Friday, 27 November 2020

Thanksgiving Thoughts

On the Betfair Forum, Souldancer wrote that:

The average racehorse punter gets 75% of their stake returned.

If you put the work in it's not hard to change the racing loss into a profit.

Even if this number is anywhere close to correct, and I'm pretty sure it's nothing but a wild guess, you would need to put in a hell of a lot of work to overcome a -EV of 25%. 

You would also need to be an incredible optimist to even attempt such a task, given that this is probably about the worst handicap in betting to try to overcome. Even a single zero casino roulette gambler only faces a house edge of 2.7%.

With it's multiple possible winners, and vulnerability to inside information, Horse Racing isn't the easiest of places to find winners, but in sports betting, there are many 50/50 propositions and as I've written before:

I can't be sure, because it was a few years ago that I first read this book, but this may have been when I realised that betting the 'dime line' (i.e. Pinnacle's 1.952) on 50/50 bets, winning just 51.23% of bets would result in a profit.

Given that my grandmother would be expected to pick winners at a rate of around 50%, and she's been dead for over 30 years, this didn't seem to be a hugely impossible task. 

It's not as easy as it might seem of course, but as explained above, you're not betting against a sportsbook with otherworldly powers of prediction. You are betting against other members of the public, and in some markets more than others, the public aren't too smart.

If Grandma can get a return of 97.6% blindly betting say Overs in the NBA, doesn't it make more sense to focus your efforts on turning 2.6% of those losers into winners and start making a profit? 

Over 1,000 bets, you would need 513 winners to be profitable, which is a lot easier than overcoming a massive 25% disadvantage.    

Followers of the Small Road 'Dog System will have enjoyed an easy Thanksgiving Day win by the Washington Football Team in Dallas yesterday in their Divisional game against the Cowboys. This takes the season win percentage to 58.1% at 25-18-1. This result was the second most comfortable win of the season, and with four possible qualifiers this weekend, let's hope it augurs well.

Meanwhile in the US, the Betfair market for Next President surpassed the billion pound mark earlier this week, and Biden is still available at 1.07 which is incredible value if you don't mind tying up your money for a few days. The Democrats are also still available to win in some states such as Pennsylvania (again 1.07), a state which certified its results earlier this week as has Michigan (also 1.07).

Finally while doing some research for another project, I came across this comment about "Home" advantage in football from 1920:

That 'two goals' seems a very precise estimate with not even a mention of goal expectancy, but 100 years later and with no crowds and VAR, Away teams are actually winning more games than Home sides in the EPL, a trend many of us hope will continue today.   

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