Wednesday 16 March 2016

Revenge And Road Warriors

Fizzer emailed some thoughts on baseball, and on Barrie's 'revenge' system mentioned in this Revealing post. He writes:

Always enjoy seeing a new post appear on your blog, especially when it's about baseball.

Just a comment though about Baseball teams seeking revenge as suggested by Barrie. I don't really believe in that for Baseball. I can see that happens in some sports, and particularly in sports with a high level of energy and a heavy schedule such as NBA and NHL when teams have to pick and choose a bit where they put their effort in.

In baseball, however, it's a team game built around individual performance. Each at bat and each pitch are more subject to random variability than they are about motivation and revenge. I'd say every baseball player is trying to maximise their 'value' whether that's perceived as Home Runs, OBP, Steals, Strikeouts, WHIP etc every time they are at the plate or on the mound.

The value we are getting is not in spotting a revenge motive but in identifying when the market is over reacting to recent results - like the SG3 method - giving us value in the price versus the team's underlying ability.
Fizzer knows his baseball, and his comments make a lot of sense as usual.

At the risk of upsetting Fizzer, I turn now to the NBA where the BLUnders four year run of success is very much on the line with less than a month of the regular season remaining. Exactly 100 selections are currently split 49-49 with two pushes. There's a second system that I play alongside the Unders, which although overall is a losing system on its own, tends to win more often when the BLUnder selection loses. Not exactly Parrondo's Paradox, but something of a hedge with some additional churn value. The two bets combined are right now:
There's another selection tonight, but confidence is low since the game involves the Golden State Warriors whose Stephen Curry is hitting three-pointers like no one has ever done before. The previous season record was the one he set last season of 285, but this season he is on 325 with 16 games remaining. Apparently he has hit 77 consecutive three pointers in practice this season! 

Overall this season, Unders on Warriors BLUnders games have gone 11-15, but they are currently on a run of five consecutive Overs following their 17 point loss at the Lakers after starting as 17 point favourites on March 6th. Some of you may have noticed that the Away selections are an improvement on the basic BLUnders system, but it's an even better bet when it's the Warriors who are away this season. 

Monday 14 March 2016


Barrie sent me an email with details of another baseball system. He wrote:

...Also here is another one which again I can't support with stats, perhaps you can?
Again it concerns losing home teams but this time teams that have been embarrassed by a defeat by three or more runs and are playing the same team still at home in the next game, the theory is they will seek revenge and so should be backed but avoid weak teams by only betting if they are favourites. This is claimed to have shown a profit on both the money line and the run line for the last two seasons, your view would be appreciated and whether you put this on your blog for your other reader is up to you, I'm not sure systems being published makes much difference, maybe punters don't have the resolve to stick with it!.
I did take a look at the numbers on this, and whoever is claiming "to have shown a profit on both the money line and the run line for the last two seasons" is indeed absolutely correct. The 2014 and 2015 seasons would have made a total profit (Straight Up and Run Line) of exactly 110 points from 1,150 bets, an ROI% of 9.57%, which is very impressive.

No one should get too carried away over a couple of seasons though, and if we go back three seasons the profits and ROI% drop to 44.19 points and 2.65% respectively.

Last four seasons, and we're down to 4.56 points and an ROI% of 0.002%. Last five and we're in the red, so the likelihood is that this system has just been lucky of late.

I went back 10 years (actually 9 on the Run Line, as those stats for 2006 aren't available), and here are the numbers in full:
Playing the Run Line was more profitable than the Money Line in 7 of the 9 seasons, and that ROI% of 2.45% is quite respectable from 2,632 bets.

Anyway, thanks Barrie for the input, and the logical constraint to improve the SG3 system has been sent as requested.

A couple of spin-off thoughts from this post, the first being Barrie's suggestion that "I'm not sure systems being published makes much difference, maybe punters don't have the resolve to stick with it!". I tend to agree with this thinking. There are certainly some disciplined individuals around who do their research and eke out slow but steady profits in a rather boring manner, but most people are looking to get rich quick from gambling, and it doesn't usually work that way.

