Sunday, 6 October 2019

October: Playoffs and Beginnings

October is always an interesting and busy month, with the baseball play-offs and World Series bringing the MLB season to an end, while at the same time the NHL and NBA seasons both get underway. 

With American Football already in-play, the possibility of a Sports Equinox is alive, and some of you may recall the unique occurrence in Los Angeles last year when the city hosted all four major US sports on the same day, with an MLS game as an added bonus.

In the MLB playoffs, the strategy of backing Home 'Dogs got off to a winning start on Friday when the Atlanta Braves defeated the St Louis Cardinals 3-0 at +115 (2.15) to tie their series at 1-1. The second game of a series, with the home team coming off  loss, is a particularly strong bias for this idea, as it is in the sixth game of a seven game series, which is the format for the Championship Series and World Series.

It was another winning weekend for the College Football Road 'Dogs with six winners from nine selections, and we're in good shape to see this trend be a winner for the 19th consecutive season.

Since 2000, the overall win percentage is 55.5% and after 1697 matches, if you're not convinced there's an edge here, I'm not sure what would convince you. Cue a terrible Week 7.

The NHL season started this week, and this is another sport where the public appear to put too much trust in the Home team when they are the underdog. 

The 2012 season was shortened by a strike, and the league was re-organised in 2013, so I use the data from 2013 on and blindly backing Road Favourites in the Regular season has an ROI of 3.2% from 2091 matches. 

Excluding weak favourites increases the ROI, and unlike baseball, when backing hot favourites is a good strategy, in ice hockey it is not. Road favourites lose their appeal at around the -170 line so it helps to exclude these. 

There's also a noticeable difference between conferences (the Eastern, comprised of the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions, is far more concentrated geographically than the Western Conference, which is made up of the Central and Pacific Divisions). Time zones are also a factor, as I have written about previously.

There appears to be a bias to be taken advantage of here, and the number of bets is easily managed over a six month season. 

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