Saturday, 17 November 2018

Power To The Group Of Five

The College Football season is in the final weeks of its season, with another bumper crop of selections for the Small Road 'Dogs system likely today - 16 at the time of writing. 

The number of selections this season already comfortably exceeds the previous high (113 in 2004), confirmation perhaps that home advantage in this sport, as in others, is not what it was. As this informative 2016 article noted:

Coaches and analysts churn out the same old talking points about the rigors of winning road games. They're becoming harder to believe. College football is changing. Home-field advantage has nearly disappeared.
Well, not exactly, as I explain further below.

However, if you've been following this basic system this year, you're in a good position to record another profit.
If you're being a little selective and just playing the Conference games, you're even further ahead. 
It's a little late for this year, and by next August everyone will have forgotten, but it seems a few UK readers aren't too well informed about the structure of College Football. This article from the UK's Online Betting Guide does a good job in explaining how it all works. 

Be aware that not all conferences are the same. There are ten major conferences, in two groups of five. One is called the Power Five, and these are the Premier League equivalent, with the Championship comprised of the not very imaginatively named Group of Five.

Since I'm in a generous mood this morning, below are the overall records for home teams in these ten conferences since 2014, along with the results for the Small Road 'Dogs by Conference in that time.
Home teams won far more games in Group of Five matches, but the Road 'Dogs had a better return there than from Power Five matches where the home team won just 52.3% of games. With four of the Group of Five teams, and two of the Power Five with a double digit ROI, a little filtering can make a big difference.

As the article I referenced above explains about home advantage, nothing stays the same in sports. Here is how home advantage has changed in the last three seasons (2016-today):
While the overall home winning percentage has increased for the Power Five, it has decreased for the Group of Five, and every Road 'Dog in those conferences has a double digit ROI in that time. 
I first wrote about key numbers in football betting a little over six years ago, and Road 'Dogs getting exactly 3 points are another way to boost your ROI. 

Going back to 1996, (arbitrary starting points tend to distort statistics, but one has to start somewhere), and 39% of the profits have come from road teams receiving exactly 3 points, although the percentage drops to 16% when seasons are weighted (bottom three rows) to give more value to recent seasons.
The +3.5 line is the number where 47% of recent weighted returns are garnered, and backing just these two lines over the last five seasons has an ROI of 24%. Over the past five seasons the +3.5 line has a ridiculous 51-21 record. 

Friday, 9 November 2018

October, Tesla and Totals

I'm back. My three and a half hour scheduled surgery last Friday is now a distant memory, although the scars are there as proof, lest I forget. Still a little banged up, but the surgeon was pleased with the outcome, and my habit of visiting the A&E every couple of months should now be behind me.

It wasn't the best timing though. I'll spare you the details, but on the Thursday my old Mum had a fall, and is now in hospital while my even older  Dad, who can't be left alone, has moved into a care home, at least for a month. Not the best way for them to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.

In other words, there's been a lot going on, and likely will be a lot going on over the next few weeks or months, and sports investing hasn't been a top priority. 

Overall, October was at one time looking likely to be a record monthly loss, but an end of month recovery meant the final amount lost was just 3.8%. I should make it clear that this is all investments, only a small percentage of which are sports investments.

Perspective is always good after a disappointing month, and this was only the second down month since February of 2016, if exclude May 2016's 0.01% loss which was basically a push. 

My Tesla tip is looking good, with a new chairwoman replacing the always interesting, but maverick, Elon Musk this week.

In the more exciting world of sports, the NHL system now has an ROI of 7%, the NBA's East in the West is at 10.1% while the NBA Overs at last season's 215.5 entry point has a 62-59-1 record, basically a push. 

As I cautioned in this post last month, the lines have moved higher and it wasn't a bad time for me to be away from the action. 

In the entire 2017 season, the Totals were 230 or more only 31 times. In 2016 30 times, and on five occasions in 2015. You have to go back to April 2010 for the previous time.

Contrast this with 2018 and 35 games so far have the Totals in this range, and the season is less than a month old!