The Secret Betting Club's Peter Ling sent out an email the other day which contained this paragraph:
It’s fair to say the record is OK with only a 5.2% ROI and 156% ROC (AKA betting bank growth) over 2,400 bets. Certainly it isn’t the flashiest of services, yet does appeal to some due to the steady profits made, consistency and professionalism.
OK?  "Does appeal to some"? Good god people, is it just me who thinks that an ROI% of 5.2% over 2,400 bets is a little bit more than OK? If those returns are actually attainable, that is quite astonishing.

That the sport in question is horse racing just makes such numbers even more incredible, but it's that the service is described in such negative terms that I find so revealing.

This idea that betting is about being 'flashy' is surely one big reason why sports betting is still very much the bastard child of financial betting - I mean investing.

Daily25's Steve is in his sixth year of investing and sports, and his numbers (taken from his blog) are currently:
1.58% is fairly close to the current 1.71% I have for my Systematic bets, but I'd be happy with 1.58% after five years with them!

My old friend James had an interesting observation somewhat related to the topic of publishing systems on his blog last week. In his "Do Something Weird To Win A Bet" post, he wrote:
If you share ideas then those ideas will lose their value through being arbitraged away. By that I mean any strategy that has a positive edge will see that edge lost as money, from other traders with the same idea, moves the price to where there is no edge.
After many years of profitability, that may finally have happened to the Bundeslayga selections, which with just eight rounds remaining, this weekend dipped into the red after all four lay selections won.

Friday 4 March 2016

Home Improvement

Congratulations to Fizzer555 for being the first to take the "Home Improvement" project one step further - the 'Shorties' clue in the post just made it too easy:  

When the team is at Home...
Even though the wins now exceed the losses, the system is still not quite profitable (-6.76 points, ROI -0.8%), but was a winner in both 2014 and 2015. Worth a closer look in my opinion. Thanks Baz.

If you select only Home Favourites that helps further. I guess if a team is being made fav after two losses at home to the same opponent then you are picking up on teams with more ability and filtering out the weaker teams.
Yes, the Home and Favourite qualifiers make a huge difference to Baz's basic idea. Here's the ten year record:
Just two losing seasons in the past ten years, and only one (2013) that would have hurt, this is worthy of inclusion in the Cassini Portfolio. It's another very manageable, quick and simple strategy that will generate around 100 bets on the season, approximately one every couple of days (it's a long season).

Now I just need a catchy name, to thank Baz and Fizzer555, and hope that anyone reading this forgets all about it and doesn't cause the prices to crash! It's again worth noting that the numbers above are all beatable on the exchanges or Pinnacle Sports but an ROI of 4.8% over ten years is very impressive.

There's one more logical constraint that historically would have increased the profits to 64.89 points from 537 bets, an ROI% of 8.3%. Baz / Fizzer: email me if you can't figure it out.

With many baseball series actually comprised of four games, I did look at the same strategy for teams losing the first three games. It's a rarer occurrence of course, and 93 bets over 10 seasons isn't much to get excited about, and neither is the loss of 15.48 points.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Major League Brooms

Someone other than James left a comment! Baz writes:

Thanks for the Blunders and Bundeslayga Systems, I follow both although I don't back every qualifier as I can't bet without my own input and, lucky that I am, I have improved the profits a little and it is entirely due to luck .
The baseball season starts soon and I wonder if you have any thoughts or systems on baseball, the only thing I do is oppose the clean sweep when a team win the first two games, I have no statistics to support this system that I read on a website.
As I've mentioned before, the BLUnders and Bundeslayga Systems aren't going to make you rich quick, but they are relatively low maintenance additions which can at best add some profits, and at worse, generate turnover and mitigate Premium Charges.

Baseball does indeed start soon, and this blog has featured some profitable strategies in the past. One strong strategy in the early days of the season is to back the shorties. Here's the five year record for April:
Bas mentions the strategy of opposing the sweep when a series starts with the same team winning both games, and while the numbers don't show this to be profitable, at least not over the last five years, it may have some potential:
It's a modest loss overall and if we include 2010 in this, the system would be in profit overall, albeit by a mere 0.18 points.

Going back as far as we can, the full record is 2177 - 2348, -50.37, giving an ROI of -1.1% but by adding one simple qualifier we can improve this to 426 - 388.

When the team is at Home...

