Sunday, 30 September 2018

Game 162

This is the final weekend of the regular MLB season, one that has again been very busy and profitable for readers of this blog, or at least smart readers of this blog who follow my advice.

On the field, the drama today is in the National League. In the Central Division, after 161 games the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs are tied on 94 wins with a possible game 163 tie-breaker on Monday if the two teams match each other today, and a similar story in the West Division where the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are tied on 90 wins.     

Followers of the 'shorties' system, which historically is more profitable early in the season, will have been thrilled with a profit of 74.4 points so far, from a record number of selections, 431 so far compared to 296 last season and 124 just four years ago.

While the difference between the best and worst teams in baseball is narrower than in most sports, the gap is widening.

This season is the first in MLB's 115 year history with three teams in the same League all winning 100 games or more. Across both leagues, there have been only six seasons where three teams have won 100 games or more, four of which have occurred in the past 20 years. It's likely a trend that will continue, so ride those shorties before the market catches up with what's going on.       

In April, I wrote that:
Over the last five full seasons, this simple strategy is up 96.53 points from 1,082 bets, an impressive ROI of 8.92%. Last season was the best, +55.70 points from 296 selections, 18.81% ROI.
With two more days to go, the 2018 season is also up 23.75 points on the Run Line, less than two points short of a combined 100 points which would be very nice.

It's also been incredibly consistent over the past two seasons with not a single losing month:
As with the points total in the NBA, when the number of qualifiers starts increasing each season, it's likely that the optimal entry point has also changed. 

There's also the practical consideration that more selections means more work, so while 74.4 points from 431 bets is great, 51.6 points from 184 bets is a much higher ROI. 

At one time in my life I was an IT consultant, and while the exact numbers can no longer be recalled as the 1980s were a long time ago, I do remember my agent on one occasion telling me that the client wanted to extend my contract, and that the weekly rate would go from (I think) £800 a week to £850. 

It sounded reasonable enough until she said that the client were also looking at extending the number of hours I was to work (or at least be present in the office) a week from 35 to 37.5. 

A quick calculation confirmed my instinct that this actually amounted to a pay cut. I'm not sure the agent ever got her head around the calculation, as she was stuck on the number 850 being greater than 800, but we got there in the end. 
Something for me to look at in the winter, but rather than using an implied probability of 0.667 or greater as the qualifying rule, it now looks like 0.7 might be better, and forget the super-favourites when they get close to an implied probability of 0.8 as they become over-backed. 

For those of you wondering about backing 'shorties' in the playoffs, there are not a huge number of games in the sample, just 21 in the last ten seasons (Money Line is +8.55 points and the Run Line is up 1.0 point) and 31 in the last 20 seasons (Money Line is +8.85 points and the Run Line is up 0.85 points). 

While some sports extend their play-offs to include roughly half of the teams, MLB is a little more selective (10 teams from 30). No MLB team has ever made the play-offs in a full season without a winning record. Compare this with the NFL, NBA, MLS and NHL where teams have all made the play-offs with a losing record.   

The usual Play-Off strategy is the UMPO System, but confidence in this system took a knock last season with the worst results ever:
The T-Bone system is also on track for another profitable season but unfortunately you'll have to wait for the final numbers as I'm travelling again for the first few days of October, a combination of a work trip followed by a weekend watching my son running his first marathon.

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