Tuesday 24 April 2018

NBA Play-Offs

The first round of the NBA play-offs are underway, and the very fact that the games are 'play-offs' means that not too many such matches see a strong favourite. 

Looking at the last five seasons, in matches where one team is favoured by less than three points, the Unders has a 50-41-2 record.  Overtime is always a concern in low handicap games, and 8 of the 93 were tied at the end of regulation. 

Home court advantage is a privilege earned during the regular season, and not surprisingly most games (74.5% for the most recent five seasons) see the home team start as favourite. The market over-estimates this advantage.

During the regular season, backing road favourites is usually a profitable strategy and so it is in play-off games with a winning percentage ATS of 57.8%.

If you restrict your backing of road favourites to those giving 6.5 points or more, the ATS is over 90% with a 20-2 record. Unfortunately, we haven't had any selections yet this season. 

The Houston Rockets came close giving 6 last night while winning by 19 in Minnesota to take the Away Favourites overall record to 5-3 for this season.   

Sunday 22 April 2018

April Shorties Update

Trilla B commented on my MLB April Shorties post asking:

Hi. I did backtest via trend builder and it looks like betting RL in these games is more profitable. Can you confirm ?
I've no idea what 'trend builder' is, but over the last seven seasons, while backing the Run Line is profitable, the profits fall short of backing the favourite straight up.
Backing the favourite straight up generated 34.73 points, and in addition never saw a losing season, which is psychologically important.

I haven't received too many emails thanking me for pointing this April trend out, but if you are following me this season, you are doing very nicely (at least backing straight up you are). 
Noticeable is the record number of qualifiers this season, and we still have almost one-third of the month to come! 

13 of the Wins have been by one run, which explains why the Run Line P/L is currently negative, and 31 games (67.4%) have been Unders. 

Saturday 21 April 2018

NBA 2017 Regular Season Review

The NBA 2017-18 season concluded a few days ago, and for The Beast, which suggested backing Overs when the total was 215.5 or higher, the final numbers are:

The maximum return (34.96 points) was actually when backing at 216 points or higher, so being off the optimum total by half a point is pretty good, if I do say so myself.

In terms of ROI, and a minimum of 100 bets, the best return was 16.3% at the 225 points or higher level. 

The average total line increased this season as expected, although not by quite as much as I was expecting after 2016's giant leap, although worth noting that the average in the last two months (March and April) climbed to 214.6:
I'm sure I'll be looking at these numbers in more detail closer to the start of next season, but the trend to more three point shots and average number of possessions doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

Backing Road Favourites also returned to profitability this season after a rare losing season with the highest number of selections ever:
Note that backing road favourites giving more than 10.5 points is not profitable, so the above results are for road favourites below that handicap.

The optimal range saw the ROI% at almost 7%.
The other (almost) perennially profitable system is backing Road Favourites coming off a loss when playing an opponent coming off a win. While not quite reaching the heights of 2013, an ROI of 33.75%, albeit from a small bet total of 54, was solid enough.

Monday 9 April 2018

Sleepless In Denver

Back in January 2011, I wrote about the uniqueness of the city of Denver in US Sports:

In US sports, Denver is a unique place to go for a game, given that the altitude there is about, as Broncos fans will know, one mile, and ideally teams arrive there more than a day ahead to get acclimated. Of course, when you have a game the night before, you have no choice but to arrive late, and if Miami left LA straight after their loss, they wouldn't have arrived until the wee hours of Thursday, and losing an hour on the way.

How significant is this? Over the last 55 games that Denver has hosted an opponent playing the second game of a back-to-back, they have a 46-9 record. A little nugget of information for you (pun intended).
My suspicion is that this post will have resonated with precisely zero readers, but should anyone have been following the Denver Nuggets in home games this season playing against teams on a back-to-back, they would have been rewarded with a 100% straight up winning record, and a 6-2 record against the spread. 

