Monday, 11 November 2013

Bad Bettors

The comment about losing more that would be expected on coin-flip selections is interesting. Is this really true, or do people win 50% of their bets, but at a price of 1.9 inevitably lose due to commission?

It was meant as a rhetorical question, because the answer is that overall bettors do fare worse than would be expected. Emp said...
Well for proof look at it this way; I dug up your results from last year.
Amateurs- -115.26, -9.61%ROI Over 1199 selections.
The spreads/commissions are certainly not large enough to eat up a 9.61% ROI and 1199 bets is a good enough sample to say this isn't variance.
What's more as you note on that very post, this -9.61% ROI has this positive selection effect that the worst betters were disproportionately likely to quit in the middle. Had they stayed, it would probably have been a lot worse.
This is a very rough proof, but I think it's enough to justify what to me is intuitively obvious, that there is such a thing as being really bad at betting without knowing anything whatsoever, and thus reversing those tendencies must necessarily demonstrate a handsome profit.
Unfortunately last season's FTL wasn't intended to be scientific and only covers football so the use of its results as a proof should probably not be allowed, There were no 'official' prices used, as the table was for general comparison, but other studies have shown that there really are bad bettors.

Poor money management is usually cited as the primary reason, but there is also this from a US targeted article:
Most sports bettors know just enough to make them dangerous, as there is a great deal of difference between being knowledgeable in the NFL and being knowledgeable in NFL betting.
Being able to name the starting offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys isn't likely to help a person win a bet.

What many sports bettors don't realize is that they're actually competing against other bettors who spend countless hours on handicapping, studying trends, injuries, and betting angles.
It's no secret that [American] football and basketball are the two sports that receive the majority of the betting dollars, just as it's no secret that most long-time sports bettors will say those are probably the two toughest sports to show a long-term profit in.
I can't help but think of NBA Tips when I read this. They clearly love the NBA, but love of the game and public knowledge isn't enough as explained above. They like to Tweet from the rooftops when a double comes in as it did last Tuesday (at 4.2), but down by 16.28 points after 49 selections suggests that they are falling well short of finding value, and updates to the P&L page are behind my own numbers.
I will now appear to be a complete hypocrite and say that on rare occasions, I do have a punt on a basketball game, for small stakes. Last night's game in Los Angeles between the Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves did stand out as a value bet with the Lakers very poor so far this season - no Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol posting career lows with Steve Nash also struggling - and the Timberwolves looking good with the two Kevins (Love and Martin) in sparkling form. I asked for 1.94, and as often is the case, I was matched, a little peeved when I checked and saw I'd missed 1.99 earlier. Not really. The downside of betting early in this sport is, as I have mentioned, that you can be left high and dry with late team news, so I tend to err on the side of caution and bet late with all the facts. The Timberwolves led by 24 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back winning by 23.
In other tipster updates, John Walsh had a quiet week in the NHL, but another profitable one. Interesting to note that after backing in Regulation all season, the last three selections have all been Moneyline bets. I am trying to ascertain why the change and will update you if I get an answer. After 30 bets, an ROI of 28% is very good.
John has an NFL selection tonight, so I shall update those later, but here is the latest TFA FTL table after the weekend. The selection of Sunderland at 8.97 to win v Manchester City and to a lesser extent, Newcastle United at 7.15 to win at Tottenham Hotspur led to some big moves.
Big winners were Murphy's Law (up 10.97 thanks to the North-East duo of Newcastle United and Sunderland), Punter's Friend (up 8.28 - Sunderland) and Webbo (up 6.28 - Sunderland, plus a lay of Chelsea). The big loser this weekend was Emp whose 37 selections lost 10.91 points, and cost him 7 places. Murphy's Law moves up 9 places to third (and £75), Punter's Friend moves up 5 places, and Webbo goes up 4 as does Fedslam who moves up to second place in the process (£125). Graham C moves up to fourth and £50.

Slipping along with Emp were Hofs Hackers and Fairfranco, but although Forza Fizzer lost 2.21 points, he retains first place and the £250 first prize that goes with it. My own value selections also remained static, despite a profit of 2.34 points.

The Football Analyst was up 0.07 points, but lost one place. His liability (max. £400) on the bounty increases to £325. The late Stoke City penalty at Swansea City cost TFA and a couple of others a winner, including Peter Nordsted whose official selections still had their best weekend yet this season +5.58 points. Peter's Premier Betting entries still prop up the table though. Football Elite has quietly moved into profit and up to fifth place, and a special mention for Punter's Friend who was at one time down 22.22 points, but has gained back 17.75 points in the past three weeks.

In total, up about 20 points this weekend, but still more red than green. As always, with 197 selections to update, the possibility of error always exists. If you see any palpable errors, please let me know. Should be a little quieter next week with the International break, but Skeeve and TFA will likely be active along with a few others. 


Danny Murphy said...

Cassini thanks for the FTL update. How you are able to manage all these entries is an organisational miracle in itself!

With regard to the FTL, I think it would only be fair to award 12 points to anyone who backed West Brom at Chelsea on Saturday, seeing as the Chelsea penalty decision was one of the most SCANDALOUS in the history of the game and a total fraud in my opinion.

I think it only proper that FTL stands up for fair play and as the politicians like to say 'It's the right thing to do'.

John Walsh said...

It's quite an honor to be in a post titled 'Bad Bettors'.

First I will address why the change from regulation betting to moneyline in my NHL bets. The simple answer is to get value. There are sections of the season in which certain teams play to overtime more frequently and of course the opposite is true. If I can get more value (from my model) then it only makes sense. My current feeling is that the implied probability from the odds haven't caught up to this in some cases. Last season was really different with the lockout shortening the NHL schedule.

I'm not defending NBA Tips methods. I don't know who it is or how he/she comes up with selections. This person may have an edge, there really is no way to tell with such a small sample size. That is one of the toughest things about sports betting, getting a large enough sample size to know if the system has an edge.

I think being a fan of the sport is necessary to be successful at betting on it. It's like the engine on a car, you need the motor for the car to work but you need the steering wheel, brakes, etc. Betting on (American) football determining team weaknesses, changes in personnel, etc. are the other parts of the car. At the same time you can have a system that has worked in the past but if you don't know why it has, you could be in dangerous territory. You have to have the motor in the car for it to work. I've played football, coached football, watch every NFL game. The NFL network is on my television all summer. NBA Tips could be the same with a system that accounts for every factor.

Public knowledge is different now than even 5 years ago with so much information being accessible from a phone. My NFL model didn't suggest Tampa Bay was value in the game that just finished. I really thought the implied probability wasn't taking the whole Dolphin offensive linemen situation as enough of a factor. Miami had a patchwork line with a split dressing room and what sounded to me like very little leadership. Not to mention the distraction for the game. Although, the second half of this game is the most impressed I've been by the Dolphins all season considering the previous factors coupled with being down at the half on the road.