In American Football, the College Road Dogs are now headed to their eighth consecutive, and 14th of the last 15 seasons in, profit: 
In the NFL, the basic Road Dogs are just behind:

With four of the last five EPL Big 6 matches ending as Draws, the basic Big 6 Draw strategy now has an ROI of 65.6% this season.  

Per Blogger, my most popular all-time post is January's Probability, Difference and The EPL Draw and I'll have some more fascinating insights into the EPL Draw in the next few days, as time and recovery permit of course. 

Monday, 29 October 2018

MyBookie Gets It Wrong

The World Series is over for another year, and opposing Clayton Kershaw in play-off games again paid dividends. He pitched seven innings, gave up four runs, including two in the top of the first inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 1-4 to the Boston Red Sox last night.
Two home runs were score by Boston's Steve Pearce, (the World Series MVP) with his Wikipedia entry updated to reflect his performance:
The two NFL selections both won last night, the Seattle Seahawks straight up, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers were getting four points and lost by three. That should, barring any dramatic late line moves, take us to an 'official' 20-14-1 for the season:
In the Premier League, backing the Draw in qualifying Little 14 matches was again profitable this weekend, with Draws in the Southampton v Newcastle United and Leicester City v West Ham United matches.

+3.15 points on the weekend, and an ROI of 14.3% so far on the season.

The Big 6 game tonight between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City doesn't look likely to be a qualifier, but here are the numbers for all Big 6 games since 2012:
A story in USA today is a little strange:
Think a blue wave is coming in the midterm election that will sweep out Republicans .and usher in a Democratically-controlled Congress?
Don't bet on it, gamblers on at least one online betting site are saying.

The odds on MyBookie favor Republicans maintaining hold of their majority, even as political forecaster Nate Silver says there is an 84.9 percent chance of a Democratic victory.

As of Sunday, the odds of the GOP keeping the House are at -140. That means you would need to bet $140 on the Republicans to win $100 if they stay in the majority. The Democrats are at +110, meaning a $100 bet would win you $110 if the Democrats manage to wrest control of the House.
Indeed this book does have these prices, and they are wrong:
For those unfamiliar with US odds, -140 is 1.71 in decimal, while +110 is 2.1.

Betway currently has these more realistic prices:
Betfair is similar with the Democrats available at 1.59, and the Repuglicans at 2.62.

A huge arb opportunity on the face of it, but you won't be able to bet much with MyBookie whose limits are very low. They also state that:
But if you happen to have an account with them, check it out. My 'bet' is that you'll be restricted to peanuts and this is just for the publicity.  

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Los Angeles

A big day in Los Angeles as the city hosts games in all four major sports on the same day, the first time this has ever happened and with an MLS game as an added bonus. 

The Dodgers need to win three consecutive games, including two on the road, to win the World Series after blowing a 4-0 lead last night. Another small profit though, and a much shorter game. 
Our old friend Clayton Kershaw is back for this one, and once again the Los Angeles Dodgers are favourites. 

A reminder though that as we saw last night, and on Friday night, once the starters are out of the game, the pre-game odds should go out of the window. 

That the market often seems reluctant to do this offers great trading opportunities for those who have up to 440 minutes of their lives to spare. An hourly rate of Friday night's £11.10 might not sound too exciting, but small wins adds up over time, and it's a better return than from watching TV. And most games don't go for seven hours, and the World Series is only seven games.

Anyone following the College Small Road 'Dogs this weekend will be very happy with a 14-5 record from the 19 selections, taking this system to 61-46-2 for the season and another double digit ROI possible this season which would be four seasons in five.
Opening lines suggest a quieter Week 10 next weekend, with just two possible qualifiers currently.

it's a quiet weekend in the NFL with just two selections today, and we have one selection in the NBA's Eastern 'Dogs System:

Saturday, 27 October 2018

World Series Marathon : Eighteen Innings and Seven Hours

In the NBA it looks like it was another night for Unders going 4-2-1, although two were by half a point and the 'official' line I use for my records may yet be updated.
The Bulls @ Hornets game was not one of the Unders but the initial lay of the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1.57 was fruitful in the World Series. 

With the Dodgers trailing 1-2 in the 13th inning, and the Red Sox trading at 1.1, locking in a small profit seemed prudent.

