Friday, 16 October 2020

MLB 2020 - When Breaking Even Is A Win

Another work trip starts tomorrow, so I shall again be off-line, this time for two weeks. Rather unfortunate timing really, with the MLB play-offs in full swing, meaning I shall miss every game of the World Series, but my boss doesn't revolve his business around the MLB season apparently.

After a disastrous start to this unique season, I'm more than happy to finish the season with a small profit.

In a season where the several changes were implemented, some before the season and some during the season, it was always to be expected that some of the long-term profitable strategies might not be profitable.

Obviously not having fans in the stadium was likely to be impactful, but more significantly the rule changes implemented weren't exactly minor tweaks with some of the major adjustments being American league rules throughout, fixtures changing to play geographically close rivals, a shortened regular season (60 games versus the usual 162), changes to the rules for extra-innings with a runner starting on second base, and limiting double-header games to seven innings. Basically the 2020 season bears no resemblance to any previous season. 

My latest read is "The Psychology of Money" by Morgan Housel (highly recommended), and Chapter 13 is sub-titled "The most important part of every plan is planning on your plan not going according to plan".  Although this book wasn't published prior to the season, it's a philosophy I've adopted for some time now (sports betting provides some valuable lessons in life). Cut the losing systems, stake appropriately (based on Kelly), and keep evolving.

The biggest change in 2020 was the reversal of value of backing some Hot Favourites (1.5 or shorter), which after three years of increasing profits, hit a wall and lost 4.8%. The month of August saw a loss for the first time since 2011.
For the T-Bone System, which is also a favourites based system, here is how the season ended, with previous seasons included for perspective.
The Totals strategy overall was slightly profitable, although the seven innings rule for double header games reduced the number of qualifiers for Overs. 
Unders actually showed a small loss with the heavy lifting all being done by the Overs in games where both clubs were from the National League. Apparently the market underestimated their ability to adapt to the Designated Hitter rule, because this matchup was also sole reason why "Hot Favourites" were a losing proposition this season.

Usually the winter is the time for looking at the previous season's results, seeing what edges may be vanishing and where new ones might be appearing, but I don't see any point in going over the 2020 season in much depth.

Some of the rule changes may become permanent, but a 60 game regular season played in empty stadiums against geographically selected opponents is hopefully unique rendering the data from this season almost useless, but this pandemic is nowhere near over, so perhaps not.  

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