Even though the wins now exceed the losses, the system is still not quite profitable (-6.76 points, ROI -0.8%), but was a winner in both 2014 and 2015. Worth a closer look in my opinion. Thanks Baz.

Under Pressure

The BLUnders results for February are in and for the third consecutive month, and fourth of five, they (officially) finished in the red.

A solid November means that the Under - Over totals are level at 41 with six weeks of the regular season to go, so the run of four profitable seasons isn't ended just yet, although March started with a loser.

It's been a streaky season for this system, with runs on the Unders of 6 (twice) in November and December, followed by a run of 6 Overs, 7 Unders and 7 Overs. Some heart-stopping bets for anyone stupid enough to Martingale this system.

James put me in my place, writing (partly in bold) that:
Of course, Star Wars is not science fiction, which is why I called it a space western.
I like sci-fi, where the plot centres on future technology, but flitting around in space craft whilst shooting off lasers is just a movie about good against evil, as much as any western ever was.
Some good recent sci-fi movies would be Ex Machina, Robot and Frank, and the Spanish film, Time Crimes.
Now back to some quant programming whilst being constantly held up watching the live camera feed from the construction site at the new White Hart Lane stadium. And I don't even support Spurs!
Well of course it is not, Mr. Shouty James, but as I've never seen any Star Wars movie, all I had to base my genre classification on was glimpses of spaceships zipping from galaxy to galaxy firing lasers at each other, something I had always thought of as science fiction, but upon discussing the subject with an old friend, he informed that it is science-fantasy because of something called 'the force' - whatever that is.

Wikipedia classifies Star Wars as an "epic space opera" which is in turn described as a "sub-genre of science fiction" but as Queen said - Is this the real fi ? Is this just fantasy ?

James and I are back on the same page in that neither of us support title favourites Spurs. Five clubs have been title favourites at one time or another this season. Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester City and currently Tottenham Hotspur. I'm not sure if that's a record, but it can't have happened for many years, if ever.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Star Wars And Watersheds

It seems to have taken longer to reach March than usual this year, but it’s finally here and a good excuse to look at the current 2016 results for the Bundeslayga Systems.

Overall, the Bundeslayga System is currently +3.31 points on the season, and +0.96 points in 2016, while the Bundeslayawayga System is +1.74 points and +0.49 respectively.

James and myself really do seem to more and more like twins separated at birth, albeit by a few years and with different mothers. (One can’t be so sure when it comes to paternity). His comments on Star Wars below echo my own thoughts, although unlike James, I never saw even one of the films as Sci-Fi has never been one of my favourite genres. James comments:

“I forced myself to watch the original Star Wars movie a few weeks ago. It took three sittings on consecutive days. The verdict? A space western and a very tedious one too. Certainly not worth a seven movie franchise.
I have now seen Oscar nominated The Big Short and can recommend it. Of course, the book has the fine detail. The movie doesn't make it clear enough how fraudulent the financial markets are. Something that the lone day trader needs to learn before they "beat the markets".
"Oscar Math"? Are we an American, after all? Was my "confidant" correct with his wild assumptions?"
The Big Short was indeed very entertaining, but as James says, obviously not able to go into the detail that the book does. It did win the Best Adapted Screenplay award on Sunday having previously won the Writers Guild Award in the adapted category, but forget I said that please...
As for the “Oscar Math” post title, this was actually a nod to (linked to) Nate Silver’s 538 site which featured the interesting podcast and articles on the subject of predicting Academy Awards winners. 

Unfortunately the event ended with a small personal loss overall, taking a hit on the Best Picture of course, and also losing on the Original Song category. Just two losing markets from the thirteen played, but I was rather too confident in the successes of Best Leading Actor and Best Director carrying over to Best Picture. At least the Premium Charge Mitigation department will be happy with the churn, if not the final total loss of £48.70.

The shortest priced favourite to lose was Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone at around 1.30. Given Stallone's previous record (0 from 2) with the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) I left this category alone. As readers of this blog will know, I have found the 1.3 (77%) number to be something of a watershed.

Stallone has a far more impressive record in the anti-Oscars, the Golden Raspberry Awards - nominated 25 times, and winning no less than eight awards - although perhaps this year's win of the Razzie Redeemer Award shouldn't be counted. His 14 nominations for Worst Actor is a record, as is his 4 wins in this category.