By time both time (7:20) and number of innings (18), this game was the longest in World Series history beating the 14 innings and 5 hours 41 minutes of the 2005 Game 3 between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros, the first World Series game ever played in the state of Texas. Not a lot of people know that.

The Los Angeles' Super Sports Equinox is now a certainty on Sunday.  

The College Football Small Road 'Dogs are on track for a record number of selections this season, with bumper weeks like Week Two with 14 selections (8-6) and Week 7's 15 selections (10-5). 

I'm not sure why this should be, but Week 9 is looking like another big week with 18 games currently on the radar.

Two were played on Thursday, both winners for us, and a third (Louisiana Tech Bulldogs) won last night and were another winner, so 3-0 ahead already which is a good position to be in going into Saturday.
The above table gives a little more detail on these selections. 14-18 is actually the last five seasons including this one, while the other columns are the system with additional filters applied. So for example, the fourth filter wasn't profitable in earlier seasons, but over the last five seasons it is performing strongly. 

Friday, 26 October 2018

Stings, Dodgers and Neanderthal's Blog

My Unsustainable post regarding the NBA received some attention:

24-0 was the record through Tuesday, but the last couple of nights have seen the Totals go higher, and the expected increase in wins for Unders.

28-18 is the season's results for Overs currently, using the 215.5 or greater line as the entry point. The lines for tonight's six matches are all above 223 points, with the Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets game looking value to sting Overs backers at 225.5.

I hadn't seen Neanderthal's blog until today, but it has now been added to my blog roll. That an earlier post there contained this comment:
I found this strategy in one of the greatest blogs on the Earth (about betting and not only) - the blog of "Cassini" - Green All Over.
had absolutely nothing to do with this decision. 

Game Three of the World Series tonight, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are favourites for the first time this series. At 0-2 down in a best of seven series, they need a win. 

The Boston Red Sox have won seven of their last eight games with Rick Porcello as a starter, while the Dodgers have lost two of the last three behind Buehler Walker. At around 1.64, I'm opposing the Dodgers in this one.

Thursday, 25 October 2018


Doubtless, many of you are profiting hugely right now from my NBA Overs posts, and it's hard to go wrong right now with them. 

At last season's entry point, this season we are hitting at an unsustainable 72.7% with a 24-9 record.  

No fewer than ten teams have gone Overs in every game so far.

A word of caution is that the bookmakers are on to us. The line was 220 or higher in 32% of matches over the first five days of the season, but since then they have made the line at, or above, this number in 85% of matches.

Although I predicted an increase in the average number of points per game, and the number of possessions per game, I didn't expect the increase on last season that there has been so far in both categories. 

Even the slowest team in the league, the San Antonio Spurs (at 98.0), are averaging more possessions per game than last season's average and are one of the teams going Over in every game so far. Stand by for a correction. 

The NHL System is back on track after it's Equinox loss, although another system where the early ROI is unsustainable.

A clean sweep on Sunday took the NFL Small Road 'Dogs system into profit for the season:
with the Divisional games adding another winner:
The College version dropped back slightly with only 6 winners from 13 selections this past weekend:
90 games in eight weeks is a lot higher than usual, but if you are being selective and playing only Conference games, then your ROI is a healthier 10.3% from a more manageable 62 matches :
Another Kershaw Collapse in Game One of the World Series, although not a surprise as Kershaw started as an underdog for the first time since July 2012, a run of 199 games as favourite.

After their second win last night, the Boston Red Sox have the Los Angeles Dodgers where they want them, i.e. needing to win four games out of five. They play in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday, and if the Dodgers can win one of those, the Los Angeles Sports Equinox will occur. 

Finally, a big thank you to the reader who made a generous donation to the Cassini Retirement Fund which, after the month I'm having in the financial markets, is much needed, writing:
No problems mate! I think if someone’s found an edge they’ve done a lot of research and deserve reward.
I think if someone's given me a reward, they deserve a few more details - hopefully the information shared will be profitable. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

NHL Early Favourites

At the start of last season, I read that NHL favourites are undervalued, "especially early in the season". 
Such pronouncements should always be verified before being acted upon of course, and even if you are happy with a strategy, markets change and they can often be improved upon. 2005 was also a long time ago.

