaten quite handily) for UMPO 2015 after the World Series were:
As Tony noted, wins on the Royals contributed all the profit - 5.84 points to be precise, as they went 8-4 during the post-season. The Royals are not a fashionable or big market team, which is what casual bettors tend to look for.  The Pinnacle Sports article Tony provides the link to above is well worth checking out. It includes these lines:
Three times, the percentage of bets on KC was in single digits - In the months we had been running BetShares, we hadn’t seen this many single-digit occurrences in any major markets -and in those three games, the lines barely moved against the Royals, if at all.
Money moves our markets, so if the market hasn’t moved, the amount of money on each side should be fairly even. In a case where only 5% of bets are on one side and 95% on the other, the total amounts wagered on either side are very likely similar, in which case the average bet on the 5% side is nothing short of massive. It’s well-known that one habit of sharp (big) bettors is to fade the public; when you recognize that Pinnacle Sports offered the best price in the market on the Royals’ opponents in all three games, you understand why the public was betting against Kansas City, and what those sharps saw to keep the market in check.
We asked our lead MLB trader how much the line would move if all those bets were of the same size. He estimated it would represent a probability shift of 30-40%, so 60-80 cents.
Those bets on the Royals were likely very, very big.
I probably owe Leon Pidgeon of Simple Soccer Stats something of an apology, having lambasted his corner betting analysis in this post last month. Mr Pidgeon (perhaps not his real name)
I normally enjoy reading your blog as it's regularly updated, interesting and intelligent. I also have a chuckle at your sharpness but not this one as I see my site is on the receiving end. The one plus point is I know someone actually reads what I post on the blog.

Yes, 4 games is a ridiculously small sample size but all these stats are taken from pages on the website and they provide these stats whether a team has played 1 match or 45 matches and it's automatic. For me the important phrase in my post was "The price is just a guide to convert past results into a decimal price."
That is the reason I provide these equivalent odds on my site so a user can see what a percentage is in terms of odds. If something has happened 57% of times then I think it is useful to know that equivalent odds for that would be 1.75. It probably helps when making decisions on whether to bet or not and saves time for site users. None of the stats are recommended bets and I did point that out to the user. I don't see how that is irresponsible.
Back to enjoying your other posts now.
I can be a little acerbic at times, part of my charm, and perhaps I was a little harsh on Leon. I do still have an issue with the comment "if something has happened 57% of times" in this context. For example, that a team has been awarded 10 or more corners 57 times in their last 100 matches might be true, but those 100 matches were all unique events, and lumping them together for the sake of analysis isn't logical and any price generated from such an approach would be nonsense. A team might well be averaging three goals a game over whatever period, but it makes a big difference to their expected goal figure if their next opponent is Manchester United or Yeovil Town.

Finally James Butler, author of Programming for Betfair: A Guide to Creating Sports Trading Applications with API-NG commented:
I am guessing that we are of a similar age, considering your musical taste and that you are a fellow reader of The Punter's Revenge (TPR).
Great content, awful binding. The book sits on my shelf in pieces. My first degree was in astrophysics during the 1980s. One day the computing teacher presented a lecture on AI in which he discussed BEAGLE, which is mentioned by its creators in TPR.
I got my hands on a copy of TPR and attempted to replicate Forsyth's BBC Micro code (unless you have a different copy of the book) with not much success on my ZX Spectrum. Forsyth was the programmer whilst Drapkin was the "punter". I still communicate, now and again, with Tony who still produces HOOF ratings from his home in France.
The lecture on AI made me realise that I was in the wrong game (at the time - now I wish I was an astrophysicist rather than a code jockey) and I dropped out of the degree. I was a a full-time amateur cycle racer at the time and got a few fill-in jobs as a BASIC programmer and mini-computer operator whilst seeing if I had it in me to be the next Robert Millar. I was a good climber but not able to keep up with the peloton on the mostly flat courses.
I gave up cycle racing and went back to study when I was 25 years old. This time choosing Essex University, which, if anyone is interested, has a damn fine computing department. I have done post grad at Oxford but I still think Essex is better at computing than Oxford. It's only negative is that Essex not a Russell Group university, which probably says more about the Russell Group than it does Essex. Even though I jokingly add, after someone asks "Where did you study?" and I answer "Essex. I have an honours degree in car pimping and hairdressing." I shouldn't really put down Essex or myself like that.
TPR is a good read, even today. You can get a free copy in PDF format from Tony's HOOF ratings website. Link can be Googled as my eyes are just about buggered for today.
Aside from our ages, it does appear that James and myself have at least a few common links, although my copy (1987 first edition) of The Punter's Revenge is actually still bound together quite nicely, and is still dipped into from time to time.

We both had brief cycling careers and links with the University of Essex which certainly suited my son who graduated with a First and is well on his way to a successful career in Finance and Accounting.

That's all for now. Posts may be few and far between for a while, but there is a wealth of valuable and interesting content in the archives. Even with no new posts, the average hit count over the past two weeks was close to 500 and surely
people can't be wrong!

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