Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Patience and Discipline

Yet another Game 7 in the NBA Play-offs this week, after the Denver Nuggets overcame a 19 point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers by 13 points on Sunday. 

Teams arriving at a Game 7 after losing a 3-1 series lead have a losing record and in this series, four games have been Under so far with two Pushes. 

The NFL is back, and the Small Road Dogs System had three selections in Week One, namely the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers and I'll take the 2-1 outcome any day of the week. 

Although none of the opening eight matches ended as a Draw, with the 2020-21 EPL season underway, a timely reminder that backing the Draw in close matches is generally profitable in this league. As David Sumpter wrote back in 2016 or so:

It turns out that when two well-matched teams meet (i.e. the probability of a home win is only slightly bigger than the probability of away win) then draws are under-priced. When matches are skewed so there is a strong a favourite (i.e. the probability of one team or the other winning is larger than the other) then draws are over-priced.

Somewhat arbitrarily I define 'close' matches as those where the difference between the fair win probabilities of the two teams is less than 25%, and 'toss up' when the difference is less than 10%.

In the eight seasons of the "Pinnacle era", with the overround adjusted to 103% for consistency, a number to which Pinnacle unfortunately appear to be headed quite rapidly, here are the results:

As a baseline, backing the Draw in all matches would have resulted in a 208.49 point loss, an ROI of -6.9%.

I'd actually previously not noticed the distinction in David Sumpter's quote above that he's looking at matches where the probability of a Home win is only slightly bigger than that of an Away win.

Close matches can also include matches where the probability of the Away team is slightly higher, and of course the two probabilities can be the same.

I'm not sure that Sumpter meant to make this distinction, but as I've mentioned before, the ROI on the Draw is actually slightly higher (16.8%) when the probabilities are the same or that of the Away team is slightly higher. Perhaps that wasn't the case in the Big 6 matches during Sumpter's period of study.

Finally, some words of wisdom from the Betfair Forum on a thread asking "Why do so many people lose at gambling?"

Zealot suggested that:

Most people lose because they are too greedy and 90% of them have no idea what a good return would be. Say, for example, you backed 500 horses over a 12 month period and your total outlay was £10k (£20 per bet). 

How many Joe Punters would be happy with a profit of £800? That's a very good 8% return. I would say less than 1%. If you ask a betting shop punter this question, most will say anything up to "Doubling It". Most have no clue of what it takes and how much work you have to put in. 

First step should be breaking even, and then with a little bit of tweaking, you will be well on your way. Patience is the key word in my opinion.

Those last two sentences are very sagacious. In binary betting, a blind squirrel will be able to win 50% of the time and you only need to convert 1.02% of those losers into winners if you are on Betfair's Basic Plan, or 2.46% at Pinnacle's Dime Line (1.952)  

Patience to wait for value opportunities is key, as is the discipline to stake appropriately when such opportunities come along.    

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