Going into last season, my NHL strategy going back to the 2013 season (2012 was shortened due to a lockout) had a record of:

Backing all favourites over the same four seasons had a negative ROI of -0.6% and in addition would have required placing 5,183 bets, not a practical number for most of us. Looking at all favourites since the 2005 season and I came up with an ROI of -1.8%.

The 153.93 units was also meaningless since not everyone calculates returns based on a level one point stake.

As for the 'early in the season' part of the assertion, while 'early' is a relative term and could mean anything from the first week to the All-Star break, the results from backing October favourites were promising, an ROI of 6.8% from 619 bets, or five a day.

Not an improvement on my own system, but one to watch perhaps. In the event, October 2017 saw losses of 7%, and this month is currently down 10.52 points with a third of the month to go.

All favourites in 2017 had a losing ROI of 0.3%, while my record since 2016 is:
This season's one loss was on Sports Equinox Thursday - clearly the pressure of such a rare occasion was too much. Selection number six play tonight.

The same web site suggested that a subset of favourites, specifically "rested favourites on the road" were also undervalued.

True or false?, I hear you ask.

Again looking at the four seasons 2013-2016 I found that while backing all road favourites had a positive return of 3.5%, playing only rested teams increased this to 8.3%.

Again, not an improvement on my own system, but in 2017 this rested road subset continued to be profitable (6.8%) although so far is a losing bet this season.

2018 World Series Set

The Los Angeles Dodgers won Game 7 of the NLCS last night in Milwaukee 5-1 to reach their second consecutive World Series. The 'official' closing line I use in my records will have the Dodgers as favourites (-112 / 1.893), but I was looking on Betfair shortly before first pitch and the Dodgers were as high as 2.08 before shortening again.

The World series starts on Tuesday and MLB, the TV companies, and anyone not living in, or from, the city Milwaukee, will be pleased at a Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers series.

The Red Sox have won six consecutive games as underdogs to get here, but are early favourites to win the series, although the 6.5% margin below can be easily beaten. 
The Red Sox have home-field advantage and cruised to the finals, winning a franchise record 108 regular season games, while the Dodgers need a tie-breaker to win their Division. 

The Red Sox won their play-off series easily too - 3-1 versus the New York Yankees and 4-1 against the Houston Astros, while the Dodgers needed seven games to win the NLCS. 

Over the course of the season, backing the Red Sox when underdogs would have returned 8.98 points from 33 matches, most of that total from road games. 
Despite what the official MLB Twitter account says, this is actually the second World Series between these two teams as they played each other in 1916 when the Dodgers were playing in Brooklyn and known as the Robins. Not many of us will be using those statistics in informing our betting decisions. 

The teams haven't met since August 2016.   

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Ladbrokes No Loss, NBA Totals, MLB Game 7

Not many tears will have been shed over the above announcement, although on some level for those of us of a certain age, it's a little sad to see one of the formerly big names in English bookmaking reach such a nadir. 

Ladbrokes were one of the big high street bookmakers when I was coming of age, and their PR man Ron Pollard was frequently in the media as betting became more than only about horses and dogs. 

Earlier this year, I questioned David Sumpter's description of Ladbrokes as a 'leading bookmaker' pointing out that they were the top (or joint top) price on English Premier League Draws just 18 times from 2,210 matches, or 0.8% of the time. 

They won't be missed by many. As I've mentioned before, Ladbrokes closed my account in the 1980s, and my attitude since then has been that if they don't want me to take their money, then it's not their loss! That'll teach them. 

Joseph adds that: 
Joseph's right - we don't care.

My prediction that the number of points scored this season in NBA games would continue to climb got off to a poor start on Tuesday with the two games averaging exactly 200 points. Wednesday's average of 219 was more like it though, and Thursday's three games averaged an incredible 235.67 points per game. And not a single overtime game so far.

