Sunday 6 April 2014

Worth A Munchen

In my review of where the draws were last week, or rather where they were not, I wrote this about Bayern Munich:

While an understanding of human nature might have suggested a sub-par performance was in prospect for a game sandwiched between the highs of winning the Bundesliga in Berlin on Tuesday and the importance of a Champions League Quarter Final first leg at Arsenal a week later, few would have would have expected a previously 100% at home Bayern Munich and having with a goals for / against margin of 39 to 7, to come up with a 3:3 draw. The Pinnacle Sports price was 8.61 for the draw (the 13th longest in this league so far this season).
In other words, Bayern Munich's domestic fixtures are now meaningless. Motivation is a subjective factor. Maybe Bayern's players are motivated to continue their 53 game unbeaten run. Maybe they don't care. Maybe management don't care and want to blood new players. The unpredictable nature of motivation means that any bets on such teams, and at this time of the season the list increases week by week, are even riskier than usual. It was probably a surprise to subscribers to my Cassini Draws And More service that the value selections included this one:
I'll make the lame excuse with the benefit of hindsight that my model's price of 1.16 assumed the match would be played with both teams doing their best. A price of 1.4 at the time the list was compiled looked good enough, with a 20.4% edge, to justify inclusion, although I did caution that:
"One comment is that Bayern Munich have clinched the league and their motivation may not be what it was."
Augsburg won 1:0 in case you missed it. Bayern "fielded an experimental side". Models don't work too well with 'experimental sides'.

Life can be funny. Some time ago, a commenter by the name of Danny and myself didn't exactly see eye to eye on a few things. Roll the clocks forward a few months, and we have our own mutual appreciation society, although if the XX Draws don't start hitting soon, the club may be disbanded in record time.

I am reminded of the old joke about a father and his teenage son who didn't get on, and had little to do with each other for several years. After re-establishing their relationship, the son was amazed at how much his Dad had learned in the intervening years. This is not to imply that Danny has changed, in fact it may come as a surprise to readers that my sense of humour and faux arrogance can easily, and often is, taken the wrong way, but the bottom line is that Danny is, and probably always was, a decent individual (even if his choice in football club leaves something to be desired).

Danny had this to say this morning:
So yesterday was my first day of betting on Cassini Value and Bayern the first match. When I came to place the bet they had drifted to 1.60 and as I was doing a full Kelly (such is my total belief in you!) and because the 'true' price was 1.16 it recommended a 63% bet - FULL BANK JOB!!!
I was at the point of sending a bullion van round to Pinnacle when the memory banks kicked in and I had that deja vu feeling. A few years ago I had a big bet in very similar circumstances on what turned out to be the Carlos Tevez game, the infamous Man U West Ham match. I backed United at a certain price like 1.50 something for a lot of money only to see them drift like the proverbial barge followed by that familiar sinking feeling as United were listless and inept. It was a horrible experience at the time but a good lesson learned.
So Bayern brought up the familiar question - you identify huge value on something, back it, only to see the price spiral away into the stratosphere. What to do, who to listen to? Well these days I always listen to the market, hopefully you did too. However this is blatant after-timing of course!!!
My approach in these situations is typically the "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is". I like my value to be over 10%, but if it is too high, I suspect that I am missing something. Danny mentions the price drifting out to 1.6 which makes the edge 37.9%. Frankly an edge that size in the generally efficient top league football markets is improbable, and the other canard of "don't throw good money after bad" seems appropriate.

With Elche (the Crystal Palace of La Liga and not conceding in their last seven home games) rounding off a good weekend for the Cassini Value selections (Bayern Munich debacle not withstanding) by scoring a 90th minute winner, the ROI on these is at about 26% (official prices not yet available) after 98 selections, and an edge of this size is likely unsustainable (although I am doing my best!). 98 is of course a low sample size, as Danny mentions later in his email:
Dare I ask the $64K dollar question - If XX Draws disappoints this season will you still do it next year? I know you love it but is it really the best use of your talents? This Cassini value looks really interesting and is starting to look like more than statistical noise, however it is still early days.
I suspect there will be more on this topic later in the season. The inclusion of Elche in the Cassini Value Selections is another topic of interest. When I did my preliminary run through the matches in midweek, Elche were 2.14 with Pinnacle, the "official sportsbook of the FTL". This mean the edge was 9.7%, and thus just missed out on inclusion. When the final email was prepared, the price had drifted out to 2.19 (a 12.3% edge) and was now thus a selection. The market moved against Elche, for what reasons I know not, but it highlights the limitations of a model that uses macro-data (form and ratings) rather than micro-data (team line-ups). Unfortunately most of us do not have the time to drill down to this level, although Skeeve with his focus on two minor leagues does a decent job - at least to level stakes he does - although as with most tipsters, he doesn't suggest 'true' prices.

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