The above Tweet piqued my interest yesterday, not because it was news to me, but because it's rare too see others publish their statistics and I wanted to compare or contrast them with my numbers. They are close - for home favourites in this season's play-offs ATS I had 38-19 and since 2005 I have 423-369-8 (53.4%).
Unfortunately for those hoping the Cleveland Cavaliers would increase the winning percentages, the Golden State Warriors not only covered the spread, but won the game by 13 points.
For me, there are a few problems with broad-brush systems such as the above Tweet, (not that the Tweet actually said to back the Cavs, but the implication was there), but I'll focus on the one relevant to yesterday which is that it doesn't take the teams into consideration. The Golden State Warriors were also underdogs (+3) on the road in the last series playing Oklahoma City Thunder and won the game by 7 points.
Looking at opposing the Warriors in this season's play-off games is a tiny and meaningless sample size, but over the whole season, home team favourites versus the Warriors are 2-6 ATS. Still a small sample, but a warning sign that perhaps the Warriors are not your typical team and an example of how additional filters can make a big difference to a 'broad-brush' system.
With a 3-1 lead in the Finals, the Warriors are 7 point favourites to end the season at home on Monday night. The Warriors have been favourites in every home game this season, winning 50 of 53 and are 30-21-2 ATS. No NBA team has ever come from 1-3 down in the Finals, and it's hard to argue that losing at home last night was anything but a huge psychological blow for the Cavaliers. Taking into consideration the basic numbers, the teams involved and the context of the game, Warriors -7 look to be value.
Not betting related, but I hadn't seen this before, nor was I aware of the plan, but this a very well written piece on the topic of adding the youth sides of Premier League clubs to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Published in March on The Set Pieces and written by Iain Macintosh, it's worth a couple of minutes of your time:
I remember the 2013 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy well. The sun-soaked green of the Wembley turf, the clear blue skies, the buoyancy of hope in my heart and the gurgles of anxiety in my bottom. I remember the huge bank of Southend supporters, and the smaller, but noisy, enthusiastic and ultimately jubilant section of Crewe fans. But I guess I remember most of all thinking that it would all be so much better if we weren’t playing Crewe, with their pride and their history and their passion. I remember thinking that I’d much rather be playing the Chelsea development squad.
Now it seems that those childhood dreams of watching my team go into battle against eleven teenage reserve players could finally be realised. The Premier League is reported to be in negotiations with the Football League as they seek to drop up to 16 U21 teams into the competition next season. And why not? We’ve been too slow to tackle the menace of smaller clubs enjoying an unforgettable day at Wembley.
I’ve written here before about the plight of the lower league clubs and the onslaught they’ve faced in recent years. It’s the same old charge sheet. First the big clubs came for the shared gate receipts. Then they came for the TV money. Then they came for our young players. Then they came for our league places. We thought that was it. We didn’t think we had anything else they could take. We didn’t even consider that they might want our modest little lower league cup competition too.
The counter-argument you hear when you object to these proposals is never less than amusing.
“Don’t you think these Premier League youngsters would benefit from playing in a proper competition? Don’t you want them to fulfil their potential?”
This argument comes up so often that I’m starting to suspect our answer isn’t being heard. So if you wouldn’t mind just sitting down and paying attention for a moment, I’ll issue our response once again.
We do not give a fuck about your Premier League youngsters. Not a flying fuck. Not a walking fuck. Not a static fuck. We have been to the cupboard and we have no fucks. We have checked online and there are no fucks in stock. When Alexander saw the breadth of your argument, he wept. For there were no more fucks left to give.
Don’t get upset. Getting upset because we do not care about your Premier League youngsters is like Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda getting upset because the local butcher they’ve driven to the brink of bankruptcy doesn’t want to help them lobby for longer Sunday opening hours.
And do not, for shame, speak of helping the England team. You have no interest in that and you never have. You bicker with the England team over every match they play, you resent their use of your players. Do not dare tell us that you’ve suddenly come over all patriotic.
The motivation for this is simple. It is greed. You have proved too feckless and incompetent to manage your resources. You have scooped up so many youngsters that you don’t know what to do with them. You stockpile them and they stagnate and you don’t know what to do. And so once again you seek to squeeze the life out of us for a marginal gain on your balance sheet.
You ignore the fact that the answer to your problem is staring you in the face. If you want your players to develop as footballers, play them in football matches or don’t buy them until they have done so. The brightest talents in the England squad played first team football either at a lower level, like Dele Alli and John Stones, or at teams where youth development was taken seriously, like Harry Kane and Ross Barkley. This isn’t difficult. You’ve only got two feet. Stop buying so many shoes.
You also have your own development league and if that isn’t fit for purpose, change it. The old reserve leagues were a mix of grizzled veterans and young starlets, and they seemed to work just fine. Why not return to that? Why not insist that all reserve teams must contain four or five players over the age of the 28? Why not specifically hire players for the purpose of playing reserve team football? If you all do it, you’ll have the senior opposition you desire. Hell, you’ve got enough money to group-fund a dozen sparring squads of veterans if you wanted.
Ultimately, there’s nothing we can do. History has proved that if you want something badly enough, you’ll eventually take it. But think about this; most of your teams will only be involved for a game or two, maybe three. You’re getting very little out of this. And yet you’re taking away so much.
On that day in 2013, two teams that had been relentlessly crapped upon by modern football were granted a chance to see how the other half live. That’s the sole purpose of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. It gives us just a little bit of hope. Do you really want to snuff that out?