Betting the Overs on higher totals is already in profit. The books seem to be setting high totals in New Orleans Pelicans games so far, 232 in both of them, but readers of this blog will not have been intimidated by the high number. 243 points and a season high 278 last night have helped the cause! Be aware that the books are already raising the totals this season. So far the average total is 216.1, up from last season's average 210.4 and 2015's 204.7.  I expect this to go higher.  

In baseball, the Boston Red Sox have won six consecutive games as 'dogs and have reached the World Series where they will play the winners of today's Game 7 between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. In MLB game 7 matches, 'dogs have a 7-5 record.  

Friday, 19 October 2018

Equinox In LA, Efficiency, and the Inefficient Ethniki Katigoria

There was another Sports Equinox yesterday, with the added bonus of an MLS game and a College Football. What a time to be alive. 

Courtesy of
"There was a 16-year period (1985-2001) without a single sports equinox, but now that Thursday Night Football is a fixture, the World Series starts later, and the NBA season starts earlier, they're much more frequent."
The article also notes that if the Los Angeles Dodgers make it to Game 5 of the World Series, with the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Rams all playing, Los Angeles would match Phoenix's 2001 record of having teams in all four major sports in action on the same day (October 28th). 

It didn't mention that the Anaheim Ducks are also playing that day, along with the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC in MLS.

An article on the Soccer Widow website drew the conclusion: 
When you adjust the closing line to account for the bookmakers' margin, I'd say that for the majority of bets there is no edge, that the price or line is close enough to being correct that there is no value for the punter. 

The returns at Pinnacle's closing odds over the six English Premier League seasons 2012-18 from backing the Home, Away and Draw at true odds would, from 6,840 bets, have cost you 12.02 points, a loss of 0.18%. That's pretty efficient. 

Where the prices are inefficient is in the Big 6 and Little 14 matches where, no surprise here for regular readers, the Draw offers value. 

Over the past six seasons, the profit at 'true' prices on qualifying matches (where the true Draw probability is less than 0.25 or any team is odds-on) for the Big 6 was 25.08 points (19.7%) and for Little 14 matches 83.41 points (11.0%) - a combined 108.49 points (12.2%). 

While you may struggle to get the true odds, fortunately the prices are inefficient enough to still offer value. At Pinnacle prices, the combined profit on these selections was 85.5 points, an ROI of 9.64% and of course, Pinnacle are not always the top price.

You might expect the closing odds to be more efficient in the Premier League than a lower league, and you'd be right although a return of 99.76 units to every 100 staked is still highly efficient. 

League Two, which for a long time had the Away team undervalued, would have cost you an average of 0.24% at true odds. Backing the Away team would have made you 4.9% over six seasons, a highly inefficient area as readers will know, although last season the market compensated. 

In the National League the average cost is 0.34%, with Away selections again the value to punters with an ROI of 5.67% over six seasons.

Just for the heck of it, I took a look at the Ethniki Katigoria over the same six seasons. Here the market is highly inefficient, returning just 96.2% of your stake from the 1,444 matches after excluding the many matches with no closing odds. Strangely often towards the end of the season.

The Away price in this league is hugely inefficient, a massive 13.2% off over six seasons. 

I'm generally not interested in leagues where the Draw is priced as short as a 2.42 favourite or where 94 matches have the Draw with a probability greater than 0.33, but as feta would have it, the Draw seems to offer some value. At Pinnacle closing prices, after excluding the Big 5 clubs, the Draw returned 4.8%.  Back the Draw in all matches when it's priced at 3.0 or shorter and the ROI is 6.3%

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Wily With Miley, And Fibonacci Frivolity

The phrase "it's better to be lucky than good" comes to mind after my prediction yesterday that:
If Brewers pitcher Wade Miley doesn't last long, the Over 7.0 looks good as well as a Dodgers win. If Miley goes deep, then it's Unders and Brewers.
While my prediction was spot on, Dodgers won, Overs was a push, how I got the result was not.

Miley didn't last long at all. He faced one batter who he walked, and was then pulled, a planned move by the manager to influence the Dodgers line-up, and Miley will now start game 6. This also happened in the 1924 World Series if anyone likes their baseball history. 
The effective starter was right-handed Brandon Woodruff, who lasted 5.1 innings before the Brewers turned to the bullpen. In NLCS series tied at 2:2, the Game 5 winners go on to win the series 70% of the time, so the chances are that Kershaw has at least one more Dodgers starting appearance in his future. 

