Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Rare and Publicised

By some measures, Houston Astro's Justin Verlander hasn't had the best of seasons, managing to lose two games in the space of eleven days as a -430 or shorter favourite, but he did come through on Sunday with the third no-hitter of his career, and the second one in Toronto while playing for the road team.

Only five other pitchers in baseball history (since 1876) have managed to throw three or more although Verlander has some way to go to match Nolan Ryan and his seven.

Well publicised and rare events do offer an opportunity to the more sophisticated bettor, as the public overreacts to the news and goes into a collective recency reaction. 

For example, when a team holds an opponent hit-less, in the following game they have a 28.8% ROI on the Money Line when playing the same team again. 

If the no-hitter was the last game of a series, then the play next day is to fade them, currently with an ROI of 34.1% but a losing bet yesterday, albeit after extra innings.

A similar over-reaction by the less sophisticated is seen when a team gives up a high (15 or more) number of runs. If the next game is a day game, the Money Line ROI is 14.5%

I mentioned here the possible new record for the line in baseball on the 22nd, and sure enough a new record was set with a line at -530, Gerrit Cole becoming the third Astros pitcher of the season to start a game at -400 or shorter in August. Not surprising that with a starting rotation this strong, the Astros are as short as 3.15 to win the World Series this year. Currently they are tied with the New York Yankees for the best record in MLB and the American League, with the National League's Los Angeles Dodgers close behind, A repeat of the 2017 World Series looks possible. 

For some perspective on the history of red-hot favourites in baseball, since 2004 there have been just 16 matches where the line was sub -400 and six of those occurred last month, with five being with Astros pitchers. 

“Here's the essence of risk management: Risk no more than you can afford to lose, and also risk enough so that a win is meaningful. If there is no such amount, don't play.” – Ed Seykota

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