ESPN touched on the topic of NBA scheduling in this recent article. Surprisingly Denver isn't the toughest place to go this season on short rest when playing a rested opponent. Minnesota Timberwolves boast a 9-0 record in such games. Other impressive records this season (80%+) include the Houston Rockets 6-0, Philadelphia Seventysixers 9-1, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics both 7-1, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder 6-1, Detroit Pistons 11-2, San Antonio Spurs 4-1 and Dallas Mavericks 2-0. ATS, these are a combined 50-30-3. Why the Mavericks have just two such games while the Pistons have 13 seems to be something of a scheduling issue.

The two 100% teams in this scenario from last season were the Golden State Warriors 15-0 and the Los Angeles Clippers at 11-0, but the newly extended season and subsequent reduction in back-to-backs has seen the number of opportunities for these teams drop to 7 and 8 games respectively.

As favourable as playing a tired opponent at home might be, some teams still manage to waste the opportunity. Over the past five seasons, ATS at home, the Sacramento Kings are 9-30 while the Orlando Magic are 12-30-1. On the road, the biggest flops are (again) the Orlando Magic joined at 3-8 by the Denver Nuggets who clearly find it easier to win these games at home, followed by the Boston Celtics at 5-12. 

Tuesday 3 April 2018

MLB April Shorties

The table above shows the results of backing short priced (1.5 or shorter) MLB favourites during the opening month of the season. The returns are calculated using the American method of betting to win 100 units.

Over the last five full seasons, this simple strategy is up 96.53 points from 1,082 bets, an impressive ROI of 8.92%. Last season was the best, +55.70 points from 296 selections, 18.81% ROI.

Some months this strategy is best left alone - the opening and closing months of March and October are both small sample sizes, but losing ones, as is the All-Star month of July, where form appears to be disrupted by the annual break.  


Well, March was an interesting month. The blog celebrated its tenth anniversary while its creator decided to ignore abdominal pains for 12 days resulting in emergency surgery and a few days in hospital and, in the consultant's words, "dodging a bullet". After six decades of almost perfect health, to be close to checking out was a bit of a shock, and an opportunity to reassess priorities.

It's been over a month since my last post, which is a record by some margin, but the daily hit count averaged around 300 during my absence which wasn't bad. The last post on the topic of the types of gamblers and why they gamble received one comment from Jamie, who wrote:
Couldn't agree more with the comment about expert gamblers not getting excited about big wins. That of course would also be the case towards losses and not getting emotional towards them also.
The emotional side towards money is a big difference between novice and expert gamblers and a trait that is very underestimated.
A video that provoked thoughts for me towards money was a clip from trader Anton Kreil. "Respect money but at the same time be indifferent towards it" Worth a watch. Especially around the 10 min mark where he starts to put money on the table.
Worth a watch, although having read reviews of Anton's Forex trading videos priced at close to $3,000, I wouldn't recommend going down that path. 

For me, the big difference between novice and expert gamblers is the expectations each has. The expert understands the problems with scaling, and that it is a long-term activity with ROIs generally in the low single digits. The novice unrealistically thinks in terms of doubling their bank every few weeks. 

The expert is patient, looking for market weaknesses and not caring if he has a bet or not for a few days, while the novice thinks there's value to be found daily in popular football markets, finding patterns where none exist. While confidence is a good thing, it needs to be based on reality. The reality is that when you are betting, you are competing against people far more experienced and knowledgeable than yourself, and it's delusional to think that betting or trading successfully is something that anyone can do.

You require a very particular set of skills. Skills acquired over a very long career.

My betting activities were curtailed somewhat during March, which might not have been a bad thing. The Beast had a losing month, although still profitable for the season to date:
The regular season ends on Wednesday 11th April, but as one door closes, another opens with the 2018 MLB season now underway. The T-Bone System is off to a good start, with four straight winners and two more selections today - the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. Here are the results from the last ten seasons: