Sunday 25 November 2018

Ignore The Rest, Sometimes

The importance of rest is well known in sports, and is more important in some sports than others. In baseball, the starting pitcher typically has four of five days between starts, while the NFL schedule means teams always have at least three days rest between games. NFL scheduling these days makes sure that no 'short rested' teams plays against a longer rested team - only one game on a Thursday in early December 1997 (Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Oilers) was an exception, when the Bengals played on the previous Sunday while the Oilers enjoyed a full week's rest after playing on Thanksgiving Day. Not that it did them any good, trailing 0-38 after three quarters before losing 14-41. They were drilled, you might say.  

The two sports where rest does matter are the sports (excluding baseball) where teams go on 'road trips'. For the most part, the relative differences in rest days between two teams is factored into the lines. As I said, the importance of rest is well known. What is considered and often discussed is the impact of a game going to overtime, but I suspect something that isn't generally considered is when the previous game was a comfortable win or an uncomfortable loss, but in either case, players are rested in the fourth quarter and thus while technically the game is a back-to-back, in practical terms it is not.

In other words, an NBA team playing triple overtime in a close fought game should be considered differently in their next game from a team that had a 20+ point lead early in the third quarter and coasted to victory, allowing the bench players to finish off the game.

In the 2017-18 season, this system had a 12-9 record, and backing such teams against the spread this season now sits at 4-1. All time the record is 135-109-5 (55.3%). 

Including home teams, the above numbers become 9-2, 3-0 and 200-170-8 (54.1%) respectively.

There are a couple of other parameters that can boost the historic win percentage to 63%, but selections become few and far between and not many people have the discipline to wait for all the planets to align.

There's also a definite edge on Unders in these games, 56.2% overall an as high as 62.4% with other parameters.

I'm not sure how excited Christopher Haley of Winnipeg was when he saw this Tweet yesterday given that the last time anyone scored five goals in one NHL game was on 2nd February 2011.

But you can guess the rest. Finland's 20 year old Patrik Laine, defied the odds by scoring five goals from five shots in the Jets 8-4 victory and win Mr Haley a nice Can$1,100,000, payable over 20 years.
This game was a selection for the NHL system, but my profit was a little less than Mr Haley's, although I don't have to wait 20 years for it. So that's good.    

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