From time to time, Pinnacle Sports have an informative article. The "What is the Fibonacci betting system?" article is not one of them.

It's also not one of their most original articles, apparently plagiarised from an October 2013 article by Kael Mansfield which appeared on the Intelligent Betting Tips website with the title "Soccer betting system Fibonacci strategy", although the author may well have published it in two places. 

The basic premise of both the original article and the plagiarised one is whether you can make a profit backing the draw in football by staking using the Fibonacci sequence, the one qualifier being that you only:
Bet on a soccer draw when the statistical probability is above 2.618
Never mind that probability is always a number between 0 and 1. 

I think the author(s) both meant that the price of the draw must be 2.62 or higher, which in itself is silly because the draw is always above this price unless the match is being fixed.

The Pinnacle article says:
Interestingly, the odds for a potential draw in all 380 ties were above the 2.618 threshold suggested as the lower limit by Archontakis and Osborne.
"Interestingly"! Show me a match where the Draw odds are anywhere close to 2.62! This is not interesting, it's mathematics. 

The article makes the claim that:
The betting principle here comes from the theory that the soccer draw is the most difficult for online sportsbooks and bookmakers to predict the outcome…thus its much easier to be exploited.
The missing apostrophe is one clue as to the level of intelligence on display here. Another is the complete nonsense of that sentence. 

Yes, for reasons previously detailed in this blog and dating back to at least 1999 and Derek McGovern's book “On Sports Betting …And How To Make It Pay“, the Draw often offers value, but there is no betting principle on display here based on using a progressive staking system, whether it has a catchy name or not. 

The article goes on:
Like other similar sports betting strategies, the principle holds that as long as you continually increase your stake, any win will overcome the previous losses.
This is not an accurate statement at all. "Any win" won't work - your win needs to be at a high enough price to cover previous losses, but the main problem with Fibonacci and progressive staking systems in general is that you soon find yourself betting uncomfortably large amounts of money. 

When you are backing Draws, with a probability of 0.25 to 0.33, over a sequence of 1,000 bets you are almost certainly going to hit a run of 20 losses.

A recent example is the Big 6 Draws which ran into a losing sequence of 14 bets.

Q: What would have been the 15th bet using Fibonacci? 

A: 610 units

How many of us in practice would be capable of placing a stake of 610 times our initial stake? Especially given that our losses to this point are 'only' 986 points. As with a bad trade, there's no need to win it all back in one bet. 

And a 21st bet would be 10,946 units.

It might work on paper, but as the saying goes, paper trading isn't worth the paper it's written on.

The original article does at least conclude that:
the Fibonacci is not a long term profitable investment strategy.
but most of us knew that already. Pinnacle do themselves a disservice by including this nonsense in their library of articles.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

October Effect, Kershaw and Sliders

Although the numbers don't support the idea of an 'October effect', the month has certainly had a few memorable losses including the Panic of 1907, Black Tuesday (1929), Black Thursday (1929), Black Monday (1929) and Black Monday (1987). 

The only one of those that some readers might remember is the great crash of 1987 that occurred on October 19 and saw the Dow Jones index fall 22.61% in a single day and which remains the largest daily percentage loss.
Ten years ago, October 2008 was also a memorable month. The Dow Jones was down 16.79% and Betfair took their first Premium Charges from me, with the benefit of hindsight, a very modest and reasonable 20%.
It's also October when Matchbook introduce their Premium Charge, and last October was also the most recent negative month on my 'net-worth' spreadsheet, although this October looks likely to take over that undesired record. Coincidence of course, and the biggest trend of all is that the market goes up over time - long-term buy and hold is the winning strategy.

Clayton Kershaw is back tonight in possibly his last ever start for the Los Angeles Dodgers who tied the NLCS at two games each in a late game yesterday that went 13 innings, the second longest NLCS game ever. Dodgers are of course favourites, as they have been in 160 of 171 matches all season and in every game since August 3rd. This might be a good game to trade with it's local afternoon start time, i.e. 10:05 pm UK time. If Brewers pitcher Wade Miley doesn't last long, the Over 7.0 looks good as well as a Dodgers win. If Miley goes deep, then it's Unders and Brewers. 

Speaking of totals, anyone else hate the slider markets that Betfair now use? It's rare that I trade these days, but trading these markets is impossible.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

When East Goes West, Road Dogs Are Best

There has been quite a lot of interest in my NBA post since it was posted earlier today. 

One Twitter user asked:

I wasn't aware that I'd ever revealed my strategy for Road Dogs in the NBA, but while working on improving the Road Favourites System, I did find that there is a profit to be found backing Eastern Conference teams playing at Western Conference teams. 

For anyone interested, the basic strategy for Eastern 'Dogs playing in the West over the past three seasons has an ROI of close to 10%:
Add in just one filter and the ROI more than doubles:
One thing I forgot to mention this morning when discussing the number of possessions per game is that one of the rule changes in the NBA season is that after an offensive rebound, the shot clock will reset to 14 seconds, rather than 24 seconds as was previously the case for all rebounds. 

The 14 second clock will also be set if a loose ball foul is called on the defensive team after a missed shot, or if the offensive team wins possession of the ball after it goes out of bounds following a missed shot. The idea is that this will speed the game up, but according to Nylon Calculus, this change will have little effect. Some for sure, but not too much. Most offensive rebounds result in a put back or a quickly taken three-point shot.
Only 6 percent of all offensive rebounds resulted in possessions that are 14 seconds or greater last year. Given that the league average for offensive rebounds was the lowest ever this past season at 9.7 per game, this rule would apply to roughly half a rebound per team per game last year.

NBA Evolution

The 2018-19 NBA season starts tonight and I'll be following my strategy of 'when books go high, go higher' - to paraphrase Michelle Obama - as well as the Road Favourites System, results for which are below:

Note that the results above are not from backing ALL road favourites, although blindly backing these teams is profitable. The left hand part of the table is the basic system I use, the results on the right are from the 'premium' selections after an additional couple of filters are applied. 

Not many bets from these, (although more last season than ever before), but a 20.8% ROI over 12 years is worth getting out of bed for. Individual results for the Premium selections for last season are to the left, although this was likely a one-off. And ignore the ridiculous ROI, which is meaningless from such a low number of selections.

On this day last season, I wrote
If you followed me, you would have had 457 selections, which certainly averaged over two bets a day, a profit of 35.00 points and an ROI of 7.7%, but I'm not sure anyone did.

There are 168 days with games during the regular season, and a higher total this season will not only reduce the number of selections, but hopefully increase the ROI percentage. Last season the optimal total for 100 bets or more was at the 225+ level, and this season I'll be backing Overs at a little higher than last season, up to a point. As with most markets, there's a limit to how far the value persists.

This would have generated 117 bets in 2015 and 130 last season and an ROI of 7.2%.

This strategy assumes that the average number of points per game will continue its climb. It certainly has room to go higher. As previously noted in this blog, the average during the last two months of the regular season was 214.6 points, which is about where I expect this season's average to end up.

The game has changed, as I've mentioned before. Since 2011, three-point attempts have increased by 61%, the number scored by the same percentage. That's a lot of extra points. 

Field goals attempted are up 6%, field goals scored up by 5% and the 46% success rate last season was the highest since the days of Michael Jordan. 

Free throws are down by two points, and the Free Throw / Field Goal ratio dropped below 2.0 last season for the first time ever. 

Defensive rebounds are up, offensive rebounds are down (to be expected - it's hard to rebound if you're shooting from downtown). 

Teams are also averaging six more possessions per game as the pace increases, but there's still room for more. In 1973-74, the first season that possessions per game were tracked, the average was almost 108. Last season was the highest since 1990-91, but still less than 100.

With change comes opportunity, and the NBA continues to evolve. If you can adapt before others, and American sports markets do seem to allow inefficiencies to continue for a longer time that should be the case, you can make some good profits. Good luck this season.